Damascus steel is a distinct type of steel that is mainly recognised for its wavy pattern and design.
Besides beauty and aesthetics, steel is renowned for its flexibility and sturdiness.
You can use it over and over without worrying about blunt edges; it remains sharp all along.
The steel was initially made in Damascus, Syria, in the 900AD period. Given that the steel is sturdy, it was ideal for making swords and other armouries.
Today, the Damascus steel is indispensable in making blades and knives for general utility.
The production uses a forge-welding technique to twist and manipulate the steel metal into the desired shapes and designs.
But are they good for survival and outdoor scenarios?
Properties of Damascus Steel
Damascus steel has lots of remarkable properties that make it suitable for knives and blades.
It is important to note that not all of Damascus is created equal. Some have higher compositions than others.
This is because Damascus is a fusion of multiple metals put together to create one beautiful piece.
Here are some of the most relatable ones.
• Harder than stainless steel
• Wavy light and dark patterned
• High flexibility
• Beautiful in appearance
• Perfect finish
Tips on How to Care for Damascus Steel Blades
The durability of your products depends on how well you take care of them. Most people use a blade or a Damascus steel knife for survival.
Even better, the knives maintain their beauty and get more efficient in the designated activities.
Here is how to care for a Damascus steel knife and all your other Damascus steel accessories:
Lubricate Your Damascus Blades
Usually, the Damascus blades are entirely forged from the blade’s tip to the edge. They follow a particular pattern that can only be seen when you etch the blade with an acid wash at the manufacturing stage.
The etching will show different levels of oxidation and cause the knife to reveal some dark patterns.
The non-oxidised parts will show in light and shiny patterns on the blade.
Since they are made of high carbon steel, they need constant lubrication with wax to protect them from moisture, rust, and discolouration. But does Damascus steel knives rust?
While the blades are made from superior materials, they are also susceptible to damage from moisture.
Applying an archival-grade museum wax protects the edges from rusting.
Do Not Use Abrasives when Cleaning
Abrasives have a long-lasting effect on Damascus blades and knives.
In order to maintain the beautiful look of the edge, you should not use rough clothes, metal polishes, and steel wool when cleaning your blades.
Using these blades will remove the etch oxidation, and your knife can no longer be a Damascus; the pattern gets lost.
We know that mistakes happen, and you may have used abrasives. If this happens, you should consider returning the blade to the maker for re-etching.
Protect the Pattern
Always protect the pattern on your Damascus blade or knife. If you notice the pattern has begun wearing out, you should take it back to the maker for re-etching.
Most manufacturers offer a subsidised charge for the service.
Check the Environment for Use
Damascus blades are not all-rounded blades.
They are usually made from carbon steel, which means that they cannot be used to cut acidic items.
Other environments unsuitable for these blades include wet, humid environment and field dressing games so they may not be best suited for survival or outdoors.
By using them in these restricted environments, you risk removing the etching and pattern. They will be suitable for some situations and not for others.
Appropriately Store the Blades after Use
As soon as you are done with the Damascus blades and knives, you should wash them immediately. Be careful not to rub the blade roughly as the etching may come off.
Use microfiber or cotton to dry the blade for storage.
Don’t forget to wax the knives for enhanced protection. Store the blades in a dry interior environment to protect them from moisture and other temperature adjustments.
Does Damascus Steel Rust?
All these are suitable methods to keep your Damascus knife in good shape, both in functionality and appearance.
Now, most people neglect the handle of the blade, and this is wrong as it can store moisture that could rust the blade.
The better you take care of the blade, the longer you will have it.
I am an independent safety and survival expert and consultant. I have over 15+ years of experience working with corporations and individuals to help identify, remediate and prepare for threats and and disasters. I help clients understand risks and blog about my thoughts and techniques at DisasterShelters.net