bimetal



"Damascus barrels" are pattern-welded.
--RC
"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells 'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets fly with a club. -- John W. Cambell Jr.
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granpaw wrote:

I would offer that "pattern welded steel" is perhaps the closest description.
I suspect that the pattern was a byproduct of attempts to mfg. barrels from less than high quality metals, at least when they started making them in that manner.
Most of the shotgun barrels I have seen had quite an obvious pattern that appeared to me to have been formed by welding several layers, twisting it, then wrapping it about a mandrel and welding it together.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 19:25:07 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:
<snipped>

Pattern welded steel has been called damascus for hundreds of years now, not because of modern bladesmiths. It was just in recent years what your'e refering to as "true" damascus is now what most call wootz.
Forger
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This pokes at one of my hobby horses, which I'm going to address with a short message, rather than at length. (I wrote an article for a metalworking magazine on the subject once). Quickly, the term "damascus" is not properly used for any form of pattern-welded blade (Merovingian, Japanese, Indonesion, or the modern custom knives that the makers call "damascus"). The blades that were originally sold to the west through the markets of Damascus had a grained pattern not entirely disimilar visually to pattern-welded steel, but were never pattern-welded. The material was manufactured by a controlled melt, very slow cool process that precipitated large carbide crystals within a eutectoid matrix. The material is also known as Wootz. The Victoria and Albert museum has a wonderful collection of true Damascus blades, if anyone happens to be visiting London. The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto also has a few examples, I'm sure there are examples in many other museums in North America, that just happens to be where I've seen them.
This is not to be taken as a criticism of pattern-welded blades, or pattern-welding, which is a worthy activity (though over-hyped), it is just to get it on the record that true damascus steel and pattern-welding are completely unrelated.
See "A History of Metallography" by Cyril Stanley Smith, which is, by the way, an absolutely wonderful book, though very hard to find. Available for use in most decent size university libraries.
Regards,
Adam Smith, Midland, ON

from
rewelding
and
one
chipped
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On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 14:28:49 -0500, "Private"

I would disagree that pattern welded steel and "true" damascus are completely unrelated. Isnt the belief now that the relationship was that they were two types of steel of similar appearance? And wasnt there some theories that while trying to duplicate the one form of steel, the other was created? Isnt it also true that we really dont know the "true" origins of damascus steel? It would also be interesting to know how long pattern welded steel was referred to as damascus, and how long it has been thought of as something other than damascus. The one other thing that puzzles me is if damascus is not pattern welded steel, it is really wootz... then why call it damascus, why not call it wootz?
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wrote:

That's certainly true. But the relationship pretty much ends there. See, for example.
http://damascus.free.fr/f_damas/quest.htm

I don't see how that could be as pattern welding pre-dates true damascus, at least in Europe and damascus gets its pattern naturally.
Here's an example of true damascus: http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/pat05.html

Not to my knowledge. I thought it was quite well established that true damascus (wootz) steel was invented in India before the birth of Chirst and the technique of superplastic forging for wootz was invented in the same place not too long afterwards.

I suspect strongly there was a lot of misleading advertising associated with the confusion in the Middle Ages. Kind of like the running wolf mark on sword blades.

Because the steel and especially the blades entered the West through the city of Damascus, which was the the western terminus of the Silk Road. 'Wootz' is a corruption of 'ukku', the word for it in several Indian languages. That was applied to the material independently at the end of the 18th Century as Europeans, especially English, became more familar with the centers of its production.
For a more complete explanation of just what the stuff is and some of its history, see: http://metalrg.iisc.ernet.in/~wootz/heritage/WOOTZ.htm
Or, for the more metalurgically inclined: http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/9809/Verhoeven-9809.html

--RC
"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells 'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets fly with a club. -- John W. Cambell Jr.
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On Fri, 24 Dec 2004 08:50:19 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:

