View Full Version : Feather Damascus Suji and Gyuto WIP

12-04-2011, 03:32 PM
Well, nothing knife shaped yet, but work on the materials has begun. :D
Had a pleasant, toasty warm afternoon on friday making a start on the damascus. Two largish billets, one for the blades, which will be a feathered W's pattern. Another for the ferrules and endcaps which will be a twist on a w's pattern, literally.:laugh:
Some progress in the workshop, billets prepared one to 7 larger layers, the other is 15 layers. Both alternating 75ni8/en42j
First weld complete and billets ready to be forged down at 90 degrees to crush the layers vertically.
Layers squished down vertically and billets drawn out ready for the first cut to 4.
Cut and re-stacked
Back in the fire for weld and draw number 2
Mmm toasty:D
I polished and etched the end off cuts so pattern development can be seen.
7 layer billet after forging down layers vertically
15 layer billet after forging down vertically
7 layer billet after the first cut and stack to 4
15 layer billet after the first cut and stack to 4.
Lots more to do:D
I have sketched the pattern development for a W's pattern in my thread, "out of the etch" This explains the beginnings of a Feather pattern.

Eamon Burke
12-04-2011, 03:35 PM
As a casual observer, I have to say, this looks really even. Man I love a WIP.

12-04-2011, 03:48 PM
Yeah, I love the way the 4 stack of the 15 layers looks at the moment. I'm thinking what little nic nacs I can make for xmas presents out of a similar billet, maybe bracelets. Just doing a wider billet and cut slices off it.
This pattern gets a little scary when you have to split the stacked billet down the middle, hope I don't embarrass myself at that point.:scared4:

Eamon Burke
12-04-2011, 04:01 PM
Actually, my favorite is the plain 7-layer billet. Sometimes less can be more!

12-04-2011, 04:11 PM
True, the low layer and higher layer look cool stacked alternately before splitting to make the feathers, almost cartoony. But in this case, the low layer will be forged so they are on the side of a flat billet, then twisted, so hopefully if nothing shears, I will have W's going around in a spiral for the ferrules.:D

Eamon Burke
12-04-2011, 04:13 PM

12-05-2011, 09:33 AM
I agree with Eamon that the 7 layer pattern looks nice. Sorta looks like a flower, would be interesting to see it on a knife

12-05-2011, 04:20 PM
It does look very flower like. I've seen a flower forged in variants of this pattern. By Mick Maxen, looked amazing.
Had a brief welding session and got another stack of 4 welded, re-stacked ready for the next one.
Only had time for a light etch today, tricky to photo.
The 7 layer start billet
The 15 layer start billet
Its necessary to over compress the pattern further from here, so it all looks right when it gets tiled up, welded and forged out again with the pattern on the top.

12-05-2011, 10:01 PM
I'm really enjoying your work in progress! Thanks for taking the time to share!!! :goodpost:

Dave Martell
12-06-2011, 01:18 AM
Will, are you using the press or hammer to forge down vertically?

Nice thread. :)

12-06-2011, 02:46 AM
I love this stuff, thanks for the close-up shots.

Mike Davis
12-06-2011, 04:04 AM
That is awesome! Thanks for another wonderful wip! I really enjoy learning all this stuff.

12-06-2011, 03:37 PM
Thank you guys.:D
Dave I use the hammer to squish the layers flat. You loose less heat in a power hammer, so it can be done in one heat. I normally have big dies in the press and use it for more controlled operations, like evening up the sides of the billet, straightening, hot cutting, etc.

Tough day today. I got the last stack of 4 done on both, then concentrated on the feather billet as it involves so much concentration constantly.
Billet cut to 8 and stacked
Billet welded, needs a good long soak at this point to make sure the layers are consolidated enough to survive the cut. I welded a bar on at 45 degrees to allow me to work all sides.
Ready to go back in the fire again for the split, done at welding heat also.
Well that all went to plan!
Cleaned up inside the split,

12-06-2011, 03:59 PM
Back in the fire, refluxed, tap the two halves back together so there is contact and back up to welding heat. Welded, then back in the fire for a good long soak and weld again. Its really easy to get these last steps so the layers are not fully consolidated so a long soak and reweld is important. Basically, do everything at welding heat right to the end.
I went back and did some another weld on both ends of the billet but at this point wanted to check the density of the pattern, to see weather I can forge it out as one billet or split in half, so as to avoid loosing the pattern.

