Many of the most beautiful knives on the market today feature striking, organic-looking patterns in the steel of the blade itself. Called "Damascus steel", these knives are in high demand among collectors and chefs alike. If you're thinking about picking one up for yourself, here are 6 reasons that you might want to have a Damascus steel knife in your kitchen.
Damascus steel is visually stunning. Family members, friends, and guests can't avoid commenting on the vibrant patterns on the blade. Even if you're chopping vegetables on the other side of the room, you'll attract a lot of positive attention with the striking aesthetics of your knife.
Modern Damascus knives feature more than just a beautiful blade, too: they've got aesthetic handles carefully paired to the exact metals used in the blade and bold designs that catalyze the imagination.
Of course, you're not just trying to impress your guests. You're trying to impress yourself as well. Having a knife you love looking at will help turn cooking chores into kitchen experiences you'll learn to enjoy. Whenever you go to chop, slice, or filet, you'll get to wow yourself anew with your stellar knife.
More Fun In The Kitchen
Having tools you like can make working more fun. As mentioned above, many owners of Damascus steel knives find that their kitchen chores become a lot more tolerable when they have a beautiful, razor-sharp knife that they get to use and maintain. This extends beyond your appreciation of the knife's visuals, however. Damascus steel blades tend to be brilliantly well balanced, incredibly easy to sharpen, and very fun to use, even when you discount their looks entirely.
If you're trying to cook for yourself more often, learn some new recipes, or work on your knife skills, a Damascus blade can be the excuse you need to spend more time in the kitchen. After you get your knife, you'll look for excuses to whip it out and put it to work. This will naturally form seeds you can easily grow into positive habits that help you along your culinary journey.
Higher Quality For Discerning Chefs
The folks who buy Damascus steel knives aren't your typical home chefs. Instead, they're discerning customers who know exactly what makes a knife great. This means that Damascus blades are designed and built differently than your typical kitchen knife. They often have better balance, better grips, better designs, and overall better quality control. When you opt for Damascus, you tend to get the best stuff all around.
While this means Damascus steel knives can be a bit more expensive, it also means that you generally get your money's worth. The price of the blade pattern itself often pales when compared with the price of the overall craftsmanship of the knife. Sure, you can buy wonderfully made knives without Damascus patterning, but the knives are priced quite comparably and don't look as beautiful.
As A Piece Of History
Between 1000 BC and the early 1900s, Damascus steel blades were renowned for their toughness, ability to be sharpened, and ability to hold an edge. These blades featured complex patterns that were caused by impurities in the steel and the forging process. The exact details of how these blades were made have been lost to time. Modern blacksmiths can create replica blades in a number of different ways, but we'll never be sure if our recreations are the exact same as the original.
Today, the Damascus blades you see on kitchen knives are usually made by a totally different process. This makes them a great conversation starter. Your knife can be an excuse to break out your knowledge of historical blacksmithing techniques, if that's the sort of thing you're into. If not, you can simply enjoy the fact that you're holding a gateway into a neat bit of ancient history. It's not a true facsimile. Instead, it's a representation of our struggles to reclaim knowledge that's been lost to time and our growing mastery over the world around us.
Because Of The Steel
Damascus steel isn't just beautiful. Today's Damascus steel tends to be made from the sorts of high-carbon steels that are perfect for high-end kitchen knives. This means it's soft enough to sharpen, hard enough to hold an edge, and absolutely wonderful to work with in the kitchen. If you're looking for a kitchen knife made from great steel, poke around at a few Damascus knives. You'll generally find that they compare quite favorably to non-patterned high-end knives.
Historically, Damascus blades were prized because of their incredible durability, edge retention, and ability to be sharpened. Today, this isn't necessarily the case. We've gotten quite good at the science of making metals since 1000 BC, so we understand exactly how you achieve those qualities. Most high-end high-carbon kitchen knives have these traits in abundance.
Damascus blades are no different -- they're usually made with high-carbon steel that's been either folded on itself in layers to create beautiful patterns. Because the metal used for this process is strong, durable, and just the right hardness for a kitchen knife, this means that the metal in them is just as good as the steel in a similar high-quality knife.
Because Of The Craftsmanship
Patterned Damascus blades are designed and built for a more discerning audience. This is one of the key benefits of Damascus steel in a modern knife. The knife itself will be made very, very well. From some manufacturers, each Damascus knife is handmade by master craftsmen, often with decades of experience working with the same knife company. The knives are often hand sharpened by similar professionals, carefully inspected, and packed with actual love and care before being sent out into the wild.
You don't usually get this same level of attention with other knives. Again, you can often find a few non-patterned blades from these artisan manufacturers, but they don't tend to be much cheaper than Damascus knives. The small premium you pay for the patterned blade is totally worth it for most people.