Pattern Welding

Bear with me, I’m off on yet another metal working episode.  Last week I took a 3 day course in pattern welding with Nick Rossi at the New England School of Metalwork http://www.newenglandschoolofmetalwork.com/index.php  It was an amazing, educational and fun.

We stated with 6 layers of high carbon 1095 steel, interspersed with 5 layers of 15N20, high nickel steel.  These were welded onto a handle, heated, and forge welded into a solid block.

11 layers

The blocks were repeatedly heated

heatand pounded  on the power hammer, until the billet went from the original 4″ long to 10″ long.

draw out

We then scored the billet, and folded it over on itself, forge welded again and repeated the process, 4 more times.  Starting with 11 layers, folded to 22, to 44 to 88 to 176 to 352 layers of steel.

Then we ground alternating grooves on both sides of the billet,

grindre-heated it, re flattened it, ground, sanded and finally acid etched it, to produce the ladder pattern:

ladderAnother billet was randomly drilled,

raindropthen heated, pounded, flattened, ground, sanded and acid etched to produce the raindrop pattern:

raindrop IIWe made yet another billet, this one only folded into 88 layers, formed into a round, heated to bright yellow, and twisted about 4 rotations into a spiral, to make the twist pattern, similar to my original letter opener (see May 2014).

twistAll in all, a great 3 day experience, with a lot learned and great fun had by all.  I would definitely recommend taking a NESM course, especially in the winter.  With 3 gas furnaces going, the thermometers in the class maxed out at 125° F.  That, and a few splatter blisters, really made you feel alive!  Next on the list is the finishing course: relaxing the metal, shaping grinding and polishing the billets into blades, heat treating, and handle making.  Quite the change from woodworking.

C.H.Becksvoort © 2014

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