What is Damascus Steel and why is it so special?

Damascus is a unique steel identifiable by a wavy pattern and desirable aesthetic. Blades made from damascus historically had an advantage over blades forged from iron; although this is no longer the case as steel production methods have advanced.

Different types of Damascus Steel

There are multiple different types of damascus, the more ancient one being cast damascus. Cast damascus was made from wootz steel, a steel originally from India. The steel would be wrapped in a clay receptacle with plant matter or charcoal and then heated. As the steel was heated it would absorb the carbon in the plant matter or charcoal. 

The exact process of making this steel has been lost due to many factors such as suppression of the Indian steel industry by the British and blockages in the trade routes from India to the Middle East.

Pattern Welded Damascus or ‘Modern’ Damascus

All damascus used in modern blades and the damascus we use in our blades is made with a technique known as pattern welding. This process involves taking multiple types of steels typically a steel with a high carbon content and a steel with a high nickel content and then layering and welding them together hence the ‘welding’ in the name. The steels are then forge welded together with a power hammer and sometimes folded. 

If you watch a video of the procedure you will notice the steel actually does not come out with a pattern and looks identical to stainless steel. The steel actually needs to be dipped in acid before it gets its beautiful pattern.