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Damascus steel?

Does anyone know what damascus steel is? My son’s boss told him he’d
always wanted a ring made out of damascus steel. I don’t know that he
knew what it was either, just had seen something called that and
admired it. I’m suppose to look for it now. Annette

Damascus steel is not a unique kind of steel but rather a treatment
of different kinds of carbon or stainless steels and some alloys which
is layered much like mokume game. Some kinds are even forged with up
to 240 layers. There are several knifemaking courses, even a video,
which teach how to make it. Tim Mc Creight disscuses making and using
it in his book, Custom Knifemaking There are also several knifemaking
supply houses such as Texas Knifemaker’s Supply
( which carry billets of the more classic
patterns. Both Knives Illustrated or Blade could give
you more suppliers names.

“Damascus” steel is the popular name for a type of pattern welded
steel done using layers of differing grades of steel. It will have a
mottled appearance, and if done by a skilled smith can be coaxed to
produce actual picture-like patterns.

Ron Charlotte -- Gainesville, FL OR @Ron_Charlotte1

No doubt you will get some input much better than my first fumblings
here, Annette. If my memory serves me correctly, the very best
swords in ancient times were made out of Damascus steel. No doubt the
manufacture of it was a closely guarded secret. Today??? Some one
else, pick up the thread, please. Rose Alene McArthur

Annette, Damascus is forge welded steel, that is it’s made of layer
upon layer of steel which is heated , folded and forged together. It
is popular with custom knifemakers. You should be able to get some
from a knifemaker’s supply company. Check the ads in Knives
Illustrated or Blade magazines. I don’t know where you are, but you
might check to see if there are custom knifemakers in your area who
might sell you a small piece large enough to make a ring. Jerry in

Does anyone know what damascus steel is? My son's boss told him he'd

It is basically fold formed metal. It is more properly called
pattern welded, because many cultures used the technique including
the Norse and Japanese. Go to for some more
Jim Hrisoulas has written several books on the subject.
I’m not sure how it would work in a ring though. A similar look can
be archived using the Mokume Gane technique. See and look under the For Jewelers link.

Paul Ewing
Shining Moon Creations

Damascus Steel is made by forging two different types of steel,
usually hard and soft, together so that they form layers. If the steel
is forged well enough it will create layers of different steel on the
surface creating interesting patterns. This is an extract from Damascus steel, also called Damasked Steel, one of the
famous steels of the pre-industrial era, typically made into weapon
blades. Manufacture involved a secret carburisation process in which a
form of wrought iron was heated to red heat in contact with various
carbonaceous materials in closed vessels. The result was an
iron-carbon alloy containing as much as 1.8 percent carbon. It is
probable that the carburised product was then annealed to dissipate
some of the carbon before being hammered into bars for later
fashioning into articles such as swords.

Damascus steel is characterized by exceptional hardness and by a
watered, streaked appearance caused by the varying carbon levels of
the original material. Sometimes a single bar is welded up from
various kinds of steel. The bar is doubled over, welded, redoubled,
and rewelded until the various layers of steel become intertwined, and
it is then worked out to form the blade. The patterns that result
after quenching and finishing are distinctive and complex. Damascus
blades are judged largely by their watering, which serves as a guide
to the quality of the steel.

Hope this helps


While waiting for festivities to begin, I took a quick look at what
is out on the web regarding pattern-welded steel, and made a
selection from what I found. After looking at various sites, I am
going to refer you to three of the very best workers in Damascus:
Daryl Meier, Bill Fiorini, and Jim Hrisoulas. There are others, and I
included a random selection of these.

