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Cable Damascus Go-mai Welded Tomahawk Build

Discussion in 'How I Made It: Tutorials' started by Grayzer86, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. Grayzer86

    Grayzer86 Active Member

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    Well this is a project i did back during mid summer, but just got around to uploading pictures and making a thread for it. The initial commission was for a simple tomahawk for a coworkers father, as a 60th birthday gift. I decided i wasnt that interested in simple, and thinking i had lots of time, decided to try my hand at a multipiece welded head. The cutting core is made from cable damascus, sandwiched between 15N20, and then encased in a body forged from a grain truck axle. being that the blade is 5 layers, the term is technically go-mai rather than san-mai.

    In the first picture we see the stock in the forge. The start of what would become a far more time consuming and labour intensive project than i initially anticipated. Just a chunk of axle out of an old international grain truck from a friends junk yard.
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    I missed a bit here but at this point i have the piece squared and have punched and drifted the eye open part way. To avoid splitting a future weld, i chose to drift close to final size before splitting and welding. I would do it this way again as i believe it prevents issues later on.
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    This shows the piece after some further drifting, cooling and starting to split the piece on the band saw. I decided to just use the saw, for both time savings as well as accuracy. I knew after opening the eye, I would just make a big mess trying to hot split it.
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    After sawing, the two wings were then seperated hot, with a chisel to allow me to fit the core.
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    This shows the welded cable, Which i forged at the hammer-in this year, by hand first, and finished with the help of Cal and his awesome press.
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    Now came time for the weld, so i went to the grinder to clean up both inside faces, as well as my layers, stacked them, tacked with the mig, fluxed the living hell out of it, and did my initial forge welding passes.
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    After being damn sure the weld had set, it was time to start thinning and drawing out what would become the body, blade and cutting edge. I attempted to forge as close to shape as possibly and feel i did well, but next time, would leave more meat, to keep more core thickness.
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    Once i had the shape to where i wanted and the thickness dialed in, (thinner than i should have forged in hind site) i had to re-drift the eye back to correct shape and size, as it had been badly distorted during the forging process.
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    I ended up with a bit of a twist between the eye and the blade, which was corrected by clamping it hard in the vise, driving the drift tight, and twisting with a pipe over the drift, to get things lined up the way i wanted.
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    Now that it was all square and straight, it was time to hit the grinder to clean it up. after cleaning up to 120 grit, it was time to heat treat and temper.
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  2. Grayzer86

    Grayzer86 Active Member

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    After heat treat, everything was cleaned up again, (to i believe 400 this time?) and etched. In the end, i forged to thin, and should have left it thicker and ground away the excess leaving more core visible. I couldn't capture the pattern of the cable on camera but it was visible in person (what little amount was exposed). This was a test etch here, just to see what i was working with
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    After all that, flamed and oiled a hickory haft, and mounted the head, as well as made a leather head cover. He didnt want a full wrap, just something to cover the cutting edge. After all that work, i never really did get a good picture of it, but this is what i have for pictures of the finished product.
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    Thank you all for taking the time to look over this. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask. It was a fun project, i learned a hell of a lot on what to do, and more important what not do do. I plan to attempt more of these using what i learned, but next time i will be sure to allow more time. This one had a tight deadline and i had a few nights of arriving home from work at 6, and coming in from the garage at 1:00. The sheath was finished and handle finish oiled at 3 AM the morning it was to be delivered. Not a schedule i wish to repeat.
     
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  3. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    I like, lots of work but it looks like it is worth it in the end
     
  4. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Great sequence of photos. They really convey the amount of effort that went into making that one-of-a-kind gift. You truly love the craft. It shows.
     
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  5. bubba682

    bubba682 New Member

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    I like it nice work man..
     
  6. bobbybirds

    bobbybirds Best New Maker

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    That is pretty sick sir!! I love the build sequence as well...
     
  7. Slannesh

    Slannesh Active Member

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    Looks fantastic!
     

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