The term Damascus refers to a steel folding technique which originated in Syria and results in a visual wave effect that can be seen on the blades of some kitchen knives. Today the technique is used by some knife makers to create layers of ferritic steel sandwiched in between stainless steel on either side and hot rolled. Quality varies greatly among different knife makers and depends a lot on the craftsmanship between good quality, true japanese damascus steel and a common laser etched effect meant to mimic what a damascus blade would look like. All of Chubo’s damascus knives are high quality and made from real folded steel. If unsure always ask the knife maker.
What follows is our top picks for Japanese damascus kitchen knife sets. We’ve chosen the following knife set combinations based on budget and versatility. But first a little information about the various collections.
Sakai Takayuki 33 Layer - By far the best selling collection with the largest variety of shapes, sizes and handle options is the Sakai Takayuki 33 Layer Collection. This collection is crafted from true folded damascus steel with a vg-10 cutting core. The ultra-sharp blades are stain resistant, hold a great edge and are hand-hammered for added blade strength and quick food release. You can choose from traditional western-style mahogany wood handles, wa collection with beautiful Japanese Zelkova wood handles and mahogany bolsters or the new Nanairo collection, finished with resin handles, which are both heat and stain resistant.
Sakai Takayuki 45 Layer - Sakai Takayuki's 45 Layer Damascus line features an AUS10 steel cutting core and hand-hammered tsuchimi finish for added strength and quick food release. Beautiful octagonal walnut handles are paired with the razor-sharp edge and super thin blade to create a light center-balanced feel, and is comfortable in the hand even after long hours of use. They are medium weight and impeccably finished with beautiful mahogany wood handles.
Best Japanese Damascus Knife Sets
Japanese knife sets are a great option for when you are starting out in creating a kitchenware collection. They also make great gifts. Here are some of our favorites damascus steel blade sets.
Sakai Takayuki 33 Layer Damascus Two Piece Set with Petty
Featuring an 8.2” Damascus Steel Chef’s Knife and 5.9” Petty Knife this set is perfect for including the essentials. The VG-10 damascus steel cutting edge stays sharp for a very long time.
Sakai Takayuki 33 Layer Damascus Three Piece Set
Similar to the knife set above but with the addition of a 9.4” Sujihiki slicing knife, this set is * 10% off the regular price of $433. A great option for cooks who carve roasts or slice raw proteins like fish for crudo or sashimi. A beautiful damascus stainless steel option with excellent edge retention.Sakai Takayuki 33 Layer Damascus Wa-Steak Petty 120mm (4.7") - 4 pc set
This 4 piece knife set of steak knives makes a wonderful gift. It’s rare to find such attention to detail and rockwell hardness in table cutlery.Sakai Takayuki 45 Layer Damascus Two Piece Gyutou Set
This set includes an 8.2 inch chef’s knife (gyuto) and a 5.9” Petty (utility knife). They have an AUS10 steel core sandwiched between 45 layers of damascus steel and finished with beautiful wa-style walnut handles.Sakai Takayuki 45 Layer Damascus Two Piece Santoku Set
Similar to the knife set above but with a 7.1” santoku knife in place of the gyuto.Sakai Takayuki 45 Layer Damascus Three Piece Set
An essential three piece knife set with 8.2" Gyutou, 9.4” Sujihiki and 5.9” Petty.
Buyers Guide to Knife Sets
- What to look for in a knife - The first thing to consider when buying any knife or knife set, is if you want a stain resistant knife or something made from carbon steel. There are pros and cons to each steel type, but choosing this functionality is essential in the beginning. Next is the balance and weight. This is a matter of personal preference but the best advice we can give is choose something that is comfortable for you. Then choose a handle type, whether western style with rivets and ergonomic handle or a traditional style wa handle. Lastly consider the price of the knife and buy something in a range you feel comfortable with
- Determine Your needs - Think about what you are cutting and what you will use on a regular basis beyond the essentials: a Japanese chef knife and utility / paring knife. Among the various shapes and sizes of Japanese knives, there are several knives with specialized functions, such as a bread knife, steak knives, cleaver or santoku knife.
- Understanding quality - When buying a typical knife set in a block, you really don’t need 15 knives, we recommend buying professional chefs knives you will use every time you cook, something all purpose like a chef’s knife, santoku knife and utility petty or paring knife. Later you can add specialty knives like nakiri or bunka for dicing and mincing veggies, boning knives, slicers and more.
- Authenticity - it’s important to buy quality knives from a trusted retailer. Find a knife maker you are comfortable with and feel good about using before investing in additional knife pieces. We offer a lifetime warranty for our chef knife sets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Damascus knives Japanese? The term Damascus refers to a steel folding technique which originated in Syria but today is used by some Japanese knife makers. The damascus pattern appears on the edge of the blade.
Are Damascus knives the best? The best damascus chef knife is mainly an aesthetic choice over a performance issue, but there are some very good blades made in the damascus style.
Is Damascus steel good for knife blades? Damascus is more of a technique than a steel type, since Damascus blades can be made with various types of steel, and naturally some steels are better knife blades than others.
Is Damascus steel worth the money? It’s a personal preference based on if you like look of the knife blade. There are no downsides of damascus steel, they look really beautiful and hold an edge as well as the type of steel used.
Which Damascus knife is best? It’s a matter of personal preference depending on what you are looking for, but our Sakai Takayuki 33 Layer collection is available in several wooden handle options and is consistently a best seller.
How much is a good damascus steel kitchen knife? Usually you can find a good damascus knife starting at $150 and up. Our Japanese knife sets vary depending on which knives are included.