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View Full Version : Sweatpants and the Damascus Steel Road



Raymond Richard
10-19-2009, 01:56 PM
I'd got a call from my closest friend Ray yesterday. Ray is also a bladesmith and lives in Damascus, Oregon about 7 miles from where I live. Ray also makes Damascus steel and the call was to tell me he'd be out at his forge this morning and if I had some steel ready to go just come out so I did. My usual dress for this time of year is sweatpants, a T shirt with a jacket, and Shoes. Not my normal shop sandels. After Ray does some adjustments on the little giant I come up to the plate. Ray will normally do the first weld using a hand held hammer and his anvil so that is what I did. I did it a couple more times and Ray said it wasn't hot enough. Man the heat is just hammering me and it isn't hot enough. I tried one more time and then Big Ray took over. After that we got it hammered out on the little giant and it was time to make the first fold. I did get the center mark for the fold right on the money then I took it over to the press to make the cut and then got it folded. Put more flux on it and back into the forge. After a good long soak I remove the bar, set it on the anvil and start hammering it. All this time I'm just amazed of the heat coming off this billet. It was so hot it felt like my leg right leg was going to ignite. I look down at my leg and my sweatpants are on fire. Now I got about a 3" blister not to mention a good sized hole in my favorite sweats.

Do you ever wonder why I use damascus steel so little? I look back to when I burnt the shop down. It was about 2 weeks after I got my $3000.00 forging press. That I'm sure would have been used to make damascus. I just haven't had any luck with it. Anyway I'll be ready to go make damascus the next time Ray call. Pretty sure I saw a fire suit at the military surplus store that might end up being mine. :D

Eli Gautreaux
10-19-2009, 02:11 PM
OUCH! Dang Ray, be careful out there!

I'm just surprised that you were even going down the damascus road --- lots of surprises on that trail :D

John Barker
10-19-2009, 02:12 PM
Ray, maybe you should get a leather apron or some nomex sweats.:D
-John

Robert Mayo
10-19-2009, 03:49 PM
Well your lucky you got the fire out before it went north:eek:. Glad you got it extinguished Ray cause we want to see what your goin to make from your damascus.2thumbs

Bob

Lorien
10-19-2009, 05:56 PM
Ray, a leather apron is a good idea!

Raymond Richard
10-19-2009, 05:58 PM
Well your lucky you got the fire out before it went north:eek:. Glad you got it extinguished Ray cause we want to see what your goin to make from your damascus.2thumbs

Bob

Hey Bob, I didn't get to far with the damascus today. It will probably be a few weeks till I get back to Ray's. I've been approaching the making of damascus like the old bull.

BossDog
10-19-2009, 06:11 PM
good story Ray.
too bad about the sweat pants. Grinders don't have that problem you know...

Chris Martin
10-19-2009, 06:17 PM
Ouch......I hate to say it but the way you describe it I got a little chuckle...good you didnt get seriously burnt....a blister is bad enough:eek:

I will keep this story in mind once I try my hand at forging:D

Glad your ok pardner.

C

Peter Killgore
10-19-2009, 06:18 PM
Burns aren't fun. When I was 4, I got my eyebrow burned off from some plastic we had burning in our bonfire, rather on the painful side(I'm lucky I wasn't blined in that eye I guess). Very understandable why you don't use a lot of damascus. That stuff sounds dangerous. I think if I were you, I'd be over at army surplus getting that fireproof suit. :) Glad your ok.

Raymond Richard
10-19-2009, 08:16 PM
good story Ray.
too bad about the sweat pants. Grinders don't have that problem you know...

Yah, sure! You must be from Min ne so ta. :D

RAGUEL3
10-19-2009, 11:36 PM
Get ya some old motorcycle leathers,.. belt em on over your pants when youre hammerin :)

Mike Barton
10-20-2009, 08:21 AM
+1 on the leathers.

Ray,

You'd be good to go in a pair of chaps ride safe

Phil Dwyer
10-20-2009, 01:13 PM
He don't need no stinking leather! If had just stuck with his regular MO (no pants)

http://www.hawknknives.com/forums/IMG_1485.JPG

he'd have been alright. He has a hide that's tough as nails!

Raymond Richard
10-20-2009, 03:07 PM
Phil, This is for you.

http://www.hawknknives.com/forums/IMG_1682.JPG

Stuart Willis
10-20-2009, 03:59 PM
Nice vent hole ya have there Raymond. This picture looks kinda scarey!!!!!

