Precision Exotic Damascus at it's Finest


Do you make damascus for firearms manufacturers?
Yes! We forge Damascus blocks that can be used for all types of firearms and gun components, including AR-15 lowers. We don’t offer firearm components in our online store, so please call for more information.
What types and combinations of steel do you offer?
We use different types of steel for each Damascus pattern. Our stainless Damascus is made of either AEB-L and 302 or 440 C and CPM 154. In our carbon Damascus, we use either 0-1 and nickel, 1075 and nickel, or 3V and nickel. For non-ferrous Mokume-Gane, we use a blend of copper, nickel-silver, and brass.
What is Mokume-Gane?
Mokume-Gane, which translates to wood-grained metal, does not contain any iron. Due to its difficulty, this ancient art was nearly lost in the twentieth century, but was revived in the 1970s by Eugene Michael Pijanowski and Hiroko Sato Pajinowski. Today, consumers and connoisseurs can find jewelry, flatware, and other pieces made from Mokume-Gane.
What's the correct technique for finishing Mokume-Gane?
Mokume is very easy to work with. Even if you don't like your surface finish, it's simple to start over without ruining your finished product. We recommend using a 400-600 grit grind belt for a final finish, though you can choose to go higher. For a mirror-shiny finish, use a soft buffing compound after grinding. You can also buff out any scratches later. Over time, the copper, brass, and nickel silver in your Mokume begin to oxidize and turn dark. If you want to get this look faster, soak your Mokume in a patina solution. Some people also choose to soak their piece for 1 to 2 minutes in ferric chloride mixed with distilled water, then neutralize the acid with a dip in a baking soda/distilled water bath for 3 minutes. When you remove your Mokume from the baking soda, simply wash it off with water and a clean rag.
What’s the average wait time for an order?
The average wait time for most orders is 2 to 3 weeks. Your wait will vary depending on the size of your order and our current workload. For more specific wait time estimates, call our office.
Is your Damascus hardened or annealed?
We carefully anneal each piece of Damascus before it's sent to you. This step is often overlooked, but annealing softens the steel for easier working. If you would like your Damascus hardened to a certain rockwell hardness, let us know and we can put you in contact with one of our professional heat treat vendors. We'll ship your Damascus directly to them for hardening before it makes its way to you.
Do I need to run my mill or lathe slower than normal to avoid delamination?
This really depends on where you're purchasing your Damascus and Mokume-Gane. In our opinion, you shouldn't have to worry about the material ripping apart and potentially damaging your machine, or, worse, causing injury. When Damascus is made correctly, the layers fuse and cannot be torn apart. While it's always possible for a smith to have a "bad batch," we can proudly say that in the 3 years since we've been running Vegas Forge, we have had exactly 0 instances where our product failed and delaminated. That's why our preparation and process is so meticulous. Because it's impossible to spot a delamination before it occurs - unless you have an x-ray machine lying around in your shop, anyway - we recommend that you ask around to see what other machinists have experienced with various brands of Mokume and Damascus. Remember that most delaminations occur during machining, and if a brand has had multiple delaminations, it's likely that there are many weak points in their materials.
What will my Damascus pattern look like after I've ground and cut it? Won't it change?
Each of our beautiful Damascus patterns has its own unique characteristics that are revealed when you grind and cut. A couple of our patterns don't change at all, and others will change dramatically as you work. When you understand how your pattern looks when cut, you can really create a unique piece of art from your raw billet or rod. We love helping makers nail down their designs, so call or email us with specific questions about your patterns. To see examples of finished products by Damascus pattern, visit our blog.
Don't Damascus and Mokume have voids and cracks sometimes? I've heard that's just the risk of working with Damascus.
It's a common misconception that working with Damascus means that you're just going to have to accept a certain amount of imperfections. We don't think that's an acceptable way to do business. You put so much work into your Damascus and Mokume products, and to finish 80% of your work and find a void or a crack, then waste even more time waiting for replacement materials, isn't good business or good character. Your business reputation is on the line, too. Vegas Forge takes the time and extra steps to do things right the first time, because we demand consistent quality and think you should, too.
