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How to sharpen Damascus steel

  • 16 min read

Damascus steel is known for its strength, edge retention, and rust resistance. With these qualities. To keep it sharp and active, you will need to understand how to sharpen Damascus steel the right way. You will need diamond stones, Whetstones, a tabletop sharpener, coarse or fine-grit, honing steel, or bench stones. Continue reading to know how to use these tools for sharpening.

To sharpen a Damascus steel blade, use a whetstone by placing it on a flat surface placing the knife on top of the stone. Then move the knife blade back and forth to sharpen evenly. You can also hand-wash it in warm water to remove any stains or dirt SharpenerSharpenerdue to the sharpening process.

If you sharpen your knife by hand instead of opting for power tools, sharpening by hand will cost you a lesser amount than taking it to a machine shop for honing or sharpening. Whichever sharpening technique you choose to use, keep in mind that the edge might take a while to return to its original state depending on how much damage or blunt the knife has been.

Damascus knife review

Damascus knife review A Damascus knife is with two layers of different kinds of steel forged together. The forging process creates the metal’s unique patterns, making each blade unique on its own. The knife is very sharp, solid and it can be resistant to rust if appropriately maintained.

The knife’s blade is made of high-carbon stainless steel and decorated with technical drawings made with numerous layers of metals. The edge of the blade can slice, dice, and mincing almost anything.

The process used to produce these knives creates an attractive design, which sometimes resembles ripples making it beautiful and functional. As a result, the blades are popular among knife users.

Damascus steel is carefully grounded and sharpened to create a strong blade by combining the carbon from the outer layers of steel with the nitrogen from the inner layers at a specific temperature for a particular period. The result is a beautiful and durable blade that you can use in the kitchen or hunting.

How to sharpen Damascus steel knives

How to sharpen Damascus steel knives Knowing how to sharpen Damascus steel razor will deliver a cutting-edge blade to use for your meat and fish, as this will ensure effective slicing and dicing. There are tools to use like honing steel, whetstone, tabletop sharpener, coarse or fine-grit.

Additional materials you will need are water, oil, and a Damascus steel knife. Here is the different method you can use to sharpen the blade edge to be as new.

Using a tabletop knife sharpener

Tabletop knife sharpeners are great for sharpening the edges of your kitchen knives. They are easy to use, safe and they won’t take up much space on your countertops.

Step 1

Place the sharpener on a flat surface. Sharpener

The first step to sharpening with a knife sharpener is by placing the sharpener on a flat surface and pulling it towards you. Most sharpener features two tungsten carbide blades that sharpen both sides of the blade at once.

Step 2

Position the knife in the slot, then pull it back towards you.

Position the knife to be sharpened in the slot, then pull it back towards you while holding the handle with even strokes on consistent pressure.

In less than 9 – 10 minutes or less, you can use a knife sharpener to bring any standard edge blade back to life. It can also sharpen all straight-edge knives with or without a serrated edge.

Step 3

Repeat step 3 for two to three-time

Repeat step 3 for two to three-time. While doing this, carefully pull the knife through the sharpener and never push it on put too much pressure

After every sharpening, remove the knife before starting again, as this will ensure uniform blending of the edges.

Step 4

Repeat the process at the next stage

For a sharpener that has two or more stages repeat the process for more refined and sharp edges.

Step 5

Wipe the blade after completion

After the whole process, wipe off any metallic filling on the blade. Leave it clean and dry it before storing.

Using a whetstone to sharpen a knife 

Using a whetstone to sharpen a knife  A whetstone is a natural or synthetic stone .used to sharpen knives with a grinding or cutting action as brute force alone won’t work. Here is a step-by-step whetstone guide.

Step 1. Use water or oil

Use water or oil (carrier oil like olive oil) to create a small pool of water or oil on the stone surface. It is advisable to use either oil or water and not use the two at the same time.

The lubricated stone with water can be used with oil though most whetstone will have specific lubrication instructions.

If you are to lubricate the stone with water, then soak it for 10-15 minutes; during this period, make sure bubbles stop appearing on its surface before removing it from the water.

There are three basic whetstones: oil stones that require water to form an abrasive slurry, water stones that need oil, and diamond stones.

Step 2. Place the whetstone on a flat surface

Place the whetstone on a flat, even surface such as a kitchen counter. You can use a spray bottle or a piece of wet leather. If you the best angle for sharpening your knife, then consult a manual or go ahead and use the factory angle as a guide.

If you are right-handed, place it so that the beveled edge faces left—the reason for this is to keep your fingers above the cutting edge at all times. For accurate positioning, place the border to a 20 degree.