Eli Gautreaux
10-20-2009, 05:55 PM
Hey, you started working on a shaft!

We need a close up pic Ray (of the spear, not you :D)

Phil Dwyer
10-20-2009, 08:37 PM
Ha ha ha...you're a hoot Ray! And I thought we had big rats around here. I never had to fight them off with a spear though. I see you're still wearing those sweats. I guess it's hard to keep a good man down. :D

BTW, what's up with all the concrete and stone stacked around your anvil stands? And, why a gravel floor instead of a slab?

Raymond Richard
10-20-2009, 10:00 PM
Ha ha ha...you're a hoot Ray! And I thought we had big rats around here. I never had to fight them off with a spear though. I see you're still wearing those sweats. I guess it's hard to keep a good man down. :D

BTW, what's up with all the concrete and stone stacked around your anvil stands? And, why a gravel floor instead of a slab?

Phil, The way my anvil is set up on the bottom of the post I have three 2 X 6 that are fastened to the post. They are screwed and glued with construction adhesive and they run about a foot past the post on both sides. The concrete is just weight holding the anvil in place. You could also call it cheap but it works. My old shop was just a dirt floor. The gravel is a step up plus I don't like working on a concrete floor. To me its easier on the feet and legs.

ddavelarsen
10-21-2009, 02:42 AM
Glad you're okay Ray - your sense of humor always shines through. :) Most people probably don't snug up to the anvil quite so much. :D Actually, do you suppose it was flux splatter that caught your sweats on fire?

Raymond Richard
10-21-2009, 08:47 AM
Glad you're okay Ray - your sense of humor always shines through. :) Most people probably don't snug up to the anvil quite so much. :D Actually, do you suppose it was flux splatter that caught your sweats on fire?

Dave, I'm sure the flux was the cause.

Funny I'm always forging hot steel but I was in shock at how much heat was coming from that bar. The larger size and probably 400 degrees hotter than what I normally work with sure registered on my mind. The new vent hole in my favorite sweats and the burn on the leg will be etched on my mind for a few weeks.

ddavelarsen
10-21-2009, 10:05 AM
:D Mine too. That's not an image easily forgotten!

Mike Barton
10-22-2009, 06:30 AM
Dave, I'm sure the flux was the cause.

Funny I'm always forging hot steel but I was in shock at how much heat was coming from that bar. The larger size and probably 400 degrees hotter than what I normally work with sure registered on my mind. The new vent hole in my favorite sweats and the burn on the leg will be etched on my mind for a few weeks.

Hey Ray,
Now we know what happened...you fluxed yourself :p
So now that you've etched it, what pattern was revealed :D

Phil Dwyer
10-22-2009, 10:29 AM
I don't know about etched on your mind, but quite literally on your leg! :eek:

I agree about your sense of humor...and candid sharing too. Might save some of the rest of us from a scar or two.

Of course now, very few folks will be able to afford whatever you make from that billet. Its resale value just went through the roof.


"Step right up and get yourself a blade made from the very steel that dang near crippled its maker in the making. That's right folks, this here wonder blade was made from that notorious billet of damascus that lit world renown bladesmith, Raymond Richard's leg afire. This formidable blade is truly one of a kind and its maker has the scars to prove it."

Raymond Richard
10-22-2009, 11:19 AM
I don't know about etched on your mind, but quite literally on your leg! :eek:

I agree about your sense of humor...and candid sharing too. Might save some of the rest of us from a scar or two.

Of course now, very few folks will be able to afford whatever you make from that billet. Its resale value just went through the roof.


"Step right up and get yourself a blade made from the very steel that dang near crippled its maker in the making. That's right folks, this here wonder blade was made from that notorious billet of damascus that lit world renown bladesmith, Raymond Richard's leg afire. This formidable blade is truly one of a kind and its maker has the scars to prove it."

I like the sounds of that, Thanks for the idea! :D In real life that did happen when I stabbed myself in the palm of the hand with the knife that had won best hand forged knife of show. I did not add the extra $400.00 for stitches on the price of that knife. It went on the next knife. :D Just kidding.

I did talk to the "Old Goat" yesterday and he says he'll be firing up the forge Saturday or Sunday. I plan to be better prepared this next time.

Raymond Richard
10-30-2009, 12:27 PM
You know that burn is being a problem. The closer it gets to healing up and I go to change the bandage and the scab goes with it. Got some no stickers on now.

