A Custom Balisong by Pabu Knife

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This is the RB SPECIAL from Pabu Knife of Portland, Oregon. The knife is made virtually entirely from Damasus steel.

The handles are made of Jim Ferguson's Twisted Nickel Damascus Steel.

Damascus steel is actually two steel alloys (sometimes more) bonded together. Mr. Jim Ferguson of Temecula, California uses C-1095 and Nickel 200 alloys for his "Twisted Nickel" Damascus. C-1950 is a high-carbon steel alloy. Nickel 200 is a high-nickel alloy. The two alloys respond differently to being etched in a mild acid solution. A brief soak in a mild acid solution will etch away a little bit of the C-1950 and leave the C-1950 a dark gray color. But, Nickel 200 is very resistant to the acid and, in fact, will even be essentially cleaned by a brief acid soak leaving it a bright silver color. Because the acid actually etches away a tiny bit of the C-1950, the surface actually has a little bit of texture to it. While an acid etch step really enhances the contrast of Damascus steel, the pattern is part of the metal. It is not painted on or a surface finish. The pattern is permanent and goes all the way through the metal; the pattern is part of the metal.

A typical piece of Jim Ferguson "Twisted Nickel" Damascus begins with over 250 layers of alternating C-1095 and Nickel 200. This "sandwich" is heated to about 2200 degrees Fahrenheit under 75 tons of pressure applied by a hydraulic press. The pressure and heat weld the layers together into one solid piece without actually mixing the two materials. The result is a solid block of material composed of some 250 layers. To get the swirling patterns, this piece is then twisted and pressed again. You can actually see impressive pictures and video of the process on Mr. Ferguson's site.

While Mr. Ferguson makes his famous Twisted Nickel Damascus for other knife makers such as Pabu Knife, he's also a very talented knife maker himself. You can see many of his outstanding knives on his site.

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