Damascus Steel Knives - INFO & SHOP
The popularity of Damascus steel knives has increased dramatically in recent years. There are many knife lovers out there so it is not a surprise that you can find Damascene cutlery in many modern households.
Contemporary Damascus knives are attributed with the highest quality, stability, and extraordinary sharpness.
A sharp and well crafted knife will change the way you perceive food preparation and cooking. If you become an enthusiast, you will learn to properly take care of your blades, sharpen them to a mirror finish, and wield them like a pro chef.
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What is a Damascus Steel Knife and How it is Made?
‘Damascus steel knife’ is a common name for a multi-layered laminated steel knife. Such blades are made from two or more types of steel which is fused and hammered together during the forging process.
In the today’s market you can find two types of Damascus knives according to their production technology:
- The blade can be made from a single Damascus steel billet,
- or it can be made from two Damascus billets which are enveloping a hardened steel blade core (see diagram).
While the knives made from single billet certainly have their charm, their cutting edge tends to be softer.
The second version involves using the core made of hardened steel, which gives better cutting properties and edge retention. Besides showing the exquisite Damascus pattern the outer layers serve as a support and protection of the blade core.
Different types of stainless steel billets are most commonly used for the surrounding blade layers, and the blade core is usually made of harder carbon steel such as VG-10, AUS-10 or 10Cr15CoMoV.
How Many Folds are in Damascene Steel Blades?
Damascus steel blades can have any number of layers, ranging from 2 up to 2096 or even more. The number of layers depends on how many times the steel billet was folded during the forging process.
A Damascene knife can be made from a single billet (laminated steel blank) or from two side billets and a hardened steel core, like a sandwich (see diagram above).
Knives with hardened core are commonly made from 33 or 36 layers of folded steel on each side (for example: 33 layers + core + 33 layers). Such blades are referred to as 67 or 73-layered Damascus knives respectively.
The outer layers add additional protection because the core of the blade is wrapped by many coats of steel. When compared to a high carbon steel knife, even if the same material is used, the Damascene blade tends to have the same hardness but is still more flexible and resistant to breaking.
Is Damascus Steel Good for Knives?
What we nowadays call ‘Damascus steel’ is not some particular type of steel, but the name refers to the technology of production of the laminated steel blanks, blades, and knives.
Everything depends on a few important factors:
- types of steel being used,
- forging and hardening process of the blade,
- handle materials and design,
- overall compactness and quality.
That being said, Damascene knives are no exemption. However, since laminated knives require a more elaborate and costly production process, there is usually more effort put into making such knives.
Are Damascus Blades Better than Ordinary Knives?
If you compare an ordinary stamped or forged knife to a well-made Damascus, usually the latter tends to have better properties and qualities.
- Ordinary stainless steel knife is rust-proof and easy for maintenance, however the blade is soft, it can never be razor-sharp because it requires a wider sharpening angle, and needs to be re-sharpened quite often.
- A high carbon steel knife on the other hand can be really sharp and holds an edge for a long time, however it needs delicate care and is prone to breaking and cracking.
- A Damascus knife combines the two desirable things – easy maintenance and long-lasting sharpness:
- it has blade properties of stainless steel (resistance to rust, flexibility) and
- high hardness and sharpness of the edge, which is achieved with high carbon steels.
On the visual side, What makes Damascus blades stand out are the distinctive patterns resembling flowing water. These patterns, known as ‘Damascus Patterns’, are a result of combining two types of steel, which is folded and hammered multiple times.
Once the blade is shaped, sharpened, and polished, it is exposed to an acidic solution that brings out the etched pattern.
As far as materials are in question, most high-quality modern knives are made either out of carbon steel, stainless steel, or of mixed steel alloys. However, by using multiple types of steel, the best qualities of carbon steel (hardness) and stainless steel (resistance to rust) are combined.
Know Your Tool - Parts of a Knife ( Construction, Jargon and Structure)
To be able to learn more about knives, you have to learn the terminology first. We all know about the two main parts that make a knife – a blade and a handle.
However, a knife is composed of parts that go by different names.
A blade has the following segments:
- a point
- a tip
- an edge
- a spine
- and a heel
The part connecting the blade to the handle is called a bolster.
A handle is constructed of the grip, which is held in place by the handle fasteners attached to the tang, and a butt.