Looking good, can see the w's but still quite compressed, so I decided to split the billet up the middle for the two blades.
And a little forging with the fullers to get the width in the right places before forging to shape and width

I should have stopped there! But went on to forge the Suji to shape. All was good and I was about to start grinding to shape a bit more, then thought I would correct I slight lump to the back of the spine with a red heat to save grinding.
This resulted in a split up the middle from the back. I was nearly down to width and taper so this was pretty fatal. I managed to weld it back up but ended up chasing a floor that opened up further down, by now the whole thing was too thin. So I have lost the half.
Gutted, but it just goes to show you can't relax until you are nearly to shape with this pattern. Then heat cycle to reduce the grain size. I will entirely forge to shape on the next one, close to welding heat, leave nicely oversize and grind more of the taper in. Normally I forge the taper and true everything at red heat, not with his pattern though! So looks like i'll be needing to do another billet, hopefully will get 3 knives out of that lot though. Shame it was going so well!!!
I feel like having a little cry but I suppose its only a lost day or so.

12-06-2011, 04:22 PM
Been following todays post.. trying to understand ( having a tough time) . at the end of page 2 , I felt your disappointment too. But I know you'll be hammering away again and I look to the next post..

Good luck and hv fun...

12-06-2011, 04:28 PM
Thanks David, it takes no prisoners this pattern. But it'll be worth it in the end.:D

HHH Knives
12-06-2011, 04:35 PM
Will, :( That sucks, I have been there. And this Feather can be a tricky pattern. and even more so if your trying to make pieces large enough for most of the kitchen knives..

But dont be to discouraged brother. That stuff happens to everyone, its how we learn. :)

Thanks for showing us the process its been a great WIP!

12-06-2011, 04:47 PM
Thanks for the encouragement Randy. Yeah, we wouldn't want to do it if it was easy:D

12-06-2011, 05:18 PM
Thanks David, it takes no prisoners this pattern. But it'll be worth it in the end.:D

Then I should seriously think of owning it........ Seen a Devin adn also a Rader feather damascus ( pics only) didnt realize that this pattern is quite tricky/ difficult to make.. MY undertanding is improving bit by bit and learning to undertand via the WIPs You custom knife makers amaze me. The last time I saw a baker ( primitive bread shop 30 years ago.... making bread in a Kiln.., the heat was quite unbearable for me as a customer in the front of the shop. They are all skinny folks and I always imagine till today that their lungs would be dry... But looking at US custom knife makers( PIctures only)..Very healthy looking specimen! . Your workshop air-conditioned??.. just kidding..

tks for posting , its most educational and informative ;


Eamon Burke
12-06-2011, 07:45 PM
Wow! That is incredible. Art through adversity.

12-07-2011, 12:44 AM
Cool thread, Will. Bruce Bump has a long WIP thread over on Knife Dogs where he makes one of his crushed W feather pattern blades. He MIG welds the corners of the stack and edges of the billet in some steps to help prevent the the billet or stack from delaminating, on the shapr corners or edges. As you know, there is a LOT of stress involved in many of the steps in making these complex patterns. A couple of other tricks that I learned from his thread are to knock the corners down by putting the bar in your press or hammer at 45 degrees, make an uneven octagon, then turn to the 90 degree position to start crushing your W's. That gives the outside layers a little head start. Also, DON"T narrow down the billet until you absolutely have to. Try to get a stack or two done before you do and then do it slowly. When Claude Bouchonville and I did a W billet in his shop in Belgium, we really concentrated hard on that. The billet got out to over 2 1/2-2 3/4 inches wide in his press and rolling mill before we started knocking it down a bit in the subsequent welds to its final size of 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches wide and about 7/16 thick and it really seemed to help in avoiding the "uncrushing" of the pattern at the edges of the bar.

12-07-2011, 12:44 PM
Thanks all. Jo great advice, that makes allot of sense. By taking my time this time I didn't have any de lamination.... until I started finishing the blade at dull red. The corners thing sound good, i'll try that on the next one.

I had a go with the other half of the billet today. Shaped at welding heat all the way down to about 4mm on the back, 3mm at the front. Also forged the tang part at welding heat, so it won't give a split a chance to start at the back.
I did give it a gentle run under the hammer at low heat to even things up but much more carefully this time, ground the profile and taper from there. Having to allow more material has left it a bit narrow for a Gyuto. In fact I think this one is a Hybrid.:D
Its now 49mm deep at the back, 250mm long. Taper is presently around 2.8mm 2mm 1mm. Will HT and grind from here. Just wanted some feedback on the profile.

