Dragon Skin Damascus Billets - Shaya Damascus
Bertie Rietveld made his first successful piece of Damascus by hand in 1991. After that first success things started changing rapidly, and as one of the first Damascus makers in South Africa at the time, soon Bertie was producing Damascus steel for the local knifemakers hungry to use this new blade material. As time went by he acquired and built better equipment, and refined the techniques of making laminated steel Damascus. A bit of a milestone was when he acquired Shaya, a 500pd Massey self contained pneumatic power hammer. It took 8 years of toil to get the hammer rebuilt and get it mounted in its own building, as the knifemaking workshop was not ideal for such a large beast. This hammer has proved invaluable in making Damascus of very high quality, and to be honest, if a piece of steel has met the wrath of Shaya, there are no flaws or delaminations, just a perfect weld! In 2000 Bertie started developing his signature Dragonskin Damascus.
Over the years, many, many improvements were introduced to make the steel better, and systems developed that improves quality, but it still remains hugely labour intensive and expensive to make. It is offered for sale in modest quantities, and it takes a fair amount of time to make orders, but at least we can share this beautiful material with other knifemakers. Some of the best knives made in the world today is being made from Shaya Forge Dragonskin Damascus.
In 2010 Bertie developed Nebula Damascus, another very unique steel that has its own charm and is a little less time consuming to make and therefore a little more affordable.
Every bar of Dragonskin ,Nebula or Fracture comes standard with a factsheet that provides detailed instructions on heat treatment and colouring.