I believe a very good person to contact might be Daryl Meier. Daryl
is quite personable, a very nice man, and sells Damascus. I am sure
he would be willing to communicate with you either with a phone call,
or via email. His URL is:

A second person you might be interested in is Bill Fiorini. Take a
look at some of the jewelry that Bill has done with Damascus. I have
included not just his home page, but a separate page listing prices
for stock. Remember that Damascus is a h— of a lot of work! His
URL’s aRe:

Another master in the making of Damascus is Dr. Jim Hrisoulas. His
URL is:

Other sites I found that I liked aRe:

If you want to search and find the MANY sites I didn’t include, my
search parameters using Advanced Alta Vista weRe: damascus and
(“pattern welded” or pattern-welded)

Good luck!

In simplified terms, Damascus steel is made by fusing thin
laminations of two (very rarely more) steels (or iron) which have
different colors and/or textures. The resulting laminated billet is
manipulated by forging, grinding or milling, twisting, etc, to cause
the steel to display patterns which can be entirely random or with
some recognisable regularity. Some special patterns can be initiated
by carefully fusing shaped pieces of steel within the billet, but
this is an advanced technique. The patterns are usually enhanced by
acid or chemical etching, and/or by patination, which affects some
alloys of steel differently. The most frequent use of Damascus
steel, or pattern- welded steel, is by knifemakers. Damascus can
sometime be purchased through advertisments in knifemaking magazines
and catalogs, or directly through a blacksmith or bladesmith who
produces it.

In appearance, Damascus is similar in appearance to mokume gane. In
general, they are produced in similar ways, and the pattern induced
in the billet in similar manner.

There are a number of web sites, books, and magazine articles about
the production of Damascus. I would be happy to compile a list for
you, and/or a short list where you might purchase pattern welded
steel. You could make it yourself, but unless you are already
somewhat skilled in forging steel and accustomed to the labor
involved, it could be a daunting task.

If you are going to use Damascus in jewelry which wears against the
skin, it is usually lined in silver or gold, because not everyone’s
body chemestry is compatable with direct contact of iron, steel and
it’s alloys.

Where are you located? There is a possibility that there may be a
blacksmith or a bladesmith near you who can help. Most at least know
of someone who produces pattern welded steel. The chapter of ABANA
(Artist/Blacksmith’s Association of North America) to which I belong
here in Memphis, has several people who produce Damascus for their
own use, and one who produces Damascus for use primarily by a
specific commercial knifemake who buys almost all that he produces.
I have also made my own, but don’t do so with any regularity.

Please feel free to contact me either on or off list, if I can help.
I’ll email you any references I find or remember in the next few
days, my time to be somewhat consumed by family this weekend!

Follow the link:

  • darcy,5716,29097+1+28636,00.html?query=damascus%20steel


Damascus steel is made of laminated layers of steel, usually twisted
and formed to reveal a wood-grain pattern. We carry a large
selection of damascus steel rings in our gallery, made by artist Nam
Woo Cho. If I can help, email me.

Doug Zaruba

Hi Annette; You’re in my territory now. I’ve made lots of “damascus"
steel, which is really properly identified as “pattern welded steel”.
It’s a long story, and best researched in Dr. Cyril Stanley Smith’s
"A History of Metalology”. For a while, I worked for Daryl Meier, one
of America’s premier master knifemakers and a pioneer in the
re-discovery of the technique. Former president George Bush owns one
of Daryl’s knives, one I helped work on, as a matter of fact. I
would suggest a laminate of pure iron (wrought iron) and one of the
stainless alloys for a wearable article, since the “pattern” or wood
grain effect (think of mokume gane in ferrous metals) is reliant on
diffent responses of different alloys to etching and/or coloring.
Although mixtures containing high carbon alloys give nice
differentiation, they also rust readily. If you e-mail me an
address, I can hunt up a small piece from my scrap collection
sufficient for a ring, but I don’t have any of the stainless alloy
mixtures. Most of what I made were knives, and I wanted the
characteristics of the high carbon alloys. In short, the stuff I
have will rust, and it will be a while before I find time make more
with other combinations.