As two more will be done allowing more material to stay on plan, this one will be a wild card.

So any feedback before I HT will be appreciated. More of a curve to the choil than my normal, I think it goes with the pattern but will probably take it a bit sharper so the hand does not slip down on pinch grip. Thoughts?


Burl Source
12-07-2011, 09:15 PM
Looks like a squirrel's tail!
Way cooler than a regular feather pattern.

Eamon Burke
12-08-2011, 12:25 AM
You should call that the "Quill Pattern". It's really nice!

sachem allison
12-08-2011, 01:52 AM
excellent profile Will. love the pattern. leave it the way it is.

12-08-2011, 02:00 AM
excellent profile Will. love the pattern. leave it the way it is.

These were exactly my thoughts...If I had the scratch this would be a suji I would actually buy and use. Great work!

12-08-2011, 07:33 AM
Mark, you have a good way of looking at things, it really does look like a squirrel tail. I hadn't thought of that.
I'm glad I got a blade out of the last half so I can see what it looks like with the amount of layers and folds I did. I think it looks very natural, which is what I hoped for. I could maybe go a bit bolder with it. The bolder you go, it looks less natural and more funky if you see what I mean.:D
Thanks for the feedback on the profile, the curve is making me think about the handle design. I might try something that sweeps in a bit more rather than a tapered octagon. There will be damascus for the ferrule and endcap so it won't need to be very large to balance the knife. In fact I think i'll have to be careful not to make it handle heavy.

12-08-2011, 08:08 AM
Been staring at it for the the last couple of days.. It grows on me.. seems to have depth and life.. doesn't look flat as the regular feather damascus.. I like it... squirrel tail... hmmnnn.. it bushy and definitely not a feather then as it is hair(y)..

Interesting... I suppose you are going to find an elegant name for it??

12-08-2011, 08:13 AM
Too me it looks like the flame pattern being entrained through a venturi burner, a potter's perspective. I like it, a lot.

12-08-2011, 08:35 AM
Will That is way to cool !!!

HHH Knives
12-08-2011, 08:39 AM
Its very cool! :cool2:

Great looking pattern. I like the profile and wouldnt change it much if any.

12-08-2011, 09:05 AM
Wow, thanks Guys, I don't think I can go renaming it, the pattern has been around much longer than me. No one knows who invented it. The method of stacking to forge the pattern out on top is known as "Turkish". So maybe it hails from there. I could name the knives "The Squirrel" Maybe I would be immortalized in Dave's silly names thread:lol2:

12-08-2011, 01:57 PM
The crushed W's make all the difference in that pattern. You get kind of a combination of the best of a feather pattern and something similar to firestorm or explosion. IMO, you can go a bit bolder and it looks great. The disadvantage that you may have with kitchen knives is that you probably don't want to etch as deeply as a presentation/collectable knife and I would think that you wouldn't want to use some of the more common methods of getting super high contrast like cold bluing or parkerizing on a knife that you plan to use on food.

12-08-2011, 03:40 PM
I've been playing with the handle idea. The plan was for tapered octagonal wa, in damascus and stabilized wood. But thought maybe something a bit more naturalistic could go well with it?
Feedback would be very much appreciated, practical considerations of use etc.

12-09-2011, 07:10 AM
The curve at the heel goes the wrong way IMO, if it swung down would fit the palm better. The curved handle I put on the petty I made at yours is really comfy and makes a change from my wa handles. I'd put a swell in the middle too but that may just be a personal thing of what I find comfortable

12-09-2011, 07:47 AM
Thanks Tom, I think i'm going off the curvy handle for now, needs some work. I think I'll do a nice octagonal taper.

12-10-2011, 12:37 PM
Will if you look in this thread (http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php?669-Fish-n-Poi-The-Original-Rehandle-King/page12&highlight=fish) I think you'll see what TB_London means. Fish was the original rehandle master and he did a lot of downward curved handles and they looked fantastic

12-11-2011, 02:45 PM
Great work!

Michael Rader
12-12-2011, 01:00 AM
Very nice feather. The hard work paid off nicely there.


