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Damascus Finish Products – Road to Damascus

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A Modern Spin on an Ancient Art

Photography by Stickman and Iain Harrison

Shrouded in mystery, Damascus steel has an aura surrounding it like no other material. According to lore, the blade of a Damascus sword can cut cleanly through a gun barrel and will sever a hair falling on it. Because the knowledge needed to produce this ancient material was lost in the early 1800s, it's achieved a mythical status. While we can approximate it in modern times, the ancients took their secret recipes and techniques with them to the grave.

A true Damascus blade utilizes a type of crucible steel originally produced in India from around 200 B.C., comprising a Martensite or Pearlite matrix, within which are micro carbide layers that produce microscopic “teeth” in a cutting edge. In recent years, researchers have also discovered evidence of carbon nanotubes and tungsten micro alloys, adding to the mystique. This Wootz steel features a distinctive pattern, which, depending on the individual sample, can look like waves or flowing water. It was traded across the Near East for almost two millennia, much of it fetching up in the city of Damascus (which had a thriving arms industry), where it was forged into the blades bearing its name.

While original, genuine Damascus steel is no longer available, the Damascus look is still highly sought after and can be visually reproduced by another technique known as pattern welding. In it, different alloys are heated and then forge welded (think BFH) together before being folded over and forge welded again. This produces a laminated material that has an amalgam of the characteristics of the materials that went into its creation.

It is this method that's used to produce the two items here. Be warned, if you admire the flowing, organic lines of either original Damascus steel or its modern, forge welded counterpart, you'll need a healthy bank account if you plan on adding it to the collection.

Nottingham Tactical Mokuti Suppressor

The Japanese art of Mokume-game was originally applied to sword making, where it would be employed in the creation of eye-catching tsuba or other decorative components. The Mokuti billet used in Nottingham Tactical's suppressor was created in an inert atmosphere under intense heat and pressure by Chad Nichols in Blue Springs, Mississippi. If that sounds like an expensive way to create a chunk of titanium bar stock, you'd be absolutely correct. Before attempting to machine this piece, (and machining it is a royal PITA) the maker was already 10 grand in the hole due to material costs, so the finished price tag of somewhere north of $14,000 seems almost reasonable. There will only be five of these cans ever produced, so take a number and get in line.

Using modified K baffles, each of which is also spun from the same material as the endcaps and tube, the can is rated for .300 Win Mag and is just the thing for your next unicorn hunt.

Nottingham Tactical

Mokuti Suppressor


100% Mokuti titanium laminate

8 inches

1.5 inches

16 ounces


Dahmer Arms Damascus AR Lower

CNC'd from a billet comprised of 416 layers of carbon steel, the Dahmer Arms lower is for those who want an AR unlike any other. Or, rather, unlike any apart from the other nine units that make up this production run. For those interested in the technical aspects, the alloys used were 203e, 15n20, 52100, and 5160 and the billet was folded by hand on a Nazel 4B power hammer (if you're interested in what one of these mechanical behemoths looks like, check out RECOIL's interview of Jesse James in Issue 11).


Once off the machines, the receiver was etched to bring out the grain pattern and sealed against rust. So there you have it — pair your billet Damascus lower with a Mokuti can and you'd have a one-of-a-kind rifle that'll pull envious stares wherever you go, or, for the same kind of money, you could have a pretty decent family sedan. We know which one would be more memorable.

Dahmer Arms

Damascus Lower Receiver



Damascus steel

28 ounces


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