Hunting knives are used for everything from cutting rope to field dressing a fresh kill, which means they need to be strong, sharp, durable and able to withstand the rain. Many avid outdoorsmen prefer to invest in a high-quality hunting knife that will last for years and will perform reliably in the field.
Because of this desire for reliability and quality workmanship, the Damascus blade knife has become an increasingly popular choice within the past few decades. Following is a look at what a Damascus knife is and why it’s so coveted by hunters.
What a Damascus Knife Is
A Damascus blade knife is characterized by a wavy, mottled appearance on the blade that’s caused by the method used to shape the steel. The process of making Damascus steel is derived from a centuries-old forging technique used to create blades that became almost legendary in their reputation for strength and sharpness – it was said a Damascus knife could cut through a rifle barrel as well as through a hair falling on the blade.
Although the original process was lost during the 18th century, when production of Damascus swords ceased, manufactures have recreated the technique using modern technology. Today’s Damascus blade knives are made from dozens of layers of steel, folded and intertwined to imbue the blade with strength. Some Damascus blades even include a combination of carbon steel and stainless steel to take advantage of each metal’s assets and minimize their weaknesses.
Benefits of a Damascus Blade
While Damascus knives typically cost more than other types of hunting knives, many outdoorsmen swear by them.
Super strength. While the legends surrounding the Damascus blade knife may be overly hyped, its actual strength is still nothing to sneer at. Thanks to their unique forging process, Damascus blades are some of the strongest available.
Best of both worlds. In the world of hunting knives, there are two main types of steel, each with their advantages and disadvantages. Carbon steel is easier to sharpen but prone to rust and must be treated with silicon wax to withstand the elements. Stainless steel, on the other hand, resists rust but is harder to sharpen. By uniquely combining these two metals, some Damascus knives offer the durability of its stainless steel outer core and the fine cutting edge of its carbon steel inner core.
Unique blade. Let’s face it: Even the most pragmatic sportsman enjoys the aesthetic value of a quality hunting knife. The wavy water-like pattern on the blade of a Damascus knife makes each one unique and something of a work of art.
Caring for a Damascus Knife
When you invest in such a high-quality hunting knife, it’s important to care for it properly to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Following are some tips for keeping your Damascus knife in top shape.
Storing: Never store a Damascus knife in its leather sheath for long periods of time, as leather absorbs water and can cause rust to form on the blade.
Polishing: Gently polish your Damascus blade knife with a soft cloth after each use or anytime it gets wet. Avoid using abrasives, such as metal polish, as these can destroy the etching on the blade. After polishing, apply a coat of wax to protect the knife from rust.
Sharpening: It’s important to keep a honed edge on your hunting knife at all times, as a sharp knife is safer to use than a dull one. A Damascus blade knife can be easily sharpened using a ceramic rod. When sharpening, pull the blade slowly across the rod, using light pressure.
Damascus knives may require more money and care than other types of hunting knives, but many sportsmen who use them consider them to be superior tools that are worth the cost and effort.