How to Care for Damascus Steel

Written by sarah coennen
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How to Care for Damascus Steel
Damascus steel was used to make swords. (dos image by Cyril Comtat from

Damascus steel is a type of layered steel once commonly used in sword-making, although the process has now been lost. The steel was originally made into cakes, a metallurgical term meaning to fold and fuse together layers of metal, in India and then shipped to Damascus, Syria, where the city's renowned blacksmiths and metal workers shaped it into swords. Today, metal workers still make swords from Damascus steel, and jewellery designers fashion it into rings or bracelets. Regardless of what the item is, the process of caring for Damascus steel is relatively simple.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Polishing cloth
  • Oil for blades
  • Sharpening stone
  • Soft towel

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  1. 1

    Polish Damascus steel regularly with a polishing cloth. If the Damascus steel is in the form of a ring, do this done once a week. If the Damascus steel is on a decorative blade, you should polish it once every three months or more often if you use it often.

  2. 2

    Sharpen blades if they become dull. Use a good sharpening stone and oil for the best results, and polish the blade after sharpening with a soft towel. Do not use a polishing cloth to polish the blade when oil is on it.

  3. 3

    Wipe off all Damascus steel blades promptly after using them. This is important to keep the blade from getting rusty.

  4. 4

    Oil a Damascus steel blade once a year for decorative swords and knives. You do not need to sharpen it beforehand, but doing so will give the blade a rich lustre.

  5. 5

    Polish Damascus steel rings with a bit of whitening toothpaste and a scouring pad, such as a Scotch Pad, for a matt finish, or just use the scouring pad for a semi-polished finish.

  6. 6

    Dry Damascus steel promptly after it gets wet. Do not leave excess water on the steel because, just like with any other metal, excessive water or moisture exposure can lead to rust.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have a Damascus steel blade, exercise caution when showing off your blade to others to avoid injury.

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