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Thread: Damascus pattern

  1. #1

    Damascus pattern

    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... hehe

  2. #2

  3. #3
    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.

  4. #4
    Senior Member

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    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/sh...ef-s-Knife-WIP

  5. #5
    Senior Member rockbox's Avatar
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    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.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." --Albert Einstein

  6. #6

    Bill Burke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karloevaristo View Post
    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... 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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    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!
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!
    chefchristophermiller@yahoo.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member rockbox's Avatar
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    That sounds like the way a feather pattern is made. Is it similar or do I just have bad poor reading comprehension.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." --Albert Einstein

  9. #9
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    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?

  10. #10
    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 .

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