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Damascus Rings WIP/Tutorial

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Well after a long delay I am finally starting a thread showing how I make my damascus rings. There are many ways to approach this technique and a lot of it depends on the desired look you want to achieve. In this case I will be showing a series of rings with a multi- jelly roll pattern (this is my most requested pattern for rings) each with a silver liner.


Now there are several forum members that also make fantastic rings, such as J. Arthur Loose. Only a few people are doing stainless damascus rings Jul being one of them so I will defer any questions in that area to him if he wishes to comment in this thread. These rings will be carbon steel damascus and not stainless, to preemptively answer the question, no they do not rust due to the natural oil from the hand and the process of treating the oxides post etch. It is absolutely true that they will not have the same wear life as a stainless damascus ring, but they are a less expensive alternative for those that desire it. I have only just started working with SS damascus and so I won't post a tutorial on that until I have my process down 100%.


All that being said here is today's start.


I started with a twenty layer billet of 1084/15n20 1 x 3 1/2 x 4




I then draw that down into a roughly 20" x 2 1/2" x 1/4" bar



Then I roll it up. There was some de-lamination near the very end of the billet, but I am not concerned as it will get corrected in tomorrow's welding.




Tomorrow I will weld the jelly roll together, draw it out, and prepare it for twisting. This will then ultimately be assembled to form the ring stock.


Thanks for looking!






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For those wondering here is what a low layer ring can look like, all patterns are beautiful  

Steve, that's one sexy ring!

Gabriel, I use the high temp silver solder and handy flux plus map torch.

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Looking like a great tutorial.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

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Sorry for the delay everyone, I forgot my camera at the shop. Here is the next round of photos:


After welding the jellyroll together it is drawn out into a thirty inch long bar and twisted in ten inch sections:




Then each section is cut free from the bar.




And each mating surface is made clean and square:




Then tacked together and prepped for the final weld:




The resulting bar had enough material for eight rings:




Here is a quick peak at the pattern inside:




Right now the blanks have been annealing over night and I can start to turn them into rings.


Thanks for looking!



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Kenneth, These ring blanks are all 1 1/4" square and 1/4 inch thick. These are going to end up being bands that are about 3/16 wide when finished, the customer just desired more narrow bands in this case, but a 1 1/4 x 1 1/4" square will accommodate all ring sizes from 1-15.

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Okay guys, just a small update from today. This ring production would be so much easier if I had a mill or a lathe, but hey work with what you have right? After annealing yesterday the ring blanks were drilled and shaped to their preliminary ring size, in this case sizes 7,8,9,10, 10 1/4, 11, 12, and size 13 so eight rings in all. For other patterns of damascus drifting the ring to size is a better option for conserving material, but in this case I find the pattern can become too distorted to be desirable hence the drilling to size.




Also my silver arrived! I use 18 gauge fine silver for my liners. When I was first starting I used a heavier gauge that gave me more room for error, but as I have made more rings I have been able to use a thinner sheet. The sheet arrived as a 2" x 12" sheet that I trimmed into four 1/2" x 12" pieces. But one snafu was that my silver solder I ordered did not come in the same package and will be coming tomorrow or Monday....so bummer. But the fun is about to start.




Thanks for looking!



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Great stuff! When I get the chance I may have to try this out. Can't wait to see the progress!



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Great work so far Robert. I love jelly roll patterns.


I do have a question though, is the steel drilled exactly to size, or have you gone oversize to factor in the 18 gauge liner?

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Thanks for the comments guys! John, if I see you in Michigan this spring we can totally work together and make you one! Dan, I was going to get to that in my next post so you beat me to it. At the first stage of sizing the steel part of the ring is brought to a bit over the final ring size, but not by much perhaps 1/8 of a size over. Once I make the liner then I take an exact measurement of the liner's external diameter and then size up the steel to accommodate it.

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I ended up having to come home from my shop for a little bit to wait for a package and figured I might as well post the progress so far for today. I will post the rest tomorrow morning.


So when we last left off the silver had just been prepped for cutting and soldering, and the ring blanks had been rough sized. In case you missed it in my last post it is important to just bring your ring blank up to the final ring size FIRST then measure your liner's external diameter BEFORE over sizing it, otherwise you might make your blank too big and then have to start all over. But here are the prepped materials:




Next you have to cut the silver to size. I just take a string or piece of paper and wrap it around my ring mandrel to get the length. It's simple but it works. Then cut all the pieces. For every one size you go down or up it is only about 1/16th of an inch of difference in circumference, so small changes make big differences.




Then with a combination of my ring mandrel, mini swage block, and a leather mallet I bring the strip of silver to round. It is important to line up the edges of the silver and the seam.




All the liners are now rounded and the seams have been aligned. Don't worry if they are not perfectly round as we will address that later.




Then solder them. (Just as a disclaimer, make sure you use the appropriate solder for the material you are using.In this case it is a silver solder that is around 60% silver. This not only helps with the joint's strength but also with making a seemless joint.




Then file off the excess flux/ solder and re shape it round to the final size. (Remember to go slightly under the final size to allow for lost material during polishing.)




All the liners have now been soldered, shaped, and cleaned.




Now to fit the liner, I start by measuring the external diameter of the liner.



Then the internal diameter of the ring blank:




Quite a difference in size, but just a couple minutes using a drum sander on a rotary tool fixes that.




Then you drive it in with a mallet.




As you can see you want it to be very tight.


You then drive the liner entirely through the blank until 1/16th inch of liner is sticking out of either side. I then use a small ball peen an a punch and peen the silver down nearly flush with the surface. (You must be very careful during this step, you will quickly find out if your damascus has any flaws in it, as the liner can crack a weld.)
At this point it looks very ugly, but with just a touch inside of the liner to remove mushrooming and a touch on the flat plate of a grinder (or file) we can now see the joint is nearly perfect and the inlay is solid.
The next step is to grind down the outside of the ring to final size, then polish, and etch.
More to come later.




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I've learned a bit already! Never would have thought that you'd insert the liner so early in the process. Looking forward to more!

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this is very intriguing! Ive been thinking for years on how i would do this once i acquired the skills. I was thinking about pounding out the damascus into a sheet --- punching a center slot out, and an outer ring (making a washer essentially) then using a ring mandrel to hammer over flat dress and stretch?! I love seeing other people's process'. I would have never thought to come this route!

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Thanks for the comments guys, I totally slipped a step though. Prior to inserting the liner make sure your ring blank is heat treated. Standard heat treat for 1084/15n20 damascus but tempered to blue instead of straw. Then insert the liner and proceed.

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Thanks for sharing all of this so far Robert!


Do you find that with a tight enough fit there is no need to solder the liner to the inside of the ring blank?

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