Modern Damascus barrels made in the old way

User: mehulkamdar

Date: 02 Oct 2005 at 03:47

From the website (please click on "Exclusive"):

"The Damask barrels production method follows technology of ancient gunsmiths, i.e. welding and forging of ribbons of multi-layer steel and iron sheets. Thereafter, the ribbons are coiled around a mandrel to form a helix and welded on it in a monolithic Damask semi-product. The whole operation of this type is quite challenging as it consic of manual forge welding of steel and iron on fire. In the following step a special technological method modifies the Damask barrel blank into state of the art damask barrel. Such Damask type barrels are suitable for fitting on modern hunting firearms and for shooting with today's ammunition using smokeless powder. Each of the Damask barrels made here is a non-interchangeable original piece since manual procedures cannot make two identical barrels. Damask-barrel BRNO98 rifle is supplied with calibers equal to the standard models of BRNO98. The rifle can be even more tailored (hand-engraving, etc.), if required by the customer."

This is the traditional way and not like the ultra modern technique used by Damasteel in Sweden.

As an aside, the latest issue of "Double Gun Journal" has a comprehensive test comparing a traditional Damascus barrel with a fluid steel one where the Damascus barrel proves stronger. I would suggest to all those interested in the subject to read it. DGJ is probably the best US gun journal IMHO.

Best wishes and good hunting!


[ This message was edited by: mehulkamdar on 2005-10-02 03:48 ]

User: Grumpy

Date: 03 Oct 2005 at 01:18

Thanks for the link Mehul.......I WANT ONE !
I remember you telling me some time ago that BRNO offered damascus barrels but I didn`t bother to check them out. It`s a shame that the calibre selection is somewhat limited ( 9.3x62 ? Why ? ! ) ...... and the drop-comb `Euro` style stocks don`t appeal however I don`t doubt that alternatives are available ( on the basis that `money talks`. )
The damascus looks wonderful, especially with the `gold``d they do that ?

User: Kaimiloa

Date: 05 Oct 2005 at 18:47

This is the most striking modern damascus I have seen because of the gold and blue-black color contrast, rather than the intricate patterns of the best English and Belgian damascus of the late nineteenth century. However, I have little doubt that today's highly sophisticated knifemaker's have bested it, and perhaps BRNO even got their technique from one of them. If these guns are seen more widely, as at the indescribable and vast Safari Club International annual convention in Nevada, I would think they would sell like hotcakes.
Altho early Mantons show a coppery and black pattern similar to this, my guess for BRNO's technique to achieve gold striping would be that they etch the more carboned portions of the damascus twist with a combination of nitric and hydrochloric acid, old-time German style, to slightly recess these areas - and then copper plate the metal. They then gold plate the copper and then polish off the barrel's remaining raised surface, and blue it. The gold does not take the blueing. Then gently power buff. Result, hopefully, would be a gold plus blue-black damascus pattern.
I know of no way to make iron or steel turn a gold color, but a copper color can be achieved if part of a rust-blue method involves copper sulfate solution. Some parts of the twist pattern will blue much more than others, and the latter will just look more coppery from the copper plating. Suspect that is what the Mantons did on some of their early 1800s barrels.

User: Grumpy

Date: 05 Oct 2005 at 22:18

Hi Kaimiloa. Thanks for the technical explainations of how Brno might have achieved the gold colour.......even I understood them !
30 years experience ? ..... Of engraving ? ! You must have some examples of your work available for us to see.......How about it ?

User: Tiger

Date: 06 Oct 2005 at 12:20

I think Kaimiloa is a shy, retiring sort of guy, so perhaps I should mention the fact that he is something of an expert on restoring guns and BPE double rifle regulating, especially BP and lead bullet regulating. Both he and his wife are engravers, and experts on engraving from the 1500s onwards.

User: mehulkamdar

Date: 06 Oct 2005 at 15:18

Thanks, Kaimiloa, for your very informative post. I hope that you would participate regularly in the discussions here.

Grumpy's request and Tiger's description of you are both fine - please feel free to maintain your anonymity but do participate with your views whenever a topic interests you.

Best wishes and good hunting!

User: Tiger

Date: 06 Oct 2005 at 19:21

I was wrong, Kaimiloa isn't shy and retiring at all, he's just busy running errands (while his wife is engraving!). I've been exchanging emails with him and this is an extract:

"I had learned a bit about gold plating of copper from studying and conjecturing how in the world Gustave Young could have done those astonishingly complex showpiece Colt revolvers given as gifts to royalty in the 1860s or so, which had a myriad of complex gold inlays. I have a remarkable and little known book on engraving's origins that documents that they are NOT gold inlays, tho many firearms books say they are. It turns out on high magnification that it was a plating process of some kind. Also, one of the ways that high-end manufacturers put in the little gold poincions with their name an logo into the lockplate or barrel top was to first put in copper, then coat it with gold either physically with gold leaf, or by plating the copper using gold-mercury amalgam. The mercury was then burned off by heating. I have yet to explorer Young's secret, or the poincion techniques, but will eventually.
Feel free to post this at the BB's BRNO message site if you wish - I must get off on an errand now.
Aloha, Ka'imiloa"

User: Grumpy

Date: 07 Oct 2005 at 00:03

`S funny - I still understand what the guy`s talking about. If I was to try and explain such processes I would have confused everyone.............especially me !

