These balisong blades were painstakingly ground from billets of the best damascus steel made in Rajasthan, India today. The damascus you see here is some of the best made in Asia today.
The damascus steel has over 200 layers and was forged from 1085 carbon steel and 15N20. It was ground to shape by hand using stock removal, which was extremely labor intensive and challenging for the makers. Then the blades were hardened to get the most out of the carbon steel used in their manufacture.
I went with a phosphate finish to bring out the pattern on this damascus for a number of reasons:
1. Filipino watered steel was never finished with strong industrial acids. The phosphate finish you see here is much more subtle and natural and does not etch the steel.
2. It also gives the carbon steel a degree of corrosion resistance.
3. Another advantage to using a phosphate finish is it can be restored at home quickly and easily. You don’t have to worry about scratching the etching off on these knives. They were meant to be flipped and used.
4. To stain a blade with harsher chemicals such as ferric chloride or hydrochloric acid would eat into the blade, and if one wished to restain their blade, they would have to unpin the balisong since the chemicals would eat into the brass and steel pins and liners and damage the inserts if they made contact with them.
The 28 cm kris balisong on top features premium pre-ban sambar stag inserts. Sambar stag are the largest deer on the planet and their antlers are now illegal to export from India. Sambar stag, to me, is the best stag around. This is truly an outstanding piece and there is no other balisong like this one anywhere else. Brass bolsters and steel liners. The first set of bolsters are longer than usual and were double pinned for extra durability. 6.5 oz. SOLD. ($239)
The 28 cm dibuyod (bowie) balisong below it has stainless bolsters, steel liners and Filipino karabaw inserts. There are two very fine hairline cracks in the inserts that are natural and found in virtually all Filipino karabaw horn. Occasionally wiping the horn inserts down with a damp cloth would keep it from contracting/cracking in dryer climates.
The karabaw is the national animal of the Philippines, and for most of the 20th century, karabaw horn was the most common material on Batangas FHM balisongs. You will never see a balisong with full-length karabaw inserts on the racks of stores in the Philippines nowadays. I have several that date back to the 1940s that have survived, even though abused, with only minor chips in the horn. One nice thing about karabaw horn is it can be used to stop bleeding and still provides excellent grip, even when highly polished and wet (or God forbid, bloody)! 5.5 oz. SOLD. ($209)
The 19 cm buyod below it also has stainless bolsters and steel liners with Filipino karabaw inserts. It was forged from the same billet as my personal carry knife (the kris with mammoth ivory inserts I posted a few days ago). The karabaw horn also has one or two hairline cracks. This is a beautiful little balisong that is still very solid and usable. 4.5 oz. $189.