Damascus Kitchen Knives
By: Jack Mancuso
Have you ever looked at your kitchen knives and thought, “meh?” You may have gotten some steak knives as a gift or bought them as an inexpensive option when your other blades went dull. Sadly, I know from experience the current set is likely to chip and dull too. Not all knives are created equal.
The more you cook, the more you come to appreciate a really great knife. Many folks become rather protective of their chosen kitchen tools. Hands off, buddy! This isn’t a selfish response. Many people don’t know how to care for knives, let alone shop for them.
Important Note: Never EVER put good knives in a dish washer. Clean with soap, rinse, dry and put away as soon as possible.
I have done a fair share of slicin’ and dicin’. Whether it’s my friends, family, or people who follow me on the web, I always say that Damascus is the way to go. Damascus steel is the perfect blend of beauty, longevity, and functionality. Whether you’re cutting up vegetables for a salad or slicing up the perfect steak, you most definitely want to consider adding Damascus kitchen knives to your cooking and grilling kit.
What is Damascus Steel?
A Damascus knife is immediately recognizable because of the wavy look of the metal. The visual impact comes from folding steel, a method tracing back to some 2,000 years ago. The earliest approaches used wootz steel, which added carbon to the metal by slow cooling. No one has the exact specifications for making Wootz anymore, but other techniques emerged.
Modern Damascus kitchen knives combine anywhere from 2-5 alloys. Or they may be ceramic. Traditional Damascus is either stamped or forged, with the forged blades having a full tang adding to their durability. The process produces a wholly unique pattern in each knife.
Tip: Be kind to your knife. Pair it with a good quality cutting board, which keeps your kitchen knives sharper, longer.
Shop Till ya’ Drop
At first, there may be a bit of sticker shock when you look at Damascus Kitchen Knives. They are more expensive, but with good reason. These tools are far superior to budget brands. You are not just buying a knife. You’re investing in something that, when cared for properly, can be handed down to other family members.
What should you look for when buying?
Not everything marketed as a Damascus knife is a real one. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fakes floating around the market. So, here are some guidelines for you:
- Make sure the blade has a natural feeling pattern in it, like a wave or feather. The knock off blades have elaborate edges and patterns that will fade over time.
- Look at the folds up and down the knife. There should be uniformity in the tang, spine, and edge.
- When you’re not sure, check consumer reviews before you pull out your credit card.
Buy the best knife you can now, instead of buying dozens over the years.
The Cuso Chef Knife
Our knife weighs just over half a pound and is the perfect length for an all-purpose Chef Knife, namely 8-inches.
This baby has 315 hammered Damascus Steel layers (count them!), complete with a full tang.
The drop-dead gorgeous handle is epoxy with brass finishes. You’ll find it fits comfortably in your hand.
Pit Master’s Memo: How to Get Rust off of Knives
Once you fall in love with your Damascus Kitchen Knives, you’re going to want to take good care of them.
One of the easiest maintenance habits is treating your blades with canola oil after washing and drying. It’s a great rust preventative. Also remember to take extra care rinsing and wiping down your knives after cutting up high-acid foods, like oranges.
Do not let your knife sit around after you’ve used it. Clean it off immediately and return it to wherever it lives in your kitchen. Try and find a spot that has relatively even humidity and temperature year-round. Moisture equals rust. Dryness damages natural wooden handles. Magnetic knife holders are better than leather sheaths by far.
Finally, examine your Damascus Kitchen knives regularly. If you see a rust spot, you can clean it with a q-tip and Soft Scrub easily. Don’t wait. Take care of it right away. If at any time you notice pitting, keep those spots squeaky clean so they don’t become worse.