I have been thinking over the last week or so about the subject of etching damascus, particularly in how deep the etching goes. In the beginning when I first started thinking about making damascus kitchen knives I thought that I would etch them deep, as I saw this type of knife as a workhorse type of knife(that is a knife that sees serious use) and all of my serious use knives get a deep etch. All others I make usually get a medium etch. However, as with many other things kitchen knife related I began to take a serious look at my point of view and wondered if a change here too might be beneficial. Now I do believe that some of this is subjective, which means there is no clear-cut right or wrong, just differing methods. So as usual I went looking and talked with a few people. What I found out is that I was almost unique in the depth of my etch, all of the photos I looked at seemed to be of blades that were only lightly etched. In fact, in one conversation I had, it was suggested that I leave the option open of an unetched damascus blade and let the damascus pattern be brought out by the patina that forms during regular use. Now I have to admit that after years of work perfecting my technique to get the damascus to look its best I was a little surprised by this comment. I am aware that a deeply etched damascus blade does have some affect on issues such as food sticking, and not all of them are negative. A blade that has a light etch or no etch at all takes that out of the equation though. It would perform just as a monosteel blade does. In thinking about this issue I remembered several comments about my damascus that at the time I did not think of as negative, and I still don't, comments about the overall dark color of the blade. In a lighter etching the blade would not be as dark.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts and opinions on this.