About Damascus / Pattern welded steel...

About Damascus / Pattern welded steel…

 

A brief overview

 

Despite its popularity Damascus steel is still widely misunderstood, even mystified, by a great number of people. The term Damascus steel is used as an umbrella for several differing techniques found across the globe and throughout history.

The earliest example goes back over 2500 years to a sword found in Germany. The technique to make such swords would have been used by the Saxons, Vikings and tribes in parts of southeast Asia to name a few. It can be more accurately called Pattern Welding.

Pattern Welding is the process of forge welding different types of steel together to combine different material properties for the benefit of swords. The Saxons developed this into an art, creating beautiful patterns in their steel, through twisting billets of layered steel together.

Japanese bladesmiths use a similar technique using the process of forge welding to refine their raw sword steel into a high layer count laminate, often in a composite construction of different material qualities to create their distinctive blades.

In Southern India a technique of making crucible steel, often referred to as wootz, developed and was used in swords across parts of Asia and the Middle East. Whilst this technique required no forge welding, it produces a pattern of its own through carbide clusters.

Each technique can be appreciated for both for its beauty and sophistication. They are examples of the way in which humans have circumnavigated historic limitations in technology, materials and scientific understanding to create tools so complex that they continue to impress us to this day.