If we go back in time, the origins of damascus blades brings us to the Sirian city called Damasco. Nowadays there is no certainty about the “recipe” used at the time for the creation of damascus blades. One of the most well-founded theory is that the blacksmiths of the time forged their steels by stretching them into long bills, then folding them back on themselves. Performing this step several times allowed not only to have a piece of steel composed of a hundred of layers, but it also allowed the best distribution of carbon to obtain a harder and sharper blade. Once the piece was finished and polished, what we saw was the micro structure of the steel which had been folded several times, thus forming wave patterns.
Today, almost all damask steel is created by welding different steel alloys together, then forging them together and folding it back on itself several times to create the pattern of damask steel. Because of this, this technique is “vulgarly” known as “welded pattern steel”. Following the forging and polishing of the blade, the pattern of the damascus steel is revealed using acids or with natural stone polishing.
Damascus Japanese kitchen knives
As previously stated, a damask steel is characterized by being composed of at least two different steels welded and forged together then folded several times on itself to create the pattern of the steel. The more folds are made on the steel billet, the more complex the pattern of the steel will be. Namely that today damask steel is mainly used to cover the hard steel core, so the number of layers of damask steel does not bring any particular advantage to the performance of the knife, unlike if the core does. even is in damask steel, practical in itself very rare and expensive.
Another thing to take into account, the basic structure of a Japanese knife is generally composed of 2 or 3 layers of steel, which does not necessarily involve the use of damask steel.
The two-layer structure or Ni-Mai is mainly used for traditional Japanese single-bevel blades. There is always a hard steel core, plus a protective layer that can be stainless steel, soft iron or damask steel.
For all the other knives we use a three-layer structure or San-Mai, composed of a central layer of hard steel, which will constitute the cutting edge of our knife, plus a layer on each side, which in turn can be in stainless steel, soft iron or damask steel.
The advantage of adding one or more layers around the core is to provide protection against oxidation, but above all to make the blade more ductile and resistant to shocks to reduce the rate of breakage.
We hope to have clarified your doubts with this article. If you have any other questions or simply want to be guided in choosing your knife, do not hesitate to contact us.