Making Damacus (or patterned steel if you prefer:-))

golafson

Member
Does anyone have a recommendation of the best book to study about making Damascus? I don't want the ones that tell you all about the history or how to make a forge......rather just how to make interesting damascus for knife making.
 

billyO

Well-Known Member
If you only want to know how to make patterns and consider the other information a waste, then you'll most likely be disappointed in any book and the internet will probably suit you better.
 

golafson

Member
If you only want to know how to make patterns and consider the other information a waste, then you'll most likely be disappointed in any book and the internet will probably suit you better.
that's what I was thinking as well, but wondered whether there was a book out there somewhere which just focused on making damascus and not all the other fluffy page filling stuff.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
that's what I was thinking as well, but wondered whether there was a book out there somewhere which just focused on making damascus and not all the other fluffy page filling stuff.
Do you already know how to forge weld and just need to know how to accomplish specific patterns like ladder, raindrop and mosaic or do you need to know all of it?
 

golafson

Member
Do you already know how to forge weld and just need to know how to accomplish specific patterns like ladder, raindrop and mosaic or do you need to know all of it?
I forged welded my first piece a couple of days ago (with a hammer and anvil only) with four layers of 1/8"x1.5" 1095 and 3 layers of bandsaw material (each of these layers made out of three pieces of thinner bandsaw blades) that made up roughly 1/8" thickness as well, so ended up with a billet 3/4"x1"x6". So 13 layers but the combined bandsaw blades really only made that a 7 layer billet. Good first experience with forge welding but I have a long way to go yet :) I have a 25 lb. Little Giant almost ready to run but think I'd like a hyd press for damascus....your thoughts? Too old to swing a hammer all day trying to forge out the billets multiple times.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Either is good. I guess in very general terms you can think of the power hammer as speed and the press as precision. I use a press because I do not have a power hammer. If I had both I think I would still set my welds on the press with flat dies I just like doing it that way. When I first got my press I still set my welds with a hand hammer then I realized that was kind of dumb when you have a press. If you got those to stick well then you are on your way. Just go to YouTube and search for the pattern you wish to make and you will find it. If you get yourself a notebook and write the steps down for each pattern you will have a book with no filler in the end. I have to write things down now so I do not skip steps.
 

vlegski

Well-Known Member
Try "The pattern-welded Blade, artistry in iron" by Jim Hrisoulas. No history that i remember. Or "Damascus steel, Theory and practice" by Gunther Lobach. Lobach has 3-4 pages of history and miscellaneous related informative information. After that its Damascus.
 

billyO

Well-Known Member
billyo, I'm interested. What books do you recommend?
Good evening, Bruce. Sorry for the delay, out of town for a couple of days.
I'm not sure how to answer that, and don't know all of what's out there, and what's already been mentioned are what I've read. I enjoyed both Jim Hrisoulas's and Gunther Loback's books as @vlegski mentioned above. The Lobach book is probably closer to what @golafson was looking for. More up to date and practical information and a lot of good descriptive pictures.
Either is good. I guess in very general terms you can think of the power hammer as speed and the press as precision.
another difference is that power hammers (especially the smaller ones) tend to move the surfaces of the billet and the press tends to move the center of the billet. And like Chris mentioned, setting welds is easier with a press (almost a no-brainer) but a lot of smiths will say that the power hammer is better suited/quicker when drawing out the billet.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
but a lot of smiths will say that the power hammer is better suited/quicker when drawing out the billet.
I can surely agree with that. In my mind it would be faster and perhaps less likely to leave deep marks because you can feather the blows somewhat. One day, one day I will have one...
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
but a lot of smiths will say that the power hammer is better suited/quicker when drawing out the billet.
I would think a lot would depend on what type of dies either press or hammer had. With the proper dies it seems like a press does a pretty good job of drawing out a billet, either widening or lengthening.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
Jim Hrisoulas' The Master Bladesmith[/] is good but he also wrote a book just dealing with pattern welding. Unfortunately, I can't find which pile of books it's in.

Doug
 
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