Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Stainless Damascus Steel for Wedding Band?

Hello Dave,

Dan  here. I took a weekend course with you a couple years back and had an incredible time!! I have not kept up with actual forging as much as I would've liked, though I have constructed a propane forge (based on yours) (see: Gas Forge Construction Plans ) and I have actually gotten into knife making. I have made two hunting knives, one double edged boot knife for a co-worker and I'm working on a 14" bladed chef knife for my partner. (It's taking FOREVER!!)

I hope all things are good with you and your art! I'm wearing my safety glasses and I actually think of your email sign-offs when I slide them on!

I'm hoping that you might be able to help me with something.....I'll be getting married in late September (for better or for worse! LOL and I doubt you can help with that!) and I am planning to make my own band. I am trying to find a small piece of stainless damascus to drill out and shape, as forging a stainless billet is far beyond my capabilities right now. I guess my questions to you would be:

-Do you have a small piece of 1" diameter stainless bar-stock that I could buy a couple 3/8" cut-offs from?

-Failing that, can you recommend a supplier (or another blacksmith) that would have some on hand and willing to sell?

-Failing all that, could I commission you to forge a stainless billet (flat bar-stock is probably easiest, I imagine)?

I'm of course, open to any suggestions you might have.

Thank you for your time and I'm looking forward to hearing from you,


 Hi Dan
Nice to hear from you and I am glad you have been doing a bit of work. As you have figured out knife making is a lot of fun with its own set of challenges.

I have not done any stainless damascus. It is a challenging weld and draw out.
I would take a look at under blade steels. There is a wide assortment of patterns etc. available. Most are 1/8th inch thick and the pattern is developed on the flat with not much on the edge.

You also might want to talk to someone who is producing the stainless Damascus, although I have no recommendations there.

Just drilling through would work but you would lose most of the pattern. Also drilling through the stainless and the D2 you will need carbide bits.

An alternative is to take a 1/8th thick 3/8th wide strip and bend into the ring size with heat and weld or silver solder together, Then you could get some of the pattern and the 3/8th width. This will show a joint in the finished piece.

Alternatively you could bend the strip to the required curvature. Cut 2 to 6 pieces and embed them in a wax base that is the actual ring size. These pieces of Damascus become "gems" embedded in the wax. Then take the wax master with the Damascus in place, to a jeweler that does lost wax casting. They can sprue it up and place it in an investment. Then they will burn out the wax and fill the cavity with molten gold. Once cold you get an exact copy of what you made, so make sure the wax fits your finger before sending it to be cast.

Once cast it will still need to be cleaned up and polished etc. The gold should fuse directly to back of the steel at the casting temperatures. In the end this will give you more of a segmented look to the wedding ring with the Damscus pattern showing with a thin line of gold next to it.

I hope this helps.

Take Care
David Robertson
Artist Blacksmith