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Thread: Cable Damascus

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Wichita, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    77

    Cable Damascus

    I am considering welding up some cable for a Tanto blade (and maybe a waki later) and was wondering if anybody here had done that and what kind of luck they have had in this medium.

    I use to weld cable for small knives before I blew out my back, and always thought they made great and aggressive cutters. Having read that Michael Bell makes cable blades for serious use has me itching to start up again.

    Can Extra improved cable be water quenched so as to create a hamon and get the same tough characteristics as we get from 1075 or 1084. I am thinking the wire structure should help inhibit cracking in the quench.

    Let us here your experience with this stuff. Thanks,

    Gary
    "If you're in a fair fight...You didn't plan it properly"

    Gary B
    http://www.BradburnKnives.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Modesto, CA
    Posts
    153
    The one time I tried to water quench a cable blade, it broke into several pieces in the water. I suspect that even though the cable is a 10xx series, there's going to be inclusions and minute openings that'll cause problems in the quench. I suppose if you folded it several times to work the gaps out it would quench but then you'd be losing the pattern the more you worked it. Worth trying.

    Dan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    California
    Posts
    2,584
    Originally posted by Dan Pfanenstiel
    The one time I tried to water quench a cable blade, it broke into several pieces in the water. I suspect that even though the cable is a 10xx series, there's going to be inclusions and minute openings that'll cause problems in the quench. I suppose if you folded it several times to work the gaps out it would quench but then you'd be losing the pattern the more you worked it. Worth trying.

    Dan

    Michael Bell had related to me that he folds it about 3 or 4 times. Hope this helps.
    Adrian
    Maestro of the Bolognese School (Spaghetti sauce, not fencing!)

    Click HERE for the SFI comic strip "Bloodgroove"!

  4. #4

    Re: Cable Damascus

    It's quiet a while ago as I've obtained a bunch of cables from a friend...

    I usually folded this stuff between 3 and 7 times, gettin' good results with a water quench. (claycoated)

    First I had troubles 'cause the cable was full of grease (used ones) so I "disassembled" the cable, washed it out with "terpentine" and put it back together, so welding wasn't a problem and you get less dirt in it as well.

    At 7 folds I didn't see much of a pattern afterwards... (just a verry fine one).

    Though I got some decent results I do no longer use this material, at least not frequently... what put me off it was that the quality of the cables i could get were not constant, as well I never knew the exact carbon content, or alloy details.

    Todays I'm either usin' plain carbon steels like W2 / W1 / 1075 and so on
    or when I make folded blades in traditional style:
    I combine w2 and 1075 to about 800-1100 layers, wich gives a decent watering. I use this material either for the whole blade (warabi-gitae) or as kawagane (jacket) material when doin' makuri-gitae.

    I just feel I have more control over the results I'll get when I use materials with a constant quality. As well this way I have less impurities.


    Daniel
    Daniel Gentile
    RONIN - Japanese Swords

    http://www.ronin.to
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Wichita, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    77

    Thanks for the input guys.

    This obviously is something not being done by many smiths. But if Michael Bell can do it successfully, then with enough experimentation and practice maybe I can at least get lucky once in awhile.

    Daniel, as I understand it the cable used for elevator cars and cranes is rated as extra improved and has a carbon content of .90 to.95%. I am going on hear say and what I read a long time ago in the Complete Bladesmith. So maybe right , maybe wrong. I am thinking though that possibly some of the carbon content burns out with all the welding heats required, especially if you fold it several times after the initial welding. I work strictly with a gas forge so no carbon from coal or charcoal is going to play a part.

    I will post some pics of my results (good or bad) soon as I can get the holidays overwith.

    Again, thanks for the input guys.
    "If you're in a fair fight...You didn't plan it properly"

    Gary B
    http://www.BradburnKnives.com/

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