Basic Damascus Steel


Isaiah Washington

Class runs: November 20-22

Tuition: $600

Material fee: $150

Skill level: Beginner and up

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       This three day class will cover the very basics of making pattern welded or “Damascus” steel. Material selection will be discussed along with basic metallurgy to ensure that the final products will be structurally sound with the boldest contrast possible.

TS at hmr

      The students will be experimenting with basic pattern manipulation such as random, raindrop, twist and Ladder, W's and other simple manipulations. Necessary fundamentals such as material preparation, forge welding, power hammer technique and proper forging practices will be the focus of this class. Heat treating, polishing and etching will also be covered.


       Students should expect to leave with a few billets of Damascus ready to forge into knives or jewelry. While no forge welding experience is necessary, a level of comfort operating a power hammer and tolerance of heat and sparks will be. Students can expect to leave with up to 3 bars of material ready to use in others course or projects.

See Highlights of last years course

Isaiah started forging steel after he was inspired by a popular online show about forging knives and swords. In 2015 at the age of 18 Isaiah bought his first forge from the New England School of Metalwork, a small buffalo forge run on coal and charcoal. Isaiah began selling his work online and started his business, Zay Knives.

As the intern apprentice at the school Isaiah would help with odd jobs and whatever would need to be done. At the same time gaining knowledge and advice from Dereck Glaser, and Nick Rossi, and many other crafts people that came through the school, who influenced his style as a blacksmith / bladesmith. In 2020 NESM asked Isaiah to be a resident instructor at the school. Now with over 7 years of experience Isaiah assists classes, and teaches beginner level bladesmithing courses here at NESM.