I think Ive read through most of those sites, all very interesting. I especially liked the viking site. But before you accept everything as truth, read this one, http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Damascus+steel and notice how things that were once accepted are now thought of as false. Someone mentioned a good point in this thread about shotguns. Where are the pictures of the original "true" wootz shotgun barrels? The word damascus has been used to describe pattern welded steel since I was a kid, and probably a few years before that.
This is *the* article from sept 1998: http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/9809/Verhoeven-9809.html
So for several thousand years pattern welded steel has been called damascus, and for 7 years its been thought perhaps it was originally a "crescent wrench" sort of term and a few PC folks would like to make the point not that "wootz" was the original, but that the forge welded steels for the last few centuries are false. To me grampa's wall hangin double barrel is damascus :). The steel I make I call damascus, same with everyone I know. If I made the cucible steel I would call it wootz.
Forger (I'm still waiting for someone to travel far enough into space to look back and say "OMG, the world shes a flat!")
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wrote:

That's of course true. But the version I gave is, AFIK, the latest and best information.
BTW: The dictionary entry you quote is somewhat off on a number of points, for example when damascus blade smithing died out (quality damascus blades were being made until about 1750) -- nor is there any doubt that at least most of the steel used in damascus blades was imported from India. There may have been steel furnaces built in Syria to duplicate the material, but importation of wootz steel for blades and armor in the middle east continued through the 18th Century. (It's also unlikely any middle eastern furnaces were successful in producing particularly good damascus steel since the characteristic patterning of Fe3C is highly influenced by the presence of vanadium in the mix. See the 1998 reference you cite below).

I don't know that wootz steel was ever used to make shotgun barrels. There were a lot of pattern welded barrels made in the 19th century, but those didn't use wootz.
European crucible steel was, I believe, also used to make shotgun barrels, but those didn't display a pattern and they weren't called 'damascus.'

Nope. Not hardly. The practice of referring to pattern welded steel as 'damascus' doesn't go back beyond the middle ages, and may date to the 16th Century.

Forge welded steels are not at all false. But they are not what was originally called damascus. Nor are they made by anything like the same method.
Making the distinction is not a matter of political correctness. There are a large number of existing true damascus blades and a few people are even trying to revive the process. The true damascus and pattern welding are so different it is worthwhile trying to preserve the distinction, at least in semi-technical discussions.

Modern smiths do indeed call it damascus, which has passed into common parlance, but the more knowledgable smiths separate 'true damascus', from pattern welding, which is what modern bladesmiths do.

That would be a misnomer unless you made it in a particular way. Wootz is only one type of crucible steel and far from the most common.

--RC
"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells 'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets fly with a club. -- John W. Cambell Jr.
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On Fri, 24 Dec 2004 18:16:04 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:

http://www.agsfoundation.com/safety/gloss_d.html
http://yarchive.net/gun/barrel/damascus_barrels.html
http://members.aol.com/illinewek/faqs/oldsteel.htm
gunner
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On Fri, 24 Dec 2004 18:16:04 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:

Your comprehension skills either require sharpening or layoff the eggnog while reading :) We were discussing two types of steels, pattern welded and the crucible steel wootz. When I say if 'I made the crucible steel I would call it wootz', should be easy to assume I mean if I made the crucible steel called wootz, I would call it (as does everybody) *wootz* LOL. I think the word *the* instead of *a* would lead one to understand that I wasnt referring to just any crucible steel, but *the* crucible steel in question. To help clarify things for you let me say that myself, and everyone I knew before the Sept 1998 article was published that made pattern welded steel called it damascus. It was not to be deceptive, in fact it was always explained as forge welded pattern steel, folded and welded over and over. This was called damascus, had been for virtually ever. The people that called pattern welded steel damascus include the very "knowledgeable smiths" you speak of. After 1998 there is now the notion that the original steel the ancients called damascus was the crucible steel called wootz. Everyone into bladesmithing in 1998 knows this. I still call my steel damascus. I know some "knowledgeable smiths" that also refer to their pattern welded steel as damascus. I know no bladesmiths that make pattern welded steel that dont call it damascus. Yet they can and will all explain to you the differences in wootz and pattern welded. See how I phrased that, not *damascus and pattern welded*, that would just be confusing, wouldnt it?
Forger
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wrote:

Perhaps, but even then the knowledgable collectors and smiths distinguished between true damascus and pattern welded steel.
This isn't, as you imply, a new distinction. It goes back a long time. It's an important distinction in some cases.

