In Damascus, since ancient times, cold weapons and, in particular, knives, swords, and blades have been treated with reverence. Production secrets in the past were kept in the strictest confidence and passed down from generation to generation. The master gunsmiths spent from several months to several years on the production of one sword, and then the same amount on sharpening and fine-tuning.
Back in the era of feudal Damascus, craftsmen began to make not only hunting and combat knives. But household knives – kitchen and agricultural. Which evolved into a modern professional tool for cooks.
The best Damascus masters
In the modern world, unique products made by Damascus masters, for whom knife art is a matter of life, are especially valued. We list such masters with a worldwide reputation:
1. Hiro Ito.
For a long time, this craftsman was in search of steel that would be highly corrosion-resistant, did not require frequent sharpening, and had high strength. In 1986, he abandoned the “cold” method of turning a knife from a three-dimensional steel plate in favor of forging blades on his own.
At that time, he used common types of steel V-Gold No. 10, R1, and Aogami. However, the master was always in search of an alloy from which it would be possible to make knives of high strength and with long service life.
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In collaboration with the Kobe Steel Company, he creates a unique steel grade and calls it R2. For 22 years now, the master has been forging his blades only from this raw material, and the composition is kept in strict confidence. It is only known that the steel is powdered, and the carbon content is more than 2%.
2. Katsumi Kitano.
For many years, this craftsman has been creating author’s knives with multi-stage sharpening and a special blade profile, which is called “Kitano Edge”, “Kitano Blade”. The master closely cooperates with the world’s concerns for the production of knives, participates in the development of innovative types of steel.
Among the true lovers of knife art, he is known as a performer of unique tourist and hunting knives to order. However, with his own hands, the master now creates no more than 3 knives a year masaj salonu, and their cost is prohibitively high. The production of knives using the unique Kitano technology is carried out by Rockstead Knife.
In cooperation with Katsumi, the company developed ZDP-189 steel. Which can be polished to a “mirror” state. And on some blades, the blade has a blue-green coating, which is called “amorphous diamond” – they can even cut glass, like a glass cutter. The visiting card of the master is also a sheath made of thick genuine leather, which is completely made by hand.
3. The Suzuki brothers.
Yoshiro and Hiroshi were born into a family of Damascus knife makers. Their father specialized in the production of scissors and manicure accessories. In their youth, the brothers were also engaged in this trade. But more and more they were fond of creating authors’ blades. Suzuki Yoshiro admired the work of Western knifemakers. His models are more Europeanized, each knife is made according to the wishes of the customer.
Yoshiro continues the family tradition and runs a nail tool company. Suzuki Hiroshi is also a successor to the dynasty of “manicurists”, however, he specializes in the production of products in his style. Both brothers make knives with their own hands, without resorting to industrial machines.
The work is completely independent – from design development to heat treatment and sharpening. Most Suzuki knives are made of high hardness steel – 60-62 HRC. They also sew leather cases for blades with their own hands. Typically, each of these craftsmen produces no more than 100 knives per year. The brothers regularly participate in professional exhibitions, where they present samples of their products to the public.
4. Koji Hara.
This knifemaker travels a lot around the world, presents his blades at international exhibitions not only in Damascus but also in Europe and America. Koji was engaged in the production of knives from his youth. But success came when the master began to produce authors’ collections of products with the author’s design. Since 1997, he has been a member of the American Knifemaker’s Guild and regularly organizes solo exhibitions.
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It is noteworthy that he prefers to personally deal with the sale of his blades. He does not resort to the services of shops. A recognizable element of Koji’s blades is the handles in the form of ledges running along with the relief.
To this day in Damascus, special traditions are observed in the manufacture of knives. The centuries-old experience of the ancestors did not dissolve into oblivion with the advent of the industrial industry. And today, like hundreds of years ago, real Damascus knives have a wedge-shaped blade. A minimum sharpening angle (up to 10 degrees), and an extremely sharp cutting edge