Use one hand to handle the knife’s then place the fingers on your other hand near the tip so the blade is flat against the stone with the edge away from you. Tilt the blade by pivoting on the border to an angle of around 20 degrees.

Step 3. Move the blade in even swipes

Move the blade in even swipes at an angle between 10 and 30 degrees, then repeat on the other side. Use just two fingers to move the edge through the whetstone, your index finger for longer strokes and your middle finger for shorter ones. Keep both fingers on the blade at all times and never let it go of the blade. Swipe down on one side of the knife’s edge, then repeat on the other side.

Modern-day chefs prefer using electric sharpeners because they are faster, easier to use, and make the job simple. However, even though electric sharpeners are better for honing an already sharpened blade, chefs still use whetstones to get their edges razor-sharp.

 What is whetstone?

Whetstone is a natural stone, mainly consisting of silicon, aluminum calcium carbonate used for sharpening tools. There are many types of whetstones available artificial or natural, mineral or synthetic.

A whetstone is a tool sharpening knife; it is conveniently portable, while its fine-grained surface finishes the blades quickly. The work of sharpening knives is made easy with the use of whetstone.

The whetstone can also serve as a decorative product for you. It is excellent if you want to go traveling outside and still take a stone with you. The whetstone can meet different needs for different people; it can meet different needs aside from sharpening knives; it’s a great tool that you can take along with you when going on a long trip.

Using a sharpening steel

Using a sharpening steel A sharpening steel is a piece of metal that you can use to hone the blade of your knife. It contains several grooves or ridges that help restore the edge on your knife’s blade. You can get models with diamond-coated grooves or grooves made from tungsten carbide, ceramic or other materials.

  1. To use a honing steel, hold it down on a hard surface as this will prevent the knife you want to file from slipping while you are sharpening it. The steel should be held firmly such that it does not move, or it can damage the blade of your knife during the sharpening process. 
  2. Place the back of your knife at a 20-degree angle against the steel, with the sharp edge facing up. The edge of the blade should almost touch the honing steel, but it should not touch it.
  3. Pull the blade across the tip of the steel while holding it at a 20° angle. Hold it with one hand and draw the edge across the direction towards you in a sweeping motion to use steel correctly, moving away from the tip. If you are using sharpening steel with multiple grooves, rotate the knife in between strokes to use a different groove or edge on your knife.

4. Place the blade to the other side of the honing steel when you are through with the first side, now repeat the various steps, including the number of strokes carried out to have the same sharpness with the other side blade.

Using electric tabletop knife sharpener

An electric tabletop sharpener is a great way to keep your kitchen cutlery and sporting knives sharp, whether you want to restore the razor-sharp edge of some old blades or don’t have the time it takes to sharpen them with a stone.

To sharpen your knife with an electric sharpener, attach your blade to the plastic guides of the sharpener and glide it over the ceramic grindstone. The sharpener’s V-shaped guides firmly hold your knife at just the right angle as it slides back and forth across the cradle, providing a clean, safe edge.

 The built-in angle gauge allows you to sharpen each side by simply turning the guide to match each bevel angle. Replace the grinding stone when needed for continued good results.

How Are Damascus Knives Made?

The best way to understand how today’s Damascus knives are made is to look at the history behind them. For thousands of years, blacksmiths have been making their blades out of various metals, hammering the blade repeatedly to give it a distinctive pattern. 

Today, this technique is used to form patterns on Damascus steel. Damascus knives are made by forging steel layers together with a pattern welding technique. It is made by taking two high carbon steel pieces, folding them together dozens, if not hundreds of times, twisting and folding them until they form a third steel piece with well-defined lines running throughout it. 

These lines separate the blade into various parts that are extremely hard. While these blades may be beautiful, they are also incredibly strong, which can be seen in the fact that they can maintain an edge.

In this technique, hard, brittle steel and softer iron or brass patterns are forged together in an alternating pattern by hitting them on edge with a hammer. The resulting knife offers resistance to chipping, incredible durability, and great beauty.

Furthermore, Damascus steel is one of the strongest and most enduring materials known to man. Used for centuries in armor, weapons, and tools, Damascus steel is the pinnacle of blacksmithing and the art of forging. Before the invention of stainless steel, Damascus steel was considered one of the best types of steel available.

Do Damascus Knives Hold an Edge?

Damascus steel can hold an edge even after years of sharpening. The main characteristic of Damascus steel is that it has the best possible hardness to its flexibility. It gives it an almost unbreakable character making a good choice for handles, but not so good when trying to sharpen the blade.

However, they tend to lose their edge faster than other knives, which is why so many of them are now fitted with ceramic blades made to counteract this problem.

