Canister Damascus

KenH

Well-Known Member
Hello all - got a question. Canister Damascus is usually made in a square tube with the weld set in squaring dies. What size should be squaring dies be for a 2"X2" canister? OR, if squaring dies are 2"X2" what size should the canister be? I'm not doing a good job of wording this question. How much is a canister squeezed down when setting the weld?
 

fitzo

KNIFE MAKER
I did 2" canisters and started with a 2" squaring die because the cans expand slightly hot. It sets it to square nicely. After that, my dies ran down to 1" by 1/4" and a 7/8" die.

A concern with using too small a die to start out is what squishes out the sides of the dies as the square forms. That's an easy place to start a real mess if you're not careful. Small changes, small bites, less shear, fewer faults...

That's my approach. Everyone's different.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Just some advice on "can" size. I find that more often than not, you need to reduce a can A LEAST 50% to achieve a solid, flaw free billet...and that's assume you make no errors along the way such as Fitz mentioned. The reason I bring this up is because IF you start with 2x2", then take it down to at least 1x1", then remove the can, you're almost certainly going to end up with less than 1x1". Now, that being said, there are of course other ways besides forging and maintaining a square.

I know some folks who don't have equipment large enough for 3x3" or bigger, and are very good at building their "cans" from side.... something like 1.5-2" thick X 2" tall X how ever long they want a blade to be.... and then one entire side is the lid. Then they only forge on the 2" sides. I've tried it several times, and just never had a lot of success, so I stick to my monster sized cans. :)

I don't think that squaring dies are actually a must, nice yes, but not absolutely necessary. If you can control your press effectively and precisely, flat dies work, although I would recommend using stop blocks as an insurance policy. ;)
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
I normally do 2x2 or slightly larger cans. Like Ed said its not really easy to maintain a specific pattern which is why my cans are often random patterns. I really like making cans and my main advice is soak time. Let that puppy marinate in the heat. I let mine sit at welding temp for 15-20 minutes before I squish. As for die size I really do not know what size mine are I made them from scrap but if I had to guess maybe 1.5”. To me the key is in small bites and small squishes. Do not get in a hurry and you will feel when the billet gets solid. I also find it helps me to leave the can on until I get to final billet size. Its easy to crack a billet and the can, to me, helps keep things together. Ed put it this way, Imagine thousands of little forge welds happening all the time inside the billet. Keep it a forge welding temp.
I am working on specific patterns with smaller cans but I have no advice on that yet I am still experimenting.
 
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KenH

Well-Known Member
Thank you Mike and Ed for the comments. I've never given much thought to can size vs squaring die size since I don't have a press, nor any real expectation of having a press. Over the last couple of weeks I've gotten interested in the Coal Iron 12 ton press. The cost is reasonable, the size is something I can roll outside to use, then back inside for storage, so I think it would work for me. The wife has been pushing me to order the press so I can make her more San Mai and Damascus blades.

Just read your post Chris - I'm thinking the 2" cans are more along the lines of what I'd be using also. I've never given any thought to creating a pattern with a canister. A canister seems to lend itself to random more than anything.

Thank ya'll for comments and guidance - "IF" I do get the press I'm sure I'll be asking more questions.

Ken H>
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Thank you Mike and Ed for the comments. I've never given much thought to can size vs squaring die size since I don't have a press, nor any real expectation of having a press. Over the last couple of weeks I've gotten interested in the Coal Iron 12 ton press. The cost is reasonable, the size is something I can roll outside to use, then back inside for storage, so I think it would work for me. The wife has been pushing me to order the press so I can make her more San Mai and Damascus blades.

Just read your post Chris - I'm thinking the 2" cans are more along the lines of what I'd be using also. I've never given any thought to creating a pattern with a canister. A canister seems to lend itself to random more than anything.

Thank ya'll for comments and guidance - "IF" I do get the press I'm sure I'll be asking more questions.

Ken H>
I have the 12 ton press if you have any Questions about it. I love mine.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Great Chris - Can you answer a couple of questions for me please? What is the size of the die base? i.e. width, length, thickness. How did you make your squaring dies?

Did we lose the ability to send emails or PM on this forum to contact somebody directly?

Ken H>
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
I will have to send you exact measurements I’m not at home where I can measure the plates. I’ll make my bases out of quarter inch mild flat bar and I made my Square dies by cutting two pieces of angle iron and welding them to the plate I will send pictures as soon as I get home. If you send an email to their customer service they will send you the exact size of the bases that is where I got the exact measurements from actually made all of my dies before my press got here.
 

billyO

Well-Known Member
I have the 12 ton press if you have any Questions about it. I love mine.
Good morning, Chris. Would you be willing to give a more detailed review? Have you found the limits of the 12-ton's squishing ability? I'm considering moving, and that would force me to purchase a new press.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
No rush Chris - what thickness angle iron did you use for your squaring dies?

AND - what thickness is required for the canister walls?
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
No rush Chris - what thickness angle iron did you use for your squaring dies?

AND - what thickness is required for the canister walls?
I use about 1/8” thickness for both. For the squaring dies I put some square bar inside the gap after I welded them in place. It keeps the angle from deforming under heat. Boss gave me the idea.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Chris - I know I'm asking lots of questions here, but when you get home and have time, would you mind posting a photo of your fullering die and the punch setup you have? AND especially a photo of the squaring die they way you have the square inside the angle iron for support.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Chris - I know I'm asking lots of questions here, but when you get home and have time, would you mind posting a photo of your fullering die and the punch setup you have? AND especially a photo of the squaring die they way you have the square inside the angle iron for support.
Sure. I am still working at The Masters today and Monday but I am off Tuesday so I can take pictures then no problem. Ask all the question you want its a big decision. I am very happy with my press. The dies are easy to make too. When you see them you will get it. The flat dies and drawing that come with the press are very good. The dies they sell are way over priced in my opinion especially for the 12 ton. If you have a welder or access to one you can make them.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Well, I talked to the folks at Coal Iron this morning and placed an order for the 12 ton press. They're now 2 weeks build time. Said they'd gotten behind a bit after moving to new location last month.

The die base plate is 1-1/2"X5" with the die portion being 3" wide allowing 1" on each end for the holes. The bolts are 1/2" size. Looks like it's time for me to start working on a set of squaring dies and perhaps a set of flattening dies.

Thanks to all for your input to this expensive hobby I've got.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Bruce, it's sorta embarrassing how much money I've got tied up in all my tools (wife calls them "toys") for just a hobby. I do sell enough knives to cover most of my consumables (belts, steel, etc) but certainly no where near covering any of my "capital investments" on tools.

BUT - I tell myself it's still cheaper than hanging around bars or bass fishing :)
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
Bruce, it's sorta embarrassing how much money I've got tied up in all my tools (wife calls them "toys") for just a hobby. I do sell enough knives to cover most of my consumables (belts, steel, etc) but certainly no where near covering any of my "capital investments" on tools.

BUT - I tell myself it's still cheaper than hanging around bars or bass fishing :)
Yeah, not only do i make kso's but I'm a bass fisherman too. I gave up bars cause they were too expensive.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Well, I talked to the folks at Coal Iron this morning and placed an order for the 12 ton press. They're now 2 weeks build time. Said they'd gotten behind a bit after moving to new location last month.

The die base plate is 1-1/2"X5" with the die portion being 3" wide allowing 1" on each end for the holes. The bolts are 1/2" size. Looks like it's time for me to start working on a set of squaring dies and perhaps a set of flattening dies.

Thanks to all for your input to this expensive hobby I've got.
It should come with Drawing and flattening dies too. Mine did.
 
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