History tells of a time when swords and knives were forged from Damascus steel so as to be made virtually indestructible in battle. While that all sounds very exciting, much of the tales of the beauty and brilliance of Damascus steel are nothing more than stuff of legend. This is because the original method for making that type of steel was long ago lost. The good news is that it is still around today, and it looks much better than anything you can buy in the flatware aisle of your local supermarket.
The history of Damascus steel can be traced back to the Middle East, where sword makers used wootz steel to create blades that were incredibly strong and honed to be razor sharp. The Japanese picked up on the process and used Damascus steel to create samurai swords that are now pretty much legendary. This method of making blades began to become less and less popular, until the art finally disappeared completely around 4 centuries ago.
While the original methods have long been lost, modern knife and sword makers have created a process that comes as close to the real thing as possible. The strength and sharpness of this steel makes it the perfect fit for hunting knives and kitchen accessories such as chef knives. The reason they work so well for both of these is because of the process used in making them. Damascus steel is essentially a carbon-steel alloy that is designed to have a sharp edge that will not bend. The blades and handles are often adorned with aesthetically pleasing features that make them look great, but which also serve a purpose. The waves and patterns you see are in fact carbides that are in place to deliver an extra jolt of strength to the blade.
In today’s world, knife blanks are commonly used to create Damascus knives, with pattern welded steel used to recreate the Damascus process. The finished blade is comprised of several layers that have been shaped and polished to deliver the beautiful finished article. Acid is often added to accentuate the natural patterns that form in the process. The finished knives truly are stunning to behold and are a reminder of a time when craftsmanship and quality was favored over manufacturing costs and disposability, which is a concept paramount to the minimalist lifestyle.
When you are looking for a knife for hunting purposes or for use in the kitchen, you want something that will last, and which will stand up to the wear and tear it will be forced to endure. This is where Damascus steel has modern knives beat, as it will easily deliver on that. Not only are all of the pieces aesthetically pleasing, with the likes of pakkawood handles added to increase their beauty, they are also rugged and able to withstand whatever you throw at them. What you are left with is a knife that looks like a piece of art, but which is also ready to do all the hard work required of it.
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