Does Damascus Steel Stay Sharp?

It depends on the many different types of Damascus steel and the techniques used to make it. Some of these techniques produce sharper blades than others. While all steel dulls with time and use, when proper care is taken, Damascus steel can be just as sharp as any other blade on the market today.

When sharpened, the high carbon content of Damascus steel will stay just as sharp as the day it was made. Like a diamond, a micro-serrated edge is created during the forging process of Damascus steel. 

This particular edge is created when the two different types of steel are heated to extremely high temperatures and then cooled fast, causing the two sheets of steel to melt together in a fusion. 

It is still hot, soft, and malleable when it cools, so it is pounded into shape. 

However, this pounding creates a very fine line that, if you look closely, resembles a strand of rope, and by keeping the knife clean and sharp, this line stays sharp and will last forever.

Benefits of a sharp knife

Benefits of a sharp knife

The difference that a sharp knife makes in the kitchen cannot be understated. A sharp knife can make a difference. Here are the following benefits:

1. Sharp knives make cutting food easier, faster, and safer.

 2. It reduces the need to apply excess pressure when trying to cut food items, which might have resulted in slippage or torquing the blade. With this, you have more control over kitchen activities which means better results.

3. The sharp edge on a knife slices easily through food, creating minor damage to the food cells, resulting in more even slicing or chopping, which is also healthier for the food.

4. Sharp knives are safer to use than dull knives because they are easier to control, won’t slip off your hand, and are not likely to cause injury. 

How to clean and care for Damascus knives

1. Wash Damascus with a nylon-bristled brush to clean into the nooks and crannies of the Damascus surface after every use.

2. Hand wash in warm soapy water, followed by rinsing and drying.

3. Never cut or chop bone, celery, or other tough foods.

4. Wipe after every single use with a cloth or paper towel.

5. Do not store in damp, moist freezers or in kitchens where any kind of moisture may be present.

6. Use only wooden or plastic cutting boards.

7. Use a food-safe oil regularly to help prevent oxidation, staining and reduce the chances of the blade rusting.

8. Do leave it too long inside a water

9. Don’t ever wash in a dishwasher 

10. It is better not to store in direct contact with a leather

How to polish Damascus steel

Polishing steel is the best way to bring out its shining beauty, and by doing this, your knife will look brand new again. 

1. Clean the knife’s

Clean the knife’s blade by rubbing it with a fine piece of paper or microfiber cloth. Damascus steel is more complicated, so do not use a soft cloth or a piece of paper towel to clean your knife. Instead, wrap a thin towel around a piece of paper and slowly start scrubbing the blade using medium pressure.

2. Removing the Rust

To repair rusted steel, you will need; a rust eraser as this method we recommend. Do not use sandpaper or any other instruments on Damascus steel, as your work will be pointless if you scratch or damage your knife steel while polishing.

Now get or prepare a rust remover through water and vinegar, apply it on the blade. Soak a cloth in oil, put the knife between, wrap it, and leave for 30 minutes. By then, the solution would have loosened all the rust on the blade. Remove and get an abrasive cloth to scrub off the rust.

Get a clean cloth to clean excess oil and the dirt on the blade before using it.

3.  Apply a metal polish

To apply metal polish, gently wipe across the blade’s surface, turning the edge as you go as this helps to make sure it is evenly polished. This polishing process will quickly remove any surface rust and give your knife a deep shine like new.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Damascus steel hard to sharpen?

It is not hard to sharpen as it is easier to sharpen than other knives. However, the manufacturing process of tempering and heat treating has given strengths to Damascus knife that makes it take much longer than regular steel, which has added more hardness and strength.

Does Damascus steel rust?

When Damascus steel has been adequately cared for, it will not rust. Carbon steels are the steels that Damascus contains and are inherently resistant to corrosion. Unless there is permanent something on them like water, it won’t rust.

Are Damascus knives good?

The durability of Damascus steel blades makes it a good one to get. It has a sharp, precise, high-quality knife that does not only looks great in your kitchen but also pampers your hands when slicing meat or veggies. 

Why is Damascus steel so expensive?

It is constructed with a solid piece of carbon steel and folded around 500 times to create the laminated structure that comprises Damascus steel. The beauty of Damascus steel is that it produces 300 separate layers of carbon steel stacked, forged, and then polished until they are seamless. All this put together place it ahead of other knives with a higher price.

Conclusion

Before you do anything with your hand-forged Damascus steel knife, you need to understand that it requires a sharpening process differently than just about any other blade. Our steps on how to sharpen Damascus steel will help you have a sharper and shining steel knife.