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  #1  
Old 07-12-2013, 03:52 PM
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Hunter10139 Hunter10139 is offline
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Damascus Question

Hey guys I just need to settle an argument between me and a guy at work. Isn't is possible to polish damascus to the point where the pattern is unobservable or almost unobservable especially on the handle section of the knife? We were arguing about it and we can't reach a consensus so I figured I would come on here and ask some experts.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:00 PM
metal99 metal99 is offline
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Once you sand/grind pattern welded steel you can pretty much no longer see the pattern.


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Old 07-12-2013, 04:45 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Yes, you can polish the damascus to the point that the contrast etched into the blade will be destroyed. That's why the general advice is not to buff a damascus blade after etching. However, the traditional Japanese method of displaying the pattern caused by the folding of the steel and differential heat treating is by polishing so I would be a little hesitant to say that this happens in all cases.

Doug


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Old 07-12-2013, 07:41 PM
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What we call damascus is more properly termed 'pattern welded' steel. It is certainly possible to polish pattern welded steel to the point where it is difficult to tell from a piece of plain polished steel. The pattern might be faintly observable at an angle but not much more than that. The effect only lasts as long as the steel stays perfectly clean. A few finger prints, some light oxidation if it's carbon steel, and the pattern will begin to show again. Etching the steel is just an aggressive way to bring out the pattern but any type of oxidation will start to show the pattern ...


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Old 07-12-2013, 11:51 PM
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GHEzell GHEzell is offline
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If the steel has pure nickle in the mix, the nickel has a slightly different color than the steel and is noticeable even unetched. If one uses high phosphorus/ low phosphorus steels it is quite clear even unetched, but this went out of style 1100 years ago... If you look very closely you can just barely see it on a 1084/15n20 mix before etching, but you really have to hold your head just so...


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Old 07-13-2013, 12:23 AM
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Ok thanks a bunch everyone for answering this question. That clears it up and I'll be able to tell the guy at work
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:35 AM
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Your best argument is with proof-in-hand. Try it and see if you can do it. If so......well there it is!
However, as stated several ways above, not all pattern welded steel is equal and therefore do not finish out the same. Also a lot will depend on lighting and eyesight.
So far in my experience, I have not seen any pattern welded steels finished such that I could not tell they pattern welded under close inspection. Not saying you can or can't but I have made, handled and worked quite a bit of it.
Not sure why one would want to hide what one worked so hard to produce in the first place. It is the patterns that make it desirable.


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Old 07-13-2013, 08:22 AM
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It is that pattern that makes most people want damascus but some just feel it cuts better. I had an order for a very large kitchen knife made from pattern weld. The order called for 3000 layers which, of course, made the pattern extremely fine and almost invisible, but that was OK because he didn't want the blade etched anyway....


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Old 07-14-2013, 09:50 PM
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Customer's always "right", but 3K seems a bit overkill. I'm pretty sure I would not be able to discern the diff in the cut and I've cutting a long time (same as you). Guess it's only a couple of more fold-n-welds, but gheeez.


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