Forge welding multiple layers produces the watery effect characteristic of this type of Damascus steel, although other patterns are possible. What Are the Types and Properties of Steel? With this, the twisty patterns are also more prominent. Then stick the blade into an acid solution. This process results in a material with a clear crystalline structure containing various carbide contents. Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. However, people have tried to mimic the process of creating the same Damascus steel and have come fairly close. Krause. Let’s take a look at the process of how Damascus steel is made. Damascus steel is a famed type of steel recognizable by the watery or wavy light and dark pattern of the metal. However, some producers can fake the Damascus pattern welding by utilizing acid or laser etching techniques only to the stainless steel or carbon steel blades. Here is an excellent layman’s explanation from The Association For Renaissance Martial Arts: Before we go over the main part of the article, it is imperative to understand what Damascus steel is and how it originated. They live up to the hype, which is why they are worth the price. To summarize, the modern Damascus steel, especially if it’s forged or a counterfeit, can be worse or equal in terms of quality as compared to a regular stainless steel knife, which isn’t etched. There are a couple of signs that you can use to determine whether the Damascus knife is real or not. Comes with a sheath for easy carry. Eventually, the steel was introduced in Damascus, Syria. Survival Tips - Guide for Beginner Survivals. If you still have any questions related to Damascus steel and its types of steel, you can go over the following frequently asked questions to clear out some of your doubts. All of the blades in the brand are laser cut, hollow ground heat-treated, etched and precision-grounded. Typical pattern-welded steel blades have about 40 layers of sheet metal. It is located in the mountain hills of Jacksonville in Alabama, and the company molds steel billets, which are used with large air hammers and are available in the market in unique patterns. In some cases, the knife’s butt and bolster are polished using brass, while the spine is polished and goes under treatment to include decorative work. The techniques for making wootz were lost in the 1700s, so the source material for Damascus steel was lost. The brand is known to offer a wide range of Damascus billets, Damascus knife blade blanks, and guards, which are loved by knife enthusiasts and professionals. Pattern-welded steel is made by layering iron and steel and forging the metals together by hammering them at high temperature to form a welded bond. Damascus is a unique wavy pattern that you’ll find in steel with a certain aesthetic appeal. By forging the alloy into a shape that you like will alter the crystalline structure into the familiar wavy Damascus pattern, which is what Damascus is popular for. On Damascus Steel. Damascus steel was made by forging wootz into swords and other objects. Required fields are marked *. No one has replicated the original method of making Damascus steel because it was cast from wootz, a type of steel originally made in India over two thousand years ago. Made with a twist damascus steel blade, this knife is perfect for skinning game. This type of steel is what people call Damascus today. Damascus knives implement premium materials and perform a variety of tasks. However, this statement is purely circumstantial, as Damascus steel can be polished, and this process is done to make the blade look more aesthetically pleasing. To date, no one really knows what kind of alloy was used in the making of Damascus. Under these conditions, the metal absorbed carbon from charcoal. Damascus Steel: Ancient Sword Making Techniques, Wootz Steel: Making Damascus Steel Blades, The Properties, Production, and Applications of Tin. To simplify, there are two methods that you can ensure whether Damascus steel is real or not: by checking whether they are Wootz and pattern-welded steel. They were also known to be tough and resistant, which enables them to be honed into very sharp edges. Additionally, you can examine the consistency of the patterns on the Damascus knife to determine whether it is real or not. Damascus steel knives are considered ideal hunting knives. There’s a modern patent for that process, but in broad terms it’s iron cooked in an air-tight crucible with a source of carbon. 1. The steel is then laminated in San Mai’s mold, and the three layers of steel are squashed in together. Pattern-welded steel actually got lost and was out of fashion for a considerable amount of time before it was brought back by Bill Moran in 1970. Figiel, Leo S. (1991). These will help you get a clearer idea or insight about the different types of Damascus steel in the market and guide you in choosing the right one: The Kershaw Damascus Skyline LinerLock Knife with G-10 Handles is a true Damascus, as according to many customers, it passed the test of being polished and having the patterns and folds still intact. A flux seals the joint to keep out oxygen. In case you cannot, here are some of the ways that you can: Both the Wootz and the pattern-welded steel techniques have acid etching as a crucial step on the steel blades, as that is what brings out the wavy and twisty design. The blades are forged and then sandwiched into layers of different or same metals to design the wavy pattern, or stainless steel knives are acid-etched to give the aesthetic appeal only. This gives it the aesthetic appeal that most people look for, but it doesn’t prove that it’s of high quality. It also requires a high level of skill in order to keep the temperatures steady throughout the process. Cast wootz steel was made by melting together iron and steel together with charcoal under a reducing (little to no oxygen) atmosphere. This technique takes a lot of time and is highly labor-intensive. A Step Closer to the … This blade is more expensive than counterfeit ones, but it is also super sharp and high in terms of quality. Your email address will not be published. To simplify, there are two methods that you can ensure whether Damascus steel is real or not: by checking whether they are Wootz steel and pattern-welded steel. Firstly, if the blade has highly detailed and unnatural designs on it that are twisty, or wavy, then it is most likely a counterfeit. John D. Verhoeven (2002). It's unclear exactly why Damascus steel is called Damascus steel. Another misconception that is common is that knives that don’t undergo acid etching aren’t Damascus knives. However, if you are buying an original Damascus just for its looks and not the practicality, then it’s not worth it. The first real Damascus steel was introduced around the third century and was known by Wootz (and other names). Many people have different theories about why steel is called Damascus, but that is a different story. In fact, according to material science, opting for a blade that is made with a single metal alloy with sturdiness is far better than laminating the knife with different molds and polishes to make it look aesthetically pleasing. One way you can check is to polish a portion of the blade until the pattern welding is no longer visible. According to the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts, the following is the way of producing Damascus steel, which is the closest to the original. If you do want to splurge on a true Damascus steel blade and will use the knife frequently, it would be a worthy purchase. However, if the acid or laser etching is done on cheaper blades such as carbon steel or stainless steel without any layering, that’s when you know the Damascus steel is a fake. The bone and horn handle are highly durable and provide a secure grip. The first step involves melting chunks of charcoal, iron and steel, and in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. One of the most pressing concerns that modern times knife-lovers face is whether Damascus steel is real or fake. It has been claimed that ‘Wootz’ is in fact a corruption of ‘ukku’, the word for steel in many South Indian languages. This is not really Damascus steel since the pattern can be worn away. Due to their increased functionality and versatility, Damascus steel knives are a prime target for fake replication. It is also a cheap knife that is made of stainless steel and is not very durable or long-wearing. Damascus is a unique wavy pattern that you’ll find in steel with a certain aesthetic appeal. They are not worth the extra money that is put into the design, as their practical performance falls short of regular kitchen knives, which are cheaper and cut better. If the Damascus is manufactured using the wootz or the pattern-welded method, the original design will reveal itself even after being submerged in the acid solution. Knives and other modern objects made from pattern-welded Damascus steel bear the watery pattern all the way through the metal and possess many of the same characteristics of the original Damascus metal. pp. The mystery that unfolds is that blacksmiths today do not really know how the so called Damascus steel is made, as the true way of creating it was lost somewhere in the 17th century when the people who knew the right way of making it passed away. Ten Things the Ancients Did Better than Us 2. So, if you have a pattern-welded Damascus steel that has been acid-etched, it is a legitimate Damascus blade and a real Damascus knife. In order to produce this kind of steel, the process is similar to the one mentioned above. The “damascus” steel of old was crucible steel, also known as wootz steel. Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College. The Wonder of Knifemaking. The modern-day Damascus is made up of multiple layers of stainless steel, which may have a less prominent pattern but is definitely sturdier due to its high carbon concentration. They were named after Damascus, the capital of Syria. Real or Fake Damascus Steel: How to Know the Difference? Having spent 80% of my childhood outdoors, I am more connected to nature than I am with the internet. 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