How to Use Rebar for Damascus Steel
Damascus steel is a layered steel valued for its beauty and need for hand crafting. It is made by layering different grades and compositions of steel and, through folding and forging, welding them together to form a solid piece of steel. Typically, a high carbon steel is blended with a high chromium or high nickel content steel with a mild steel filler. This process produces a Damascus steel with a maximized contrast between layers. The filler steel is often scrap since it makes up the bulk of the final Damascus. Rebar, due to its wide availability, is an excellent base material.
Cut the rebar into manageable sections and sort it according to diameter and straightness. Straighten bent pieces if needed.
Place the rebar into the forge, heat it and hammer it flat to produce bar-shaped pieces that are easier to stack.
Stack the flattened rebar with alternating layers of high carbon and stainless steel. Sprinkle Borax between the layers to act as flux and help ensure an even weld.
Weld the stack of steel together and place in the forge. Bring the stack to a cherry red or bright red heat and maintain it for five to 10 minutes to ensure uniform heating.
Hammer the heated stack flat. Cut it, cool it and grind off the forge residue.
Stack the two cut pieces with borax sandwiched between and re-heat in the forge. Hammer, cool, cut and grind. Repeat the process a total of three times.
Forge the final block of steel into a bar shape for later use or forge into the final shape.
Writer, photographer and world traveler James Croxon is a jack of all trades. He began writing in 1998 for the University of Michigan's "The Michigan Times." His work has appeared in the "Toronto Sun" and on defenselink.com and globalsecurity.org. Croxon has a bachelor's degree in English from the American Military University.
- push dagger image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com