Why don’t you log on to the site;

They have a lot of links, and you could probably track down someone
who’s selling the stuff in stock form on then internet. Take a look
around, and if you don’t come up with any source, get ahold of me off
forum and I’ll track someone down for you. Also, if you look in a
catalog by Atlanta Cutlery, they may have raw stock too. I know
Daryl used to manufacture stock knife blade blanks which they sold to

I’m at: @David_L_Huffman

Annette, Your best bet is to find a supplier to the knife making
craft. They use often use Damascus for knife blades. Tim

I would suggest a laminate of pure iron (wrought iron) and one of the
stainless alloys 
Have you ever tried welding wrought to stainless?  It's not
pretty, especially without a press.  

Also, wrought iron will produce its own woody pattern when 
etched.  I make jewelry from it and consider it a precious

As for wearable, if you want full ease of wearability, I would
then recommend Damasteel.  It is a pattern welded stainless
steel.  Makes very lovely knives and the layer contrast is
very good.  I just saw an example by D. Holder and it was very
pretty.  I'm sure it would make good stainless jewelry, though
I have heard it is rather expensive.

Art Hubbard also made a very nice pattern welded steel, but
sadly he died about two years ago.  He held the patents on
pattern welded stainless.



Hi Annette,

Damascus Steel is much like Mokume Gane, but made with steel (as the
name implies), not precious metals. I would suggest introducing the
client to this material, as its more suitable for jewelry and he might
be receptive.

You can also buy mokume stock from Reactive Metals Studio:

Good luck,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Hi Demon;

Can’t weld wrought iron to stainless? I’ve done it and it’s not
that difficult. But I said “pure iron”, and specifically because of
wrought iron’s slag inclusion graininess, not it’s weldability. I
use wrought iron in jewelry too, alone, not welded, and I etch it
heavily till it looks like drift wood. But a pure iron (I’ll have to
look up the supplier, it’s actually in the orchid archives, I
believe) will weld to some stainless alloys, fairly easily to ASTMA D
or E, with a wide range of welding temperatures. This is also the
stainless of choice to weld to wrought iron. (See a book called
"Decorative & Sculptural Ironwork" by Dona Meilach for a usefull
chart on weldability and working characteristics of some basic
combinations of steels on page 221; it discusses stainless/wrought
iron combinations too). Why pure iron anyway? Because you’ll get a
good contrast to the stainless alloy and it’s going to be fairly
resistant to corrosion due to it’s lack of carbon. I don’t know
about “damasteel”. Where can I find on it? By the way,
have you seen some of the things Hank Nickmeyer has done in "mosaic"
damascus using a hydraulic press? I went to one of his workshops,
and that press is definitely the way to go if pattern weld is your

David L. Huffman

I saw one of the most beautiful things at tuscon two years ago, and
was wondering if anyone had a source for it… Damascus meteorite.
anybody see this beautiful site or can tell me where I can get
some??? -julia

Many thanks for all the on Damascus Steel. Over and over
again I am so impressed with Orchid’s capabilities. A huge thank you
to Hanuman and any others behind the scenes. Since Thanksgiving is our
time here in the US to give thanks we could send Hanuman some turkey,
but the poor guy would be buried with it from all us greatful
Orchidites. Annette

Correction of a typo on that stainless alloy that will weld to
wrought iron. It’s ASTMA 203 D or E. Pure nickel might work too,
but I’ve never found a good source for it in stock shapes that I
like. By the way, I have seen that “Damasteel” you mention, DB.
Looks great. I think you’re absolutely right. That would be the
ideal way to go to make a ring, since it’s using all stainless.
Wonder what they use to etch one steel and not the other though. And
if one of them will etch, is it reactive to skin acids? Here’s the
site I looked at:

However, when I went to check out the site you mentioned for pure
iron, there was nothing there but a title and the word “e-mail:”.
Maybe my browser is too old and there’s some java script the site is
calling that this software doesn’t know. Let me know if it works for
you. Can’t find the URL now anyway.

David L. Huffman