Meet Ilya Kulikov, a famous blacksmith from Yaroslavl who is a real master of his craft and can turn damask steel into beautiful objects without any efforts.
Beautiful damask steel is obtained when several plates made of different metals are forged together. Thin plates undergo numerous forging, metals are mixed and damask steel is got. Unlike damask steel, wootz which is represented in the picture is boiled.
A blacksmith needs to concentrate on the boiling process as it’s important not to overheat the alloy. Further the process totally depends on a master. Ilya prefers cutting the alloy into 4 parts.
The lines of an alloy are far from being attractive. Correct forging determines firmness and future pattern of lines.
The tube is welded at the initial stage of the process to ensure easy grasping.
Damask steel originates from India where people can spend years on meditation or making a sword. Ancient Indian blacksmiths had small hammers and seemed to have a plenty of time.
Russian masters have always returned for help to their apprentices who could hold the sledge-hammers in the right way. This method reduced time spent on goods manufacture but still couldn’t accelerate the process enough.
Invention of a forging hammer helped a lot. Many years ago the appliances were equal to an engine in size. Now blacksmiths use pneumatic hammers which produce less noise but are also less productive than the first ones.
Finally the one fourth part is turned into a plate. It will take half a day to produce such a plate manually, 10-15 minutes – in case of mechanized equipment usage. Ancient Indians spent several days on doing the same though.