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Another silly new question !! Damascus v White #2 etc

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welshstar

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Hi

Are Dasmascus blades primarily for decoration ?

Do blades with steels like White # 2, VG10 etc perform better ?

Alan
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Hi

Are Dasmascus blades primarily for decoration ?
From my experience, I'd have to say "yes". My damascus knives perform the same as my non-damascus knives.

Do blades with steels like White # 2, VG10 etc perform better ?
At the level of knives we usually discuss, there is really no performance difference in the steel, but rather in the profile, grind and HT.
 

welshstar

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So is it fair to say that you do not lose anything by going damsacus ?

except money ?
 

Eamon Burke

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IME VG10 is a "chippy" steel. Tends to lose little chips here and there pretty easily. Kinda like an s30v folder I had(I've never had an s30v kitchen knife).

Damascus is decorative. But aesthetics is not just for frills, it is an important part of a tool.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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So is it fair to say that you do not lose anything by going damsacus ?

except money ?
As long as you don't compare apples and oranges. You'd have to compare knives from the same source. To use Stephan Fowler as an example, his W2 and damascus gyutos will probably have the same performance, but different prices.
 

James

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I've read that for true damascus, the different steels wear at different rates, giving a toothier edge...this may be desirable, but I don't know
 

Justin0505

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It's important to make the distinction between damascus clad and solid damascus.
With a damascus clad knife, you are still cutting with an edge from the mono-steel (not damascus) core.
I have head from some makers that there is some structural benefit form damascus cladding over regular monosteel cladding. I've read a comment from Tokifusa of Shigefusa that his kitaeji (damascus / folded steel) cladding is stronger than the "plain" cladding which allows for thinner cladding or, in the case of a long, narrow, single bevel, blade like a yanagi, less tendency to warp / bend over time.

With a solid damascus blade, you are actually cutting with an edge made up of more then 1 (usually 2) steels. The only theoretical advantage that I've read about is that the 2 different steels have different properties and will wear at different rates creating a blade that is a very aggressiveness slicer. Devin Thomas wrote a bit about this on his site. I have also noticed that the 2 sold damascus blades that I have are also 2 of my best, most aggressive slicing knives. However, it is really impossible to prove that this is because of the damascus without having 2 more knives identical in dimensions to the damascus one that are each made out of one of the composite steels.

Basically, there are a lot of factors that impact a blade's performance more than the steel and if its damascus or not.

Manufactured "damascus clad" blades really don't excite me, but the extra skill and art that goes into forging a beautiful, handmade damascus blade is something that's very appealing to me and adds to my enjoyment of the knife. So whether or not there is actually a performance boost is not as important to me.
 

TB_London

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I would expect that you'd have to be cutting something quite abrasive, i.e. not food, for the difference in the 2 steels to give a toothy edge. Also IMO most people would sharpen way before it manifests itself.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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I've read that for true damascus, the different steels wear at different rates, giving a toothier edge...this may be desirable, but I don't know
Perhaps theoretically, but in actual use, I've yet to notice this on any of mine. As far as I'm concerned, it's just another "urban myth", like letting steel "rest" after sharpening.
 

NO ChoP!

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The only benefit I see for damascus cladding is it hides the scratches that are so prevalent with usual softer stainless cladding....again cosmetic.
 

tk59

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As far as I can tell, I agree with Rick and TB. It's aesthetic with no performance difference. I do think you run more risk with damascus. If a weld isn't perfect, it will pit.
 

Justin0505

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Like I said before, I think that if there is a difference, it's less than that which is cause by other factors like heat treat and design/grind, but if we're gonna start talking theory vs myth here's a few things that I read from experts:

Devin wrote about his a bit in the FAQ on his site:
http://www.devinthomas.com/faq.cfm
The first thing that he says is "In short, we don't know, though there are plenty of theories to wonder about..." but then he discusses some of the theories; interesting read from one of the true experts on knife steel and damascus.

As for the san-mai (clad) damascus question: here's the post where Dr. Naka relays some info on the topic from Iizuka San of Shigefusa (also a guy who I think probably understands knives and steel more than the other 99.999% of us on the planet):
He mentions the Kitaeji being "not just for looks" and that it allows for thinner double bevel (clad on both side) blades and less warp prone single bevel (clad on one side) blades.
http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php?1541-Q-A
 

jmforge

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It's important to make the distinction between damascus clad and solid damascus.
With a damascus clad knife, you are still cutting with an edge from the mono-steel (not damascus) core.
I have head from some makers that there is some structural benefit form damascus cladding over regular monosteel cladding. I've read a comment from Tokifusa of Shigefusa that his kitaeji (damascus / folded steel) cladding is stronger than the "plain" cladding which allows for thinner cladding or, in the case of a long, narrow, single bevel, blade like a yanagi, less tendency to warp / bend over time.

With a solid damascus blade, you are actually cutting with an edge made up of more then 1 (usually 2) steels. The only theoretical advantage that I've read about is that the 2 different steels have different properties and will wear at different rates creating a blade that is a very aggressiveness slicer. Devin Thomas wrote a bit about this on his site. I have also noticed that the 2 sold damascus blades that I have are also 2 of my best, most aggressive slicing knives. However, it is really impossible to prove that this is because of the damascus without having 2 more knives identical in dimensions to the damascus one that are each made out of one of the composite steels.

Basically, there are a lot of factors that impact a blade's performance more than the steel and if its damascus or not.

Manufactured "damascus clad" blades really don't excite me, but the extra skill and art that goes into forging a beautiful, handmade damascus blade is something that's very appealing to me and adds to my enjoyment of the knife. So whether or not there is actually a performance boost is not as important to me.
Actually, most makers now try to use two very similar steels when making carbon damascus, like 1080 or 1084 and 15N20, which is basically EN75 or C75 (Eurospeak for 1075) with 2% nickel added. I do not make nor have I every used stainless damascus, but I would think that in the typical mix of say AEB-L and 300 series, you would have to be REALLY careful about how much 300 you add because it is not martensitic steel and will not harden on its own short of using some kind of crazy "superquench" like lye like one or two guys have done when making an ABS JS test knife from 1018. I may be wrong, but I would think that at best, it will be "stealing" carbon from your martensitic steel, and from what I see in the specs, AEB-L doesn't have a whole lot to steal. With modern high carbon damascus, if done properly, you are almost getting a funky looking mono-steel that etches up pretty because the nickle doesn't migrate along with the carbon. My understanding is that with steel like cable damascus, you are seeing the boundaries of the individual wires where you have decarburized them down to a certain depth during the forge welding process..
 
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