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How much extra material do you add in a damascus billet

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by GoldSkula, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. GoldSkula


    Jun 14, 2018
    If you are making a project that needs a set amount of damascus, how much extra steel do you use for the billet? Not looking for a specific percentage of course but a ballpark figure.
    Thanks in advance


    Dec 17, 2005
    I don't size the billet of paternweld steel to the project. I make the same size billet and use what portion of it I need for a knife. Any leftover goes to another blade or fittings. I find the larger the billet, the easier it is to weld up. Bigger billets hold heat longer.
    Jim A.
    erik markman and Salem Straub like this.
  3. Fred.Rowe

    Fred.Rowe Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    May 2, 2004
    It depends on the pattern. Random pattern produces more usable metal than say feather pattern.
  4. Armin Drumm

    Armin Drumm

    Apr 2, 2005
    Starting with billets as big as I can handle them, typically 2,5 to 3 Kg.
  5. Ian Fifelski

    Ian Fifelski

    Oct 4, 2017
    How are you doing it? Power hammer? Press? By hand? That changes things a lot.

    Also what pattern?
  6. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    I allways loose a lot. I Normaly plan on loosing at least 50% of the material to scale, slag and grindings. This is all dependent on the pattern and how many times you restack. Another thing is that eats up steel is how skilled are you with in forging. If your billet is lumpy then you will loose lots when you have to grind it flat for restacking.
  7. GoldSkula


    Jun 14, 2018
    I'm not asking for help here I was just interested. I personally don't make a lot of damscus but when I do I use a hand hammer. So far I have only made a small ring and a spacer out of random pattern damascus. I think it was something like 100 layers?
    Thanks for the concern still.
  8. Aidenag


    Apr 16, 2009
    "I'm not asking for help here I was just interested."

    Asking questions is asking for help.... Nothing wrong with it. And his followup to your question was spot on. The method you make it with, and the pattern you go for changes how much of a % loss your looking at drastically. Gimme a press, and some random pattern and you could see less than 25% loss if done right. Try and do a Mosaic by hand though, and your looking at 100% loss :)
    DevinT likes this.
  9. Salem Straub

    Salem Straub KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 20, 2008
    Unless you are Steve Filicietti.
    As far as advice, I can only echo what's already been said... waste rates vary greatly dependent upon pattern, equipment, and technique. It's always a good idea to make as big of billets as you can comfortably handle- it's a much more efficient way to work. You make a big fancy knife that you've planned, first and then smaller stuff just depending on what's left over.
    I've started with 6-8 lbs of steel and ended up with a blade weighing less than 10 oz. before!
    Fred.Rowe and allenkey like this.
  10. Ian Fifelski

    Ian Fifelski

    Oct 4, 2017
    I was just asking questions to help better answer your original question:) How yo do it changes how much material you need because it takes more heats when doing it by hand so more scale is made which= more material lost.

    With my first random billet that had 5 cut and re-stacks and was done by hand, I lost almost half of the material.
  11. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    I lose about 150% of my steel. I’ve made a bunch of billets with delaminations, and two good billets so far. I’m going to focus on learning Damascus this year. It’s my resolution.

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