Mosaic Damascus Patterns - How it's Made

January 5, 2023
mosaic damascus steel patterns 2
Pattern Welded Steel (or Damascus Steel)

Pattern welded steel is a famous type of steel that is easily recognized by its wavy light-dark metal pattern. This kind of steel is made by repeated forge welding of plates that differ from each other in their chemical composition and, consequently, in color after etching.

pattern welding
How to Make Damascus Pattern

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

This steel is known for its exquisite designs and patterns and is often used 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. Within patterns of Damascus steel, the steel can be shades of white, gray, or black. Experienced blacksmiths can create many 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” steel is also made by forge welding multi-colored steels, and this method is quite ancient. The pattern of a Mosaic Damascus steel piece is obtained by symmetrically arranging blanks from different types of steel. To compile this mosaic, it’s necessary to use plates and 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 simpler pattern is formed when a block of bars and plates of rectangular and cross-sections are assembled.

mosaic damascus blades

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

mosaic damascus steel


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, using special mandrels and linings; otherwise, many heterogeneous fibers will spread during forging. Composite steel is made by placing solid and powdered steel in a metal can and fusing them together during forge welding using heat and pressure. Learn about making canister Damascus.

making mosaic canister Damascus

mosaic canister Damascus making

canister mosaic Damascus

mosaic damascus

canister damascus

mosaic damascus

mosaic canister damascus


mosaic damascus patterns
Custom 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, it’s necessary to use bars that contain figure cutouts — which are made via electroerosion. These bars, which serve as matrices, are inserted into the cutout figure inserts made of another, contrasting metal. After carefully welding and forging the original 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 knives

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 unicorns were running. 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
Not Just a Mosaic – 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 it’s in very scarce supply. That is why mosaic Damascus blades are sought-after collectibles. A treasure must have three properties – they should be rare, of high value, and exciting.

damascus pattern

How to Make Mosaic Damascus Steel

The process of forging a mosaic Damascus is similar to creating a simple Damascus pattern, however you need to be more sophisticated in some details. If you want a really fanciful design in your mosaic Damascus, just be more inventive when cutting and re-assembling the layers of your billet. And go as many rounds as you can to multiply pattern complexity.

Damascus steel method

1. Assemble your billet, as you normally do for a Damascus.

how to make mosaic damascus steel

2. Heat the billet in the forge and press it with a pressing machine (dies).

how to make mosaic damascus

mosaic damascus how to

3. Cut and re-assemble the billet. For example, you may stack four bars in a quaternary cross-section, or invent another structure. Tack-weld the bars.

mosaic damascus how to make

4. Repeat the heating and pressing phase. This time you may press the billet from the angle side as well, to add waviness to the pattern.

making mosaic Damascus

making mosaic damascus steel

5. After doing the heating and cutting for a couple of times, you may go creative. This time, cut your billet at an angle, from 15 to 35 degrees, and re-assemble the pieces by turning each of them by 90 degrees. This will reveal the mosaic pattern onto the blade surface. Tack-weld the pieces again.

mosaic Damascus steel making

mosaic Damascus making

mosaic damascus steel making process

forging mosaic Damascus

6. Run the billet through the dies once again.
Now you have a pre-finished blade with a starburst mosaic pattern in it! All that remains is to grind, heat treat, and polish it.

forging mosaic Damascus steel

How to Make Mosaic Damascus Steel

Damascus knife forging

How to Make Mosaic Damascus


profiling a knife blade

how to grind a knife

knife grinding guide

damascus knife blade etching

how to make mosaic damascus blade

You can choose a mosaic Damascus knife on NOBLIE website. 

Making Mosaic Damascus (video)

Especially for you, we have selected videos related to this article.

  1. TOP mosaic Damascus blades

2) Mosaic Damascus – making process

Related materials
In the production of a custom knife, great attention must be given to the selection of steel used for the blade. Blade steel, along with edge geometry and design, is a critical factor that determines the performance of the knife.
Damascus – this appealing yet enigmatic steel has captured the imagination of many bladesmiths and knife lovers. The material provides an extremely tough, strong blade that can endure gross impact with a very little degradation of the edge. Historical Damascus’s great edge retention and an inability to shatter even under severe abuse is a rare feature even by today’s standards. Many layers of a Damascus blade welded together form multiple bands and mottling patterns that are inviting to the eye and unique in each blade.
A custom knife is a type of knife that is handcrafted by skilled craftsmen. They are made from high quality materials and are designed to be unique and personalized to the owner’s preferences.
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