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#7020056 - 01/01/18 01:08 PM A question about Damascus steel
603Country Offline
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Registered: 07/03/12
Posts: 6149
Loc: Central Texas
Recently I did some woodworking for a guy, and I did it for free, but he insisted on giving me a knife with a Damascus steel blade. I admire the look of that type blade, but have never used one for deer and hog skinning. Will it hold an edge as well as other Ďcommoní steels?

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#7020147 - 01/01/18 02:29 PM Re: A question about Damascus steel [Re: 603Country]
Bush Monkey Knives Online   content
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Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 1930
Loc: Era, Texas
You ask a very good question and one I don't have a direct answer to. However, two factors come to mind -

1. Every steel has an optimal heat treat process that involves specific temperatures, soak times, quench temperature, type of quenchant and temper down temperatures.

2. I don't know how you can heat treat different types of steel in a single blade and adhere to the optimal heat treat process for each type of steel simultaneously.

If heat treat is steel specific, I don't think it's possible to heat treat different steels to their optimum simultaneously as in the case of all Damascus steels.
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#7020197 - 01/01/18 03:06 PM Re: A question about Damascus steel [Re: Bush Monkey Knives]
bjankowski Offline
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Registered: 04/22/10
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Originally Posted By: Bush Monkey Knives
You ask a very good question and one I don't have a direct answer to. However, two factors come to mind -

1. Every steel has an optimal heat treat process that involves specific temperatures, soak times, quench temperature, type of quenchant and temper down temperatures.

2. I don't know how you can heat treat different types of steel in a single blade and adhere to the optimal heat treat process for each type of steel simultaneously.

If heat treat is steel specific, I don't think it's possible to heat treat different steels to their optimum simultaneously as in the case of all Damascus steels.


Great answer and I'd also like to interject depends on the specific knife maker. I know some new knife makers that don't have a clue how to get the optimum performance from any material much less Damascus. A lot of Damascus comes from India and Pakistan made from inferior metals without knowing who made it or where it came from all I can suggest is sharpen it and give it a shot. You don't have anything to lose just take a back up knife. Who knows it might just be the best darn knife you've ever owned.
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God is good always; always, God is good!

"If thou wilst a keen edge win
forge it thick and grind it thin"


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#7020292 - 01/01/18 04:04 PM Re: A question about Damascus steel [Re: 603Country]
603Country Offline
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Registered: 07/03/12
Posts: 6149
Loc: Central Texas
Well, truth be known...I really didnít need another knife for skinning. Still, it was a nice gift that Iíll probably never use. But since it was Damascus type Steel, I wanted input from you guys.

Like a lot of the guys, I love knives. Donít know why. And I have a drawer full of fixed and folders that didnít have good enough steel to stay in the starting lineup. My number one skinner is an old Browning 3 blade skinner (saw, gut hook, and blade) that I got as a gift back in the early 80ís. Some sort of Japanese Steel that takes and holds an edge like nothing else I ever used. My newest is a Benchmade Griptilian, and it has good Steel, but still canít match up with the Browning.

The Bokers, Pumas, Bucks, Camillus, Gerbers, and others are in a drawer.

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#7020396 - 01/01/18 05:02 PM Re: A question about Damascus steel [Re: 603Country]
bjankowski Offline
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Registered: 04/22/10
Posts: 4067
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Originally Posted By: 603Country
Well, truth be known...I really didnít need another knife for skinning. Still, it was a nice gift that Iíll probably never use. But since it was Damascus type Steel, I wanted input from you guys.

Like a lot of the guys, I love knives. Donít know why. And I have a drawer full of fixed and folders that didnít have good enough steel to stay in the starting lineup. My number one skinner is an old Browning 3 blade skinner (saw, gut hook, and blade) that I got as a gift back in the early 80ís. Some sort of Japanese Steel that takes and holds an edge like nothing else I ever used. My newest is a Benchmade Griptilian, and it has good Steel, but still canít match up with the Browning.

The Bokers, Pumas, Bucks, Camillus, Gerbers, and others are in a drawer.


It's nice to get a gift.
_________________________
www.jankcustomknives.com
God is good always; always, God is good!

