If you are new to Damascus steel, it may not be easy for you to differentiate between a fake and a real Damascus. Things will become more difficult for you if the steel has been etched. What you need to remember is that Damascus steel was invented at the time when Damascus steel was rare. The modern techniques used to make the Damascus steel entails using the old method of folding layers. This is what makes it difficult to differentiate between a fake and the genuine Damascus steel.
For starters, it is important to note that the original Damascus steel is characterized by distinctive bands of patterns that resemble patterns formed by flowing water. The blades are normally tough, resistant and are capable of being honed so that they form a sharp and resilient edge.
The original Damascus steel has the capability of cutting through a rifle barrel. In fact, Damascus steel is hard and has features that will not be present in any fake Damascus steel blade.
There are many bladesmiths out there who are capable of folding steel and producing patterns that are similar to those produced by the real Damascus steel. There are more knives that are being produced but which are not forged and folded through the normal process of making Damascus steel.
To reveal the patterns that are distinct, you need to use acid etching as part of the process that can help you reveal the wavy pattern that can help you identify whether it is an original Damascus steel or not. If the knife is polished it is easier to notice.
Acid etching is a necessary process that reveals the wavy and distinct pattern. If you are unable to tell whether the Damascus steel is fake or real, all you have to do is to carry out acid etching so that the wavy patterns can be revealed.
Note that there are cases where unscrupulous traders will fake patterns by welding the blades using acid or nail polish. You can carry out terrain’s test to help determine whether it is fake or not. Alternatively, you can clean the blade thoroughly by rubbing alcohol or acetone and allow it to dry. The blade should then be submerged in vinegar. You can also make use of ferric chloride. Leave blade to be tested in vinegar for some hours and spray it with ammonia to try to neutralize acid vinegar. If the dark layer becomes lighter and you observe that the layer remains unchanged this will certainly be a stainless damascene.
If after this test is carried out and you notice that the dark layer has become lighter or nothing is changed while the light layer remains unchanged this could be a stainless damascene. If the blade darkens slightly and you notice that the lines are sharp, check whether the contrast is reduced. This could be a case of low contrast pattern, it could be genuine blade steel. If you notice that the colors are closer, and the lines look a little bit blurry, then you may be dealing with a fake steel blade.