Pattern Welded ("damascus") Steel Source

Jan 28, 1999
For those of you who are interested in custom knives, Daryl Meier is one of the fathers of the modern knife making industry, having supplied bladesmiths with custom pattern welded steel (which has been mislabeled as "damascus") for over 25 years.

Drop by his website at http://MeierSteel.Com

At MeierSteel.Com you'll find a beautiful American Flag Bowie that he forged for President George Bush. There is a line of American Flags that are actually *in* the pattern of the steel, rather than on the surface. Also, the words "USA" repeat along the length of this most beautiful blade.

For those of you who are wondering about your next custom knife project, this website will give you some ideas.

Do visit MeierSteel.Com
Well, WarAngel, I hate to argue, but in the mid to late 1800's, when some master smiths twisted and welded steel bars and then wrapped them around a mandrel, producing some incredible patterns, they called it 'Damascus.'

True, the original Damascus was usually basically linear steel strips, there were exceptions even then. Check out this website, which covers the different steel types called 'Damascus.' He terms pattern welded steel 'Mechanical Damascus,' to differentiate it from Wootz, or 'True Damascus.'

No arguement there, Walt. I refered to the "modern" knife-making industry. The last occurence of Damascus was during WWII when it was issued through the production of Nazi officer knives, etc. After that, there had been no "damascus"-style steel in production in North America.

Pardon my not clarifying that this is intended for North America.

By the way, I'm not sure what the arguement is about. I just re-read my original post. The *modern* knife-making industry (not damascus or pattern-welded steel-making) started about 30 years ago with the Bill Moran crowd, did it not? The point is not to win an arguement but to point out there's a really nice website at http://MeierSteel.Com

[This message has been edited by WarAngel (edited 28 January 1999).]
Daryl Meier's work is awesome, but Bill Moran usually gets credit for the resurrection of modern damascus steel. He redeveloped the process through a series of trial and error attempts starting in 1969 and introduced it in 1973 at the Kansas City Guild show. It blew everyone away. It was the first damascus bladed knife made in the US during this century as per Wayne Holter.
He then proceeded to share his knowledge. I would venture to say that a large majority of current makers could trace some of their knowledge back to his efforts. Bill Moran was a founder of the American Bladesmith Society.
Just got a copy of "Fire and Steel" today. Great deal at Amazon for a out of print book that is tough to find. The 50 Years book and Master Of The Forge are also good references on Moran and his work.

[This message has been edited by Gus Kalanzis (edited 28 January 1999).]
WarAngel; I took your comment as more general. And while you are correct in your terminology, I was simply pointing out that it has been common in the USA, especially when referring to shotgun bbls., to call pattern welded steel, 'Damascus.'

It is good to see the knife industry be more accurate in their terminology. Walt
The thing that impressed me most on Meier's webpage was the "Meier" steel with his name repeated all the way down the blade as part of the pattern! The flags on that bowie were amazing, though--each star had five points, that doesn't seem possible. I've admired Meier's blades for years but never seen anything like that, nor did I know he's from Carbondale, IL. That's only about 2 hrs. from my hometown. Think he needs an apprentice?

Walt, thanks for the clarification. That is why I stated it is often mislabeled as "damascus".

True Damascus, as you pointed out, was Wootz.

That is why I chose the term "pattern welded steel". This arose from a conversation I had with Daryl. Daryl's a fine man, and his steel is just truly incredible.

I do hope you'll enjoy his website.
Gwinnydapooh - I too am amazed. The American Flags were *in* the material from one end through to the other. So were the words "USA". These were not put into the mere surface but through the thickness of the blade.

And then when you see the two separate bars - one comprising the American flags, and the other bar with the word 'USA' - you still wonder: "How on earth did he do that?!"

Yes, Bill Moran reintroduced modern "damascus" to us about 30 years ago. A few men, such as Daryl Meier, dedicated their lives to its continual study and propagation. And despite the beautiful knives we have today by modern knifemakers, Daryl remains one of the greatest artistans I've seen.