L6 and O-1 again, no big surprise as they play very well together. Ground off the surface scale, cut to length, stacked, clamped, wired, heated, fluxed, and welded. And welded. And welded. This is one of the biggest billets I've ever attempted -- over a foot long and six layers of quarter inch steel. It took some effort to get all the welds to take, but in about three hours we were done. Thanks go out to Carl for helping out with the forge work.
In other news, I'm planning a move away from high-carbon for kitchen tools to stainless tool steels like ATS34 for my damascus. To do this, I'll need to start using different fluxes. Up until now, I've been using plain borax, which works fine for high carbon steel. To weld stainless, I'll need to incorporate something that will remove the chromium oxide layer while not being too aggressive on the steel. Research shows that using a mixture of borax, boric acid, sal amoniac, and (the secret ingredient) fluorspar (fluorite) will do the trick. The recommended proportions are:
2 parts fluorspar
5 parts usp boric acid powder.
20 parts anhydrous borax.
Another suggested mix:
5 parts Anhydrous Borax
2 parts powder Boric Acid
2 parts Fluorspar (calcium fluoride)
1 1/2 parts powdered red iron oxide
1/2 part powdered Sal Amoniac
1/2 part non iodized Salt
Now, I have salt, and sal amoniac, and red iron oxide is easy to come by around my farm. So, I pleaced an order today with a pottery supply company for the fluorspar, and since I was placing an order anyway ordered the boric acid and anhydrous borax. Yeah, you can dehydrate borax pretty easily, but I was almost out of 20-mule-team anyway, and it saves a few steps. I'll keep a box around for the high carbon welds anyway.
Once I'm happy with my formulation, I'll order some thin stainless stock and try welding up a billet.
OOOOH!!! I just checked the Admiral Steel web site, and they're carrying CPM S30V, S60V, and S90V in thin stock now! Ok, I can see I'll be blowing several hundred dollars on different stainless steels to see which have the best contrast. Woo!
Ahem. First, let's get some pizza cutters made up, and maybe some more chef's knives, and actually *sell* them so I can afford fancy new steels. Righ. Perspective. Right.