Custom Knives | Other Knives | General Items
New Posts | New PhotosAll Photos

Go Back   The Knife Network Forums : Knife Making Discussions > Custom Knife Discussion Boards > Knife Making Discussions > The Damascus Forum

The Damascus Forum The art and study of Damascus steel making.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-11-2018, 08:42 AM
Gblack Gblack is offline
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 3
Forging Damascus

I’m in the process of getting the stuff needed to get into forging blades. I am intent on doing Damascus. I’ve watched numerous YouTube videos on forge welding it, but they left me with more questions than answers. I understand etching the billet to get the pattern to pop. What i don’t understand, however, is how after forge welding the 1080 and 15N20 into a billet, the pattern is visible. My interpretation is, when it is welded, the pattern is only on the sides. How do you get the pattern to show on the blade sides?
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2018, 09:15 AM
jmccustomknives jmccustomknives is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Alabama
Posts: 554
The pattern comes from layers showing. So when your just folding the steel , there is scale (oxidized steel) that comes off. This scaling effect isn't consistent across the billet so that as the forging process goes on you'll break through layers. To get more layers showing the surface the billet can be manipulated by cutting notches, drilling and/or several other methods.

I would recommend learning how to grind and heat treat a knife before learning to forge. Learn to forge before you try Damascus.

Drop in on Ray's Newby chatroom tonight, you can get a lot of help there.

Last edited by jmccustomknives; 03-11-2018 at 09:17 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2018, 09:32 AM
Gblack Gblack is offline
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 3
So, my interpretation of what you said is the pattern will show through on its own through the cutting or folding process?

I fully intend on starting “small” and doing just basic steel work with just one steel and the HT and profiling aspects. And maybe tinker around with more technical stuff with scraps before delving into manipulation of the patterns. I do appreciate you responding. Thank you
Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-2018, 07:43 AM
Ed Caffrey's Avatar
Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Great Falls, Montana, USA
Posts: 4,235
Send a message via AIM to Ed Caffrey Send a message via Yahoo to Ed Caffrey
I second the advice. I've been doing this for 30+ years..... and can tell you that it takes time and experience to learn. DO NOT rely on Youtube videos to guide you! There is so much misinformation out there these days, and you could struggle along for YEARS by relying on Youtube fore guidance.

As someone who teaches Bladesmithing/Knifemaking, I have had an endless number of people who are just starting out, want to schedule Damascus classes with me. I simply refuse to teach Damascus to anyone who has less than a year under their belt Bladesmithing. And even then, they must be able to speak intelligently about the subject...... The reason is that unless an individual has a given level of knowledge of hot working carbon/alloy steel, the information is simply over their head(s).

More directly to your question about the pattern(s)... The pattern is created from the alloys in the different steels. When etched, different steels, with different alloys will display different "colors" or hues in the finished product. How the individual manipulates a billet after layering/welding it up, determines the end pattern. Patterns can be as simple as "random"....meaning that you forge it out, grind out a blade, and whatever the pattern comes out looking like, is what you get. As you learn/understand more, you can manipulate the layers to achieve specific outcomes...... there really is no limitation, except the individual's imagination and motivation.

"Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
See me at table 2Q at the Blade Show!
Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2018, 11:15 PM
Gblack Gblack is offline
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 3
Thank you for your response. I will admit, I do realize that there is a vast amount of information that I need to learn, and will also admit that my knowledge is very small. I do know that I want to get into forging. However, it will be in the “crudest” simplest form first. Before I get into the intricacies of trying to forge Damascus, I am going to get the actual forging process down first and foremost. If it takes a few years, then so be it. I agree with you that YouTube isn’t a be all. I only use it for BASIC ideas, then research a lot.

As far as the Damascus part, it seems to my understanding that no “special” process is done for the pattern to show? It comes out on its own essentially?
Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 03:21 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,046
Listen to Ed and James. I was lucky in that before l ever forged a knife I worked in a blacksmith's shop. Best advice is to start with 1084 or 80CrV2 and learn the ins and outs of that steel and preventing decarburization because forging Damascus you need to know about it. It doesn't help if you burn out half the carbon in the steel. l did it once trying to get fancy and the blade wouldn't harden like l wanted it too. Stay away from mystery steels that you do not know the composition of as well.
Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 03:49 AM
epicfail48 epicfail48 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Springfield Mo
Posts: 73
Originally Posted by Gblack View Post
As far as the Damascus part, it seems to my understanding that no “special” process is done for the pattern to show? It comes out on its own essentially?
Yes and no. Yes in that there will always be a visible pattern on the surface of hand forged pattern, no in that theres never a special process. Forging, by hand at least, is un-uniform by nature, and the un-uniformity of the blows will push the layers into each other and out of a flat plane. Picture the steel starting off as a flat sheet of pasta, then turning into something that looks more like a lasagna noodle. The layers will go all wavy, and the peaks of the waves of one layer poke through the other layers, resulting in the pattern showing up.

If you just forge-weld a bunch of pieces together with no real prep, you get a random patter. However, by upsetting the layers in specific ways, i.e drilling partial holes in a piece, then flattening it out, cutting in notches then flattening, you can manipulate the pattern. The 2 examples i just listen are how raindrop and ladder pattern Damascus are made, you can see examples here:

So, in short you get different patterns for different preparations, but no preparations still results in a pattern in most circumstances. Note i said most, theoretically you could get a bad of damascus with no pattern by keeping everything uniform, perhaps doing the forging with a press and flat dies instead of a hammer. No upsetting the layers, layers stay straight lines, no pattern
Reply With Quote

15n20, a, billet, blade, blades, ca, damascus, etching, folding, forge, forging, heat, heat treat, how to, knife, knifemaking, pattern, scale, show, steel, surface, videos, welding, youtube

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hand Forging A billet of Damascus M.Logan The Damascus Forum 3 07-25-2008 05:16 PM
Saw chain damascus?... New to forging... Connor The Damascus Forum 10 04-09-2007 01:21 AM
Damascus Forging Video. mariano gugliot The Display Case 10 01-23-2007 04:04 PM
Forging Damascus Handyman Ed Caffrey's Workshop 8 06-03-2003 04:37 PM
Forging wire damascus Cactusforge Ed Caffrey's Workshop 8 03-02-2002 08:57 AM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:23 AM.

Copyright © 2000
? CKK Industries, Inc. ? All Rights Reserved
Powered by ...

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
The Knife Network : All Rights Reserved