Stainless Damascus Steel
I think I'm ready to try some stainless Damascus. I have seen several demos, and I have copious notes on the subject, but the info I lack is what are good materials to start with. Maybe it's because I tend to miss the first few minutes of a demo or lecture. Whatever the reason, my usual source for info like that, Tommy McNabb, has left us all behind so I'm looking for the voice of experience. What are good steels to start with for stainless damascus and while I'm at it, for a stainless laminated (san Mai) blade?
Just my thoughts, but I messed around with stainless damascus for a while, and IMO, it's simply not worth the costs and input required to just be able to say "it's stainless damascus"....because it certainly doesn't out perform what I call "standard" Damascus, such as 1080/84 & 15N20 mixes.
When it comes to a stainless laminate for a San-Mai blade, I assume you mean with a high carbon, or damascus core? If so, in order of ease of use...... 416, 410, 316 for the exterior laminates.
Maciej LeszczyÅ„ski,is a knifemaker in Poland who uses 316 and 420. J.A. Loose is a jeweler/bladesmith in Vermont who uses 316L and 416L for stainless rings. I think the trick is using a non-ferrous variety (300 series) and a ferrous variety (400 series) to get the contrast. As far as San Mai jacketing, Ed gave you all the info you need.
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I made a large number of Stainless/simple carbon San-Mai knives using both 416 and 410. I've never noticed any difference in the welding process.
What I have noticed is how they etch - the 410 seems to be a bit shinier than the 416. I like the more dull appearance of the 416.
The added sulfur in the 416 is there to make it more machinable so that may influence your choice.
Karl B. Andersen
Will Brigiam has been using AEB-l and CPM-154, he is getting great contrast in his patterning. very high performance mix as well. damasteel ( not a traditional welded product) is RWL-34 (basically a powder version of ATS-34) and PMC-27 (a variant on 440C) also good contrast.
Thanks, I'll take all this under advisement and give it a go. As for it not being worth the trouble, When you get down to it, is knifemaking worth the trouble? I'm sure we all do it because we love the challenge of learning new processes. If you end up with something beautiful or even valuable, that's just the bonus.
As for it not being worth the trouble, When you get down to it, is knifemaking worth the trouble?
The first 20 seconds is your answer:
[media] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLbLsjRVm9Y [/media]
Karl B. Andersen
All I know about hardenable stainless damascus (not a whole lot,) I learned from talking directly to Will Brigham (The Artificery), and I haven't tried it myself. I would encourage you to reach out to him directly if you're serious about it. The other guy who does it is Ian Rogers of Haburn knives. I am not aware of anyone within the ABS who makes the stuff.
My understanding is that you need to treat the welding process with a whole lot more care. You need a thermocouple in the forge for heat control, and the surfaces must be chemically clean, surface-ground, and sealed in a canister.
I don't know much about specific forging and welding temperatures or preheating times for forging.
Best of luck!