Mig Welder Damascus Steel Experiment Fun & Interesting

This is something that I tried before, but really didn’t put much effort into it, and the results were less than encouraging because of that. I figured I would give it another shot, but this time I would take the time to give it a fair chance.
The idea is to make something that looks loosely similar to Damascus steel, but uses a mig welder to create the “pattern”. Damascus steel is made by repeatedly folding layers of two (or more) different types of steel over, and forging that into a blade. What I will do with the welding is nothing like that, but may produce something that does look interesting.

I start with a stainless steel kick plate:

the stainless steel kickplate for the base metal

These are usually fairly good quality stainless, but not a grade that is good enough to make a knife blade.

Since this is just a test, I cut a 3/4″ wide piece off the end to work with:

cut a piece off about 3/4 inches wide
welding the spots

The plan is to do multiple tack welds and pound each one flat as I work my way down the strip. The metals will combine in the spots, making a different alloy than the base stainless steel.

With the first two rows done, I did a row of spots in between, overlapping in some places. When a spot is welded into an area that already has a spot and some base metal, the new spot will be a slightly different alloy again, with less of the stainless steel:

all of the spots welded
grinding the blade to shape

With the welding done, I pounded the “blade” flat and ground it fairly smooth. On my belt grinder, I brought it to its final shape:

the final shape is double edged

To etch the blade, I used a mixture of peroxide and muriatic acid in a 4 to 1 ratio:

etching the blade
the etched and cleaned blade

This was highly effective for etching the blade, and revealed an interesting pattern that is very promising.
I think that this is a process that I will have to try again. A bigger piece of base metal and more spots that are randomly placed should give better overall results. The blade could then be annealed, hardened and tempered to make a very one-of-a-kind knife.

I made a short video showing how I did it: