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cheap damascus?...but not for a knife

Discussion in 'Hammer & Tongs' started by marc4fishing, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. marc4fishing


    May 23, 2011
    I figured I'd make the guys I stand watch with some christmas presents. I was thinking some sort of bracelet...I've never made damascus but have access to 304 stainless and mild steel...should I just buy cheap damascus or should I give it a shot?...and if I were to buy some ...where should i look
  2. Augus7us


    Oct 9, 2014
    For bracelets I think its fine to pick up a few bars of the cheap stuff on eBay or amazon or wherever else you could get it. Truthfully I have no idea. Since these items do not require good edge retention or even heat treated I see no downsides to it unless you get tempted to make a knife out of it.

    The stainless / mild Damascus is a much greater challenge. I've never made stainless Damascus. I believe most folks use canisters and argon and require a press and hammer to do it. Very difficult.

    For fun you could probably try to make san mai from the 304 and mild. I have seen that done successfully. Stack your billet and tig all the way around the billet and just forge it flat if you do not have a rolling press.

    Good Luck

  3. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    For bracelets, carbon steel in the mix is a problem with corrosion. Stainless has to be heat treated to be stainless. Steel is also heavy for bracelets unless forged down to .050" (18 gauge).

    Making stainless damascus is not a beginner task in both skills as well as equipment. If you wanted to go with stainless damascus bracelets, I would get a couple bars of the stainless suminagashi and forge it down to about .070", and then grind to the final shape and thickness. The material is pretty cheap, about $50 a foot, IIRC.

    A better choice would be mokume. It comes in .125" as a standard thickness. It is fairly cheap ( about $50-70 for a bracelet size piece), and draws out and forges well ( anneal often and cold forge). It makes great bracelets with a nice look. 4" should be plenty enough for a bracelet.
    Here are some choices:

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