The cladding (Awase)
I use different cladding for my knives depending the composites qualities I want to embed. As the core steel becomes harder the more fragile and brittle it can become. If you want your knife to stay sharp for a long time, you need to make it hard, and therefore, brittle. San-mai construction solves this problem elegantly. By forge-welding softer material onto either side of your hard steel, you give the blade a great deal more structural integrity without sacrificing its ability to hold an edge! If you look closely at the edge of my knives, you might see a line. This is where the hard core-steel meet the softer cladding.
Historic wrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon content (less than 0.08%). It is a semi-fused mass of iron with fibrous slag inclusions (up to 2% by weight), which gives it a "grain" resembling wood that is visible when it is etched or bent to the point of failure. Great for polishing.
Pattern welded steel or "modern Damascus" is made from several types of steel and/or iron slices welded together to form a billet. The patterns vary depending on how the smith works the billet. The billet is drawn out and folded until the desired number of layers are formed.
Pure iron is made in the UK with a minimum Fe content of 99.85%, without the addition of alloy elements. It's an extremely versatile material with a very good welding properties. Great for polishing.
Historic wrought iron cladding
Pattern welded cladding
Pure iron cladding