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Damascus - Knife Handle Material

High Contrast Nickel Damascus Info


Damascus is available in softer varieties with high nickel content, which is more suitable for bolster or handle material than knife blades, at least in my opinion. It is still very common for knifemakers both production and custom to use Nickel Damascus as it has a very high contrast and exotic look that is works very well with dress knives and art knives, which is fine if you don't plan to use them much. Part of the reason I separated Nickel Damascus into the handle materals section is because I needed to have Damascus in this section, and it is more suited to handle materials.

If you are looking for knife blade Damascus, you can find that in the blade steels page.

Nickel Damascus, as it is sometimes called because of the high nickel content, is ideal for making knife bolsters or sometimes even entire knife handles. The nickel component etches and gun blues very well, creating a very high-contrast appearance.

This type of Damascus is easier to make and tends to be cheaper than non-nickel damascus that is more suited for blade steels. In recent years producers of inferior quality nickel damascus have appears in India as well, often building entire knives out of a very low grade of nickel damascus. Fortunately the low quality product is easy to spot, and can be avoided with due dilligence.

Many custom makers actually prefer to use all steel damascus for bolsters, and not nickel damascus. Its not always easy to tell them apart, but usually the higher the contrast and more exotic looking the pattern is, the greater the chance of nickel content.

Damascus Examples