finding the correct type of cable for Damascus


Well-Known Member
were do you go? what do you ask for? I have a logging cable /rigging supply store close to me. what do I tell them I'm looking for,,,, or what do I want to avoid. thanks

mike miller

Have them check to see if it is extra improved or extra extra improved. It would make it 1080 or 1095 cable. I have always had luck getting crane cable for use.


Well-Known Member
High carbon wire rope is rated in grades of "plow steel." That is coupled with the categories @mike miller mentioned, from just plow steel to improved, extra improved, or extra extra improved, as seen commonly advertised. Just make sure you don't get fiber core or galvanized.

BossDog & Owner
Staff member
burning off the oil will create scale inclusions. Soak in a degreaser and scrub.

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
Another way to try it is to get some piano wire and make your own cable. I'm trying to remember the supplier that I got mine from. As I remember, it handles other forms of steel and cupric alloys. They will supply it in a coil and you will have cut the wire to length, weld both ends together, and twist it. You further twist it as you bring it up to welding temperature in your forge. The wire I got was 1/4", however I've never gotten around to trying to weld it up. I don't think that I got enough wire to make a bundle big enough to hold heat.



"The Montana Bladesmith"
When using cable..... it's a very big "Give-n-Take" situation. The larger the individual wires in the cable....the more functional blade it will produce. The downside is that the pattern/eye appeal isn't anything to shout about.

Flip side..... cable with smaller diameter individual wires produce a striking pattern, but because the wire are small, they decarb significantly, and sometimes entirely........ and the end product is usually only mid to low 40s Rc as hardened (before any tempering). That's the best I've been able to determine....because trying to Rc test a cable billets is like herding cats.....all over the place because of all the decarb lines.

I've made a ton of cable blades in my career, and can tell you this..... if you want high quality FUNCTION, use XXX improved plow share, with the largest individual wires you can find. If you want eye appeal, then look for the same thing with smaller diameter individual wires.

The pattern in cable comes from decarb of each individual wire.... and decarb can be anywhere from .002" if your welding technique is near perfect, but expect closer to .008-.010" or more. That means that if the individual wires in the cable are .010", and you get say .005" decarb (that's from all sides of the wire).... you've basically got mild steel, or a low medium carbon steel in the end product.

Just another one of those "Give-N-Take" things we have to consider/deal with when it comes to Bladesmithing/Knifemaker! :)