The man behind Knife Steel Nerds just released his second book, The Story of Knife Steel – Innovators behind Modern Damascus and Super Steels.
This is a slight departure from Larrin Thomas’ highly technical debut book, Knife Engineering – Steel, Heat Treating, and Geometry (which has become something of a bible for knife makers since it came out in 2020). The Story of Knife Steel covers the history of steel and how it has intersected with knife making over the years. Ranging from the invention of tool steels to interviews with current knifemakers about their techniques with pattern welding steel, this is a comprehensive survey looking deep into the convergences of knife making and metallurgy.
Thomas recommends the book “to anyone who is overwhelmed trying to learn the history of custom knives and high-end production knives”. It dedicates a chapter each to topics like the development of stainless steels, the rise of factory knives, steels from various countries, the American Bladesmith Society, and the use of 440C in custom knives.
He also admits this book was an “excuse to dive into the world of Damascus”. That was a topic he touched on in his first book, but in a more practical way for knife makers looking to understand grain structure and heat treatments. The Story of Knife Steel discusses both the history of wootz and pattern welded steel, and brings that discussion into a broader look at their current relationship with bladesmiths.
It also includes an index of articles and books he used to piece this history together for anyone who wants to dig deeper into any part of this history.The Story of Knife Steel is currently available in hardback and paperback from Amazon. Or you can buy the PDF directly from the Knife Steel Nerds.