The Hunt for Damascus

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Daerir
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The Hunt for Damascus

Postby Daerir » Mon May 19, 2014 9:53 pm

I know this may seem like a stretch but I'm looking for a Damascus sword blank, preferably long enough for a bastard sword or a longsword, all I can seem to find is about 20" blade length.
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ineffableone
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Re: The Hunt for Damascus

Postby ineffableone » Tue May 20, 2014 12:46 am

Daerir wrote:I know this may seem like a stretch but I'm looking for a Damascus sword blank, preferably long enough for a bastard sword or a longsword, all I can seem to find is about 20" blade length.


You might want to look for pattern welded sword blanks rather than "damascus" there is no such thing as damascus currently due to the secret to it's making being lost, also likely the critical ingredient wootz steel being another lost art making it difficult to make damascus.

Immediately searching pattern welded sword blank I saw this on ebay http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pattern-Welded-Tempered-Sword-Blank-/130447363377 though at $375 USD it is not much of a deal to buy this and finish the sword. But you might save some $.

If your able to hammer and forge the piece (though if you could I imagine3 you would just make your own pattern welded steel) another possible is http://www.ebay.com/itm/HAND-FORGE-DAMASCUS-STEEL-RAINDROP-BAR-FOR-BLADE-MAKING-PURPOSE-FREE-SHIP-/141273037820?pt=Collectible_Knives&hash=item20e4877bfc which is a 20" billet, the seller also sells round bars. You might also be able to send the seller a message and see if they can make the raw blade for you?

I wish you luck on your hunt, that first link is likely the only one you will find. I don't think there is a big pattern welded blank sword market.
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Re: The Hunt for Damascus

Postby Eric C » Tue May 20, 2014 1:41 am

ineffableone wrote:
Daerir wrote:I know this may seem like a stretch but I'm looking for a Damascus sword blank, preferably long enough for a bastard sword or a longsword, all I can seem to find is about 20" blade length.


You might want to look for pattern welded sword blanks rather than "damascus" there is no such thing as damascus currently due to the secret to it's making being lost, also likely the critical ingredient wootz steel being another lost art making it difficult to make damascus.



Check out Nova's special on the "Secrets of the Viking Sword." Google Ric Furer, who is featured in that special. Also, there are guys on www.bladesmithsforum.com who are experimenting with wootz. There is also an iron smelter's page on FB and some of the guys on there are playing with wootz. :wink: However that does not dismiss the fact that Damascus or wootz are still going to be quite expensive. But most people call pattern welding "Damascus" even though it is a misnomer. I do it just so people know what I am talking about.
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Peter Remling
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Re: The Hunt for Damascus

Postby Peter Remling » Tue May 20, 2014 2:21 am

How about this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CUSTOM-DAMASCUS ... 2ecc75d959


Unlike many sword blanks offered, this is already heat treated which would justify the higher than typical price tag.
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Elleth
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Re: The Hunt for Damascus

Postby Elleth » Tue May 20, 2014 2:23 am

how similar are the modern "damascus" patterns to the pattern welded norse / saxon pieces?

FWIW, I once visited a hammer in where they sucessfully made Wootz. I couldn't tell you the details - not my field- but I know they were happy to have pulled it off.

(one guy was showng off a katana he'd forged from river sand he'd collected and smelted himself, so they weren't lightweights.)
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ineffableone
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Re: The Hunt for Damascus

Postby ineffableone » Tue May 20, 2014 2:35 am

Eric C wrote:Check out Nova's special on the "Secrets of the Viking Sword." Google Ric Furer, who is featured in that special. Also, there are guys on http://www.bladesmithsforum.com who are experimenting with wootz. There is also an iron smelter's page on FB and some of the guys on there are playing with wootz. :wink: However that does not dismiss the fact that Damascus or wootz are still going to be quite expensive. But most people call pattern welding "Damascus" even though it is a misnomer. I do it just so people know what I am talking about.


Yep I am familiar with the Nova show, and with smiths trying to reproduce wootz, I actually went more in depth on another thread about it.

For me, I try to call it what it is, as the term damascus gives people the idea it is some special steel, while pattern welded lets them know it is just regular steel folded to create a pattern. And actually poorly done pattern welded steel can be inferior to regular steels. Sort of a little pet peeve of mine the term damascus steel.
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Eric C
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Re: The Hunt for Damascus

Postby Eric C » Tue May 20, 2014 10:28 am

Though I wouldn't go so far as to call it a pet peeve of mine, we do actually agree on this. :) But I don't want to take away from the topic at hand. We should discuss it some time though.
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RikJohnson
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Re: The Hunt for Damascus

Postby RikJohnson » Tue May 20, 2014 5:38 pm

a bit of trivia;
Damascus was and is a city in Syria where some of the best swords were made. They figured out how to take small quantities of really good steel and 'weld' then together in a manner that left a distinctive pattern when acid-etched. The folded steel katanas of Japan was a similar solution to the problem of crappy steel.

Damascus steel got such a good rep that Europe went crazy buying anything from Damascus to the point that the local smiths ran out of swords.
So unscrupulous dealers would buy cheap sword from India and elsewhere, then sell them as "Damascus" steel simply because the dealers lived and did business in Damascus. (sound familiar?)

Today, 'damascus' refers not to the steel but to the pattern in the steel and can better be called "damascusene pattern' but the steel isn't great steel, they just figured out how to copy the ancient pattern in cheap steel to sell to the gulliable.
Like people who insist that their stainless steel sword is folded 440 times because it is stamped such on the blade.

Yes, some good swordsmiths make really good blades in the Damascusene pattern and Swedish cable steel is great steel that shows the 'damascusene pattern' but you can get the same pattern with cheap steel so if you want a good blade, buy the steel, not the looks.
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