Damascus steel making with John Mosse

Blacksmithing and metalworking

Ref: S4D12257

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About this course

Learn the process of making pattern welded Damascus steel, used traditionally in the making of blades and other tools.

Course Description

In recent years, the making of pattern welded steel has enjoyed a revival. It is a material you make yourself, by joining together layers of different iron/steel to develop a layered structure, exhibiting decorative surface patterns. This piece of material may then be used to make a small decorative and/or functional object.

The course will cover:

Background: the history of the material and examples of its use and development as a material

Preparation: the steps required to create a successful piece of pattern welded steel

Design: to help you develop a working plan for your finished object

Processes: step-by-step production with discussions to help you understand the steps required to make great Damascus steel and turn it into a beautiful object

Finishing: helping you achieve the best appearance for your finished Damascus steel object

The course provides an opportunity to understand, explore and develop ideas, using this ancient technique. Some previous experience of blacksmithing may be helpful, but is not essential. You are introduced to the decorative possibilities of making Damascus steel, enabling you to investigate its creative applications.

What you would like to make is up to you, and your tutor will do his best to help you realise these designs. Common uses of Damascus steel include: kitchen knives, tools and jewellery. If you’re not sure what you would like to make, your tutor will help to inspire you. Examples of potential designs will be provided and discussed at the beginning of the course, and you will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas with your tutor.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor and College will supply all of the materials:
  • Steel, fuel, consumables (abrasives, flux, etc.)
  • Handtools (files, rasps, etc.)

What students need to bring

  • Working clothes
  • Plenty of water
  • If you have anything of your own you have ideas for, or you would like to use, please bring it along. An example of this would be specialty woods for handles of blades or tools.

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • Optional extra materials such as hardwoods for handles, etc.
You will need clothing suitable for workshop use, together with steel toe capped boots. Cotton or woollen clothing is preferable to nylon or other synthetics. A pair of cotton jeans is far more protective than a pair of nylon trousers. Shorts do not provide necessary protection. Safety boots can be purchased from most tool hire shops and builders’ merchants, as well as online: www.cromwell.co.uk www.bhinone.com Please note: As this course is held in the Forge, you will return to the main house for lunch. However, morning coffee and afternoon tea is held in the nearby Carrington Studio. Please note that tutor supervision is required at all times when students work in the Forge. The tutor’s instruction on health and safety will include access to and use of the power hammer. Evening working – the Forge is not open in the evening. Due to sharing of specialist equipment and tutor supervision being necessary, there will be some waiting required at times. For this reason, the course numbers are limited.


John Mosse

John Mosse is an award-winning blacksmith and conservator. He trained in the national school of Blacksmithing Hereford, before undergoing a masters in Conservation of metalwork at West Dean College.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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Our Foundation Degree in Metalwork will enhance your employment prospects, give you the skills to set up as a self-employed craftsperson or allow you to continue to higher education. Encompassing both silversmithing and blacksmithing, you will learn practical skills, material properties, placing your work in a broader context and historic metalworking techniques. Find out more

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