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Flexible Damascus Slicer

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Hello, I'm kind of new to forging and all that, but I want to try and make my Dad a knife for his birthday, he is really into barbeque, and the knife he seems to use the most is a long thin blade for slicing the meat off the bone, how can I make this flexible out of damascus, what are some of the best steels?

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Welcome aboard snowking jr. glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might discover the forum members within visiting distance, might even be a bladesmith or two.

How much experience do you have making blades? Forging blades involves a specialized set of skills let alone forging damascus blades. Boning or thin carving knives are more challenging. Forging anything thin is a challenge. Just heat treating thin blades is no trivial thing. 

I hate to say it but you don't sound like you know enough to ask the right questions let alone understand the answers. I'm not trying to discourage you, it sounds like an epic birthday gift for your father. Unfortunately I don't believe you have time to learn the necessary skills. What do you have for: shop, equipment and tools?  If you're a quick study and maybe take a bladesmithing class you can make him a damascus carving set next year. 

I see Steve and I are typing at the same time. He's a world class bladesmith and published author, might buy his books, you could do a lot worse.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thin = Flexible, so you are good there. 

Making a good thin knife is the problem.  Really it will likely end up to be more about grinding and finishing than forging, especially for a beginner.  Of course if you plan to forge to shape and heat treat you will likely end up with a lot of warping from the irregularities in your home-cooked pattern welded steel.  My recommendation would be to, at minimum, buy a premade, good quality, billet of damascus and go stock removal from there, then send it out to be properly heat treated.  Note that a good quality billet of that size is going to run you well over $100, and possibly more depending on the pattern.

Another good option would be to buy a premade knife blank and finish it yourself with a custom handle and correct sharpening.  I've seen some nice ones at the Woodcraft stores, but am not sure if they have a pattern that would meet your requirements.

To answer your other question, in my opinion, the best knife steel is the one you already know how to properly heat treat and have the correct equipment to do same.  1075, 1080, 1084 and 1095 are pretty forgiving steels for a beginner.

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If someone was just learning to drive and came to you for advice because they wanted to enter formula one races; what would your advice to them sound like?  Yup; me too.  A great thing to work towards; but a lot of miles to go to get there! 

Now there are a number of places out there that will sell you a premade and pre heat treated blade that you can do a custom handle for; I remember Jantz knifemakers Supply was one and they bought another big name from the past Koval.  You might want to go through their online catalog and see if you see a suitable blade that you can finish off.

One last piece of advice:  make the handle from something that won't absorb grease, be slick when splashed with sauce and is easy to clean!

Now as to good alloys for pattern welding: 1084 and 15N20 have good carbon contents and a nice differentiation in etching.

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