The magic and Pure Alchemy of Iron

Gallery November 2012 and Exciting new skills

More new images will be posted soon. In the mean time I will talk about my recent success with forge welding carbon steel in a coal forge. After many attempts with no success or unpredictable success I decided the other night to try 2 basic techniques and just see what happened. On the advice of a German smith I setup a miniature anvil right next to the fire so almost no distance existed between heating and hammering. Normally a distance of about 5 feet . The next thing was to change my attitude toward the process. I simply relaxed and worked gently and slowly instead of working fast and trying to get the welds done before the heat lowered.

Process so far:

I took a piece of general 1018 1″ x 1/8 stock and began heating it on my forge until orange and wire brushed it between heats.

I started using borax at the beginning before folding.

Bent the steel on to itself 1 time.

Fluxed and heated to Yellow/orange working it very gently on the anvil.

Heat and hammer gently morphing the two pieces together.

Tap flat-tap on sides.

Fluxing between each heat.

Wire brushing before hammering.

And as easy as if I had done it my whole life the first 2 layers were nicely welded together into a solid piece. After this I folded it one more time making a total of 3 layers and slowly gently  tapped it until it fully welded using the same process over and over again. The difference is patience, distance between fire and anvil and the smooth gentle hammering.  Now that I have  at least repeated work I can begin working toward doing Swedish laminated steel which is putting a piece of HC steel between LC steel to create a perfectly alloyed tool with strong durable spine and hard HC edge. I greatly look forward to these experiments.

A pattern in the 3 layer blade appeared after I acid etched it, it is very interesting to see how the carbon got distributed.  the strength of the blade when quenched increased amazingly from its original form but many mistakes also showed in cracked or partial welds. I kept the piece as a reference and will post photos soon. A good reminder of what needs to be corrected.


Until the next post.



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