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Dragonskin Damascus.. How?

Discussion in 'Custom & Handmade Knives' started by jac_solar, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. jac_solar


    Sep 1, 2013
    I'm not a big fan of Damascus, but I'm thoroughly amazed by the Dragonskin Damascus of Bertie Reitvald.


    And, despite how incredible that type of damascus or coloring looks, I've never seen it anywhere else. How come? Why don't more people make this type of colored steel?
    Snody likes this.
  2. Dawkind

    Dawkind Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 3, 2000
    He's the only one to make it and good luck on getting any....;-)
    Snody likes this.
  3. i4Marc

    i4Marc KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2011
    First, you have to catch a dragon by his tail. ;)
  4. SharpByCoop

    SharpByCoop Enjoying the discussions Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 8, 2001
    Isn't it superb? So classy and unique.

    ^^^ Such great photos by the others.

    One of the finest men in our craft as well.

    The pattern represents everything good about Handmade Knives. I have just finished another, which I'll post soon.

    Snody likes this.
  5. The Virginian

    The Virginian

    Feb 24, 2010
    Certainly a number of other makers do make multi-colored Damascus. Steve Schwarzer, Johan Gustafsson and Rainy Vallotton come to mind immediately.

    However the Dragonskin is special stuff IMO - I have seen many examples in person and really want an example for my collection, but have never found the right piece and price. It is effectively Bertie's trademark, and I don't think any other maker is likely to copy it. Although I do believe he at least used to sell bars of it separately years ago and I am pretty sure I saw it on someone else's knife once (Owen Wood?).
    Snody likes this.
  6. I have a bar of it that I have been saving for the right knife. The bars are composed of ball bearings all forge welded together.
    Snody likes this.
  7. jac_solar


    Sep 1, 2013
    Ah, thanks for the info. But how do they get these colors? How does it work?

    R APPLEBY KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 11, 2003
    The ball bearings are also nickel plated first.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015
    coldsteelburns likes this.
  9. gga357

    gga357 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 3, 2007
  10. Kohai999

    Kohai999 Second Degree Cutter Platinum Member

    Jul 15, 2003
    A couple ways come to mind, case hardening or nitre bluing....anyone confirm? I know chemicals are used.

    Best Regards,

    STeven Garsson
  11. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    A special blend of aqua regia and skittles.
    Mongo likes this.

    R APPLEBY KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 11, 2003
    He uses bluing salts, blade magazine did an article about him years ago. His dragon skin Damascus was also discussed.
    I met him at the ECCKS and had an enjoyable converstion about the damascus, really nice fella.
  13. Salem Straub

    Salem Straub KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 20, 2008
    I love those knives... the daggers are just superb. So pretty.
  14. k_ozdragon


    Feb 14, 2015
    Suchat Jantanong makes stuff like this too. Although I've heard it's Bob Calcinore Damascus.
  15. argel55


    Oct 30, 2005
    Jerry McClure has offered his own version on a couple of knives.
  16. mwschilling


    Aug 29, 2012
    Not exactly sure how the coloring is done. I have one knife by David Lemoine with what he calls "heat treated colored Damascus". It is bronze/gold colored. It is a beautiful but difficult to photograph. I will look at the COA tonight and see if David describes the process in more detail.




  17. jac_solar


    Sep 1, 2013
    Thanks for the info guys.

    That damascus by Suchat Jangtanong looks extremely vibrant -- wow. What happens if you scratch that type of damascus coloring, though?
  18. Cajun Kamikaze

    Cajun Kamikaze

    Dec 30, 2013
    That's incredible!!!

    I started forging my first Dragon Skin Damascus blanks with Shiva this past Friday. I got 6' of 1" cable forge welded, I almost died of heat exhaustion lol Hard, HOT work but I'm really enjoying learning his process.
  19. Rbryant288


    Mar 23, 2015
    Ferrum Forge did the best I've seen yet.
  20. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    The ball bearing in powder steel makes great looking steel. Colored or not.

    I would guess it is a case hardening or chemical etch of some sort.

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