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Shun’s Damascus is formed by layering different types of metal alloys together, then forging them into a single piece. The process and the different characteristics of the layered metals create the rippling patterns in you see on the blade. The number of layers can vary; many Shun knives, for example, have 34 layers of metal on each side of a high performance VGMAX cutting core.

As Shun artisans grind each Damascus-clad blade from its thickest point at the spine to its razor-sharp cutting edge, they reveal the patterns. To bring them out even more, they bead blast or acid-etch each blade. Bead blasting also provides surface textures to help food release from the blade and reduce cutting drag. During acid etching, the layered metals react to the solution in different ways. For example, carbon steel darkens, while nickel silver remains bright. The alternating layers of darker and brighter metal help reveal the flowing, rippled pattern.

Written by David Zaratzian — July 03, 2018

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