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Damascus Steel Blades

Leonard Volodarsky

Damascus steel is an excellent tool for knife blades, and in the modern world, knives are much more useful than swords as general tools...and compared to the stainless steel that most knives are made from, Damascus steel holds a better edge, is more durable, and is harder to break or damage than the traditional stainless steel knife blanks. (Stainless steel knife blanks exist because for 99% of what most people use a knife for, they're good enough, and they're cheaper to make - being a single casting blank that's then ground down to a blade. They also have the advantage of not tarnishing or rusting, making them much lower maintenance.)

 

However, the primary purpose of owning a Damascus steel blade knife is aesthetics. The patterns in the steel caused by carbon impurities are attractive, and range in styles and patterns that come from the lot of steel that was used to make the blade, its forging technique and how many times it was layered over to fold it. Damascus steel knives are one of the few truly practical tools that also qualifies as a work of art

 

Fortunately, most of the techniques for creating Damascus steel were recreated in the last century. Germany made thousands of Damascus steel blades for the Army in World War II, and a number of researchers and medieval recreation societies went into the business of recreating Damascus steel as a production methodology in the US in the 1970s. Now, there are several artisan craftsmen who make Damascus pattern forged steel blades of nearly every pattern; most will tell you that their method of creating it is either the most authentic - or will result in a better blade than all the imitators.

 

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