San Mai Stainless Damascus to be made in BC

San Mai Stainless Damascus

This is an update to the article “Anatomy of a Knife” that appears in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of EAT Magazine.

Cosmo Knives is now making San Mai Stainless Damascus knives and Seth Cosmo Burton maybe the only person in the world custom making it at present.

What is San Mai?

A simple way to think of San Mai blade construction is to imagine a sandwich: the center is hard, high carbon steel and the pieces of bread on either side are the lower-carbon, tough side panels. The edge of the blade should be hard to maximize edge-holding ability, but if the entire blade was hard it could be damaged during the rigors of battle. For ultimate toughness the body of the blade must be able to withstand impact and lateral stresses.

Toughness is generally associated with “softness” and “flexibility” in steel, so that, surprisingly, if a blade is made “tough” the edge won’t be hard enough to offer superior edge holding. San Mai blades provides a blade with hard (higher carbon) steel in the middle for a keen, long lasting edge and tougher (lower-carbon) steel along the sides for flexibility. There are other makers making San Mai in carbon steels but Seth Burton is the only one using high performance stainless steel. He has upgraded his steel making equipment with a new 6000LB Rolling Mill, so he is ready to start producing the best available material for knives. Seth will be also rolling mocume-gain (wood grained metal in Japanese) for the fittings (guard, bolster pummel, etc).  His first San Mai knife was made for a new made-in-Canada pilot show called Cityslickers (hosted by Rob Stewart) on the Food Network.

For more information on Cosmos Knives visit

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