View Full Version : damascus

01-28-2003, 12:40 PM
I understand there are many diferrent steels to use in making damascus. One thing I cant find mention of is the size and thickness of steel used to stack the beginning billet, say for an 8x2x1/8 finished billet. Do you start with sheet metal or what???
Also a quick rundown of the "twist pattern" procedure would be greatly appreciated!!!


Ray Rogers
01-28-2003, 01:00 PM
You may want to take this question over to Ed Caffrey's forum where they are real experts on forging damascus.

But, here's a partial answer: It really depends on how hard you can hit the steel. If you have a power hammer you could use thicker pieces, draw them out more, and make a larger billet. Most of us don't have power hammers so we use smaller pieces. You can get a clue to the answer by looking at the knife supply houses' catalogs. They sell metal strips from about .030 to .050 for making damascus. I've tried it, and a quarter to a half inch thick stack is way more than enough for my arm.

As for creating twist pattern or any other specific pattern, an answer to that (if I had one) would certainly generate more questions that Ed and his group would be much more able to answer .......

01-29-2003, 08:25 AM

I use 15 layers of 1084 and 15N20. The 1084 is 1/8" and the 15N20 is .090". I start with strips about 5 1/2" long. As far as the finished dimentions go, it depends on the number of time you double the layer count. Each time you heat the billet, you lose some material to scale. When you double the billet, you should grind the billet clean to ensure a good weld (more loss of material). I forge my damascus by hand and average about 45 minutes to 1 hour to draw out the billet and weld again. This size billet should get you to the dimentions you want with 240 layers.

As far as twisting, I have had best luck with forging the billet square and twisting 1 1/2 -2 turns. If you twist more, you should round out the billet before twisting. I found this out the hard way. I recently finished a twisted damascus blade with a nickel silver sheath. It is posted in the Display Case forum if your interested. It is back a page or two. Be careful when twisting to avoid shearing the welds. If you are doing the forging by hand, you don't want to throw away many hours of swinging a hammer!

I hope this helps