Blending tradition and contemporary design in knives too pretty to keep hidden.
Cooking is an art. And when it comes to kitchen knives Damascus steel is hard to beat in either function or aesthetics. The distinctive patterns of waves and swirls across the surface of the blade have transformed these knives into veritable design objects. However, there’s more to Damascus steel knives than simply eye-catching textures.
With a rich history, these types of blades have been made for hundreds of years using a special – and still secret – technique. Originally, bladesmiths from the city of Damascus used a specific type of steel sourced from India, named wootz steel. Melting steel, charcoal and iron in a chamber with little oxygen led the metals to absorb carbon from the charcoal. After letting the wootz slowly cool, the bladesmiths could then use the material as a base to craft Damascus steel weapons. While the exact technique has been lost for centuries, reverse engineering and analysis of archaeological finds have shed a light on many parts of the process.
Nowadays, genuine Damascus steel knives come to life through a complex method. It involves wrapping the core steel or carbon steel blade in many layers of steel in order to create the wavy Damascus pattern. Some brands use liquid nitrogen, while others use hundreds of working steps in the manufacturing process. For kitchen knives Damascus steel means more than just beautiful organic patterns. This special technique makes the blade both flexible and extra-durable. The outer layers also protect the core blade and can provide extra anti-corrosion protection. Naturally, this means that with kitchen knives Damascus steel increases the price tag as the process involves precision and superior craftsmanship. Often, brands pair these special blades with special handles, for example fossilized bone.
If you want to buy an authentic Damascus steel knife, you’ll need to check if the knife is actually made using this laborious technique. Some companies etch the blades or laser print them to achieve the distinctive pattern, which means that the blade is simply pretty without the added benefits of hundreds of layers of wrapped steel. We have put together a list of premium quality Damascus steel kitchen knives so you can easily find a genuine product you’ll use – and admire – for a lifetime.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Mungsten Damast Chef’s Knife
The limited-edition Zwilling J.A. Henckels Mungsten Damast chef’s knife is extra-special. That’s because apart from the Damascus steel crafting method, it also features steel sourced from the repairing stage of Mungsten Bridge in Solingen, Germany. The knife celebrates Zwilling’s 285th anniversary and incorporates steel taken from the replaced bridge parts. Plus, it also boasts a design by Italian designer Matteo Thun, which makes it even better in our book. Handcrafted in Solingen, the knife has 107 layers of steel wrapped around the core. The blade has a 60° Rockwell hardness and boasts a V-edge with 15° angles on both sides to offer superior performance for various cutting tasks. An African Blackwood handle with three rivets completes the design. Made in only 285 pieces, this Zwilling J.A. Henckels Mungsten Damast chef’s knife is a veritable collector’s item.
Jonas Blade 8’’ Chef’s Knife – Damascus Steel
Few products encompass the word “craft” quite like the Jonas Blade 8’’ Chef’s Knife – Damascus Steel. Handmade to perfection by Jonas Blade founder Zac Jonas, this chef’s knife shows why a handmade design will always beat mass-produced products. The Damascus pattern is striking and one-of-a-kind, while the curly maple handle features complementing wavy lines and textures. When it comes to kitchen knives Damascus steel adds more protection and long-lasting use. This is especially true with this knife. It has a high-carbon steel blade, not stainless steel, and offers a sharper cut as well as more durability. While carbon steel requires extra maintenance and should be dried immediately after use to prevent rust, this knife is crafted to last for generations and become a family heirloom.
Lignum Skid Wooden Chef Knife Mahogany
We start our list with one of the most creative chef’s knife designs you can find. Handmade in Germany by Lignum, the Skid Wooden Chef Knife Mahogany switches up the ratio between metal and wood in a seamless, distinctive design. In the world of high-end kitchen knives Damascus steel scores high on the list of exclusive features. Here, it adds a refined touch to the organic beauty of Mexican mahogany wood. Made in Solingen, the blade features the traditional steel folding technique that gives the metal an undulating line pattern. As practical as it is eye-catching, this chef’s knife is versatile, sharp, and durable. Safe to say, it will take pride of place in any kitchen.
