More images from Chuck Pippin, as the blade gets shaped. The damascus will, he says, start to show back up once the steel is polished. The steel, by the by, is "... 416 layers. It's made up of 3 layers of 52100, 4 layers of 5160, 3 layers of 203E, and 3 layers of 15N20 ... folded 5 times."
Chuck has suggested that a round guard might not be idea for a sheathed blade this short and I agree. (A katana is fine because of the way it's carried.) We're going with an oval shape.
And more later ...