If the blade extends all the way to the butt in one piece and the grip is attached to the tang from the sides, we name this a ‘full-tang’ knife.
Some knives have the blade inserted into the handle and the butt is not connected to the material of the blade. Such knives are referred to as ‘half-tang’ knives.
Regardless the structure, a good knife is the one which has all the parts made of quality materials and is also well balanced.
A well-balanced knife is the one that stays level when we hold it on a finger placed at the spot between the blade and the grip. This type of balancing is crucial to various kinds of kitchen knives and is also desired with most other types of special knives.
However, it is important to emphasize that some special knives are intentionally balanced towards the blade and some even towards the grip, which ensures better handling for their specific purpose.
From Chipped Stone to Expensive Contemporary Knives
A knife is one of the oldest tools known to man. Originating from prehistoric times, it is one of man’s best friends and one of the key elements to human survival and progress.
Through the millennium, shapes, designs, and materials of knives have progressed from simple chipped stones to obsidian blades to soft metals such as copper and bronze, to iron, and eventually to steel alloy, Wootz steel, and Damascus knives.
Even though the materials and craftsmanship have evolved dramatically since the prehistoric times, the practical use of knives and blades has stayed the same. We can say that knives will accompany us until the end of humanity.
After all, a knife is a tool that every one of us uses on a daily basis. Whether we use them in the kitchen or outdoors, it is something so familiar that we even don’t notice it. Nevertheless, we can not imagine living without this simple yet extraordinary tool.
Some of the best modern knives are made of laminated steel, commonly known as Damascus. Among these, one of the most expensive ones, a ‘Nesmuk Jahrhundert’ knife has a price tag of 80.000 EUR.
A unique feature of such cutlery items is a beautiful steel grain, which is a typical sign of the incredibly complex production.
A knife is still a knife; however, in terms of quality, usability, and sharpness, we have come a long way since the stone age.
A sharp Damascus blade even passes the “hair test.” Here, a single hair, without keeping it taut, can be cut in half.
How Damascus Steel is Made - A Brief History of Wootz Steel Forging
A technology of Damascene steel making is originating from the middle east – India, Sri Lanka, Persia, and Syria, where the first laminated blades were produced from the 3rd century to 17th-century A.C.
At that time knives and swords were made from Wootz steel originating from India. Wootz steel was quite legendary and was centuries ahead of other steel types. The technology of production was kept as a secret and was a mystery to the western world.
The Wootz steel was produced by fusing and hammering two types of steel or alloy together, then re-folding and striking it again. Steel was folded many times, creating ever finer patterns in the ingots which were then used to forge knives, swords and other blades.
Such technology of production made the blades and knives extremely hard and durable while still keeping their plasticity.
In ancient times for many centuries, the Damascus steel knives and blades were famous for their quality and resistance. However, with the birth of metalsmiths, smelting, forging, and casting workshops in the mid 18th century and production of different alloys, the art of Damascene steel forging was gradually dying out.
Nevertheless, it was eventually re-discovered in a modern way just in the last decade and has again claimed its former glory on account of intricate steel patterns and overall excellent quality.
Nowadays, the Damascus patterns are achieved by combining the folding and hammering technique with high-grade modern steel materials. Historically praised weapon blades have found their place on thrones of modern households and kitchens.
A Damascus knife, therefore, is a must-have for any serious knife lover. It combines beauty and quality with tradition and brings back the spirit of ancient times to any kitchen, camping, or hunting experience.
Modern Steels and Alloys for Making Damascene Knives
Top graded modern steels used as core materials in the production of high-quality Damascus steel knives nowadays are:
- 10Cr15CoMoV (Very similar composition as VG-10)
These types of steel, in addition to iron and carbon, also contain elements such as chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, vanadium, manganese, and other elements in carefully measured percentages to achieve quality, which is best for specific knife blades.
These alloys achieve hardness levels of carbon steel but are less brittle and are, in addition, resistant to rust.
The steel blades are heat treated with industry precision. It is necessary to understand that the heat treatment is just as important as the material from which the knife is made.
In our store, you can get the knives made from the best contemporary steel alloys with the highest quality ratings. Apart from that, each knife is a story of its own. Therefore, the choice of a knife is foremost a question of your aesthetic preference.