One of the required skills for blacksmith is forge welding. This is also basic skill for making pattern weld, also known as Damascus steel. Basically you take two pieces of steel/iron make them very-very hot, when they almost melt, beat them together. In the end you’ll have just one piece of metal.
When we first tried to do this we just couldn’t get the pieces to stick together. Maximum of 2mm was welded, no more. And there was no way to know what was wrong. Too cold? Too little flux? Mouth too open, or what? As it turned out the old coal was crap. Two days ago we bought almost 1 ton of ‘special’ blacksmith coal (it burns much cleaner, no smoke and that ‘romantic’ sulfur smell) and with it the welding just works. Oh what a great feeling it was when the first piece stuck together!
Here’s a picture how forge welded piece of steel is really one piece.
No welding lines or anything. Perfectly one piece.
To practice my hammer skills I made a knife blade out of this piece. But as the steel was low carbon it didn’t harden enough, so the blade is no good for usage.
Today afternoon my father made a 32 layer Damascus knife. After it’s polished and etched we’ll see what comes of it.