Blade Patterns Intrinsic to Steel Edged Weapons

Additional information may be found at sites linked to on the home page of this site and in hypertext links within the text of this document.

Figiel, Leo S., On Damascus Steel (Atlantis, Florida: Atlantis Arts Press, 1991) Opening chapters include historic and technical discussions of wootz (true or "oriental" Damascus) and pattern-welded steels, particularly as encountered in Indian and Persian blades. Numerous examples of such swords and of pattern-welded Eastern gun-barrels are very well illustrated.

Hrisoulas, Jim, The Pattern-Welded Blade: Artistry in Iron (Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press, 1994). A practical guide for the aspiring bladesmith wanting to do pattern-welded and mechanical Damascus work Clear diagrams of how the various patterns are generated are in abundance.

Inoue, Tatsuo, "The Japanese Sword: The Material, Manufacturing and Computer Simulation of Quenching Process," Materials Science Research International Vol. 3, No. 4 (December, 1997), p 193 - 203. Available in its entirety on-line in html format. A description of the traditional methods of making the Japanese sword is followed by considerations of the differential quenching employed in the making of the Japanese sword (which result in the hamon or "temper line") and an analysis of the metallic structures, deformation and stresses associated with the traditional Japanese sword design.

Jones, Lee A., "The Serpent in the Sword: Pattern-welding in Early Medieval Swords," Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue 14 (1997), p. 7 - 11. Available in its entirety on-line in html and PDF format. A brief review of the pattern-welding technique from its supposed origin in the piled construction of Celtic swords through its zenith as seen in Migration Period and its decline through the Viking Age until it is represented only by iron inlaid inscriptions.

Kapp, Leon and Hiroko and Yoshihara, Yoshindo, The Craft of the Japanese Sword (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1987). Just about all that one could want to know about the making of Japanese swords which can be presented in book form.

Maryon, Herbert, "Pattern-welding and Damascening of Sword-blades: Part I - Pattern-Welding," Studies in Conservation 5 (1960), p. 25 - 37. A brief review article by the originator of the term "pattern-welding" accurately details all the salient points of the construction of pattern-welded blades and of how all the patterns observed result as a function of the depth of grinding into a twisted rod structure. The article also includes a brief description of pattern-welding as encountered in the Malay keris.

Maryon, Herbert, "Pattern-welding and Damascening of Sword-blades: Part 2: The Damascene Process," Studies in Conservation 5 (1960), p. 52 - 60. A detailed discussion of Eastern wootz Damascene steels.

Sachse, Manfred, Damascus Steel: Myth, History, Technology, Applications (Düsseldorf: Verlag Stahleisen, 1994) (An English translation of the second edition, 1993, translated by Paul Knighton). A reasonably comprehensive treatise on pattern-welded and true Damascus steels with sections on early European pattern-welded swords, Japanese blades, Persian and Indian wootz and pattern-welded blades, the Indonesian keris, European Damascus gun barrels and a wide variety of modern (late 19th and 20th Century) patterned metal work, all extremely well illustrated.

Smith, Cyril Stanley, A History of Metallography: The Development of Ideas on the Structure of Metals Before 1890 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, second impression with additions, 1965) The first section deals with surface representations of internal metallic structures in antique weapons and includes sections on the Merovingian pattern-welded blade, the [Oriental wootz] Damascus blade, European efforts to duplicate Oriental Damascus steels, Damascus gun barrels, the keris and Japanese swords.

Solyom, Garrett and Bronwen, The World of the Javanese Keris (Honolulu: East - West Center, 1978) The catalog of a museum exhibition, this 64 page monograph includes several pages on the history and making of the keris as well as photographs of various blade shapes and pamors (surface textures). Other sections deal with the hilt, scabbard and cultural significance.

Verhoeven, J.D., Pendray, A.H., and Dauksch, W.E., "The Key Role of Impurities in Ancient Damascus Steel Blades," JOM 50 (9) (1998), p. 58 - 64. Available in its entirety on-line in html format. Analyses of antique blades and the empirical work of Pendray lead to the conclusion that trace concentrations of Vanadium, Molybdenum or other carbide forming elements in the starting steel cake are necessary for the formation of the banded wootz structure along with the concomitant presence of high Phosphorus levels and its attendant hot short working difficulties. Even with the correct material, proper forging and heat treatment techniques were necessary for adequate pattern development.

Yumoto, John M.,The Samurai Sword: A Handbook, (Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1958) This venerable handbook was among the first to expose the North American collector to the Japanese sword and includes information on the making and classification of these swords and their various attributes.

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9 January 1999 ~ v2.01 ~ Copyright © 1998, 1999 by Lee A. Jones
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