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Ed Caffrey's Workshop Talk to Ed Caffrey ... The Montana Bladesmith! Tips, tricks and more from an ABS Mastersmith.

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Old 07-28-2005, 06:01 PM
R. D. Finch R. D. Finch is offline
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Question on Damascus

I've started shooting "Cowboy Action Shooting". And I have be reading about period correct clothing, and equipment. It's got me to wondering if damascus was around in the 1870's or when did it get started?


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Old 07-28-2005, 09:41 PM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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Damascus has been around for a LOT longer than the 1870s. That actual term "Damascus" came from the material we now call Wootz steel, which is generally believed to have been created in India, where it was taken by caravan to the city of Damascus, Syria where it was sold. It came to known as "Damascus" Steel. Layered steel was built by many civilizations in a variety of forms including the Norsemen (or Vikings), the Japanese, and a number of other cultures around the world.

During the time frame you mentioned, most knives that Americans carried were being created by Sheffield of England, and being imported to the United States. At that time, knives were a kind of status symbol, with the fancier ones being carried by the upper class, with less ornate ones being carried by those further down the then social ladder.

In actuality, the knives that were carried by the cowboys during that time frame were not ideal "using" knives, but were more for dress and stutus than anything.

Were damascus knives carried by the cowboys? Some, but Usually not. It was an economic thing more than anything else. Damascus blades were far more expensive than plain/carbon steel blades, and most working "cowboys" could not afford them. I have seen historical accounts of some of the "gamblers" carrying damascus blades, and the "outlaws" (who more often than not had them because they were either stolen or taken from thier "shoot out" victims.) So, historically, plain/carbon steel would be more accurate for the average cowboy. Damascus was not unheard of, and was there, just not in as much abudance as plain/carbon blades.


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Old 07-29-2005, 06:10 PM
Ron Hicks Ron Hicks is offline
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Shotgun

Not for sure but think some of the old shotgun barrels were made from Damascus
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:11 PM
R. D. Finch R. D. Finch is offline
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Thanks Ed


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