Mosaic Damascus Patterns

April 27, 2022

Damascus steel

Damascus steel is a famous type of steel that is easily recognized by the watery or wavy light-dark metal pattern. It is known that Damascus steel is made by the technique of repeated forge welding of plates that differing from each other in their chemical composition and consequently in color after etching.

mosaic damascus

How to make Damascus pattern

It is necessary to take carbon steel and steel with a high nickel content (or pure nickel). Damascus steel patterns vary depending on how the craftsman works with the work piece. Damascus steel is made from several types of steel welded together into a blank.

Such steel that is known for its exquisite designs and patterns is available and often used today to make damascus knives and daggers. It takes the best steel to make them stable and flexible.

Using two alternating types of steel, the blacksmith heats, twists and stacks layers of metal to create vibrant patterns. In patterns of Damascus steel, some of the steel is white or bright, some is shades of gray and some is black. Experienced blacksmiths can create many different patterns while forging. Then the blade must be hardened.

mosaic damascus pattern

Mosaic Damascus steel

Mosaic Damascus steel is more difficult to manufacture than the usual Damascus.

“Mosaic” is also made by forge welding of multi-colored steels and this method is quite ancient. The pattern of Mosaic Damascus steel is obtained with a special symmetrical arrangement of blanks from different types of steel. To compile this mosaic not only plates are used but also specially made rods of a very complex cross-section. Depending on the specific arrangement of these dissimilar elements, the pattern of a cross-section of a welded patterned block can be quite complex. A pattern that is simpler to manufacture is formed when a block of bars and plates of rectangular and cross-section is assembled.

Good examples are patterns such as “chessboard” and “star” otherwise “cross”. Welding such a block is not difficult, so numerous European gun barrel manufacturers use it very often. The same level of complexity is a “mesh” mosaic obtained by welding a briquette of many steel bars of square cross-section with thin nickel plates laid between them.

mosaic damascus steel

Mosaic Canister Damascus

It is more laborious to manufacture a block with a complex ornament, such as letters, multi-beam stars and the like. The original blocks with such patterns can be welded into a monolith, only using special mandrels and linings; otherwise, a bunch of heterogeneous fibers will spread during forging. Composite steel is made by placing solid and powdered steel in a metal can and fusing them together using forge welding using heat and pressure.

mosaic canister damascus

Custom Mosaic Damascus patterns in steel

An even more sophisticated technique used by modern craftsmen is the welding of mosaic blocks with realistic images of people and animals. To compile the original package itself, bars are used in which figure cutouts are made by the electro erosion method. These bars, which serve as matrices, are inserted into exactly the cutout figures-inserts made of another, contrasting metal. After carefully welding and forging the original complexly patterned block, the only thing left is to show this intricate pattern, that is, to somehow transfer it to the side surfaces of the knife blade. A sharply heterogeneous, large-patterned mosaic rarely has good cutting properties on its own. To give the knife good cutting properties and wear resistance, it is combined with durable multilayer Damascus. Craftsmen use three main ways to display the mosaic Damascus pattern, resulting in a twisted, unfolded and end mosaic.

mosaic damascus patterns

The national hero of France, Pierre Riverdi, did not compete with anyone in accuracy but went his own way by developing a “poetic Damascus”. Using sophisticated technological equipment, he made a blade from a twisted mosaic, on the edge of which many small figures “ran” that could be recognized as unicorns. It is easy to understand how the individual elements are made but how the blade itself is welded is a real mystery.

mosaic Damascus steel patterns

This is not just a mosaic – this is a masterpiece of forge welding!

The essence, value and meaning of the very existence of mosaic Damascus (like any complex Damascus steel) is really the fact that in very scarce supply. That is why mosaic blades are a collectible along with paintings. A treasure must have three properties – rarity, high value, and should be exciting.

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