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What are Damascus Knives and Why You Need Them in the Kitchen?

Damascus knives are renowned for their strength, durability, and beauty. They are crafted from layers of steel, folded and forged together to create a distinctive pattern on the blade. Damascus knives are renowned for their sharpness and can easily slice through meats and vegetables with ease. They are also highly corrosion and rust-resistant, making them a great choice for the kitchen. With proper care, a Damascus knife can last a lifetime. Learn more about Damascus knives here.

A damascus steel knife not only looks beautiful, but has many unique features that make their fans have no hesitation in ranking them among the best knives in the world. What exactly is damascus steel, how is it used to make knives and why do you need one in your kitchen?

Origin of damascus steel

Damascus or Damascene steel got its name from the Syrian city of Damascus, where it was traded in the early Middle Ages. However, the origins of this noble material date back to the Iron Age, with finds suggesting that people were making it as early as 2500 years ago. Damascus steel was produced mainly in India and Sri Lanka and became famous for its properties such as hardness, flexibility, durability and unprecedented sharpness.

Originally damascus steel was not intended for the manufacture of kitchen knives, but was mainly used for swords and other weapons. Swords made of Damascene steel were a great advantage in clashes between armies from Europe and Asia, as warriors could literally cut an enemy in half with a clean cut. The mere possession of such a weapon was an advantage, because the enemy would rather flee than engage in battle with such a perfect tool.

Wootz or pattern-weld, or how is Damascene steel made?

The production of Damascene steel is still shrouded in many mysteries. The typical pattern of Damascene steel is created by forging together different types of steel with different carbon contents. Damascene steel is actually a multi-layered steel that can combine the best of the properties of different materials.

The original production technology was closely guarded and known only to a select few blacksmiths. The metals were fused at the time, but the specific process is no longer known. Tools made with this technology are referred to in English as wootz.

Today’s damascus steel is called pattern-weld, which is actually translated as patterned weld. The method of production is slightly different from the original one; it is the forge welding of different types of steel with different carbon content, which produces the typical damascus pattern. Even though the production process is different than it was a few thousand years ago, kitchen knives made of damascus steel are still among the best knives in the world.

Different types of steel ensure typical properties

The main attraction of damascus steel knives is their typical pattern on the blade, which is unique to each knife. The secret behind the creation of these patterns is the use of different types of steel.

Hard steel with a high carbon content and mild steel with a lower carbon content are gradually layered on top of each other. This produces a so-called packet, which is further worked with. In order to achieve the typical properties appreciated in damascus steel knives, it is necessary to alternate the individual steels in layers. This gives them the typical hardness as well as the certain toughness of softer metals.

After the basic package of alternating layers has been assembled, the material must be heated to a temperature of more than 1400°C, at which point it reaches a liquid state. Subsequently, the material can be processed by hammer blows or pressing to interlock the sheets. Further layers can then be added to the base thus formed. The most commonly sold kitchen damascus knives have 67 layers, but there are also cheaper kitchen knives with ten layers or, conversely, exceptional pieces with hundreds of layers.

Tip: Still on the fence about which kitchen knife is right for you? Read our 7 tips on how to choose the right kitchen knife and become the master of your kitchen.

The features of damascus steel knives are not only useful in the kitchen

Thanks to their unique manufacturing process, kitchen knives made of damascus steel have great properties that you will appreciate in everyday use in a professional kitchen and on special occasions when you want to enjoy cooking.

  • The hardness of the blade ensures precise cuts, comfortable use and long life.
  • Thanks to the combination of different types of steel, damascus steel kitchen knives are also pleasantly flexible, making them easy to work with. You can use them not only for ordinary cutting, but they will also prove themselves as professional kitchen knives for butchers.
  • The toughness of the material (i.e. its resistance to plastic and elastic deformation) guarantees a long life for the blade itself and the cutting edge. You can simply rely on them as your best friend who will always have your back.
  • Damascus steel knives are very light, even though they are made from many layers of material. Thanks to this, you can use them even for the most demanding tasks and your movements will still be precise, without feeling any fatigue.

These properties were especially appreciated by soldiers or samurai warriors in the past, and damascus steel is still used today, for example, to make collectible weapons. You can also find hunting or closing knives made of damascus steel on the market, which will make any stylish woodsman happy.

By the way, quality damascus knives are also produced in Central Europe. Just look to our neighbours, the Slovakian brand Berndorf, which offers 120 years of experience, modern technology and timeless design.

What about the hardness of Damascene steel?

Hardness is a real incantation and a universal answer to the question of what damascus knives are for. So what’s the deal with the hardness? Alternating between hard layers of steel and softer fillings helps knives achieve truly unprecedented hardness, which is around 61 – 63 HRC (Rockwell scale). This makes it one of the hardest knives with the hardest blades.

For example, knives made of German steel (such as Wüsthof knives made of Solingen steel) have a hardness of around 56-58 HRC. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as harder steel tends to be brittle. However, this is not the case with professional kitchen knives made of Damascene steel, which, in addition to their hardness, also excel in toughness.

The hardness of materials (and this is true of knife blades as well) is measured by pressing a diamond cone into them with a force of 1471 HRC. The depth of the indentation is then measured to determine the resistance of the material and thus its hardness.

What are damascus steel knives for?

