by Bill Moran
P.O. Box 2077
Olympia, Washington 98507 USA
Video, 90 minutes in length
Reviewed by Rob Edwards
This review was published in the November, 1996 issue of ANVIL Magazine
This is a real down home video about a relatively complex subject. Bill obviously knows a lot about the subject and has many years of blacksmithing experience to back him up. In this particular video, Bill takes three pieces of metal 3" long, 2" wide, and «" thick, to make the Damascus billet. One of the pieces is 01 tool steel and the other two pieces are mild steel, which Bill refers to as iron. After the billet is overlapped and drawn out, two 10" to 11" combat knife blades can be made.
He starts out by placing the steel in the middle between the two iron pieces, uses 20 Mule Team Borax flux, and forge welds them together. The billet is then drawn out and cut almost in half, the two pieces folded one on top of the other, and welded once again. This operation is done a total of eight times, creating 384 layers. The billet is drawn out at a lower-than-forging heat to refine the grain. The final billet is drawn out to be approximately 1/4" thick and 1 1/4" wide.
This interesting and informative video gives Bill the opportunity to touch on a number of methods in the construction of Damascus steel blades. He demonstrates how to dress a grinding wheel, heat treatment as it pertains to blades, the use of hydrochloric acid to etch, baking soda to neutralize, and a buffing wheel to polish.
The three patterns that Bill demonstrates are the maidenhair, the ladder and the ocean wave.
Bill Moran's School for Knifemaking is in Washington, Arkansas, and the schedule can be requested from the American Bladesmith Society, P.O. Box 97, Peralta, New Mexico, 87042 USA. Bill also has another video that is available through the American Bladesmith Society, entitled, "The Making of a Knife."
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