Video: Forging A Damascus Blade From Steel Cable

After a recent post, several readers contacted me with stories and photos of the knives they made. My thanks go out to all who did, and I’ll be posting some of them soon. In the meantime, here’s a knife-making method I hadn’t encountered before.

That finished steel looks beautiful, but am I correct in wondering whether cable steel has the right composition to be hardened up for a knife blade? After all, steel cable is designed to be bendy, right? And knife blades…not so much.


  1. Mark N. says:

    Bendy can be just fine. My sword is quite bendy–wouldn’t be a good sword if it wasn’t– but plenty hard, as are some of my thinner kitchen knives. Without bendy, you tend towards brittle, and brittle is a bad thing. Very very hard metals can break in half, or even shatter if struck, while bendy are softer by very hard to break. But then again, cables are not necessarily designed to be bendy, but rather to have strength in tension.

    1. supergrover says:

      actually, it is designed to be flexible; but you’re right, tensile strength is most important. while i’m not an expert, i guarantee you that flexibility is the #1 consideration for cable *longevity* and yet it must also be somewhat hard for abrasion resistance. my guess is that cable is made from spring steel or something very similar; and leaf springs are a popular steel source for knives

  2. Sam L. says:

    You must not be a reader of BLADE magazine. I think Cable Damascus has been around for at least 5 years.And, of course, when welded together, not very bendy.

  3. dph says:

    I’m guessing that since Mr. Kramer is a Master Bladesmith he probably knows what he is doing when making blades from cable.

  4. I_Like_Pie says:

    People have also been doing similar forging with used chainsaw blades for decades.

  5. Dyspeptic says:

    Cable Damascus has been around for decades. If I remember correctly the core wires are high carbon steel and the outer wrap is a more ductile, lower carbon steel. The combination works well when properly forged, and it looks cool too. How flexible it is depends on final heat treatment.

    Interesting video, and that big ass trip hammer is very impressive, as is the shop equipment in general.

    1. Mark N. says:

      Gee, sounds just like pattern welded sword blades. Four to six blanks are welded together, with the inners being softer flexible steel and the outers harder steels. Interesting patterns are developed by twisting the blanks before welding them together.

  6. Matt in FL says:

    That was a cool video, but the knife and metalwork paled in comparison to that big rotating hammer thing. (Can you tell I’m not well versed in shop tools?)

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Video: Forging A Damascus Blade From Steel Cable

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