Steel and patterns named Damascus
The myth around Damascus steel
The Damascus steel is shrouded in legend and myth which is part of it’s attraction. It has an aura tickling the imagination and brings our thoughts back to ancient master knife smiths sweating hard in the dark, only lit by the hearth where an iron staff or two is sizzling orange with the heat.
The original craftsmanship emerged in India a few hundred years after Christ and the region where it first met the sun named the technique. Almost at the same time the Arabs came with Wootz steel to the city of Damascus in Syria.
They continued to import the Wootz steel and used it with Indian technique to produces the hybrid steel in the weapon industry as the resulting blades had superior characteristics to others. This, hence led to the name Damascus steel.
Tradition & forging
Metallurgy and chemistry join together in making Damascus steel such an amazing way to forge kitchen knives. There’s a long tradition as well as ingenuity and development of the process.
While the original production process is mainly lost in the whirlwind of time, the legend and myth of the Damascus steel and blades lives on and has re-emerged a few hundred years back. Today the process and results are well known and respected
Over time, many different blends and variations of steel has been used in the forging of Damascus steel. Continuous development has led to ever improving steel types and variations pending on use as well as quality.
Just saying that a blade is of Damascus steel doesn’t give everything around the quality or which ideal use the blade would be for. The quality of raw steel or iron used for the blend as well as other ingredients are important. As is the temperature, pressure and timing. Read more about steel quality, hardness and it’s impact here.
Cutting deeper into the process of forging a blade
Forging a Damascus steel blade is a simple procedure to explain, though it takes great precision and patience to do it well. Take steel ingots forms that are folded within another metal type. The result can be up to several hundreds of layers. The density will be immense, and a pattern is sure to be in the steel blending of the different metals.
It’s appraised based on compression of the metal as well as integrity of the blade. It’s also appraised on flexibility or the ability to avoid breakage, shattering and managing sharpness of the edge. This structure is what allows the Damascus to have the sharpness and quality of the edge as it offers a thinner angle of the blade while keeping the longevity.
When heating and preparing the last of the Damascus steel, the furnace should be tempered at 1 500 to 2 000 degrees, pending the metal blending and some other attributes. Set the steel block of hundreds folded layers in the furnace.
After heating to correct temperature, cure (or harden) the metal for some time before bathing the steel in oil. Temper the steel ones more and then move to the finishing treatment. This is when you add the finishing to the blade. Etch the blade, remove and flush the blade in water. Repeat over and over until happy with the result. Use a phosphate to complete the finish.