View Full Version : 52100 question

HHH Knives
06-29-2011, 10:26 AM
Im getting ready to forge some damascus from 52100 and wanted to know.. what color does it etch?

Im guessing its light in color.

Also anyone who has made damascus from 52100. what materials did you find that work well with it..

Thanks in advance.

Doug Lester
06-29-2011, 01:14 PM
You might want to send Ed Caffrey a line on this. As I recall he doesn't favor 52100 much for making damascus. Also, 52100 is a higher alloy than 5160 in that it contains more chromium and carbon and 5160 is known to be real tricky to forge weld. It will also depend on what you forge weld it to, accepting that you will find a way to weld it. Too great a difference in the expansion coeffecients and the welds will shear during forging. You may be better off with making mono steel blades with it.


06-29-2011, 06:26 PM
Hi Randy!

My recommendation is that there are a lot less troublesome things to use when making damascus. 52100 reacts very poorly to overheating, which is exactly what will take place when forge welding it. I've used it in a number of San-Mai blades, but I had to work out a whole new set of methodologies for almost ever step after forging, to get it close to the performance of my standard mix of 1080/15N20. Forged carefully, 52100 is currently my favorite mono steel....but it's a lot like 5160 in that it doesn't play well with others.

One of the biggest issues with using 52100 in a damascus mix comes during heat treating. There are very few other alloys with similar characteristics, and most of the time a damascus blade made with 52100 in the mix will exhibit severe warping during hardening on the milder side of things, and more often then not, you will get cracks and delaminations due to the stresses.

If you have your heart set on using 52100 in damascus, just be prepared...it's going to cause grief, and very likely you will have to change things in various steps of the process to make it come out what I consider "usable".....at least in comparison to a 1080/15N20 mix.

HHH Knives
06-29-2011, 06:47 PM
As always Ed, Your post is very informative.. even though its not the answer I wanted to hear. lol :)

I just sent ya a PM with a couple questions. So I wont retype it here..

Thanks again Ed.