Damascus steel

Discussion in 'Knives' started by CaddmannQ, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .308 Supporter

    Messages:
    4,597
    I would love to see close-up blade photographs of just your Damascus Steel knives. It is my new goal to own one.

    I own a variety of carbon steel and stainless steel knives, but my real interest now is in having a Damascus blade; because I've never owned a piece of Damascus steel. The closest thing I've got is this old French chef's knife from the Chicago Forge which looks like it's been smashed out with a trip hammer.

    Anyhow I'm seeing a lot of imported Damascus Steel knives for sale on the web which appear to be made from used chain and steel cable.

    I am looking at hundreds of photographs of some very attractive cutlery and wondering if any of these imported Middle Eastern knives are worth owning, or if they're more or less just wall hangers?

    I could deal with a wall hanger if it's pretty enough, but on the other hand it would be nice if the knife was worth owning as a knife.

    Take a look at these guys...

    https://www.damascus1.com

    So . . . Quality knives or attractive dust catchers?
  2. Djcala

    Djcala .223 Supporter

    Messages:
    437
    I only have one. It was made by an old man i north west Georgia Fred King not sure if hes still living. He had small forge behind his home and used to make quite a few knives then retired. Once i a while he would make a couple i was able to get one of the last. I gave him an idea for a traditional camp knife he rough drew it up on piece of paper and shewed me on my way. About a month later he showed up with knife. I was pleased with result. I believe it was about 150 bucs with the sheath he also made. I actually never used it much its just kind of a keepsake now. I will say research well as with anything at the last local gun show there was a table with a bunch of what appeared nice looking damascus blades. Upon closer inspection and questions they were not local hand forged damascus but knifes from places ending in "stan" they looked prettt good and were priced very cheap compared to what a local forgers blade cost. Buyer beware.
    Here is what i have its about 10yrs old now. I apologize i do not remember steels used and number of folds etc... 20170715_230731.jpg 20170715_230828.jpg 20170715_230900.jpg 20170715_230938.jpg
    SHOOTER13 and CaddmannQ like this.
  3. Djcala

    Djcala .223 Supporter

    Messages:
    437
    Here it is between a buck 110 and an esee 4 for size reference 20170715_233516.jpg
    SHOOTER13 and CaddmannQ like this.
  4. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .308 Supporter

    Messages:
    4,597
    As I recall, Damascus is in Syria . . . or at least it used to be. I don't think there's too much left in Syria anymore.

    So, perhaps a knife from Pakistan might be the closest you could get to the real thing.

    :confused:
  5. Djcala

    Djcala .223 Supporter

    Messages:
    437
    What comes from Pstan is typically very poor quality steel with usually ridiculous low hardening if any. Best thing from Pakistan in recent years left in a black bag on 5 1 2011 they called it geronimo. I think historicall damascus steel was actually originally an indian concoction. That being said there have been some example from there and india that were high quality but they had the appropriate price tags and are not whats usually found here. Im not expert at all but go have a troll over on the blade forums much info there subject. I do know there are some incredible forgers here in the states making fabulous pieces that are not only great tools but also works of art. Im sure some will pop up on here shortly. Get a good one.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
    SHOOTER13 likes this.
  6. carbinemike

    carbinemike Forum Moderator Staff Member Forum Moderator "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    5,257
    Damascus (or pattern welded steel) is really cool. Below are the early pictures of our first time at making some Damascus steel. I don't have any newer pictures but will post some when it looks like a knife. I helped my son set the forge welds last winter but other than that he has insisted on doing it all himself (he's 15). The stack started at 1" thick and it takes a lot of hammering to lengthen until it is 1/4 inch thick, then cut it in thirds, forge weld them and draw it out again. He puts it aside and works on blades (made from '68 truck leaf springs) when it gets to be to long. We are growing in tools and experience. In the spring we added a real anvil and retired the piece of railroad track we were using. I got an 1884 Fisher 136 pound anvil and we un-retired it. A real anvil makes a huge difference. We will be trying other types of Damascus in the future. I have some pieces of high carbon wire rope as well as some old chain saw blades. Right now I'm building a new forge to make use of the Kentucky bituminous smithing coal I was able to get. The first forge I built flows to much air that was needed for the Pennsylvania anthracite coal.

    Check out these guys at Alabama Damascus.
    http://www.alabamadamascussteel.com/

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Djcala likes this.
  7. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 ON DUTY Staff Member Global Moderator Forum Moderator

    Messages:
    8,677
    Yea...Operation Geronimo / Operation Neptune Spear, the May 2011 op that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan by DEVGRU {SEAL Team Six}...
    CaddmannQ and Djcala like this.
  8. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .308 Supporter

    Messages:
    4,597
    So, is it easy to tell real Damascus steel from fake Damascus steel ?

    I have never really looked closely at either.
  9. carbinemike

    carbinemike Forum Moderator Staff Member Forum Moderator "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    5,257
    I don't think anyone alive knows what makes true and very old Damascus. I have read claims where people say they have figured it all out. I think they are full of the brown stuff.

