Powdered Steel


New Member
I have a question about Canister Damascus. When you get powdered steel, which is best to use when mixing with small 52100 chrome shot? I sell the shot but need good recommendations on what kind of powdered steel would be best to offer ina combo pack. Shot I have is 1mm AISI52100 Chrome and larger. Forgers find it makes a nice tight uniform pattern. Will different powders give a different hue after etching?
I'm on the supply side of this and looking for information to help me offer better products.
"Best" covers a lot a ground..... depending on characteristics sought in the end product.

There are several grades of steel powders available. Personally, I generally use 1095 powder with approx 10% pure nickel powder added. Adding the nickel powder to the 1095 gives it a lighter/brighter appearance in the finished blade(s). The most common powders used are 1084 or 1095 Personally, I chose 1095 powder because of it's a super fine mesh (grain size). 1084 powder only comes in 120 mesh, and when used in canister welding has a very grainy appearance in the finished blade(s).

I purchase my powdered steel from Kelly Cupples out of Yakima, WA.

Kelly will sell small quantities.... I general purchase a gallon sized container.
In my experience, if you try to buy steel powder direct from the producer, you'll have to purchase "drum" sized amount....they won't sell it in any lesser quantity.
Last edited:
Hey Ed, Thanks for the reply. I hope to move to Montana (Kalispell) but more on subject, which way do the mesh numbers work? Is a larger number a finer grain or the other way around? Do you order the pure nickel separately or do they custom mix it for you? I want to buy in bulk (by metric ton) so I can offer competitive prices to folks like you. If you use shot on the canister mix to give you the tight patterns in the billet, maybe I have some sizes you would like. https://ballbaron.com/product-category/knife-makers-steel/
Generally the mesh measurement for powder steels work like the numbers for sandpaper..... the higher the number, the finer the powder. From a visual reference, 120 mesh 1084 powder looks like large grains of sugar. The only way I can think to describe the 1095 powder is..... looks and feels finer then flour.

You have to buy the steel and nickel powders separate, and mix them..... When I receive the powders they are in what appears to be new/clean paint cans. I generally get a gallon sized can of 1095, and a 1/2 pint can of pure nickel powder. I dump the nickel powder into the 1095 can, and take it to my local hardware store, and have them put it in their paint mixer for about 5 mins. That gets things mixed evenly, and then it's ready for use.

I don't think I would use the 1095/nickel mix for canister welding the bearings.... the nickel will cause the powder portions of the billet to be fairly bright, and give you less contrast with the bearings. If I were doing a canister of bearings, I'd use straight 1095 powder as it will etch out much darker then if nickel is added.

I'm not sure where to send you to purchase the amount you're looking for..... might just take some digging on your part. Don't fall off your chair when you hear the prices.....especially for nickel powder. :)
Aw man - Thanks so much for the quick reply and the info. It helps a lot. Don't worry about me falling off the chair when I see the prices - I installed a 5 point harness long ago. If you'd like to try some shot as a way of my thank you, then take a look at my offers and I'll send you free samples of whatever sizes you want. I sell the hell out of 1/16 and I am considering the 1mm (smaller still) but have not purchased yet. If you don't use shot, maybe you could recommend some other members who do. I don't want to seem like a huckster, so I'm not posting my website. I would like folks like you, as satisfied customers to blow me up once I've proven myself a valuable asset. I'll take any and all criticism as far as pricing and variety goes because using the information gives me a better understanding of the market.