12-13-2011, 03:14 PM
Thank you very much, very much appreciated. I can't wait to get going on these again. Thanks for the link to the Fish thread, I'll certainly try something like that on this 240, the two others will be octagonal I think. I'll try this one first. At the moment i've got lots of different things started, so I had better get on and get something finished.:biggrin:

12-13-2011, 08:01 PM
Nice looking blade, Will. I'm going to dissent and say that the upward curvature might not be terrible if there is enough room for the palm to sit comfortably in front of the upsweep. You might also consider putting a little dip right before it. It might also have balance issues and it would certainly look wierd. :)

Eamon Burke
12-13-2011, 08:40 PM
I think it's cool. Got a chef nearby you can test things on?

12-14-2011, 07:00 PM
I could do a mock up of the upturn in ply. I think I will leave it for a future experiment though. I'm sure this will evolve in the right direction, certainly wanting to try something a bit different on the 240, Many thanks Guys.

12-19-2011, 07:19 PM
Some Grinding n polishing. Logo etched, time to etch the damascus!:D The "Turbulence" Petty also ready to rock.

Eamon Burke
12-19-2011, 11:08 PM
Can't wait to see them etched!

12-20-2011, 11:15 AM
Been busy again... waiting the see the art of damascus on the blade...

12-20-2011, 05:08 PM
In between a bit more polishing then etching blades, I got the damascus for ferrules and endcaps done.
Started with a W's billet cut to 4, welded restacked, forged to about 30mm square and gave it a good tight twist.



And forged it out into a square bar about 20mm


Cut to 4 and made a 2x2 stack,


welded and forged to a 30mm square bar. Cut to 4 on the diagonal and restacked. So the interior of the twisted W's is now the exterior.


Welded that down to a 25mm square bar and left it in the furnace to anneal for drilling and grinding.
I'm looking at some lovely polished etch blades here, when there is some daylight i'll get some pics.:D

12-20-2011, 08:19 PM
Ooooo looking interesting, those are going to be some cool ferrules :D

12-20-2011, 08:28 PM
Hope so mate, Really wanted to have a sneaky peak, but avoided the temptation and left it to fully anneal. I can't resist using that lovely bit of Chestnut burl for the feather one. I have a plan for the handle. Its going to be wa but with a 20mm damascus cap on each end of the chestnut, no spacers hopefully nice and clean and natural to go with the pattern. I'll see what the pattern looks like tomorrow to be sure and if I've got enough width for damascus on the back after grinding it flat and true.

12-20-2011, 09:47 PM
Nice, Will. I twisted a single W bar and Ferry flipped it and ended up with a pattern where it almost rises up from the edge like a wave or solar flair in some places. And the twisty bits did show on the spine even when tiled out.

12-21-2011, 04:43 AM
Thanks Joe, that sounds good, hope the twists did not get too stretched, have to see, either way be nice for ferrules. Clear some space in your inbox btw, just tryed to send you a message.:biggrin:

12-21-2011, 11:17 AM
Mailbox cleared!!! Actually, it was a pretty bold pattern, but both knives were smaller. I would stack at least one more time for a finer starting pattern for a kitchen knife blade.
Thanks Joe, that sounds good, hope the twists did not get too stretched, have to see, either way be nice for ferrules. Clear some space in your inbox btw, just tryed to send you a message.:biggrin:

12-21-2011, 03:54 PM
Managed to get some quick pics of the finished blade this morning.
Got all the handle bits drilled/slotted and flat and square, also made an assembly jig so I can grind it dry, etch and assemble. Still not 100% which bits i'm using. I'll get some pics when i've decided.
Here's the Chestnut burl, I think it will go nicely with a squirrel tail:D
And the pattern for the ferrule/endcap
That could be it till xmas, have a good one everyone.:biggrin:

12-21-2011, 04:07 PM
That billet came out niiiiiice :D
That's going to be stunning when it's finished

12-21-2011, 04:28 PM
Good show Will. Turned out great. Thanks for the WIP.

Eamon Burke
12-22-2011, 11:35 PM

01-09-2012, 06:39 PM
Evening all, some handle progress. i'll be brief as my computer is playing up.
Jig assembly to grind prior to epoxying has made this job easier.
More to follow when i've sorted out my puter.

01-09-2012, 07:18 PM
Some details I got with this rather nice piece of stabilized horse chestnut.

"This block came from a tree planted in 1727 on the Duke of Buccleuch's Northamptonshire estate. Nearly 300 years old. They have the planting records of every tree ever planted on the estate.."

Eamon Burke
01-09-2012, 07:29 PM
Wow, NICE.

01-09-2012, 07:47 PM
Thanks Eamon, the light was lovely that morning, i'm liking the frosted glass as a wintery backdrop, its actually my lapping plate.

