Damascus knife makers seem to be everywhere today. This is because of the rise in demand for the steel blades that has caused an increase in demand. This popularity forced the American Bladesmith Society to create seven Damascus courses to sustain genuine services. The classes were offered at the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing. There are other many unauthorized or recognized forgers of knives across America.
You should know that forging Damascus is addictive and you should understand the obsession surrounding it. The best and highly reputable modern makers admit that making Damascus steel is a disease without a cure.
Damascus knives were authentic and popular in the past, today, anyone that claims to make these knives is probably lying. The materials and inspiration behind the art no longer exist. Are Damascus knives real or are they just for looks? This is a common question today, which can easily be answered as complicated. Damascus steel knives are obviously the most attractive pieces you can have in your home; how to use them or if they can be used in cutting is a different story. Their functionality is dependent on who made it and the type of steel used. It can make a good all round knife or not; it is about where you get it.
The number of steel alloys cast together differs; the least number is two but it can extend to 10. The more the number of steel blades the tougher a blade will be. The layering process is also different; the amount and intensity of heat the metals are subjected to determine their respective functionality.
Modern Damascus knives are attractive; the layering method and patterns used distinguish different manufacturers in different parts of the world. Here are some tips on making of Damascus knives.
Most people question on coloring of these knives. It is no artificial process; it is about the proper choice of steel with different colors that present the patterns. Different steels have different patterns; while there is freedom in choosing steel and mixing them to toughen the blades, an eye for creativity is important. Some colors clash and some patterns are incompatible. Design and attraction is the primary reason for making Damascus, this is why knife-makers are keen on patterns and colors when choosing steel. Pattern welded blades is usually a combination of multiple metals. Elements are added to enhance appearance and uniqueness of knives; it is rare to come across a similar knife in the market. The knife-makers are gifted designers; each knife is shaped and colored differently. Different metal portions result in different and unique colors of Damascus knives.
Chrome and nickel alloys are commonly used in design of dark and light colored metals. It all depends on consumer preferences; some people opt for colored knives while others prefer light shades of the blade. As mentioned, it is more of looks than functionality. The cutting ability and durability of these knives is not in question; the merging of alloys toughen the blades irrespective of color and layout. Meteorite iron is also used in hardening the blades in both light and dark colored layouts; carbon migration after exposure to high intensity heat also helps in hardening the blade.
Damascus knives take different shapes depending on the intended use. If you are considering buying one of these for cosmetic value with respect to décor in your house, the weird shapes would be the best. Shaping is the 3rd step in making of Damascus knives. The knives are hammered into desired shape with heavy equipment; later, a lighter hammer is used to soften and ring out details of each edge. The hammering process does not move a significant amount of metal; it is mainly for refining the grains. Heating and cooling follows next where the knives are subjected to repeated hammering in a process known as edge packing.
Hammering often subjects the blade to stress and undesired shapes; this is cleared out by low intensity heat and light hammering, which normalizes the blade. Completion of the shaping is entirely dependent on desired shape, which differs with every Damascus knife.
Heat hardens blades and softens at the same time. Traditionally, high intensity heat is used for hardening of blades after the temperature relaxes. The making of Damascus knives is different; coating is applied on particular parts of the blade, which softens when exposed to high intensity heat. The coatings are applied in different parts to bring out desired shapes.
Nickel, brass, and silver are the most popular metals used for fitting in different blade designs. Some knife-makers opt to partner with plating companies where silver and gold are used in metal fitting. It is all about subjecting the metal to high intensity heat and applying force on edges to realize different shapes. T
Building a billet
This is an important step in making of Damascus knives. The grinding improves the bond and design of knives; different patterns can also be realized through this process. Specific parts of the blade are wired and the stacks are squeezed tight before the welding process. The wire binding process causes a variation of surfaces exposed to heat where some parts heat as others cool.
Damascus knives are still part of decorations and culture in various parts of the world.