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My first finished damascus dagger


Daniel J. Luevano

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Well, It took me around 8-10 hours to make this, including the handle, but this is my first pattern welded blade.

https://picasaweb.google.com/104203639329864030638/DamascusDaggers?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJOVrImJ7MPIHA&feat=directlink

 

It is made from bandsaw and strips of sheet steel, it is only 44 layers (I'm hoping my next one will have better contrast so I can have more folds in it). I am very much pleased with it, this is my best blade yet, by far.

 

P.S. The guard/handle is made from some antler I had laying around, not sure what from. I'm also not sure if I want to work with antler again, stinks like crazy when cutting and sanding it

Edited by Daniel J. Luevano

"Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy;"-Isaiah 54:16

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It looks Badass!!!!

 

Congrats! What Dennis said!

 

Mark

Mark Green

 

I have a way? Is that better then a plan?

(cptn. Mal)

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Thanks! It's great to be able to get help and encouragement from other smiths!

 

Yeah I wear a mask but I should probably invest in a respirator, thanks for the advice

"Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy;"-Isaiah 54:16

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I was wondering, how much could I get from a dagger like this? the blade is a little over 6" long and the handle is just about the same, it took me about 5 hours of forge welding (I slowly got faster as time went on so my next one shouldn't take that long if it is the same size) and another 2-3 hours of sanding, grinding, carving and etching to finish the blade. I was also thinking about making a scabbard out of some more of the antler and some wool.

 

Would about $60-$80 be a fair price for a blade like this? Just trying to get an idea of what i could get for a blade like this.

"Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy;"-Isaiah 54:16

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I was wondering, how much could I get from a dagger like this? the blade is a little over 6" long and the handle is just about the same, it took me about 5 hours of forge welding (I slowly got faster as time went on so my next one shouldn't take that long if it is the same size) and another 2-3 hours of sanding, grinding, carving and etching to finish the blade. I was also thinking about making a scabbard out of some more of the antler and some wool.

 

Would about $60-$80 be a fair price for a blade like this? Just trying to get an idea of what i could get for a blade like this.

You're a fool if you price it lower than 200-250. Seriously, value your time. You don't know when it will run out. And make sure you charge adequately for the scabbard. Like buddy said, invest in a dust mask/respirator (latter is better.)

Your contrast is just fine. Then again I'm one of those who say with contrast, less is more. Sometimes I've never even etched, just let the different colours of the steel when polished speak for themselves on close inspection.

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The down side to working with antler or bone, especially with power tools, is that it reeks. My grinder is in my basement and the smell was in my house for days after I cut some slabs from bone. That is a job that is going to have to go outside or I'm going to have to buy bone slabs ready cut. A respirator, not a dust mask, is required for this work, just like Dennis said.

 

Some people don't like a low count damascus but it really works with that knife. Good job.

 

Doug

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Pricing seems to be an issue for everyone doing this work. Something that we all struggle with. I've read and talked to many different people about how they figure their cost. None of them seem to do it the same way. When I was just beginning it was easy for me to overvalue my work,because I was slower and inexperienced, and price things higher than they should be. If you try to figure the cost based solely on the time you put in to a piece its easy for beginners to overprice things. When one becomes more experienced the process goes faster and the quality should get better with each piece. Looking back on much of my earliest work I now realize alot of it wasn't very good.

Your reputation as a knifemaker also has alot to do with pricing. If you price your work too cheap, people may think it's not a quality product. If you price your work too high and your quality is not on the same level as similar pieces made by others, you'll have trouble too. My advice is to not rush into selling your work too fast. Its very easy to get a bad reputation in this business. Take your time and test your blades. You want blades that perform, as well as look good. With each blade I make that gets better and better, I started to realize that my earlier work was not what it could be. Its easy to be proud of a piece that you put alot of time in. Get your knives into as many hands as you possibly can, even if it means giving some away. Don't start out on the wrong foot by selling inferior blades. It can be near impossible to get a good reputation if you've sold even one bad blade.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but its easy to get a bad name in this business if you start out selling too quickly or over/under pricing your work. Keep up the good work.

