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Explain Damasteel to Me Please

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mr drinky

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Ok, can someone explain the main differences between the Damasteel AB steel out of Sweden and damascus made by Devin, Pierre, Del or anyone else. I think the term 'damasteel' is confusing.

See Damasteel link

From what I understand, one is a powder technology and the other a forge welded process. Is that correct?

Is the powder damasteel close in performance to R2 or SG2?

Just wondering.

k.
 

Justin0505

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Good question .... I've often wondered the same thing! I'm looking forward to the answer.
 

JohnnyChance

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Sooooo...as best I cant tell, the answer is Magic.

I have always known damascus is a ton of work to make. Seems like they have found an even MORE complicated process to make it. But I guess having the work done by machines helps.
 

tk59

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looks like they just make two powdered steels together but in a pattern determined by the "filling" device. when they apply the heat and pressure, instead of making a monosteel block, they generate one with some combination of powdered steels in some predetermined pattern.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I find Damasteel is not best suited for wide blades, such as kitchen knives. The patter is nicest in the middle of the billet and gets compressed toward the edges. For that reason alone, billets made by D. Thomas and others win hands down in terms of pattern consistency.

M
 

DevinT

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Damasteel is made by using powder placed in a large round canister in concentric rings of 2 different alloys. The 2 different steel powders used are similar to 12C27 and ATS-34/154cm in composition.

The can is sealed and then hot isostatic pressed to form a solid billet. The solid billet is then rolled out into bars and patterned. Most of their patterns are made by manipulating the surface of the bar. They do have some twisted patterns and one that is made by putting some welded and drawn out round bars back into a can then rewelding and drawing into bar stock.

Because the billet is formed by using concentric rings of powdered layers, some of the patterns change toward the edge of the bar because the layers shift from horizontal in the middle of the bar to vertical at the edge.

I think that it a good cutting material and I do like some of their patterns.

Hoss
 
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Damasteel is made by laying down with a machine the two steels as alternating layers of powdered alloys in a type of mold and using that machine to produce the patterns, then fused (welded).Stainless damascus from guys like Ealy, Thomas, etc is made by stacking up alternating layers of the two alloys by hand, then welding and patterning them. The main difference that I see is that Del, Devin, Mike, and Chad are still making what is hand made damascus, while Damasteel is a mass production item. Another difference at one time was the cost. Damasteel was considerably less money than Mike's and Devin's, but it's now pretty expensive. The alloys used by Damasteel are different from the others.

I have used Damasteel a few times. It is a quality made product. However, I really don't like using it. The main reason is the finishing process. You must etch Damasteel in nitric or hydrochloric acid, or muriatic acid (hydrochloric at a specific level of concentration). I use muriatic, and I don't like the fuming. It burns eyes and nasal passages, and it rusts equipment. The steels made by Del, Mike, etc can be etch in ferric chloride, which is safe and easy to use. I can't get as nice a contrast with Damasteel. I personally don't care for the patterns of Damasteel, whereas the other guys have more interesting patterns.

As far as kitchen knives are concerned, Damasteel should perform decently. My speculation is that it would be comparable to 154cm or ATS-34. I do believe that the carbide and grain size of AEB-L, a main ingredient in the hand made stainless damascus, is much smaller. That would translate into a keener edge. As for the patterns on a wide blade, any damascus can be and is usually distorted alone the edges in comparison to the center area.

David
 

Eamon Burke

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Is this the stuff companies like Shun use for their "damascus" blades?
 

UglyJoe

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No, pretty sure Shun just uses layered steel... VG10 in the center, then like 8 alternating layers of softer cladding. When the knife is ground down the layers are revealed and you get that (ugly) striated pattern instead of the much more interesting patterns DT and all the other guys around here make.
 

mr drinky

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Thanks David; it is becoming clearer -- though there is still a bit of mystery to me. In the link in the original post at the bottom they even show how they can put company logos into the pattern. That seems strange.

Anyhow, I have a damasteel parer coming from Pierre, so I guess I will have an opportunity to try some damasteel out sooner or later.

k.
 

Noodle Soup

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I spent a week in a German custom knifemaker's shop a few years ago taking a class from him. As part of the project I made a hunting knife from scratch using Damasteel. This included heat treating the blade in his gas forge. While the knife is very nice looking, I've never felt it held a particularly good edge but that might just be my amature heat treating efforts.
 

