Nearly 2,000 years ago, steelsmiths in Damascus, Syria discovered that folded steel was far superior to the common homogeneous smelted steel which they had been working with. At the time, steelsmiths did not have the technology to create homogeneous steel so they had to combine steels and weld them together. The result created much more flexible yet tougher steel, which they used for knife blades. Known as “Steel of the Ancients,” Damascus steel combines steels of different properties to produce a strong and malleable material. Creating this stunning form of steel is a difficult and risky process and has only a 75% success rate. After the steels are welded together, the surface is etched with an acid. Beginning with alternating layers of two types of steel, the materials are welded together in a coal forge. The layers of metal are then stacked and hammered into one piece. The material is then reheated and folded over and over again until the two original layers become 4, then 8, then 16, up to 512 layers. Once 512 layers are reached, the piece is cut, grind and hammered into the knife blade. The metal is then hardened by heating and quenching. The blade is then placed in a 400 degree oven for two hours so it will temper. After tempering, the steel is sanded to a fine polish. Finally, the metal is soaked in a bath of acid to reveal the many beautiful swirling layers hidden underneath.