For all the years of making knives damascus never created much of an interest to me. I'd tried doing a small billet by hand once or twice when I first started but there would always be a problem somewhere and I'd end up tossing it. I started out with two billets when I went to Ray's and right off the bat I had screwed up just putting the billets together. I had used 1084 and what I believe to be L-6 from an old large circular sawmill blade. I found out that the 1084 needs to be on the outside so it will weld up easier when you do the fold. The first billet I'm still fighting with but we caught that mistake before it was forged on the other bar. I just added two more piece of 1084 to the outside and its working the way it should. Maybe forging more tomorrow and I'm thinking I should have one done at around 100 layers.

BowtownBlade
10-30-2009, 05:55 PM
I hope you two get this damascus forged, I know it will be neat looking stuff !

Raymond Richard
11-01-2009, 10:51 AM
I got over to Ray's yesterday morning. I now have my first bar of 99 layer Double Ray random damascus. I told Ray just before I left I knew what I would be doing when I got home. I cut about 4" off one end of the bar and put it in the forge and then hammered that piece to 2" wide and 5" long. Let it cool off and then cut it down the middle. Then forged a tang on the bad end and then the blade on the good part. Got this blade mostly done last night but did do more forging on it this morning. I'm working on forging a dagger blade out of the other piece.

http://www.hawknknives.com/forums/IMG_1724.JPG

ddavelarsen
11-01-2009, 11:15 AM
I think you're in trouble Ray... Damascus bug has bitten you! :D That looks great so far, I'm going to keep my eyes peeled on this one. Here's a world first. Next thing we know you'll be rebuilding that press and going to town. Heh! 2thumbs

Martin Brandt
11-01-2009, 11:21 AM
Howdy Ray and other doggers, By way of intro. Just got registered this AM. Always fun to talk knives and forging. Forged my first buffalo skinners in Jr. High, but got serious in '97. Actually getting to where I can make things go where I want them to now. Damascus is frustrating at times Ray but it opens a whole new world up to fun, and mixing old junk into new beautiful stuff. Making many holes in clothes is just a side benefit. In the words of the enimitable Don Kemper of N.W.B.A. tool collecting fame,, "it is a small thing , for a blacksmith to catch himself on farr" That being said Ray, I hope you heal thout to much trouble. I'll be watchin to see how these turn out. May you escape the hidden flaw demon for a while til you're hooked.;)

Peter Killgore
11-01-2009, 05:40 PM
OOO BOY! I'm excited to see this when it's done. Are you going to do anything on the larger side of knives(say about a 9-15 inch blade) with that Damascus? I think a Raymond Richard Bowie in Damascus would be quite the knife(and a half).

Raymond Richard
11-01-2009, 09:10 PM
Howdy Ray and other doggers, By way of intro. Just got registered this AM. Always fun to talk knives and forging. Forged my first buffalo skinners in Jr. High, but got serious in '97. Actually getting to where I can make things go where I want them to now. Damascus is frustrating at times Ray but it opens a whole new world up to fun, and mixing old junk into new beautiful stuff. Making many holes in clothes is just a side benefit. In the words of the enimitable Don Kemper of N.W.B.A. tool collecting fame,, "it is a small thing , for a blacksmith to catch himself on farr" That being said Ray, I hope you heal thout to much trouble. I'll be watchin to see how these turn out. May you escape the hidden flaw demon for a while til you're hooked.;)

Hey Marty,

Good to see you here! I don't think I'm going to come down with the damascus bug but it is nice to work with something different for a change. I'm finding it pretty easy to find the hidden flaw when I'm hand forging them to shape. I got the dagger blade forged and took a picture before it met up with Mister Grinder. The blades is not as wide as it is in this picture now.

Peter, I'm sure we'll be seeing a bowie or two in the near future.


http://www.hawknknives.com/forums/IMG_1725.JPG

Peter Killgore
11-09-2009, 10:48 PM
How are these looking now? Anything exciting happen? Hopefully no more holes in your favorite sweats :D

Raymond Richard
11-09-2009, 11:39 PM
How are these looking now? Anything exciting happen? Hopefully no more holes in your favorite sweats :D

Peter, You got to remember I'm an oldman. I can only work on one project at a time. I did get both blades heat treated and the smaller blade is ground. One will be a success. Not sure about the dagger blade yet. I don't plan to wreck anymore sweat pants.