JohnnyChance

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No, pretty sure Shun just uses layered steel... VG10 in the center, then like 8 alternating layers of softer cladding. When the knife is ground down the layers are revealed and you get that (ugly) striated pattern instead of the much more interesting patterns DT and all the other guys around here make.
Shun also just etches the pattern into the cladding, no layering at all. Just a laser drawing on the knife.
 

Dave Martell

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Shun also just etches the pattern into the cladding, no layering at all. Just a laser drawing on the knife.
I used to think the same thing until a couple of years ago when I had the chance to sand the pattern away and saw it come back when I etched the knife. So it's actually folded steel being used.
 

JohnnyChance

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As usual Dave, you are right. The classic line says it is clad with layered steel. I thought one of their lines they said was just an etching, maybe it is a different one or I am misremembering.
 
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Thanks David; it is becoming clearer -- though there is still a bit of mystery to me. In the link in the original post at the bottom they even show how they can put company logos into the pattern. That seems strange.
Lots of smiths can put your logo or coat of arms or pretty little butterflies in the steel if they want. You EDM the parts out, slip them together, and weld them.

And Noodle Soup, heat treating any stainless in your gas forge is not the way to do it. The forge is fine for simple carbon steels that don't require any soak time, but complex steels (and stainless steels are complex) need more control. Damasteel is a quality product and will work as well as many stainless steels, but it does require a proper heat treat in a controlled atmosphere and with controlled temperatures.
 

Dave Martell

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As usual Dave, you are right. The classic line says it is clad with layered steel. I thought one of their lines they said was just an etching, maybe it is a different one or I am misremembering.

You might have read this on one of the forums before, shoot I know I was fooled by it and it might have even been me who wrote about it at some point.
 

PierreRodrigue

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I agree 100% with David and Devin. There are issues with distortion of the pattern on wide blades, near the edges. It is closer to CPM154, essentially Udderholm's powder metalurgy process. It is a PITA to etch, it holds an edge similar to CPM154 if the HT is done correctly, and no, doing the HT in a forge is not the way to do it. There are some patterns, that are suited to thicker blades, hunters and fighters, some folders, and only a few that look good on a thin blade.
 

mr drinky

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Damasteel is made by using powder placed in a large round canister in concentric rings of 2 different alloys. The 2 different steel powders used are similar to 12C27 and ATS-34/154cm in composition.

The can is sealed and then hot isostatic pressed to form a solid billet. The solid billet is then rolled out into bars and patterned. Most of their patterns are made by manipulating the surface of the bar. They do have some twisted patterns and one that is made by putting some welded and drawn out round bars back into a can then rewelding and drawing into bar stock.

Because the billet is formed by using concentric rings of powdered layers, some of the patterns change toward the edge of the bar because the layers shift from horizontal in the middle of the bar to vertical at the edge.

I think that it a good cutting material and I do like some of their patterns.

Hoss
First of all, thank you to Devin, Pierre, and David for educating my ignorant soul on this issue. Much appreciated.

One more question comes to mind though: In this process is there a 'dominant' powder in lieu of a core steel? Maybe this is a ridiculously stupid question.

k.
 

DevinT

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K,

I think that the proportions of the powders are 50-50, or equal parts of the two powders. Both of the alloys are hardenable and are compatible in the heat treatments. The steel is designed to perform well with out a core.

Hoss
 

l r harner

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and they have the patent for i thik 4 more years. Carpenter steel is chomping at the bit wanting to make some in there own way
 

DevinT

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and they have the patent for i thik 4 more years. Carpenter steel is chomping at the bit wanting to make some in there own way
Butch,

Tell us what you know. Have you talked to Rick G.?

Hoss
 

l r harner

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damasteeel wrote the patent up that if you use powder in jsut aout any way that they can sue your pants off i was talking to them about how they might be able to do it in layers leik the smiths are doing it jsut on a way larger scale


but i knwo that they coudl come up with some great mixes like one for the kitchen and then one o brought up for the tacteecool crowd (i was up on a mill tour and it was great to talk with every one up there and they are really tring to push for some cool knife maker grades
 

Noodle Soup

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As my Norse mother-in-law would say, that Swedes for you! :)) The only thing the Norse and the Finns agree on is the Swedes suck!
 
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