Ebay damascus VS custom
What is the difference between the damascus swords all over Ebay and the damascus offered by custom makers,other than the $1000-ish price difference? Some of the Ebays swords look very good, but I`am rather leary of them exploding
if struck on anything :-)

Thanks in advance
In my opinion:

95% to 99% of EBay "Damascus" is low quality Indian, Pakistani or Chinese work. The odds are decent enough that they won't "explode"... but 1.) you don't know what goes into them, and 2.) you don't know how well made they are. There is a minimal correlation between price and quality-- for example, a Chinese "Damascus" katana that costs $500 is more likely to be better made than a "Damascus" Indian made dagger that's being sold for 20 bucks.

Mind you, it's probably OK for a custom project if you just buy it for a blade and put your own fittings and all on it, hang it on the wall, maybe cut a few vegetables with it, walk around the woods with it a few times or something. I wouldn't necessarily trust it for long term, serious use though.

When you buy "Damascus" from a custom maker... odds are pretty good that they won't call it "Damascus" unless they're trying to hit up a broad audience and grab some search terms. It's far more likely they will use the more proper term "pattern welded" and they'll be happy to tell you what exact alloys of steel they combined. Or they'll use crucible steel, charge you even more, and it'll be a bit closer to the actual Damascus steel. Either way, you know far better what you're getting for your money.
Jeffrey Faulk wrote:
In my opinion:

95% to 99% of EBay "Damascus" is low quality Indian, Pakistani or Chinese work.

What makes you think the work is low quality? I've considered purchasing some nicer swords made in China and sold on Ebay, and have bought at least one blade (though it was not damascus) that I really enjoy - I've owned an Albion that was much nicer, but the Chinese sword also happened to cost $55. I've always relied on a plethora of reviews and customer feedback, as well as the live-action footage of the swords being tested and sprung and crafted that are often provided as hyperlinks in the auctions. I see no way why simply because something is made in a country with extremely low regular wages that the materials and craftsmanship have to be of comparably low standards.

There are 3 differences between cheap ebay damascus, and damascus from a good custom maker:

1) The cheap ebay sword might or might not have good heat treatment. This is independent of the damascus part - you have the same issue with monosteel cheap ebay swords. Some cheap ebay swords have excellent heat treatment. Some have blades that haven't been heat-treated at all.

2) The cheap ebay sword might have poor geometry, a poorly constructed hilt, zinc-aluminium fittings, etc. A lot of the Indian/Pakistani damascus swords appear to have no distal or profile taper.

3) The cheap.ebay damascus is usually a simple folded steel. The steels are stacked, and forge-welded with a power hammer to make a billet, which then goes to people making the swords. Indian and Pakistani damascus sometimes has fancier patterns, like raindrop. If you want fancy pattern-welding, that needs to be done sword-by-sword by a skilled smith, rather than having less-skilled labour churning out billets. One can get reasonably cheap sanmei/sanmai, but not usually any fancier construction at low prices.

Also, a good custom maker will make what you want. Buy from a cheap ebay forge, and you're mostly limited to buying what they have available, or making small changes (different tsuba, different colour wrap).

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