damascus steel

What is damascus steel

wo or more different steels are combined by forge welding. The so created material combines hardness and tenaciousnes of the steels used in the Damascus Billet. By drawing out and forge welding again the layers get more and more thin which gives the steel complex patterns. These patterns can be manipulated by various forging techniques. Today one can use modern materials what the blacksmith in ancient times could not. But the way of making Damascus Steel is still the same, and can not be done automatically, this makes Damascus Steel a material from high value.


Forge welding

The basic technique for making damascus steel is forgewelding. The billet is heated up in the forge and with the aid of a flux welded by forging. It is a diffusive connection where atoms exchange the lattice site.

This process needs practice and sure instinct. It takes some time to get the feeling for the right temprature and amount of pressure, to accomplish a perfect connection. Therefore at the moment of welding it needs enogh impact to the surface but not too much distorting.


The patterns

There are various patterns which are made by varying forging process. They are more or less laborious in manufacturing. Also the level of difficulty varies for the different patterns.

Etching the surface makes the pattern visible the different steels used will react different to the etchant. The Steel containing Ni will stay light, the one containing Mn will become dark.


Why carbon steel

My damascus steel consists of not stainless carbon steel. The reason is the fine grain of this kind of steel. This allows a very fine grinded and sharp cutting edge. From my damascus steel i mainly make kitchen knifes which need a good sharpness. A carbon steel knife is also much easier to resharpen.


For my Damascus Steel i mainly use the following steel-combination

DIN standard chemical composition in % and application
  • 1.2842
C 0,90 Si 0,20 Mn 2,00 Cr 0,40 V 0,10
Steel for tools (punches) and dies for blanking, punching and similar operations; threading and wood working tools, machine knives for the pulp, paper and metalworking industries; measuring tools reamers and so on
  • 1.2767
C 0,45 Si 0,20 Mn 0,40 Cr 1,30 Mo 0,30 Ni 4,00
Steel for highly stressed coining tools, cutlery dies, hobbing tools, cold shear blades for heavy - gauge material, plastic moulds.

This compoments allow to make a high performance Damascus Steel.