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The Damascus Forum The art and study of Damascus steel making.

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  #1  
Old 03-13-2006, 06:10 PM
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Connor Connor is offline
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Saw chain damascus?... New to forging...

Hi. I?ve been searching the forums for as much information as possible regarding forged saw chain, but have been unable to obtain the information I need. I?m new to the forging game, so new in fact, I have just ordered the .023 Miller contact tips I need to complete the assembly of the forge I built using the Zoeller plans.

I have NEVER forged before, so this is completely new to me. I want to use saw chain as the base material, but I don?t know if this material should be folded more than once, twice, etc. Can someone experienced with saw chain forging please advise? I GREATLY appreciate ANY advice I can get with regards to forging saw chain, or first time forging!

Thanks in advance!

Connor
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:29 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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I don't know much about saw chain forging but it's on my list of things to try. I have heard that some chains may have plastic/nylon rollers. Those can't be used unless you remove the non-metallic parts.

As for the first time forging I can say something about that. I applaud your spunk for wanting to work with chain but, man!, you are starting off with one of the most difficult things you could choose to do. Working chain or cable takes a considerable skill and knowledge just for those materials in addition to all the usual stuff like getting the fire right, fluxing, how to use a hammer properly, knowing the welding temperatures, forging temperatures, and quenching temperatures, etc.

So, my advice (worth everything you're paying for it) is to first learn to forge on some nice controllable steel that you know what it's made of and how it's supposed to work. Buy this steel in small quantities from any knife supply place. Get some 1084 or some other simple carbon steel so there's no guessing involved. Try welding a few of these pieces together - it's much MUCH easier than a piece of chain and you'll still have trouble the first time or two or three. Then, when you think you know what you're doing, take a shot at the chain ....


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Old 03-13-2006, 08:46 PM
Steve K Steve K is offline
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I would have to agree with Ray. Saw chain, for me, is getting better but still tough compared to a random pattern billet. I did a couple blades with the chain only. Not alot of contrast. Yesterday I welded a chain, cut the billet in three pieces and added some L6 and banding and then twisted. Did some hallow grinding on it tonight and the extra pieces really added alot.
Steve
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:32 AM
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Connor Connor is offline
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Thanks guys! This is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. Nothing teaches better tan experience, and I have no doubt I've come to the best place possible to learn. I wasn't aware that sawchain was one of the more difficult materials to forge, and will look much more closely into the more common materials until I gain the experience required to take on sawchain, or cable. Thank you again.

Connor
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Old 03-14-2006, 11:13 AM
schwarzer schwarzer is offline
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welding scrap

If you are just starting practice with scrap spring material it is cheap and if you get a good result from you efforts it will make a servicible knife. The problem with using scrap or material that is from an unknown source is the total lack of information. Even if you get a good result you cant repeat it once the material is gone. Use any scrap sping material for practice. If you intent to sell your work at some point get your material from a repeatable source.
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Old 02-06-2007, 11:32 PM
Roger Keagle Roger Keagle is offline
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My first ever try at forge weldin was chain...did not know it was hard ! Sort of rolled it up into a lollypop like thing, welded on a stake, heated to red, pored on the borax, boosted temp to sparking, and lightly hammered trying to keep the shape sort of a billet ( the hardest part, really) after a couple of heats, you start to get something that sounds solid, then you can start shaping into your knife or whatever...hope this helps...just remember, failures are your best teachers !
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:51 AM
youngbuck youngbuck is offline
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[QUOTE boosted temp to sparking, [/QUOTE]

i have done a fair bit of reading and from everything i have read sparkling=very bad aka cut off the sparkling piece and chuck it because it has been overheated....i have not yet tried to forge weld so dont put to much stock into what i say but to the best of my knowledge that metal is not at its strongest.
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:19 AM
Roger Keagle Roger Keagle is offline
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Sparking, is a term we use for the slightest spark in the coal forge's flame, sometimes called "fairy dust" I have welded for over 50 years, and would not lead a new chum down a bad path, really !
After a while, you know how to judge the temp long before any such, but that takes a bit of practice, and a heap of failures.
Low temp welding is never easy, and best done with gas I find, there is a fluxing effect to gas if it is properly adjusted.
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:56 PM
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If you would still like to try chain, May I suggest a timing chain from a car. I am also new to blacksmithing and am currently working on a few billets and will get back onto them soon as the weathr warms up. Itook the timing chain out of my Dads car. He noticed it missing so I had to replace it. I folded it up so It was four layers thick and tack weled ti to one peice. and a rod at the end.
Now I forged it with the roller ends up and buy the time I was tired of spanking it the billet is now a lttle bit more of a quater of its original size. Ther was no holes showing through on 3/4 of the billet but the other 1/4 stretched and has large holes. So I just simply cut this end off and threw it in the we may need this later pile.
I have ground away any of the excess scum and have a clean looking billet about 1 inch by 3 inch but 1/4 inch thick. As soon as the weather breaks I want to weld a new rod onto the billet and draw it out and see If I can start to make the shape of a blade out of it.
I have started a few motorcycle chain but they are rough looking. I may have to gring these chunks flat and layer them togather.
I also have a half dozen old god quality chainsaw chains being tackwelded togather and a couple more I think Need replacing. When I get something done with these I will let you know.


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Old 02-13-2007, 10:57 PM
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Oh by the way I used the old fashioned coal forge for this job.


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  #11  
Old 04-09-2007, 01:21 AM
Scorpio Scorpio is offline
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I have forged quite a few chain saw chains and it doesn't seem any harder than any other damascus to me. For me chain saw chain seemed to be a bit messier with the flux and hard on the forge lining. The reason I keep coming back to it is there is so little prep involved as long as your not trying to use rusty chain or something, just wire it together and go. None of the repeated drawing out to get the layer count. Plus chains are free, a decent size logging outfit will have piles of probably high quality ones, so if you screw up your not out much. I have twisted them, but then it doesn't really look like chain, I usualy just fold them once to make sure everything is welded together and because you have to forge weld from all sides it usualy ends up as a square bar that is long and narrow and the fold gets it thicker and hopefully closes up any bad spots. You want to leave lots of material for grinding incase you get a bad spot, probably once you get good you don't need to do that, but I am not there yet. This is one I am still working on, it is 3/8" thick so hopefull I will be able to grind out that spot at the base. Will saw chain make the ultimate edge holding super knife? No probably not, but it is kind of a fast and fun project.


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