Everyday Carry

An Introduction to Damascus Steel EDC Knives

Jonathan Tayag
An Introduction to Damascus Steel EDC Knives

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A handy pocket knife is one of those things we EDCers love to collect. Some zero in on their favorite material, like titanium or wood handles, others might collect knives from their favorite designer. But for many enthusiasts, knives with a damascus blade and their distinct wave pattern are a prized part of their collection. While they're stunningly beautiful knives, they shouldn't be thought of as just display pieces — they're capable tools in their own right. In this guide, we'll explain what makes a Damascus knife so special and list some great options worth a spot in your collection.

What is a Damascus knife?

While you might see a knife proudly featuring a Damascus steel blade, it's worth mentioning that Damascus steel isn't actually a specific kind of steel at all. Rather, it refers to the process of forging different steels together to form a single blade, which you can see in its characteristic wavy, layered pattern.

They get their name from the ancient knives and swords forged in the Near East. They exhibited extraordinary strength, sharpness, and durability for their time. Unfortunately, history has long since forgotten the original process of making them.

The modern Damascus blades you can purchase today are not archaeological artifacts. Bladesmiths mix excellent blade steels like VG-10 and more to make these knives. So while they aren't exactly historical, they'll perform well and hold a great edge. And unlike the blades of old, they usually have the modern features you want in a good everyday carry knife.

Damascus steel knives are sometimes referred to and marketed as pattern-welded steel knives. Beware of knives that aren't actually Damascus and only have lines etched or painted on. If it isn't different steels welded together, it isn't actually Damascus. Here are 8 examples of knives with a Damascus blade.

Spyderco Endura 4 Titanium Damascus

The Endura 4 is a classic EDC blade, and Spyderco has put out a Damascus variant of the knife to celebrate its longevity and popularity. The sub-4” blade is made out of DPS 15, a Japanese stainless steel mixed with VG-10. The handle is also special, made out of 6AL4V titanium, and it holds the blade in shape with a lockback mechanism.

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SOG Arcitech Damascus

The Arcitech is a classy knife in its own right, but with a Damascus blade and carbon fiber handle it's on a different level. It has a 3.5” clip point blade made out of a Japanese mix of VG-10 and nickel. It's been acid-etched to emphasize the 15 layers in the blade.

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Boker Plus Damascus Gent 1

The Gent 1 features a stunning 3.25” Damascus steel drop point blade with 67 layers. It's a beautiful knife that has a discreet and classy element when closed because of its ebony wood handle.

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Victorinox Swiss Army Outrider Damast

This is not your grandfather's Swiss Army knife, but it can be your own heirloom to pass on in the future. The limited edition Outrider Damast features a 4.4” blade with 115 layers of steel welded together. It also features 10 useful EDC features including a pair of scissors, numerous screwdrivers, and bottle and can openers.

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Kershaw Damascus Chive

The standard Kershaw Chive is an EDC favorite, and this one is made even better now that it features a ladder-patterned Damascus blade. This version also includes a frame lock to complement the blazing fast SpeedSafe assisted flipper opening of the knife.

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Mcusta MC-16D

This Japanese knife marries the elegant VG-10 core Damascus steel aesthetic with a refined quince wood grain handle. This combination makes for an attractive modern gent's knife.

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ESEE Damascus Izula

If you're looking for a fixed blade, the Damascus Izula is for you. It has the same lightweight minimalist skeletonized construction of the regular knife, but this one's been forged out of a single piece of Damascus steel.

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Do you like the idea of Damascus steel on your EDC blade? Whether it's for the looks or the performance, let us know in a comment below.

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Discussion (10 total)

DH ·
And you should mention that the different layers adds a micro tooth edge to the blade, making it sharper for longer and an easier cutting edge. The only con is that it is susceptible to rusting if not maintained after use in wet conditions as it is not stainless steel.
Please explain how the microteeth develop on such a material.
Jamie Mahoney ·
Damascus knives hold an edge no better than any other knife as long as it's made from a good steel that's all that counts, plus Damascus steel needs no more maintenance than normal steel and just as easy to sharpen.
The intro to Damascus, more properly known as pattern welded steels, is a poor rendition of previous mythology and magical thinking about this type of material. There are corrections required. The idea of microteeth on the blade edge are one of those. The idea of carbon averaging does not increase carbon in separate materials. There are excellent stain resistant PW steels, Damasteel, Chad Nichols or Devin Thomas are highly rated for performance and stain-resistance. A simple discusssion with a reputable PW maker would have helped before publishing. It propagates errors and makes for poor customers. As to the problem with Spyderco's, it is very likely that during manufacturing, the blade tang was completely etched creating a very rough surface for the pivot bearing surface. This could have been eliminated by masking the pivot surface before etching.
Adam Douglas ·
I would not recommend the Spyderco Endure 4 with the damascus blade. If you read the reviews people say the knife is difficult to open. Something about the damascus they use has bad friction with the bearings and the blade kind of sticks. Apparently Spyderco acknowledges this too.
Oisin OBrien ·
I have one, and yes, it is a terrible pain to open, especially since the blade hole on mine wasn’t deburred. In fact, none of the edges on mine seem to have had any attempt at deburring. It only serves to bring out to dress functions, and there are far better out there. A shame, because I love my other Spyderco knives.
Boris Ho ·
Where's the knife with DamaSteel or Chad Nichols Damascus??
Blackthorn ·
Nice article! I love Damascus blades and it's great seeing some nice variants. I didn't know Victorinox made a Damascus blade. Very cool.
Britt ·
Uh, no, not exactly correct, the process also allowed more carbon in the steel, without increasing the brittleness of the steel. Thus it is more than just the process. It is also the steel, and how the steel changes through the process.
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