01-09-2012, 07:56 PM
Some details I got with this rather nice piece of stabilized horse chestnut.

"This block came from a tree planted in 1727 on the Duke of Buccleuch's Northamptonshire estate. Nearly 300 years old. They have the planting records of every tree ever planted on the estate.."Now, THAT is special. I love these sorts of details.

01-09-2012, 08:11 PM
Its a lovely bit of wood, subtle and yummy, hope he cuts down some more of the estate soon:D

01-09-2012, 09:00 PM
as they say here in the colonies, hooooo-WEEEEE!

01-10-2012, 02:18 AM
WOW!!!! ....It's always nice to have a bit of history ( if any) and that makes it really special...

I suppose the cylindrical metal bar is called a dowell? Now I understand... finally..

THought of of illegal logging comes to mind .. these days, helicopters are used to transport logs ( special rare hard wood )that has been illegally cut in third world countries..

Look forward to see the polished blade and wood together as a finished item..



01-11-2012, 11:18 AM
This first one finished, only two more to go:D
Pics up in my Gallery here

01-11-2012, 02:47 PM

01-13-2012, 11:41 AM
Thanks G-rat. I have 3 more in total feather blades to make for commission so it looks like I will get allot more practice at this pattern. I had to make a few tweaks to get the balance nice with the damascus fittings as I put this together. It balances on the choil. The ferrule is shorter than my usual but I'm really happy with the look of this one. I love natural looking damascus and think this piece nails that feeling for me. So i'll follow the same process, but i'm sure it will always come out slightly different, making each knife unique.
I'll conclude this WIP as its showed the whole process and update the others to my Gallery as they are finished.:biggrin:

06-14-2015, 12:14 PM
Nearly time for the Feather damascus commissions.......I thought it might be interesting to bring back my old original WIP thread from 2011 when I was working out this ancient pattern and how to make it work with huge kitchen knives. Fun times.

Quite a few different variations since then and quite significant changes to my geometry and profiles as well......

A selection of pieces I have done in this pattern from then to now....

http://i798.photobucket.com/albums/yy262/catcheside/IMGP2876.jpg (http://s798.photobucket.com/user/catcheside/media/IMGP2876.jpg.html)

http://i798.photobucket.com/albums/yy262/catcheside/IMGP2878.jpg (http://s798.photobucket.com/user/catcheside/media/IMGP2878.jpg.html)

http://i798.photobucket.com/albums/yy262/catcheside/20120529_110332.jpg (http://s798.photobucket.com/user/catcheside/media/20120529_110332.jpg.html)

http://i798.photobucket.com/albums/yy262/catcheside/catcheside012/_MG_3865_zps5f7c24ce.jpg (http://s798.photobucket.com/user/catcheside/media/catcheside012/_MG_3865_zps5f7c24ce.jpg.html)

http://i798.photobucket.com/albums/yy262/catcheside/catcheside015/_MG_4043_zps77b975eb.jpg (http://s798.photobucket.com/user/catcheside/media/catcheside015/_MG_4043_zps77b975eb.jpg.html)

I actually still own the very first piece I made in this pattern from 2011, I had to make another for the client as this one had a flaw in the final weld, though it has never caused any issues in use, made it unsalable, it is important to keep pieces though for comparison, and I do need some knives to use myself :)

Thanks All

06-14-2015, 12:54 PM
Here is the original today on my cutting board, many sharpenings, thinning bevel well established now, many times left out after parties, abused by myself and guests daily, never more than a quick clean back on a course strop to show the damascus pattern again. Very practical infact.

But it gives me an idea, would be nice to do and document a complete spa for the knife, tip reshape would be nice, thinning and blending, total clean up and re-etch,,,,could be helpful to damascus owners worked about giving their knives the proper daily use they were made for, after a tune up would be nice to document some cutting versus one of my current 4mm version mono's.......

http://i798.photobucket.com/albums/yy262/catcheside/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20William%20Catchesides%20MacBook/_MG_5414_zpsf0elpx3w.jpg (http://s798.photobucket.com/user/catcheside/media/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20William%20Catchesides%20MacBook/_MG_5414_zpsf0elpx3w.jpg.html)

http://i798.photobucket.com/albums/yy262/catcheside/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20William%20Catchesides%20MacBook/_MG_5415_zpssnzubsfm.jpg (http://s798.photobucket.com/user/catcheside/media/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20William%20Catchesides%20MacBook/_MG_5415_zpssnzubsfm.jpg.html)