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THE CULT OF DAMASCUS STEEL

Damascus steel kitchen knives have taken over the world – today they are used by both chefs of Michelin restaurants and housewives in different countries. Professional Damascus blades provide an impeccably smooth and easy cut, have a well-adjusted blade geometry, a hard cutting edge that does not need frequent dressing and sharpening, a minimum angle of convergence of the blade, and an original design.

Features of Damascus steel

The Damascus say that their knives are designed to work with products that the human jaw can grind. And this means that they cannot be used to open cans or cut frozen meat, for example.

The limitations regarding the use and care of these knives are largely due to the characteristics of the steels. The Damascus blade has an extremely thin and sharp cutting edge. In the cross-section, it looks like a triangle with perfectly even sides. Due to this, the area of ​​contact with the product is minimal, the blade enters into its structure with almost no effort on the part of the cook. However, for the same reason, a huge load is placed on the cutting edge.

Only steel with certain indicators of hardness, strength, elasticity, toughness can cope with this task. Keeping this balance is not easy – if the alloy is too viscous, the cutting edge will bend when in contact with dense products, if the blade is too hard, chips and cracks cannot be avoided. However, Damascus manufacturers, based on the centuries-old experience of knife craftsmen,

The history of Damascus steel – tradition and mo, modernity

The Damascus in ancient times began to process river sand especially, consisting of 100% iron oxide “status”. Craftsmen mixed it with charcoal and melted it in refractory cauldrons on a special furnace – “Tatar”. At the same time, harmful impurities burned out, and charcoal saturated the ore with carbon. The result was steel, which was called “Kera” and “tamahagane”. 

Then the ingots were sorted – low-carbon iron went to the production of tools, high-carbon – to the creation of swords, katanas, and other weapons. In the era of the end of feudal wars, the demand for weapons in Damascus decreased markedly, and gunsmiths retrained to make household knives. It was then that the very Damascus approach to the production of knives was formed, which became a world cult.

Modern Damascus steel, of course, has analogs in chemical composition. European manufacturers have been trying to replicate the success of Damascus brands for many years. However, the “dish”, which is excellently obtained by the author, by another “cook” is only a semblance of the original. It’s all about the special requirements of Damascus craftsmen to the microstructure of the material and the methods of its manufacture.

Depending on the purpose and composition of steels, the Damascus classify them as follows:

  1. Yellow paper. Such steel is ideal for working tools, it is considered the base brand.
  2. White paper. It is divided into several types, which differ in the degree of hardness. This steel is used for chef’s knives, cutters, and hatchets. High viscosity makes it difficult to work with this steel in production.
  3. Blue paper. An upgraded version of white paper is most commonly used for kitchen knives. Thanks to additional alloying additives, the wear resistance of the cutting edge, corrosion resistance, and other practical indicators are increased.

When the Damascus knife industry entered the global market. It was able to quickly adapt to the needs of foreign consumers. The craftsmen took the best of European and Damascus culture and created a modern knife that has a design familiar to Europeans and double-sided sharpening but is made of high-carbon Damascus steel with a special blade design.

In this form, these knives have gained recognition all over the world, and packet steel comes from Damascus. Today it is supplied to many European brands for the production of knives, and not only.

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