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karloevaristo
05-19-2011, 09:35 AM
Hey all... For the past couple of months, after stumbling upon the Knife forums (which is one of the best things in the internet, by the way) I have been amazed time and again by the intricate and beautiful designs of damascus steel knives...

And this may have been asked hundreds of times but, how do they get those patterns? I mean they are just beautiful and they look like they were drawn or etched by an artist directly into the steel! I've seen some videos where they press the design into the steel, but is that always the case?

I just saw a while ago the dragon's breath pattern... and I was just blown away by how detailed and perfect the design was!

Can someone please enlighten me! How do they do it?

By the way this smiley looks kinda... hmmm... :razz: hehe

watercrawl
05-19-2011, 09:45 AM
Like this:

http://www.youtube.com/DevinThomasDamascus#p/a/u/1/Oc42-l0D_IY

watercrawl
05-19-2011, 09:49 AM
The patterns are made by manipulating layers of different steel (sometimes nickel and other materials too) into patterns. The different materials are then etched with an etching agent (acid) and each reacts differently to the etch and shows the pattern in the steel.

Pensacola Tiger
05-19-2011, 09:56 AM
Here is a great thread on how a damascus billet is made, from John Jones, a bladesmith from Bangor, Maine, who is also a member of this forum:

http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/782963-Damascus-Chef-s-Knife-WIP

rockbox
05-19-2011, 10:01 AM
I know how people make damascus but I have only the slightest guess on how Bill did Dragon's breath. What's interesting about it is that its not a repeating pattern.

Bill Burke
05-19-2011, 10:12 AM
Hey all... For the past couple of months, after stumbling upon the Knife forums (which is one of the best things in the internet, by the way) I have been amazed time and again by the intricate and beautiful designs of damascus steel knives...

And this may have been asked hundreds of times but, how do they get those patterns? I mean they are just beautiful and they look like they were drawn or etched by an artist directly into the steel! I've seen some videos where they press the design into the steel, but is that always the case?

I just saw a while ago the dragon's breath pattern... and I was just blown away by how detailed and perfect the design was!

Can someone please enlighten me! How do they do it?

By the way this smiley looks kinda... hmmm... :razz: hehe

while there are many designs of damascus that are simply pressed into a bar of steel with a set of patterning dies there are many times more that are the result of careful manipulation of the steel. Dragon's Breath is one od the latter. It starts as a stack of different layers of different types of steel which are then forge welded drawn out into a long thin bar and cut into pieces that are then restacked into a new billet but with the layers oriented differently than before and the process repeted. this happens twenty five times ending with the welded billet being stood on end and split down the middle with a dull wedge and then welded back together in the forge. this forms a bar with the pattern in the sides that is then forged out into a single blade or sliced into multiple blades. But wheather it is sliced or forged has to be determined before the last five or six cut stack and reweld cycles or the pattern will end up very stretched and distorted or all scrunched together fat. Also a block or layer that gets turned wrong or missaligned ruins the whole billet.

NO ChoP!
05-19-2011, 10:31 AM
Well, no wonder great damascus is so expensive; sounds extremely labor intensive. One must have vast amounts of patients and focus. Dragons breath is true art!

rockbox
05-19-2011, 10:34 AM
That sounds like the way a feather pattern is made. Is it similar or do I just have bad poor reading comprehension.

MadMel
05-19-2011, 11:02 AM
Have been wondering about the same question for awhile now. From a user's perspective, how will damas steel affect the knife performance, edge retention etc? Or rather hos is it different from your non-damas steel?

Eamon Burke
05-19-2011, 12:54 PM
I agree about the Dragon's Breath. Between that and Devin Thomas' feather pattern scimitar(where the pattern was seemingly forged with the exact final shape of the blade profile known), they are the coolest damascus patterns I've seen. They attract the eye of the casual user and the knifenut! No cheap tricks here, just badass :bladesmith:.

Bill Burke
05-19-2011, 11:32 PM
the last step is the same as the feather pattern.

Marko Tsourkan
05-19-2011, 11:54 PM
I posted earlier that your (Bill), Devin's, and Bob Kramer's damascus I find the most appealing. I think the command of skill is apparent in the cleanliness of a figure on their damascus. Kudos, masters. :)

Bill Burke
05-20-2011, 11:53 AM
thanks Marko, It is pretty easy to "weld" damascuss but takes a little more studying to get clean crisp patterns without the muddy borders. I think Devin is the Master.

karloevaristo
05-22-2011, 01:26 AM
How CRAZY is this... Even if I get a pen and try to draw this on paper, I still wouldn't be close to getting it to be this perfect! :thumbsup:

http://www.devinthomas.com/images/gallery/Miscellaneous/CFC2B5F2-5056-A345-0C1DCD9AAEB2D1A2.jpg

Salty's Scimitar looks crazy too!