"If thou wilst a keen edge win
forge it thick and grind it thin"


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#7020400 - 01/01/18 05:06 PM Re: A question about Damascus steel [Re: 603Country]
603Country Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 07/03/12
Posts: 6149
Loc: Central Texas
It is, and there have been many times that iíve Thoughtto have one of you talented fellows make me a special knife. The problem is that I donít really know what I want, so I watch what you fellow show on the forum -hoping for inspiration.

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#7021874 - 01/02/18 03:27 PM Re: A question about Damascus steel [Re: 603Country]
MikeC Offline
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Registered: 08/09/05
Posts: 13519
Loc: Grayson County
I can't speak speak for other sources of Damascus especially the imported stuff but the Alabama Damascus billets that I use are composed to 5160, 52100, 15N20 and a small percentage of 203N just for contrast. The three primary steels all have an optimal heat treating temp of 1525į which is what I use in my oven. I use light mineral oil to quench Damascus and then check each and every blade on a Rockwell hardness tester and then temper at temps ranging from 375į to 425į to achieve a final hardness of 59 to 60 HRC. I check every blade both after hardening and after tempering to assure that each blade is the best that I can produce.
A knife maker should be able to tell you exactly how hard a blade is instead of just giving you a range of what it could be.
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#7023995 - 01/03/18 10:22 PM Re: A question about Damascus steel [Re: MikeC]
Bush Monkey Knives Online   content
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Registered: 02/07/11
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Loc: Era, Texas
As mentioned previously: Every steel, including 5160, 52100, 15N20 and 203N has an optimal heat treating regime that consists of more than just a shared critical temperature. The time a specific steel is exposed to a specific temperature during ramp up and soak is important. And, it is therefore not possible to observe the optimal heat treating regime for different steels in the same blade.

In the final analysis, Damascus steel is used for reasons that are unrelated to performance or utility.

It is also worth noting that there is much more to heat treating than achieving a specific Rockwell Hardness. I doubt any real world knife user could distinguish + or - 5 Rockwell points during actual use of the tool.


Edited by Bush Monkey Knives (01/04/18 08:05 AM)
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#7036678 - 01/13/18 09:43 AM Re: A question about Damascus steel [Re: 603Country]
chopsknives Offline
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Registered: 09/30/09
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Damascus blades are sought after for their performance and utility as well as their cool look! Damascus will form a micro serrated edge with use - even when too dull to cut, with movement it will still cut even thin paper (see youtube video on smoky mountain knives featuring Brad Vice owner of Alabama Damascus Steel)

They are also valued for their ability to withstand impacts that would break single steels - when Alabama Damascus was tested by swordmaker Wes Hibben (Gill Hibben's son) he found he was not able to break it

As far as heat treating it's no prob - it has more to do with retained austenite, and then there is pearlite (not the beer!) and other edge killing formations so the same blades treated by diff makers will perform differently depending on the makers ability.

As far as not being able to tell the diff between a knife at 55HRC and 60HRC you must be doing it wrong! I sure can and quickly!

It's wrong to make broad statements like all Damascus because not all Damascus is the same - especially when you use things like car bumpers and shipping containers to make it! (Pakistani)
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#7037093 - 01/13/18 04:38 PM Re: A question about Damascus steel [Re: chopsknives]
Bush Monkey Knives Online   content
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Registered: 02/07/11
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Loc: Era, Texas
Your position regarding optimal heat treating of different steels simultaneously is not tenable. Compromises are made when heat treating any blade composed of different steels. A "broad statement" which applies to logic can always be made.
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#7037104 - 01/13/18 04:45 PM Re: A question about Damascus steel [Re: chopsknives]
bjankowski Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 04/22/10
Posts: 4067
Loc: Burleson, Tex and Possum Kingd...
Originally Posted By: chopsknives
and then there is pearlite (not the beer!)




Dog Gone It! I was wondering why I wasn't getting beer out of em. roflmao

BTW Brad Vice is a great guy to deal with, even his Vice Cutlery is a great product for the money, better prices than that import junk made out of God knows what.
_________________________
www.jankcustomknives.com
God is good always; always, God is good!

"If thou wilst a keen edge win
forge it thick and grind it thin"


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