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Doug Ayen

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Batson, lameness [Apr. 9th, 2004|02:00 pm]
Doug Ayen
[mood |apatheticapathetic]

I went to the Batson Blade Symposium last weekend, flying down to Huntsville, Alabama. Good thing I flew, too, as otherwise I'd have bought way too much stuff instead of just too much.

Pelf includes: a 2" x 9" ceramic platen liner for the grinder, which in theory will let me grind flatter, cooler, and with no wear on the platen (I'm currently using graphite impregnated cloth, which wears unevenly over time.); a piece of same (tanned stingray skin with the nodules mostly intact, used for japanese sword handles); some chunks of stabilized persimmon wood, North America's only native ebony; a roll of nickle foil for the next time I do damascus work; some chunks of sheet bronze; and an assortment of fittings and supplies.

The seminars were interesting, but aside from a few techniques that may come in handy I found most of them fairly basic. The most interesting was the damascus demo, which included a lot of talk about powdered metal damascus, some talk about what the real wiz-kids are doing (water-cutting special shapes for mosaic damascus, stainless steel damascus, closed container welding) and a demo of some of the less-cutting-edge pattern welding techniques, including "jelly roll" damascus.

I had a good conversation with a guy who does japanese sword restoration about fittings and how to make handles and saya, he also pointed me at some videos recently on the market that do a good job of taking you through the process step-by-step. http://www.islandnet.com/~gaijin/guide.htm is the site that has the videos.

Flight back was fairly uneventful, though after the last flight in a bad chair my back was hurting, and so I've not done much blade-wise this week. Not done much of anything other than sleep, sit in the massage chair, and occasionally log on so email doesn't pile up.

--doug ayen

[User Picture]From: ctate
2004-05-02 12:00 am (UTC)

Which "Damascus" is this?

I've been curious about this for a while... when you talk about modern knifemakers doing "damascus" steel work, do you mean the modern folded-laminate forge-welding techniques and their cousins (powdered metal damascus?!), or the historical non-folded wootz technique?

I was thrilled to see Scientific American publish an article in 2001 about how they finally, apparently, got it right -- recreated the honest-to-god 16th century Damascus steel, crystalline structure and Mohammed's Ladder and all. There's a pdf online, too!
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