" The processing stages of a “coltello Pattadese”.

 

 

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The first thing is with no doubts the selection of the materials, the steel for the blade and the core, and the horn for the handle.

There are soft steel, halfsoft steel, hard steel, special carbon steel, not much bounded steel and bounded steel, anyhow in each one of them the percentage of carbon is less than 1,7%

 

 

 

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Even matching the horns is important because the handle drawing has to be as equal as possible in each of the two parts. We speak of matching because is quite difficult to have two horns of the same animal.

 

 

 

 

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The horn preparation and the “handle scales” constrution is a long and hardworking operation. First of all they need to have two horns long and thick enough, then they start cutting and straightening them. The operation of heating and compression has to be done several times until the two plaques are perfectly straight. Once the horn is cool the start cutting the two plaques that have to be of the right length and thicknes.

 

 

 

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The other main handle making component is the middle soul on which depends the final shape of the knife. They gain the soul from a steel bar and they work on it with forge, hammer and anvil to get the right thickness

 

 

 

 

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Afterwords, they fasten the two horn plaques to the steel soul bar “s’arcu”. Done this, they cut the horn fitting it as much as possible to the “anima”.

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s now time to put it into the grip and work on it with vise and rasp until it gets the desired shape, perfectly symmetric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They now need to get some room for the ring and they get it reducing the grips thickness. Now the ring can be assembled, refined and polished with emery thin paper and special abrasive pastes.

 

 

 

 

 

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The last move concerns on the ring building that has to be made with care because it needs to accede perfectly to the top of the handle without overhanging the horn grips thickness. The handle is now ready to host its blade

 

 

 

 

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They start with a steel bar and they heat it on the forge keeping it with some long forceps until it gets to the right temperature depending on the material used. This is an extremely delicate operation that needs a lot of experience to be done.

 

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The incandescent piece is now excerpt, put on the anvil and worked with fast and accurate hammer blows, trying to give the final shape to the blade and the right thickness to it depending on the handle soul. This process has to be done several times.

 

 

 

 

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Cooled it down they work the blade with water blowing mola and a rasp to get a first finish

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The most delicate move, the hardening, now starts. It is the heating of the blade to a certain temperature and its following cooling down. Steel tied to other elements develops special properties depending on the features we want enhance. Generally what changes tied steel in a great steel for knives craftsmen is the thermic processing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nowadays almost every kraftsman uses thermostated and timed gas ovens. Even if every type of steel has its own table on which is shown the heating temperature, the exact time and way of cooling. Each knife craftsman jealously keeps his own procedures. Some steels, out of the oven, need to be put into a mineral oil bath, some other ones need to be slowly cooled outside and then heated again .

 

 

 

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The last process, delicate as well, is the sharpening made with a water blowing water and finished on the strop, a leather stripe oiled and sprinkled with a fine and abrasive paste. The blade can now be polished and joined to the handle with a fixing pin.

 

 

 

 

- The processing of the DAMASCUS BLADE

 

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More needs to be said about the damascus blades, with which the kraftsman skills reach the highest. The damask is made of several overlaying coats of steel and nickel. The matching of these materials and the process used, give unique strength and flexibility to the blades. Even the katana blades, the swords used by samurai,are very famous also because of the damask process in use to make them.

 

 

 

 

 

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Another kind of damascus is the one you can get in the same way, but working curving the metal obtaining therefore a two centemeters diameter rod instead of a bar. The rod is twisted until they get a more or less tight twine. This is a very delicate moment because if there have been flaws during the previous moves, the metal will break becoming thereafter unusable, frustrating many hours of hard work. If everything goes well, they start flattening to obtain the bar and start all the proceedings we’ve just talked about. The craftsmen experiment day by day looking for new patterns and disegns. One of the hardest difficulties a knife krafsman can have is the mosaic damask that just few are able to make

Knives made with this technique are obviously produced for a market of collectors or anyway of real fans that will to spend to have such a rare piece of jewelery.

 

Are you still going to be surprised of the price of a handmade damask knife?