    Modern "Damascus" is made from pattern welding (aka forge welded) steels and as with most things it comes down to garbage in and garbage out. The steels in the pictures I posted are 1084 high carbon spring steel and 15N20. 15N20 is used in band saw blades and knives. It is often used for modern Damascus because it has a percentage of nickel that when the blade is etched stays brighter and gives a good contrast between the steels. Those two steels are also know to be easier to forge weld together than some other option. If you look at the knives in the link many use the 15N20 as well as high carbon steel, 52100 chrome bearing steel and A2 tool steel. Don't look at the prices. It's as high end as you can go.

    http://www.mountainhollow.net/knife-bowie.php

    I think with modern metallurgical knowledge and steel making abilities a current knife made from good materials and heat treat processes is likely better than the original Damascus. That said, a modern day Damascus steel knife will look and perform great. I don't know how you can tell if it's a good quality modern Damascus steel or not without actually verifying hardness etc. I would try and find out the steels that the knife is made from as well as where it was made. The old saying that if it's priced to good to be true it probably is seems to apply here as well. Good luck Caddmann!
    ripjack13 and Djcala like this.
  10. ripjack13

    ripjack13 Resident Sawdust Maker Staff Member Administrator Forum Moderator Supporter "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    13,305
    The damascus they make here in the states is better than the old stuff. It's more controlled heating/forging and the availability of better metal to mix em with is crazy. The pakistan crap is usually ball bearings melted down and recycled crap steel. Then they send it to the UK and they sell it off at a higher price than should be paid for.
    16997860_10212103122116750_6151200302902168263_n.jpg

    That's the damascus from pakistan ball bearings. Very soft metal. That one is a chefs knife my cousin wanted some handles for. It was $44...the handles I made cost more than the knife. And I had to reheat and file the steel flat because it was bent a good 1/4" , then re etch it. More headache than should have been. I have an extra blank of it just sitting in my cabinet in the shop. I think I can trade it off for some good wood blanks on my other forum....
  11. ripjack13

    ripjack13 Resident Sawdust Maker Staff Member Administrator Forum Moderator Supporter "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    13,305
    This is the crap I had to deal with...

    20170328_192337.jpg
    Grinder marks still on it. I had started to file the blade, thats the outside marks, the stuff in the red circle is the factory crap...
  12. ripjack13

    ripjack13 Resident Sawdust Maker Staff Member Administrator Forum Moderator Supporter "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    13,305
    But I got it all set after about a week of sundays....

    IMG_20170329_132424278.jpg
    carbinemike likes this.
  13. ripjack13

    ripjack13 Resident Sawdust Maker Staff Member Administrator Forum Moderator Supporter "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    13,305
    How about this one?

    ripjack13-1.jpg

    :nana:
    carbinemike likes this.
  14. carbinemike

    carbinemike Forum Moderator Staff Member Forum Moderator "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    5,257
    Those are some beautiful knives Ripjack! Check out the link above for Alabama Damascus. They have a lot of options for the knife blank that just needs hardened/sharpened and a guy with woodworking ability to add a handle.
    ripjack13 likes this.
  15. Djcala

    Djcala .223 Supporter

    Messages:
    437
    Hey Cadd i was pontificating this morning while have coffee and listening to crows chatter. Theres only around 125 master bladesmiths around. Not sure how close you are to Redding Ca but Wilburn Forge is up there and would be a great day trip ? Meet a Master see his work shake the hand of the hammer that would make you an heirloom piece to last generations. Im also retired and frugal with my pennies but sometimes its nice to just go for it you earned it.
    ripjack13 likes this.
  16. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .308 Supporter

    Messages:
    4,597
    I have been up to Redding a couple of times and I rode my skateboard across the Sundial bridge and around Turtle Island. I want to go back up to Lake Shasta and go on the cavern tours and maybe Charter a fishing boat of some kind.

    Anyhow that will have to wait, and right now, instead of buying a inexpensive junkie knife I bought myself a brand new Buck 110 on sale at the local sporting good store. Mine is old and tarnished, and this one is new and shiny. It was $10 off the regular price which is only $15 more than I paid in 1976.
  17. Djcala

    Djcala .223 Supporter

    Messages:
    437
    Cant argue with that good ole buck 110 the 1911 of the knife world.
    CaddmannQ likes this.
  18. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .308 Supporter

    Messages:
    4,597
    I am still looking at Damascus steel. I would like to find a quality knife that shows off the material well. They had some on display across town and I think I will go have a look tomorrow if I get a chance.

    I really didn't check them out the last time I was there because they were out of my price range at the time.
  19. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .308 Supporter

    Messages:
    4,597
    My old one was customized years and years ago but I didn't like it a hundred percent and I've always wanted to redo it.

    But instead of messing with that one which I've had over 45 years, I decided to buy a new one to customize. Mine has some etching on it it was done by a friend in 1976 and now that I know the process I can do it myself and have it come out more attractive in the process

Share This Page