Logo Wootzlegend


Still not many people have heard of Wootz

while so called Damascus steel has gained some popularity. The knives made of Damascus are supposed to be of high quality what, together with their long history, may seem prestigious to the potential buyers. However, contemporary knives advertised as Damascus steel knives, more often than not, have nothing to do with the original products meaning they are not as good as expected.
What is more, many sources confuse Damascus steel with Wootz.

It is good to know the difference between Damascus and Wootz steel. By no means are they the same what you can read in many Internet sources. What they do have in common is the place of origin: Damascus in the Middle East, from where their fame spread to the medieval Europe. Unfortunately also thanks to the city name, the terms Damascus steel and Wootz steel started to be used interchangeably. Today, not many know about the history of those terms and most of all could not distinguish between the two.

About the history...


The question remains how to recognize Wootz and not to be deceived.

The price you need to pay is one of the indicators – good quality cannot be bought for cheap. Nevertheless, it is good to be able to visually recognize Wootz blades, especially to tell the difference between so called Damascus steel. The pattern on Wootz resembles a mixture of salt and pepper whereas the pattern on Damascus steel is more like contour lines on a map. But as we said before, the perfect process of forging leaves the best quality hard matrix Wootz patternless.

The pattern typical for Wootz is the effect of crystallization in the right temperature. It consists of two elements: relatively soft and elastic matrix responsible for flexibility and resistance of the blade and hard carbides giving the hardness and agressive cut. In Damascus steel the pattern comes from interchangeably pounding together soft and hard steel.

To sum up the differences between contemporary Damascus and Wootz steel, we point to the technique of making affecting both the look and quality of a final product. In fact Wootz could be described as crucible steel emerging in the process of melting and not forging.
Damascus steel as we know it now is the effect of forge welding multiple layers of different types of steel (soft and hard) resulting in a visible pattern which is more a decorative feature than functional quality.