The unequivocal answer to this question is – for fun! Let’s be honest, damascus steel kitchen knives are one of the more expensive ranges, and other professional chef’s knives that are made specifically for their purpose, whether it’s chopping herbs or filleting fish, can do the job without a problem. So the main reason to get a damascus knife is the joy of coming into contact with something so beautiful and special that others will envy you.

Damascus steel kitchen knives rightly attract interest, and let’s face it, not many of us want to get one because of its great features. It is simply a gem in the kitchen that allows you to enjoy cooking to the fullest. You want to work with a damascus steel kitchen knife because you get the ultimate enjoyment of a perfect tool.

Caring for a damascus knife

Caring for a damascus steel knife is not much different from caring for other quality professional kitchen knives. You must treat it with the gentleness and respect it deserves, keep it clean and protect it from mechanical damage. But if you’ve decided to invest in a piece as special as a damascus steel kitchen knife, then you’re surely one of those people who will care for it with love and affection.

Simply like this:

  • Never put damascus steel kitchen knives in the dishwasher or boil them in a full sink with other dishes.
  • Rinse it under a stream of warm water, don’t use abrasive cleaners, and enjoy every touch of its cool beauty. Wipe immediately with a soft cloth to give it no excuse to rust.
  • Such a special piece deserves a bed of its own, don’t store it in a drawer with your other knives, but give it the ultimate comfort of a king size bed.

Damascene steel knife sharpening

Damascus steel kitchen knives are enjoyed every time you pick them up. A lot of people might tell you that professional damascus steel kitchen knives don’t need sharpening, but don’t believe it. Even though their blades are among the most durable, they do require care in that regard.

If you don’t trust yourself, you’d better leave your treasure in the hands of professionals. There’s no shame in it, not everyone can be an expert at everything, and a well cared for and sharpened knife is worth it. Again, choose carefully so you don’t run into a wannabe expert who doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Damascus steel knives should always be sharpened on a flat grinder with a few drops of water or oil in a gentle circular motion, as if you were just stroking the steel. Damascus steel kitchen knives should be sharpened at an angle of 10 to 15 degrees.

Even the most refined material may show the so-called blue flecks that are a sign of a living material. These are easily dealt with by an experienced grinder by a short polish on a conventional leather. To keep the blade looking perfect (especially if you don’t use the damascus knife very often), we recommend treating it with a special camellia oil.

The handle of the kitchen damascus knife also deserves attention. For one thing, it is a rather stressful part in the kitchen, and improper care can quickly devalue the entire knife. Damascus steel knife handles are also made of similarly noble materials as the steel itself, so give them the proper care.

Damascus santoku knives

The modern method of making damascus steel knives is no longer a closely guarded secret, so that today their producers can be found in Europe and Asia. Some of the best knives in the world are made in Japan, and this is also true of damascus steel kitchen knives.

Professional chefs have become very popular in recent years with Japanese santoku knives, which excel in near-perfect sharpness and perfect balance. Their typical feature is that only one side of the blade is sharpened, which makes it possible to cut ingredients into very thin slices. Santoku knives are thus a must-have for lovers of sushi and other Asian dishes, but their perfect edge can also be used in European cuisine.

The combination of damascus steel and Japanese santoku looks simply beautiful. The Tsuki premium knife range is definitely worth trying, offering all the benefits of damascus steel kitchen knives. With that, you also get the years of experience used in the manufacturing process, perfect balance and ergonomics that make you feel like a samurai in the kitchen.

Do damascus steel kitchen knives have any disadvantages?

Although damascus steel knives are almost perfect, there are some disadvantages. The main one is the price, which is in the thousands even for “ordinary” knives. Of course, you’ll pay even more for premium brands. On the other hand, you get adequate quality for the price. Plus, the price for the feeling of working with a perfect tool is simply priceless.

Aside from the price, damascus steel kitchen knives can be more fragile than regular stainless steel pro chef’s knives. This can cause the knife blade to crack when dropped on a hard surface. Still, it’s better not to drop the knife in the kitchen.

Why want the best knives in the world?

So let’s recap. With kitchen knives made of damascus steel you get a great partner for everyday kitchen work and for a unique experience of something special.

If you love cooking, you’ll be impressed by the sharpness of the blade and the ease of use that damascus knives offer. Design lovers will be seduced by the unique design and the noble look of the whole tool.

Damascus steel knives are simply love at first sight and touch for those who want to experience something more in the kitchen.

What are Damascus Knives and Why You Need Them in the Kitchen?

Damascus knives are made from layered steel, giving them a unique, beautiful pattern. They are renowned for their sharpness and durability, making them a favourite among professional chefs and home cooks. Damascus knives are ideal for cutting through tough foods, like vegetables and meats, and are resistant to corrosion and rust. They are also well-balanced and lightweight, making them easy to handle and maneuver. Learn more about Damascus knives here.

Damascus Knives and Their Uses in the Kitchen

  • Exceptional sharpness
  • Long lasting edge retention
  • Beautiful patterned blades
  • Lightweight and well-balanced
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Corrosion resistant

Damascus knives are the perfect addition to your kitchen. Crafted from high-quality materials, these knives are incredibly durable and offer superior performance compared to standard kitchen knives. With their unique patterned blades, Damascus knives bring a unique aesthetic to your kitchen that you won’t find anywhere else. Don’t wait, start your kitchen upgrade today with a Damascus knife!

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Thank you for visiting SpecialMagicKitchen! I am Tommy and I do all of the writing, recipe developing, and food styling for the blog and my wife.

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