Help Id'ing Damascus

Discussion in 'Hot Metal' started by SS369, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. SS369

    SS369 Member

    Good day All.

    Went to the Blade Show and had a wonderfully overwhelming time. Did my best to support and "economically invest" in many vendor's goods.
    Purchased supplies and materials, most sans receipts, no problem, except one.
    I bought some Damascus, one billet I suspect is stainless.
    My challenge now is to identify if it is so I can heat treat it.
    Any ideas please?
    IMG_4267 - Copy.JPG

    Attached Files:

  2. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    Did you buy anything from Alabama Damascus? That sorta looks like a Raindrop pattern.
  3. SS369

    SS369 Member

    I did purchase some from Ala. Damascus. But not this particular piece.
    I'm thinking maybe it is a pyramid pattern (?)
  4. SS369

    SS369 Member

    Have I posted this to the wrong section?
  5. Ty Adams

    Ty Adams KNIFE MAKER

    No you didn't post in the wrong place. I think maybe there are to many variables to what kind of steel it is. You might try a simple heat treat on a small piece to find out if it gets hard. Maybe treat it like 1084?
  6. EdCaffreyMS

    EdCaffreyMS Forum Owner - Moderator

    That's the pickle a lot of folks get into when buying damascus billets. Unless you can positively identify where it came from/who made it, and get a positive ID from the maker. all you can do is a guess. Based on the image, it's obviously a low layer count, generally indicative of stainless damascus, but that's just an educated guess. It could just as easily be carbon based.
  7. SS369

    SS369 Member

    Thank you both.
    Hopefully someone has some more possible ideas or suggestions.

  8. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    Do you remember buying any stainless Damascus? That stuff is usually VERY expensive, more so than carbon based Damascus. If you didn't purchase any stainless, HT as a carbon Damascus and see how it works.
  9. SS369

    SS369 Member

    I think I decided to impulsively plop down some dollars on stainless, but that could be a wishful memory. It was very hard not to completely empty my wallet.
    The piece, 12' x 1 1/4" was $ 100.00 + -, if the memory is real. Like I said, I didn't get or ask for any receipts. (Mistake not to happen again!) Show specials and all that..

    Is there an acid or reactant test? Some kind of metallurgical test or inspection that a layperson could do?

    Thank you.

  10. SS369

    SS369 Member

    After numerous unsuccessful emails, I have come to an impasse. A beautiful (expensive) blank without a heat treat recipe.
    Anyone have a suggestion please?
  11. C Craft

    C Craft Well-Known Member

    Probably not the one to ask here but, if you don't know what the steel make-up, you are reduced to trial and error. If you decide on the shape of your knife and anything that is not knife is a trial and error piece. HT it and take it thru the entire process. Just as you would the knife blade and then you can check to see if it skates a file.
    If it did it hardened. That doesn't mean you got the full potential out of the steel that just means it hardened! You should be able to break the piece and look at the grain, and tell a little more about it.

    Next time, you buy Damascus, ask all about it, if the maker doesn't want to give you a summary of what is in and the best HT for the Damascus he is selling. Walk away, cause he's got something to hide or he don't have a clue what he has created.

    I have seen new guys trying to create Damascus after their first try at forging. My way of thinking, that is akin to walking up to the Rodeo and saying, I want to ride the biggest meanest bulls you have got!!! Yep go ahead, I am in for a good laugh!!!

    These days there is a lot of Pakistan Damascus running around and it is sold as great stuff. Very little of it has anything but an interesting pattern!!

    Sorry, I know that is not what you want to hear but that is the best advice I can give you at this point!
  12. SS369

    SS369 Member

    Thank you C Craft. Your advice is sound and I have learned a lesson, no doubt.
    Totally my failure, but memory loss (and lack of receipt) is a tough pill as well.

    Since I don't have my own equipment for heat treating I will have to rely on someone to do it and I don't know if anyone would be willing to "play" with this type of thing. At least at a affordable cost that is.

    Getting the full potential out of any blade is the goal, but settling for less may be the only option I have, so far.

    Thanks again.

  13. C Craft

    C Craft Well-Known Member

    Put out the word for your area and maybe someone locally who is set-up to do HT can help. You would be amazed at most folks on this forum will bend over backwards to help someone getting started. I don't live in Georgia and don't know what part you are from but, there is a good chance there's a smith somewhere close to you!! Best advice I can give you!!!
  14. SS369

    SS369 Member

    What an awesome thing that would be, to hook up with a kindred spirit close by.
    I'm in West Georgia, due west of Atlanta.

    Thanks for the encouragement and advice.


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