User: mehulkamdar

Date: 07 Oct 2005 at 02:15


Thanks for posting Kaimiloa's very informative mail. I hope that we shall see pictures of his work from time to time. I know of a renowned lady who is an FEGA member engraver in Arizona, and her husband happens to be a great gunmaker building custom rifle actions from scratch - I hope that this speculation about Kaimiloa's identity does not worry him too much, ha, ha!


Knowing you from our correspondence, I can see that you're making a joke about yourself here. Thanks for the touch of humour - it always makes what is difficult to understand easy, though Kaimiloa's posts are definitely superb in their simplicity and depth. Truly a very learned gentleman!

Thank you very much, gentlemen, and good hunting!

User: Tiger

Date: 07 Oct 2005 at 12:24

I feel we're talking about someone as if they weren't there! This is fun, but in Kaimiloa's temporary absence I can tell you he is a retired cosmetic surgeon who is particularly interested in doing proper period engraving, or in personalized engraving work. His wife, Kehau, is particularly interested in doing female-oriented engraving and inlays including animals, small jewels and the like. They both do the usual common or garden engraving and inlay. Maybe we will see some of their work when they have the time to show us.

User: wabbitbosher

Date: 20 Oct 2005 at 00:55

I know this is a Rifle section but i picked up another Damascus hammer the other day an Adams and Co. its all striped of colour at the mo, i will be rebrowning it with a kit (including copper sulphate) i obtained from Peter Dyson i'll post some photos of before and after on the shotgun section
Well i'll post some before anyway, i'll only post after ones if it comes out ok if i make a mess of it i wont be showing it off
I'm not aloud to use the kit till 2nd Nov boo hoo , it was a birthday pressy form my girlfriend , so you'll have to wait till some time after then to see it (it takes 14 to 21 days to achieve the "Desired" colour)


User: Snotty

Date: 20 Oct 2005 at 15:18

i picked up another Damascus hammer the other day an Adams and Co.

Hope it has lots of "extra's"

User: wabbitbosher

Date: 21 Oct 2005 at 12:48

Thanks for that info Snotty , it is a spanking gun and still has most of its nickel plating (i'm told this was for wild fowling)and a super walnut pistolgrip stock
It looks very Vinnie Jones "Lock stock" at the mo as the barrels are polished bright pre rebrowning

PS pictures will follow

[ This message was edited by: wabbitbosher on 2005-10-21 12:49 ]

User: Snotty

Date: 21 Oct 2005 at 14:18

On 2005-10-21 12:48, wabbitbosher wrote: Thanks for that info Snotty

Does that mean you understood it?

What the heck is a "Thomas 6 top snap action"????


User: Snotty

Date: 21 Oct 2005 at 14:22

And seeing as how we've totally hi-jacked this thread, here's my new toy

User: wabbitbosher

Date: 25 Oct 2005 at 21:35

Very nice too

Do you think that might say Thomas's not Thomas 6 ??

Don't really understand it but it's nice to have info for nostalgic purposes

Ah yes thoes pictures
Not too "WIDE"

WB (Wide Boy!!!)

User: wabbitbosher

Date: 25 Oct 2005 at 22:10

Here it is as promised

User: Snotty

Date: 25 Oct 2005 at 23:10

On 2005-10-25 22:10, wabbitbosher wrote: Here it is as promised

Blooming heck wabbit, what did you take those pictures with? A box brownie? Bit of glare don'cha'think

Is that Thomas's top snap action I see on that gun?

(Well it savess me doing the research)

best regards


User: Grumpy

Date: 27 Oct 2005 at 00:25

I`ll take the `Thomas 6 snap action` for thirty bob....and a pair of those `Bertam`( ? ) locks. Actually, as I`m feeling rather flush I`ll have one of those 8 bore doubles for thirteen quid as well.....PLEASE !
Crumbs wabbit, not another ole clunker..... `though this one can`t be too bad as they`ve let you take it home !!!
Snotty, you mean you`ve never heard of the internationally famous Thomas 6 snap action ? They`re almost as well known as the Williams 8 underlever hammers !

[ This message was edited by: Grumpy on 2005-10-27 00:31 ]

User: wabbitbosher

Date: 27 Oct 2005 at 01:43

Tell you what for the £30 i paid its spot on , hot out of the proof house (the proof marks say 2004 and their still sharp to the touch)its had a couple of dents raised but they have been done real well , you can only see them in proper light
I'm going to give it a go at rebrowning it
in fact thats the only reason i brought it to give slow browning a go
EEk! best try it on an old duffer rather than one of the better ones Eh!


User: Snotty

Date: 27 Oct 2005 at 13:14

and a pair of those `Bertam`( ? ) locks.

That's Rebound locks

User: Grumpy

Date: 27 Oct 2005 at 19:34

That's Rebound locks

Really ? I`d better take a couple of pairs of those then !
Seriously, thanks for the translation Snotty - that, at least, makes sense.

User: mehulkamdar

Date: 04 Nov 2005 at 15:08

Snotty and Wabbitbosher,

Those are beautiful guns. Now if only we could find them in the US occasionally...

Congratulations to you on your fine taste!

User: wabbitbosher

Date: 05 Nov 2005 at 00:00

Tell you what mehulkamdar they come up quite often here at auction we'll have to see if theres a way to send them out to you , maybee make a few Dollers each eh!