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I can't tell from the pictures, does it have a very broad fuller, or is it flat with edges ground in? :huh:/>

 

It is flat with edges ground in. I still need to get or make a fuller tool because I find fullers can add a lot when working with damascus

"Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy;"-Isaiah 54:16

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I agree with Mr Alexander about getting your quality right and then selling for higher prices. If you put a bad knife out there, make it better by making it cheap or free. You could even qualify it by demanding feedback in return as they use it. Consider it the cost of learning and therefore an investment. Just don't get caught taking orders for free. Just produce what you produce and when it is comparable to expensive knives, charge appropriately. I say this having never sold a knife and just starting out myself. I do know people take knives very seriously and if you put out a bad one, they may not try you again.

 

What is the source of your steel? What kind of steel is it?

 

Great first welded dagger! I hope to do as well soon :)/> Thanks so much for posting!

Edited by Mike T Smith
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I understand what you are saying, I have some friends I might give it to for "testing".

 

It's made from bandsaw blades (appearently it is high in nickle) and mild steel from some cleaned sheet steel. It seems to have hardened nicely but I am not entirely positive as to how hard.

 

I'm hoping to possibly at least sell it for 20-30 bucks to pay for some better materials for more blades in the future, or at least find out how well made it is.

"Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy;"-Isaiah 54:16

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Pricing seems to be an issue for everyone doing this work. Something that we all struggle with. I've read and talked to many different people about how they figure their cost. None of them seem to do it the same way. When I was just beginning it was easy for me to overvalue my work,because I was slower and inexperienced, and price things higher than they should be. If you try to figure the cost based solely on the time you put in to a piece its easy for beginners to overprice things. When one becomes more experienced the process goes faster and the quality should get better with each piece. Looking back on much of my earliest work I now realize alot of it wasn't very good.

Your reputation as a knifemaker also has alot to do with pricing. If you price your work too cheap, people may think it's not a quality product. If you price your work too high and your quality is not on the same level as similar pieces made by others, you'll have trouble too. My advice is to not rush into selling your work too fast. Its very easy to get a bad reputation in this business. Take your time and test your blades. You want blades that perform, as well as look good. With each blade I make that gets better and better, I started to realize that my earlier work was not what it could be. Its easy to be proud of a piece that you put alot of time in. Get your knives into as many hands as you possibly can, even if it means giving some away. Don't start out on the wrong foot by selling inferior blades. It can be near impossible to get a good reputation if you've sold even one bad blade.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but its easy to get a bad name in this business if you start out selling too quickly or over/under pricing your work. Keep up the good work.

 

You make a very good point. This is one of those nerve-wracking aspects of the craft for beginers like Daniel and myself. There are a few folks asking me to make them a knife and asking me what I charge, and for this I have no good answer. I haven't finished enough blades made with quality steels to be assured that my HT and tempering are up to standards yet. I worry that I might let a piece go and later hear that it failed, a nightmare scenario for any maker. To date I have only released one piece, a dagger with a single bar twist handle, as a gift for a close friend. I only let that blade leave my shop because he requested it as a ceremonial tool, and not as a working tool. If it had to perform without fail in a survival, outdoors, or combat situation, I simply could not be 100% sure of it's integrity. A co-worker of mine wants a small EDC with a simple paracord handle,and I agreed to make him one, but have accepted no deadline for it's completion. Good thing too, as the first model I made for him failed in the quench. Imagine if in a moment of ego, I had assured him that he would have his knife inside of a week, and that it would be of excelent quality, only to have to return to him later and ask for more time? It would make me seem incompetent as a craftsman, and would harm my reputation and my pride.

 

The question of how much to charge is a tricky one, indeed. Personally, even if this next project comes out flawless, I can't see myself charging more than $60-$80 for it. Then again, most folks I talk to on a daily basis and are interested in my work make very little money, and I would feel like I was gouging them asking for $100 or more.

 

Daniel, very nice work you have there, my friend. Personally, I like the wide bands in your damascus pattern. Too often I find damascus with very high layer counts have a very complicated pattern of fine lines that seems a bit hard on my eyes. With your piece, however, even from some distace you can immediately tell that it is a damascus blade, and has a kind of boldness to it. I might have made the crossguard out of copper,brass, or more damascus, but that's just my preference. Be sure to test your blade by doing some cutting, light chopping exercises. If you can get through a pine 2x4 without any chipping or blade distortion, I believe you will be in the clear to go ahead and sell. Best of luck to you, and keep at it! B)

I love the smell of Anthracite in the mornin'!

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