I’m often asked where the patterns in my steel come from. Usually by folks who aren’t familliar with pattern welded steel. The simple “friendly to the folks” version describes how the pattern is actually in the steel itself, and not just on the surface. When somebody who is familiar with pattern welding, whether it be in knives, old shotguns, etc. asks me that same question, the answer can get a bit more involved. This is the section where I really get to expand on that answer as I see it. This is the way I have come to understand patterning and what I consider the “theory” of steel patterning. My views and understanding of patterning theory have been greatly influenced by many amazing ‘smiths whose work I have admired and tried to understand. The person I’ve spent the most time discussing pattern welding with is my good friend Delbert Ealy. Over the years Delbert and I have had many, many hours of discussion on the nature of what occurs in the steel as it is worked, how various patterns are constructed, and how to do some very interesting things with steel.
The content in the patterning section of the site is a snapshot of my thoughts and understanding of patterning theory AS I SEE IT NOW. I guarantee as I continue to work with steel and talk to other folks that do, that the information here will change. My hope is that as my understanding evolves, my explanations will increase in lucidity and structure.