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Jerzy Miklaszewski




Location: The Castle of Krak
Joined: 12 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject: Damascened - the technique         Reply with quote

Greeting everyone!
It's been a long time since I last posted here, not mentioning a new topic...

Nevertheless, pour le sujet:
While going through some literature about blackpowder gunsmithing of our ancestors, I have met with a strange to me word,or verb (as it was the fact that caused most of my confusion) "Damascened".

As I was skiiming through many texts I have not found what it actually is. I mean, I understand that it some reproduction damascene steel wavy style fashion of the surface, but the context of the book didn't allow such an interpretation. They wrote that "...it was damascened in the fashion of flowers..."

So what is that technique actually? Have you any literature to search through or maybe some short articles about this technique...

"Work is of two kinds, first altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter, second, telling other people to do so. The first is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid."
Bertrand Russell

Art of the old swordmasters is back to the Castle of Kings!
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Marik C.S.




Location: Germany
Joined: 16 Feb 2010

Posts: 163

PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 11:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I know, that is just another term for pattern-welded.
We all have seen the beautiful patterns smiths can create that way and e.g. in German all pattern-welded blades are called Damascene.
In English I believe pattern-welded is the more common term, but damascene refers to basically the same process.

Then again I am neither a smith nor a etymologist or philologist, so I may be wrong about all this.

Europe - Where the History comes from. - Eddie Izzard
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know about other uses, but Damascene refers to the decorative technique of engraving steel, applying precious metals and then filing and burnishing flush. The steel is typically blackened for contrast. As the name implies, this is of middle-eastern origin, flowing into Europe through Spain.


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Geoff Wood




Location: UK
Joined: 31 Aug 2003

Posts: 634

PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 11:45 am    Post subject: Re: Damascened - the technique         Reply with quote

Jerzy Miklaszewski wrote:
Greeting everyone!
It's been a long time since I last posted here, not mentioning a new topic...

Nevertheless, pour le sujet:
While going through some literature about blackpowder gunsmithing of our ancestors, I have met with a strange to me word,or verb (as it was the fact that caused most of my confusion) "Damascened".

As I was skiiming through many texts I have not found what it actually is. I mean, I understand that it some reproduction damascene steel wavy style fashion of the surface, but the context of the book didn't allow such an interpretation. They wrote that "...it was damascened in the fashion of flowers..."

So what is that technique actually? Have you any literature to search through or maybe some short articles about this technique...


Surface decoration with precious metals onto steel or similar. Try Damasquinado or Damasquino in google.

Edit. Mr Flynt beat me to it ........
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Ken Speed





Joined: 09 Oct 2006

Posts: 656

PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean's got it in one! Damascene is sort of a cross between gilding and engraving. Gold leaf is impressed into recess carved into a generally blackened iron background. i have a minuscule pocket knife with a damascene handle and a stylized scimitar blade that I bought in Spain a long time ago. I almost never carry it because it's extremely small ( about 2 1/2" long when opened and because the damascened handle scales don't stand up to keys and pocket change very well.
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Jerzy Miklaszewski




Location: The Castle of Krak
Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 1:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great! Thanks all of you very much, the point is that I always considered it as a craft of steel forging, not a decorative technique of imprinting the gold upon non-noble metals.

The funny thing is, that even though it has an equivalent name in my language I always called this technique differently, as did everyone with whom I worked. And the funniest of all is that I already used that technique few times!

Sometimes the language itself can make a fool of a man Happy

"Work is of two kinds, first altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter, second, telling other people to do so. The first is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid."
Bertrand Russell

Art of the old swordmasters is back to the Castle of Kings!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jerzy Miklaszewski wrote:
Great! Thanks all of you very much, the point is that I always considered it as a craft of steel forging, not a decorative technique of imprinting the gold upon non-noble metals.

The funny thing is, that even though it has an equivalent name in my language I always called this technique differently, as did everyone with whom I worked. And the funniest of all is that I already used that technique few times!

Sometimes the language itself can make a fool of a man Happy


Well, you're not wrong at all. In English, "Damascus" is the common term for the steel production method you describe. "Damascene" refers to the decorative technique. Same cultural and linguistic origin, but for different technologies.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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