Messerwerk’s Custom Chef’s Knife with San Mai Damascus Steel Blade
A work of art, the Custom Chef’s Knife with San Mai Damascus Steel Blade from Messerwerk is a statement piece and collector’s item. It features a carbon steel blade which requires extra care to prevent rust but offers superior sharpness and durability compared to stainless steel knives. Nestled in between two layers of steel that each have 360 layers, the cutting edge and blade have an impressive hardness of HRC 64-65. A special blade requires a special handle, and Messerwerk delivered. This one-off chef’s knife comes with a fossil horse bone handle with an age of more than 100,000 years. Beautifully textured, the handle also features a bronze collar and end piece. Finally, a burl wood box provides an elegant home for this refined knife.
Boker Damascus Superior Chef’s Knife
With kitchen knives Damascus steel offers more durability and precision as well as incredible craftsmanship. The Boker Damascus Superior Chef’s Knife is no exception. Beautiful and more minimalist than other designs in our list, this knife boasts four band Torsion Damascus steel with 300 layers and a separately forged Damascus steel cutting edge. Crafted by hand, each knife takes more than 150 steps to come to life. Unlike similar products, the Boker Damascus Superior Chef’s Knife also features Damascus steel on the handle collar and end cap. Made with a rounded handle of African blackwood, the knife is perfectly balanced as well as elegant.
Nesmuk Exklusiv C90 Chef’s Knife
Nesmuk makes award-winning knives with a blend of age-old and cutting-edge techniques. Part of the Exklusiv collection, the C90 Chef’s Knife shows why for kitchen knives Damascus steel is a great choice. Hand-forged, the blade features 210 layers of steel to provide extra flexibility and durability while also protecting the steel edge. The carbon steel blade is ultra-sharp, a property enhanced further by the thinness of the metal. The lightest chef’s knife in the collection, C90 is comfortable to use, especially as it also features a rounded walnut burl handle. Other features include the hardness of 62-63 HRC, a single-sided hollow grind, and an NPC finish. This knife also comes with an elegant black matte box and a certificate of authenticity.
Eva Solo Nordic Kitchen Chef’s Knife
Made by Eva Solo, the Nordic Kitchen Chef’s Knife showcases the brand’s dedication to bring Scandinavian design into living spaces. Beautifully designed and expertly crafted, the knife boasts a 67-layer Damascus steel blade made with 2,000-years-old Japanese methods. Ultra-sharp and perfectly balanced, this chef’s knife is ready to not only make your kitchen look better but to also help you improve your cutting technique. Kitchen knives, Damascus steel, and solid wood are a great combination. Here, Eva Solo used a Pakkawood handle with an ergonomic shape to complement the large blade. The ideal chef’s knife for cutting, chopping, slicing, and shamelessly showing off while cooking.
Miyabi Black 5000MCD 9.5’’ Chef’s Knife
Handcrafted in Japan, the Miyabi Black 5000MCD 9.5’’ Chef’s Knife combines the art of Damascus steel with traditional techniques. It features MC66 steel core with micro-carbide powder particles. Nitrogen cooling helps to take the blade hardness to an impressive level: 66 HRC. And that’s not all. The knife boasts 132 layer of steel wrapped around the MicroCarbide core, displaying a floral Damascus pattern. Artisans use a traditional Honbazuke method with three steps to sharpen the blade to perfection. A black ash wood handle with complementing lines and gray colors completes the design. Made with a “D” shape, the ergonomic handle is comfortable to hold and offers a great grip.
John Pawson Damascus Steel and Ebony Handle Steak Knife
A great example of the elegant, understated style of renowned architect and designer John Pawson, this Damascus Steel and Ebony Handle Steak Knife is simple and simply beautiful. The design explores the balance of contrasts and combines curved and straight forms as well as hefty and slender elements. For kitchen knives Damascus steel brings a striking pattern that represents refined craftsmanship. Here, the designer paired a more subtle pattern on a bright steel blade with a dark Macassar ebony handle that features rich textures and colors. Balanced and stylish, the John Pawson Damascus Steel and Ebony Handle Steak Knife offers a minimalist take on cutlery design.
Blenheim Forge Santoku
Made by London-based steel workshop Blenheim Forge, this knife is as beautifully crafted as it is versatile. Originally created in Japan, the santoku knife is one of the most popular kitchen knives as it can handle anything from slicing and dicing to chopping food with great precision. This one is a work of art. It features a hand-forged Japanese Blue Paper steel core blade finished with folded iron cladding that gives the knife a captivating Damascus steel ripple effect. To match the quality of the blade, the workshop used an English walnut handle with warm brown colors and eye-catching patterns. A copper ferrule completes the design. The Blenheim Forge Santoku knife also comes with an optional handmade leather sheath.