The modern smiths are not trying to be deceptive. The deception associated with the name was much earlier. Like the running wolf mark.

The very knowledgable smiths also knew and understood the distinction. I'm sorry if you had never heard of it, but the references cited should indicate to you that it is very common knowledge in the community.

Wrong. The point was well understood for a long, long time before that.
To give you one data point, Jay Burnam Kidwell, the guy who first showed me how to forge pattern welded damascus back in the early 80s could expound on the difference. So could Jess Hawley, the man who taught me smithing in the 1970s. And they weren't pioneers in this understanding.

This isn't merely a notion. It's a well established fact.

Sigh. Of course they call it damascus. However they -- or almost all of them -- know that the term 'damascus' can refer to two different things.

I think you're seriously confused here, all right. What you don't seem to grasp is that the term damascus is used for two different kinds of steels. This may be because you think the distinction only dates to 1998. That is nonsense. The distinction goes back at least well over a century to the 19th Century revival of pattern welding and quite likely a lot further.
Both uses are equally legitimate -- just as (to return to an earlier thread in this NG) 'dulcimer' refers to two completely different stringed instruments. However there is a distinction both in dulcimers and damascus and that distinction is worth preserving. In fact if you're a collector or a scholar it's vital to preserve it.
--RC

"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells 'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets fly with a club. -- John W. Cambell Jr.
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On Sun, 26 Dec 2004 05:47:23 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:

Thank you, you agree with me, this was my original post in this thread: On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 19:25:07 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:
<snipped>

Pattern welded steel has been called damascus for hundreds of years now, not because of modern bladesmiths. It was just in recent years what your'e refering to as "true" damascus is now what most call wootz.
Forger
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wrote:

Where did you get the idea that I believed anything different? You seem to have been exordinarily confused over this whole business.

No, it is still called true damascus.

--RC
"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells 'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets fly with a club. -- John W. Cambell Jr.
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On Sun, 26 Dec 2004 20:17:12 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:

Holy crap... show me one of these freakin so-called expert knowledgable bladesmiths that talks about *true* damascus WITHOUT having to say the word WOOTZ! Just one website or book by someone other than yourself that was published sometime other than today that talks about the crucible steel wootz that calls it *true damascus* without anywhere having to mention the word wootz. Can I make this any clearer?
Forger
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wrote:

Ask and ye shall receive: http://home.att.net/~moltenmuse/classificattion.htm
That took me all of 30 seconds of looking. Why didn't you bother to look yourself?

I think you have sufficently elucidated your confusion. You seem to feel that true damascus is properly referred to as 'wootz' steel and that the seem 'damascus' should be reserved for pattern welded material.
Your confusion stems from your failure to grasp three facts.
1) Originally the term 'damascus' did not refer to pattern-welded blades. That is a later terminological mixup, perhaps going back to the 13th Century when there is a resurgence of pattern welded blades in Europe. Pattern welding of blades in Europe had largely died out about 1000-1100 AD, probably because the development of more advanced ironworking techniques allowed the production of a higher-quality, more homogenous product. The speculation is that the 13th century resurgence was an attempt to imitate the surface patterns which had become desirable with the awareness of Damascus blades from the middle east.
2) Most collectors and scholars still refer to such blades as 'damascus' or 'true damascus'. You'd know this if you'd bothered to read the references I provided, or even scan arms dealers and museum catalogs. Most modern smiths and knife makers continue the use of the term 'damascus' for pattern welded blades. However very few of them confuse pattern welding with true damascus.
The confusion in terminology is unfortunate, but it's not fatal. If it were a problem, the logical thing to do would be to ditch the term 'damascus' for 'pattern welded.'
3) (Here's the tricky one.) Not all blades made of wootz steel qualify as 'damascus.' Damascus blades have a patterned surface and if you read the references provided, you'll see that not all blades made with wootz steel develop the characteristic patterning.
As you can see from the references, there are several different things involved (putatively) in producing the banding of iron carbides which is responsible for the patterns in true damascus.
One thing that is definitely involved is superplastic forging at relatively low heat. This not only improved the quality of the finished blade, it also preserved the carbide patterning which could be destroyed by working the material at too high a temperature.
The second thing that may well have been involved is the use of certain specific iron ores which included vanadium. Vanadium (and, I believe, titanium) encourage development of carbide banding.
This was often futher enhanced by removing part of the stock in patterns to give specific designs on the finished blades. However true damascus has a distinct and very obvious surface pattern whether it is subjected to stock removal or not.
Wootz steel worked at the wrong temperature (or perhaps made from the wrong ores) did not produce a damascus blade because it lacked the characteristic surface markings and did not exhibit the superior characteristics of damascus.

