Compilation of Damascus Creation:


"There never was a good knife made from bad steel."

                                                  - Benjamin Franklin

To understand how this quotation is relevant, you have to understand a bit about metallurgy. When I first started bladesmithing, I did what most people do - and I made knives out of scrap steel. Steel where I could make a guess at the composition, but didn't really know for sure. Where I couldn't tell if there were micro-fractures. It led to some really cool looking knives - but ones where I couldn't be sure of the composition. Such as this knife, made from a rusted leaf spring:

Forged from a rusted leaf spring         

Heat treating is a science - not a mystical secret. There have been tomes of technical literature devoted to it, and even some excellent work specific to bladesmiths. Some key requirements in following these data sheets and reliable sources are:
  • You have to know your steel type (1095, AEB-L, 80CrV2, O1, etc)
  • You have to be able to hold it at a certain temperature for specific times
  • You have to use quench mediums appropriate to the steel
  • You have to be able to accurately test steel hardness (HRC)

Enter the evenheat kiln oven, used to heat treat steel from simple to highly complex and finicky. I've also switched over to using Parks 50 and Parks AAA - engineered quenchants designed specifically for heat treating the range of steels I employ.

Evenheat heat treat oven

The knives pictured are AEB-L stainless steel in stainless heat treat foil - which prevents oxides from forming and damaging the steel. Instead of using a quench oil, my stainless steel knives are quenched between thick aluminum plates - with forced air from a compressor to speed cooling:

Plate Quench

Some steel benefits from a cryogenic soak in liquid nitrogen, which happens after the initial quench:

Knives after soaking in liquid nitrogen

Each of my knives are made by hand, which takes time. Each additional step takes longer, and increases the cost of a knife. Remember that every piece of damascus that you see on my site starts as this:

Dark layers (1095) and silver layers (15n20) for a damascus billet in progress.

Cerakote is applied to some of my knives, either to protect the steel from oxidation, for aesthetics, or both. It's a ceramic based coating, with a higher lubricity than teflon - and I really enjoy coating screws to match or contrast with blades:

Pre-Coating Gas Out - Checking for any oil or other contamination

Curing a batch of knives, coated in Cerakote

Curing custom stainless handle screws, coated in Cerakote

This is just a glimpse into a few of the multitude of steps involved in producing hand made custom knives. For more pictures and videos, follow me on Instagram!