When researching knives for a story, you may come across wavy patterns on the blade that look like this:
Without getting too technical, those waves are created by layering the steel used to make the blade. The result is called “damascus” steel. A wave pattern is just one of the shapes found in damascus steel. The smith can create any number of wacky designs, from hearts, stars and horseshoes to clovers and blue moons. Er, wait, that’s the jingle for Lucky Charms. But the point is still the same.
Some say damascus steel is stronger or longer lasting than “regular” steel. I’d say there are too many variables to make that judgement call. It’s strictly a design element that looks cool and adds a nice touch to a knife. Here’s an example from one of my own knives.
In this case, the damascus steel has a “raindrop” pattern instead of wavy lines like in the example above. It’s still damascus either way.
When writing, the only time I imagine you’d reference damascus is to look in-the-know about knives, which is fine by me. Because damascus is pricey and most often used for aesthetics, I wouldn’t depict it on knives designed for hard use.
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