Do you offer a stainless Damascus that doesn't require heat treatment?
Yes. We offer twisted Damascus rods, raindrop billets, ladder billet, typhoon billets, and random billets in 304/316 stainless, which doesn't require heat treatment.
Why am I getting little spots on my Damascus after etching?
There are a few reasons you might see spots on your Damascus after etching. Let's troubleshoot.
1: If your Damascus was ground too fast, it may have gotten too hot and the pores in the metal may have closed, which prevents the acid from penetrating correctly. This is most common on thin blades, like kitchen knives, and the best way to prevent it from happening is to take your time and dunk the blade frequently in water while you're grinding.
2: Using anything other than distilled water to dilute ferric chloride often causes spots and problems. Be sure you're using distilled water, and that it's less than a year old.
3: If your acid has expired, it may not etch correctly. Check the dates on your ferric chloride and muriatic acid.
4: If your metal wasn't clean enough before submerging it in acid, the acid can't etch it properly. Solvents, mineral spirits, and acetone all leave residue behind, so your best bet for cleaning is to always use alcohol.
5: Sanding with too high a grit or polishing the metal before etching will close the pores in the metal and prevent the etch from working correctly. Ideally, you should use 400 to 600 grit sandpaper, and never use a buffer before etching.
How do I remove spots on my Damascus after I've already etched it?
See the question above for some tips on how to prevent spots. If you've already done your etch and want to remove spots, very lightly sand your piece with 500 grit sandpaper until the surface is smooth, then re-etch using muriatic acid.
What's the proper technique for etching Damascus?
When you're etching Damascus, always be sure to wear appropriate safety gear like eye protection and gloves.
For detailed instructions for etching Damascus, use this link. The basic process is as follows:
1: After heat treating, bring your Damascus to a 400 to 600 grit finish. This prepares your steel for an even etch.
2: Once your Damascus is sanded to the correct grit, thoroughly wash it with alcohol and pat dry with a clean rag. Don't touch it with your hands.
3: If you're using ferric chloride, dilute your acid with distilled water. Muriatic acid needs no dilution.
4: Warm your acid to room temperature. To warm your acid more quickly, the best method is to place the container of acid into a large bowl of warm water. Never put acid in the microwave!
5: Hang your Damascus piece in the warm acid so that it hangs freely and doesn't touch the sides or bottom of the container. Keep it submerged for 10 to 15 minutes.
6: Remove the Damascus from the acid and dip it in a bath of baking soda and distilled water to neutralize the acid. Wash your piece with alcohol and pat it dry with a clean rag.
7: If you want a deeper etch, repeat steps 5 and 6.
8: Polish, and enjoy!
How do I heat-treat my stainless Damascus after purchase?
1: Begin with your Damascus product wrapped as tightly as possible in .002 SST foil. Use double folds on all sides to ensure a tight seal.
2: Preheat your furnace to austenitizing temperature - 1,925 degrees Fahrenheit.
3: Place your wrapped piece in the furnace.
4: Allow your furnace to cycle back up to austenitizing temperature.
5: Soak your piece for 15 minutes.
6: Quench in oil until it stops smoking.
7: Temper twice at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour each time.
8: For advanced cryo hardening, quench in liquid nitrogen for 4 hours, then re-temper once at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For more information on cryo treatment, read through this forum thread.
How do I heat-treat my carbon Damascus after purchase?
1: Begin with your Damascus product wrapped as tightly as possible in .002 SST foil. Use double folds on all sides to ensure a tight seal.
2: Preheat your furnace to austenitizing temperature - 1,475 degrees Fahrenheit.
3: Place your wrapped piece in the furnace.
4: Allow your furnace to cycle back up to austenitizing temperature.
5: Soak your piece for a maximum of 5 minutes.
6: Quench in oil until it stops smoking.
7: Temper twice at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour each time.

If you have questions, call us at 702-834-5566.