--RC
"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells 'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets fly with a club. -- John W. Cambell Jr.
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On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 05:31:40 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:

Why do you think I put my ass on the line to ask you to show a website like that? Because you cant. Did you read that at all? Look at the home page, you can read cant you? You dont even have to do a *find*, just read a few sentences, you're just grasping, lets drop this now, you want to call damascus shotgun barrels not true damascus thats fine. Blame it on the modern bladesmiths, yes the very ones that kept this thing alive, and the very ones that figured out *true damascus*
Forger
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wrote:

Actually I just did. That rather comprehensive discussion of the kinds of true damascus and associated metallurgy with no mention whatsoever of the word 'wootz'. That's typical of technical disucssion or a discsussion among collectors

You mean that because there's another page on the web site that discusses the difference between true damascus and pattern welding, this somehow fails your 'challenge.' Sorry, you weren't clear.

Yes, please.

Wrong again. It was not the modern bladesmiths who 'figured out' true damascus. That was done by metallurgists and experimenter going back at least to the mid-19th century Russian efforts by Anasov and others. It's true that a few modern bladesmiths have been involved -- notably Pendray -- but their work was collaborative.
Again, read the references.

--RC
"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells 'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets fly with a club. -- John W. Cambell Jr.
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Forger wrote:

The name "damascus " was assosciated with patterned steel through contact first made in the Damascus region.
The name sort of got co-opted to mean a lot of different things.
There is a lot of good info online. Try a search for "wootz" along with the name "Pendray". Al(?) Pendray was one of the folks that was able to reproduce the original wootz process utilizing a pile of historical and archeological evidence, as well as modern science, like spectrometric analysis of original sword steel segments.
Pattern welding was not unique to the reproduction of Damascus steel. It was used, as was pointed out here, by the Japanese, Indonesians, and others. Sometimes for decorative purposes, sometimes to make practical use of limited supplies of high quality steel.
The Sutton Hoo sword is a stunning example of pattern welding that was far too intricate to have been done except by design.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Garrett Fulton wrote:

No truth to it whatsoever. But it plays well to the rubes along the way. Helps to explain things to the ignorant, without leaving them any less so. Particularly, it explained away the reasons that godless heathens could make a sword steel that was so far superior to the stuff made for and by gods own holy crusaders.
Slaves were worth a lot more for the work they could do (labor, not just skilled) in 20 or more years of use.
And besides, all the caustic crud from inside any one of us would be pure nastiness to have to clean off of a blade, once it burnt on, and writhing bodies don't make for a consistent quench, methinks.
Lots of info online. Search for the term "Wootz" as well as "Damascus Steel".
AFAIK Bimetal blades are just that, two metals. IIRC HSS is used for the cutting teeth and a short distance behind them, and a tough but not hard steel is used to provide the flexible support.
I would say that the bimetal blades had more in common with some laminated knife blades (such as used on some Japanese and Finnish knives) than they would have with any form of Damascus.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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