View Full Version : Damascus Swords... Watered Steel

18th November 2006, 06:02
Damascus Swords were a near mythical quality blade.
(up there with the Samuri Katana of the masters, in terms of keeness, but physically stronger)
Vastly superior to Spainish Steel - the best European efforst......

They employed a technique called 'Watered Steel'

Intresting article where scientists have uncovered Carbon nanotubes in their structure.


18th November 2006, 07:32
Interesting! Thanks for posting that. :)

18th November 2006, 08:32
There are a few knife makers that still use the older techniques Petr Dohnal in Czechaslovakia still does them this way. Most knife makers only use the damascus technique to make pretty designs in the blades.

I have several of his Damascus knives and they are scary sharp...



19th November 2006, 07:11

The modern Damascus steel is not strictly the same as the older techniques

They modern style is to take laminates of steel with different carbon contents and fold them into each other. This repeated folding casues the layers of the various steel crystals to be folded and merged. Provided the working temperature is not hot enough to re-melt the individual crystals of steel, the pattern comes our after bleaching the blade in acid.

The thing is that the original Damascus process was lost 300 years ago, and while damascus steel is still made, the original working has now been proved (some how, I aint no metalurgalist) not to be as re srult of this folding. The Katana and the Norse longsword were formed this way (though they were not bleached in acid, they rarely show the patterning).

Intrestingly, the longsword inolved bothe beating and twisting the steel to produce good strength and a reasonable ability to keep an edge, but was quite brittle to lateral forces (which is why they tend to be quite thick) . The problem for the Norse sword makers was that the steel they had to uses wa fairly crap, with too much carbon. The swordmakers there reduced some of the carbon by working the the steel through repeated working and folding from short rods, these were worked together to form a braid, and finally welded together.

The Damascus steel is believed to have been imported from India was worked directly from the ingots (called Wootz (or something like it!)

[edit typo! as if I dont have enough)

19th November 2006, 07:23

here is a link to a PDF which has some good close up of historical blades..... you can coompare the difference between the pattern welded viriety above and the originals.... they are simmilar in appearance, but metalurgically different.

19th November 2006, 21:32
Thanks!! Good stuff and beautiful blades.