Making a Knife From Failed Damascus

I made myself a damascus billet. Or, rather, I failed at making a damascus billet. Many of the forge welds didn't stick and the billet looked like a big overly dry dog turd.

I could have thrown it out, but I decided to persevere and see if I could make something, anything out of it. As it turned out, I made myself a workshop knife that is wicked sharp and I really like the organic gnarly look of the splits and fails. There was enough decent steel for the blade part.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Billet

I won't go in to how to make a damascus billet as I obviously don't know what I'm talking about.

You could, of course, do this with a decent billet of damascus if you are lucky enough to be one of the many many people with better skills than me.

Step 2: Forge

Unfortunately I don't have photos of the forging process as I was busy forging and swearing at the time.

The essence was to find a part of the billet where the welds were good and hammer that into enough steel for an acceptable blade.

From there I stretched and cajoled the steel into as long and tapered a handle as I could manage where any holes and flakes would be incorporated into the handle ensuring the handle still had, like me, just about enough integrity to get by.

Step 3: Daily Grind

I forged the piece into the rough shape I wanted, then used files and a belt sander to shape it further. I shaped it with a belly that would be useful for cutting leather (for my next project) and a sharpish point (also for leather). Once happy with the shape I roughly sharpened it. The full sharpening would wait until after the heat treatment.

Step 4: Heat Treat

Once again, no photos of this part as I had a red hot piece of metal in my hand at the time.

I heated it to non magnetic then plunged it into some oil.

Step 5: Come Up and See My Etchings

Once cooled and all the crud had been washed and sanded off, I etched it 1 part ferric chloride to 2 parts distilled water. This took about 15 mins to get to the stage I liked it.

I didn't have a big enough container handy to do it in one go and was too impatient to go and get one.

I neutralised the acid with some acetone as that's what I had to hand.

Step 6: Clean Up and Polish

Uh, clean it up. And polish it.

Step 7: Job Done. Almost.

Here's the finished item. I have sharpened it properly now and it cuts like a broken heart.

Step 8: Add to the Wall of Half Finished or Half Assed Projects..

The other damascus blade on the wall is for a folder and came from the good end of the billet.

Share

    Recommendations

    • Indoor Lighting Contest

      Indoor Lighting Contest
    • Metal Contest

      Metal Contest
    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge

    Discussions