Join Date: May 2006
I do agree that the performance characteristics of some pattern welded steel are very inferior to those of good quality, properly forged and heat treated monosteel.
However, pattern welded steel that has been made by a competent smith, using good quality materials, and properly heat treated, can perform as well as modern monosteel in some applications, and in other applications can outperform modern monosteel.
For example, if we use 01 (oil hardening steel #1) and either good quality wrought iron or a modern low carbon steel, say less than 0.05% carbon, as the foundation materials, the resultant mechanical damascus/pattern welded product will display superior cutting characteristics to the cutting characteristics of 01 used by itself for the same type of blade. Additionally, the 01+low carbon mechanical damascus will resist breakage better, can be straightened without reheating, and will be easier to resharpen than 01 used by itself.
The characteristics of good quality mechanical damascus are most definitely not universally poor. Consider the past applications of mechanical damascus, for instance, gun barrels.
Good quality mechanical damascus can be a thing of beauty, as well as a thing of very superior performance characteristics. It all depends on the material used and the skill of the craftsman who made it.