To the content  To the main menu

The Mystery of Damascus Steel

Damašková ocel

Some people considered Damascus steel to be the best material for weapons. Damascus steel remains shrouded in myths until today. Read more about mysteries surrounding Damascus steel in our article.

The making of Damascus steel (also known as Damascene steel)originated from techniques used in India and Sri Lanka, and later spread to Persia and Turkey. That’s how Damascus steel was introduced to Europeans traveling to the Holy Land. The oldest mention of Damascus steel come from the times before Christ. The newest mentions come from the 7th century. 

You that’s right! That’s the most recent mentions. The secret of the production of this exceptionally sharp and hard steel is irretrievably lost in the mists of time.

Why “Damascus”?

Damascus steel is named after the city of Damascus in the Persian Empire, where the originally Asian steel was sold most. Gradually, Damascus steel spread through the Mediterranean to continental Europe as well. 

Only a handful of blacksmiths were familiar with the techniques used in the making of Damascus steel, but many other blacksmiths tried to imitate it. That is the reason why we can’t be certain today how Damascus steel was originally made. 

According to some recent findings, Damascus steel contained carbon nanotubes and rods which give the steel its extraordinary properties. Allegedly, it was possible to bend Damascus blades all the way from handle to the tip, and they were so sharp they could penetrate metal armor.

Damascus Steel in Film and Literature

Damascus steel also appears in literature and films. One example would be the book Ivanhoe and The Talisman by Walter Scott. Damascus steel is also featured in the works of N. V. Gogol, and in The Kreutzer Sonata by Tolstoy, where the protagonist kills his wife with a Damascus dagger. 

In more recent works, Damascus steel indirectly appears in works by George R. R. Martin –⁠ A Song of Ice and Fire (known from Game of Thrones) —⁠ featuring a weapon made of Valyrian steel forged with spells and dragonfire. The properties of Valyrian steel bear a striking resemblance to Damascus steel. Even the secret of the making of Valyrian steel was lost over time, and weapons made of this material were typically super-sharp and hard. Coincidence? Ask George R. R. Martin about the source of his inspiration! 

How is Damascus Steel Produced Today?

Blacksmith masters all around the world have been attempting to recreate Damascus steel. The technique most similar to the original technique is probably “pattern welding”. The technique of pattern welding is used today to forge knives and weapons which are referred to as “Damascus” weapons, 

and it is made by layering two different metals, a high carbon metal and a low carbon metal. Both metal layers are forged together, creating characteristic wavy patterns and effects.   

Both metals are welded together by hammering them at high temperature (1400°C), creating a single plate. The essential part of this technique is layering high-carbon and low-carbon layers on top of each other. 

Penetrating Armour in the Past, Cutting Meat Today

Damascus steel is famous for its hardness, but also for the beautiful patterns on the surface, which are created by layering and welding. The weld marks the boundary between individual metal layers. Moreover, blacksmiths are sometimes able to adjust the pattern and create incredible designs. They combine welding with other blacksmithing techniques such as twisting. 

Damascus knives can be forged from up to a thousand layers. The process of layering can go as long as the blacksmith wantsm until he is satisfied with the result. The final form and the characteristic Damascus pattern is partly achieved by multiple grinding. Finally, acid is applied to the surface, etching the surface structure and making the pattern stand out even more. 

Layering the hard, high-carbon steel and softer low-carbon steel creates an exceptionally hard steel with outstanding properties. We cannot be certain if these properties are identical to the properties of the original Damascus steel. But its flexibility and hardness make it a very popular material for weapon making. Damascus steel is also a great choice for the production of armour, jewelry, or high-quality kitchen utensils. Damascus knives are one of the best knives that you can get for your kitchen.

Periods: Knife

Like this article? Share

Comments (0)

Recommended products

Similar articles

  • Nůž na sushi Make Sushi Like a Pro with the Right Knife!

    Good sushi requires a good knife. But what is a good knife? Don't take any chances and read through our tips. This will save you a lot of frustration and prevent a lot of crushed rolls. We'll also tell you how to use the knife properly.

  • Vrhací nože How to Throw a Throwing Knife Like a Boss

    Throwing with a throwing knife is not as easy as it may seem at first glance, but with a little practice, you can do it. All you need are a few special knives and a target. We'll tell you how to choose the right throwing knife and how to use it.

  • Lovecké nože Hunting Knife - Hunter’s Symbol Since 17th Century

    Before you head out into the woods, check out some information about the history of hunting, and about different types of hunting knives! You never know when this information might be useful! We also have tips on how to choose the right hunting knife.

  • Ostrý nůž Sharpening a Knife Correctly

    Why get upset over blunt kitchen or hunting knives, when you can learn how sharpen them right. Sharp knives work better, protect your fingers, and extend the durability of the material.

Comments (0)

Write your own comment

We take care of our customers, their questions of all kinds are answered

Your questions help us to improve. What is as clear as a day for someone, can be for another an interesting novelty. Do not be afraid to ask questions. We are here for you! What we do not know ourselves, we discuss with experts with whom we work closely. The most frequent questions are published here. Your curiosity is appreciated!

  • Do you like shopping with free shipping? If you purchased for at least € 1200, you will receive a free delivery to France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Hungary and Poland!

    Free delivery on orders over 1200€

  • Is it necessary to deliver the goods quickly? If you manage to place your order of in-stock items by 11.00 am and pay, it will be despatched on the same day. Delivery time within Europe take about 2-5 business days.

    Fast delivery for orders by 11:00 AM

  • Does the delivered size not fit? Simply return the unsuitable size to us within 14 days (registered customers within 30 days) and immediately reorder the correct size. The price of the return will be refunded within a few days after receipt.

    Exchange of size within 14/30 days for free

  • Many of our products are not available anywhere else. These are unique replicas of museum exemplars, designs of ours or our customers.

    Unique items exclusive production

  • On an approx. 800m2 we store items worth about 800,000 EURO. Choose any item from stock today and it will be despatched immediately. Personal pickup in Kadan can be organized within a few minutes!

    Huge range of products Bestsellers always in stock

Choose a language

Choose a currency