Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Damascus finish. Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Antoine M.
Industry Professional



Location: Trois-Rivières, Québec
Joined: 17 Mar 2006

Posts: 34

PostPosted: Sat 13 May, 2006 7:29 am    Post subject: Damascus finish.         Reply with quote

Hi!

I've been wondering about this.
I've tring different acid for revalation (muriatic, " very " diluted ferric, vinegar). combined with different polish.
In an Oakshott book (not sure wich one...) there was something about pattern seen with the sunlight playing on the blade ( the snake crawling on the blade I think)
Was the pattern welding on ancient blades as bold as it is seen today? Would it have been closer to the asian polishing techniques, chinese for exemple?


Antoine
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
Joined: 01 Mar 2004
Likes: 7 pages
Reading list: 28 books

Posts: 1,809

PostPosted: Sat 13 May, 2006 8:23 am    Post subject: Re: Damascus finish.         Reply with quote

Antoine M. wrote:
...In an Oakshott book (not sure wich one...) there was something about pattern seen with the sunlight playing on the blade ( the snake crawling on the blade I think)....

Can't comment on the polishing techniques, but I think the your Oakeshott reference is The Archaeology of Weapons. Near the end of Chapter Six, he relates a very similar description of Skofnung, from the Saga of Hrolf Kraki, as follows,
"...Hold up the blade and blow on it; a small snake will creep from under the guard; incline the blade, and make it easy for the snake to creep back again."

"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
View user's profile Send private message
Jeff Pringle
Industry Professional



Location: Oakland, CA
Joined: 19 Nov 2005

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Sun 14 May, 2006 9:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There was some discussion of this last year -
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=5464
My guess is that the blades were not finished to look as bold as they do today, but I've seen a couple artifacts from the Viking period that look like the damascus may have originally had some topography - so not as subtle a finish as the asian style either.
Here is an oxidized surface of a Viking blade which may mimic the original surface texture -
http://bjorn.foxtail.nu/museum/pattern.jpg
(from Bjorn's sword site - http://bjorn.foxtail.nu/swords.htm )
Oxidation always increases the depth of damascus (if it does not obscure it completely), so there must have been less topography originally.
View user's profile Send private message
Arne Focke
Industry Professional



Location: near Munich, Germany
Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Reading list: 34 books

Posts: 204

PostPosted: Tue 16 May, 2006 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In our workshop we mostly use vinegar essence, since it is not likely that strong acids like those we have today were used in the earlier periods of the middle ages. The pattern is nicely revealed, but you get no topography whatsoever. Without a very careful polish afterwards, they appear very grey (see attachment). I doubt, however, that the swords were etched in the earliest periods (La Tène for example), as the use of pattern-welded steel merely represented a technical necessity at that time (apart from exeptions) .

So schön und inhaltsreich der Beruf eines Archäologen ist, so hart ist auch seine Arbeit, die keinen Achtstundentag kennt! (Wolfgang Kimmig in: Die Heuneburg an der oberen Donau, Stuttgart 1983)
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,170

PostPosted: Tue 16 May, 2006 9:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Might be worth a try to use lemon juice on a test piece: I've used that to age a few blades ( Cheap ones ) leaves a dark greyish finish that can be lightened with fine steel wool. Worked well creating phoney Damascus using soaked toilet paper that had a pattern on it and repeating a few times to randomize the pattern.

In your case with real Damascus the goal would be to reveal an existing pattern and not etching a phoney one.

Maybe filling a tall container with lemon juice or mild citric acid might work. ( Or vinegar ? I think some people have used mustard also to stain a blade ? Oh, considering how well cutting tomatoes can stain a carbon steel kitchen knife maybe tomato juice could also be tried ? Or, go crazy and mix-up all of the above. Eek! )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Arne Focke
Industry Professional



Location: near Munich, Germany
Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Reading list: 34 books

Posts: 204

PostPosted: Tue 16 May, 2006 10:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mustards works almost as good as vinegar, or it should since there is vinegar in the mustard. Wink
I always use a plastic container filled with the essence. How long it takes the pattern to reveal itself depends on the steel which was used for the blade (and the concentration of the vinegar of course).

So schön und inhaltsreich der Beruf eines Archäologen ist, so hart ist auch seine Arbeit, die keinen Achtstundentag kennt! (Wolfgang Kimmig in: Die Heuneburg an der oberen Donau, Stuttgart 1983)
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Shane Allee
Industry Professional



Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posts: 506

PostPosted: Tue 16 May, 2006 10:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Depending on the PH of the local water, if acidic it can bring out patterns a good amount during polishing. Here in Indiana with the more course levels you can watch a fresh polished area start showing signs of oxidation (rust) in under a minute, and most of the way covered in five or ten. Some polishers will even add baking soda to the water to help avoid it. As you go higher in the level of polish you can start to see the etching effect the water has on the steel. Depending on the level of contrast between the irons and steels used, it might not really take that much work to make patterns clearly visible. Acidic liquids like beer and vinegar could have easily been used. Even back in the La Tene period we have blades that were not of piled construction, that appear to be etched to give blades various patterns. Some of these even include designs that look to mimic blades made with a piled construction.

Today lemon juice, vinegars, and ferric Chloride seem to be about the most popular acids used today for blades, although other things are certainly used. Lemon juice seems to work about the best if you are wanting to bring out something like a hamon. Vinegars seem to be a bit better if you want to make folding a little more bold. Then the ferric if you just want to get the strong contrast between steels, or get any kind of deep depth to the etch. Of course the strength of all of them can be adjusted with water. Many things play rolls in this, so results may vary.

Shane
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Damascus finish.
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum