The types of surface blade finishing

17 min


 Surface blade finish The surface finishing types of the blade are one of the aesthetic and functional aspects of the knife blade and exposed surfaces.

When buying a new knife, the type of knife blade finish can offer several advantages, especially in the field.

Introduction to Surface Finishes of Knives Blades

The surface finishes of knife blades represent a crucial element in the art of knife art, with a significant impact on both the aesthetics and performance of these sharp tools.

The choice of a specific finish can affect not only the appearance, but also the durability, corrosion resistance and versatility of a knife.

In this context, we explore ten of the main types of blade finishing, each with its own unique characteristics and the advantages it offers.

From the hand satin finish to the enchanting damask finish, each type of finish tells a story, giving each knife a distinctive character and a specific functionality.

We will discover how these finishes reflect craftsmanship and dedication to perfection, as well as how they can meet the practical and personal needs of anyone who uses a knife, whether they are a professional cook, an avid collector or an outdoor lover.

The finishes of knife blades are much more than an aesthetic issue; They are an art, a science and a tradition that has spanned the centuries, continuing to evolve with the innovation and creativity of master cutlers from all over the world.

There are several but the top 10 are:

  • Hand Satin Finish
  • Brushed Finish
  • Mirror Polished Finish
  • Blasted Finish
  • Coated Finish
  • Stonewashed Finish
  • Hammered Finish
  • Knapped Finish
  • Hamon (Hamon Finish)
  • Damascus (Damascus Finish)

The types of surface finish of the blade are really important for the functionality and aesthetics of the knives.

Here is a brief description of the 10 main types of blade finish:

1. Hand Satin Finish: This finish is obtained by manual satin finishing of the blade, creating a matte surface with slight streaks. It is stain resistant and gives the knife a stylish look.

2. Brushed Finish: The blade is brushed with metal brushes to create a linear and matte finish. It is also resistant to stains and scratches.

3. Mirror Polished Finish: The blade is sanded and polished to a highly reflective and smooth surface, similar to a mirror. It is aesthetically appealing but can easily show scratches and stains.

4. Blasted Finish: The blade is treated with a jet of sand or abrasive materials to obtain a rough and opaque surface. This finish is scratch resistant but can rust more easily.

5. Coated Finish: The blade is covered with a protective layer, usually stainless or black, which increases corrosion resistance. This finish can be matte or glossy.

6. Stonewashed Finish: The blade is treated with stones or abrasive balls to obtain a textured and matte finish. It hides scratches and imperfections well.

7. Hammered Finish: The blade is hammered to create an uneven and artistic surface. This finish is mainly aesthetic but can also contribute to non-stick.

8. Knapped (Knapped Finish): This finish simulates the appearance of a stone blade worked through the use of chipping techniques. It is a unique and decorative finish.

9. Hamon Finish: This finish is traditional in Japanese swords (katana) and creates a distinctive tempera line along the blade. It is often used for aesthetic purposes.

10. Damascus (Damascus Finish): Damask blades are made with layers of steel bent and forged together to create a distinctive pattern. It is a finish highly appreciated both for its aesthetics and for its resistance.

The choice of finish depends on personal preferences, intended use and the maintenance you are willing to do.

Each finish has its own unique characteristics and can affect the appearance and performance of the knife.

Here’s a quick guide to understanding what each blade finish offers and how it can add strength, durability or improve the appearance of a knife.

The types of surface finishing

Hand Satin Finish :

A hand-sat surface finish involves sanding the blade in one direction with increasing degrees of fine abrasive (usually sandpaper).

You can make it grain 400 – 600 – 800 – 1000.

A satin finish shows the bevel of the blade, showing the lines of the knife while reducing the reflective reverberation.

Hand satining is generally performed on high-end, high-end knives.

The finer the abrasive, the more even the line.

Satin finishes can also be used on the handle or fittings to improve the appearance of the knife.

A beautiful satin hand takes time and increases the cost of the knife.

Hand satin finish is a surface finish of knife blades that requires a considerable degree of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

This finish is done through a manual sanding process of the blade in a specific direction, using abrasives of increasing grain, usually sandpaper with 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grain.

Here are some of the key features of hand satin finishing:

  1. Gradual sanding: During the process, the craftsman works the blade with finer and finer abrasives, creating a progressively smoother satin surface. This grain gradation contributes to a uniform and high-quality finish.
  2. Blade chamfers highlighted: Hand satin finish highlights the blade chamfers, i.e. transitions from the cutting edge to the back of the blade. These chamfers add aesthetic details and improve the overall appearance of the knife.
  3. Reflective glare reduction: One of the main reasons why hand satin finishing is so popular is its ability to reduce reflective glare on the blade. This makes the knife more aesthetically pleasing and reduces glare during use.
  4. Use on high-end knives: Hand satin finishing is often reserved for high-end or high-end knives, where attention to detail and quality of finish are priorities.
  5. Application to handle parts or fittings: The satin finish can also be extended to the handle or knife fittings to improve its overall appearance. This aesthetic uniformity can help create a knife of high quality and great beauty.
  6. Time and cost: Making a satin finish by hand requires time and expertise. This increases the overall cost of the knife, but the result is a unique piece of high quality.

In summary, hand satin finishing is a highly appreciated artisanal finish that requires considerable skill and commitment in the art of metalworking.

Its satin appearance, the reduction of glare and the highlighting of chamfers contribute to making this finish an ideal choice for high-end knives and collectors looking for a piece of great beauty and craftsmanship.

 Surface blade finish

Brushed Finish:

A brushed finish with an abrasive mola that creates a satin finish pattern.

Overall, it offers an attractive work finish without the cost of a hand-sated finish.

You can have a blade with a brushed finish and worked with appliques in hand-satin finish.

The brushed finish, achieved through the use of an abrasive wheel that creates a satin pattern on the surface of the blade, is an attractive choice for many people.

This finish offers a satin and machined look without requiring the intensive manual work that a hand satin finish would require.

It is an ideal solution for those who want a knife with a refined appearance but without the extra cost associated with a hand-brushed finish.

An interesting advantage of the brushed finish is that it can be combined with other finishes or applications to create a unique knife.

For example, you can have a blade with a brushed finish and add details or appliques in a hand-brushed finish for a personalized and distinctive touch.

This customization possibility allows you to create knives that not only meet functional needs, but also reflect the owner’s personal taste.

In summary, the brushed finish represents an effective compromise between aesthetics and practicality, offering an attractive satin appearance and worked without the cost and time required for a hand satin finish.

Its versatility in combination with other finishes makes it a popular choice among knife enthusiasts who wish to customize their tools in a unique way.

 Surface blade finish


Mirror Polished Finish:

The mirror polished finish is one of the most fascinating and refined finishes for knife blades.

This finish is achieved through a manual polishing process that brings the metal of the blade to a highly reflective and polished, mirror-like surface.

However, this finish has both advantageous characteristics and important limitations.

One of the main advantages of the mirror finish is its exceptionally pleasant aesthetic appearance.

The reflective and glossy surface gives the knife an aura of luxury and precision craftsmanship.

In addition, the smoothness of the blade contributes to better corrosion resistance, since it offers less surface area for the accumulation of corrosive agents such as moisture.

However, there are important considerations to keep in mind when opting for a mirror finish. First of all, this type of finish requires considerable effort and expertise in polishing, making the process laborious and time-consuming.

The labor and skills required often result in a significantly higher cost for the knife.

In addition, the mirror finish is delicate and tends to scratch easily when the blade is used for practical purposes.

This makes it more suitable for collectible knives or display models, rather than for tactical uses or for everyday cutting.

In summary, mirror polished finish is an extremely fascinating choice for knife blades, but it must be carefully considered according to the intended use and personal needs.

This finish offers a luxurious appearance and better corrosion resistance but requires constant maintenance to preserve its beauty, and is more suitable for collectible knives or for display rather than intensive use in the field.

A mirror polished finish of the blade is done by hand, polishing the metal until it gets a highly reflective surface.

Although it looks nice and offers better corrosion resistance due to the smoothness of the blade, this type of finish requires a lot of polish to maintain its bright and reflective appearance and its reflective quality may not be ideal in the tactical field.

The amount of hours and skill (not a simple operation) required to achieve this finish often results in a very expensive blade and custom knives for collectors or exhibition models.

A mirror finish is quickly scratched when the blade is used and that is why it is often an aesthetic finish for high-end knives for collectors.

 Surface blade finish

Blasted Finish:

Blasting is achieved using abrasive glass or ceramic beads and the finish is performed by blasting the high-pressure materials against the metal, resulting in a uniform and grey finish.

A compressor and a blasting gun are used with grains of different sizes and materials.

A sandblasted finish reduces reflection and glare thanks to its matte uniform surface.

The creation of a sandblasted finish is a basic level or a user-level finish on a knife blade.

The blasting creates a larger surface area and the micro-abrasions make the steel more prone to rust and corrosion.

A sanded blade, even in stainless steel, can rust at night if left in a very humid environment.

Blasted Finish is a surface finish used in knife blades and many other metal objects.

This finish is achieved through the use of abrasive beads of glass or ceramic that are fired at high pressure against the metal, creating a uniform and matte surface.

Here are some of the main features of the sandblasted finish:

  1. Sandblasting process: Sandblasting is performed using a compressor and a sandblasting gun. Abrasive beads are forcefully fired against the surface of the metal, removing small amounts of material and creating a uniform finish.
  2. Reduction of glare and glare: The sandblasted finish is appreciated for its ability to reduce reflection and glare thanks to its matte surface. This feature makes it ideal for situations where light reflection could be annoying.
  3. Basic or user level: Sandblasting is often considered a basic level or user-friendly finish for knife blades. It is a practical choice for those looking for a finish that offers a good fit and a not too elaborate appearance.
  4. Increased susceptibility to rust: It is important to note that the sandblasted finish creates a larger surface area on the blade, and micro-abrasions can make steel more prone to rust and corrosion. Even stainless steel blades can rust if left in very humid environments for an extended period.

In summary, sandblasting is a surface finish that gives a uniform, matte appearance to knife blades.

It is a practical choice for users looking for a good fit and a finish that reduces light reflection.

However, it is important to keep in mind the increased susceptibility to rust associated with this finish and take appropriate maintenance measures to prevent corrosion, especially in humid environments.

 Surface blade finish

Coated Finish:

The burn is usually black, flat dark earth or gray, a coated finish of the blade that reduces reflection and glare reducing wear and corrosion.

However, ALL coatings can be scratched after intense and continuous use, and the blade should be coated again.

Generally the harder the finish is, the more resistant to wear and more expensive to add to a knife.

High-quality finishes are electrically, chemically or thermally linked to the surface rather than simple paint-like drying paints or chemical burnwith liquids.

High-end coatings such as The Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) require the blade to go into a special coating system for physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) application in a vacuum environment.

Interestingly, before being coated, most blades receive a sandblasted finish to have the maximum adhesion surface.

Coatings can prolong the life of a blade (especially with carbon steel) by preventing corrosion or rust.

Quality coatings add a cost to a knife, but offer more corrosion resistance, less reflexes and require less maintenance.

It is often a finish used on tactical and military knives.

Burnishing, or Coated Finish, is a surface finish used in knife blades and many other metal applications.

This finish usually appears as a black, flat or gray dark earth coating and offers a number of practical and aesthetic advantages.

Here are some of the main features of burnishing:

  1. Reduction of glare and glare: One of the main qualities of burnishing is its ability to reduce glare and glare due to its matte appearance. This makes it ideal for situations where light reflection could be annoying or unwanted.
  2. Corrosion and wear protection: Burnishing acts as a protective coating on the blade, helping to prevent corrosion and wear of the underlying metal. This is especially advantageous for carbon steel blades, which are more susceptible to corrosion.
  3. Wear resistance: High-quality coatings are generally harder and wear-resistant, which means the knife will retain its finish longer, even with intensive use.
  4. Advanced Application Methods: High-end coatings such as DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) are applied using advanced processes such as physical vapor deposition (PVD) in a vacuum environment. These processes ensure better adhesion and resistance of the coating.
  5. Corrosion prevention: Coatings can protect the blade from rust and corrosion, helping to extend the life of the knife.
  6. Application on sandblasted blades: Before coating application, many blades undergo a sandblasted finish to maximize coating adhesion.
  7. Additional cost: Adding a high-quality coating can increase the overall cost of a knife, but it offers a number of advantages in terms of strength, durability and ease of maintenance.
  8. Tactical and military applications: Burnishing is often used on tactical and military knives, where corrosion resistance, low reflection and durability are fundamental requirements.

In summary, burnishing is a versatile and highly functional surface finish for knife blades.

It offers corrosion protection, reduced glare and glare, and wear resistance.

Although it may incur an extra fee, it’s a popular choice for tactical, military, and those looking for a finish that requires less maintenance over time.

 Surface blade finish

Stonewashed finish:

A stonewashed finish refers to rotating the blade inside a container filled with an abrasive material in the shape of cones or stones.

This finish easily hides scratches, while also providing a less reflective nature than a brushed or satin blade.

There is a wide variety of stonewashed finishes based on several factors:

  • the abrasive shape of the stones,
  • rotation movement and
  • on the type of blade finish before it enters the tumbler.

A “ston stonash” or “black stonewash” finish is a blade that has undergone an acid icmletor that darkens the blade before it undergoes stone wash.

Acid oxidation improves the rust resistance of a blade by placing a stable oxide barrier between steel and the environment.

A very positive advantage of the stonewashed blades/handle is that they are low maintenance and retain their original appearance for a long time.

The stonewashed finish hides the scratches that can occur with use over time.

The stonewashed finish is one of the most popular options for knife blades, valued for its ability to hide scratches and its less reflective appearance than other finishes.

This finish is achieved by rotating the blade inside a container filled with an abrasive material in the form of cones or stones.

Here are some of the key features of the stonewashed finish:

  1. Hide scratches: One of the main qualities of the stonewashed finish is its ability to hide scratches. Thanks to the rubbing effect of abrasive stones, the marks or small imperfections that may occur over time with daily use tend to mix with the stonewashed finish, making them less noticeable.
  2. Less reflective appearance: The stonewashed finish offers a less reflective appearance than finishes such as brushed or satin. This makes it a popular choice for those who prefer a knife with a more restrained and less noticeable appearance.
  3. Variety of stonewashed finishes: There are many variations in stonewashed finish based on several factors, such as the shape of the abrasive stones, the rotational movement and the type of blade finish before entering the tumbling process. For example, the “black stonewash” is a variant in which the blade is subjected to acid treatment to darken it before the stonewashing process. This oxidation improves the rust resistance of the blade, creating a stable oxide barrier between the steel and the environment.
  4. Low maintenance: Blades or handles with stonewashed finish require low maintenance and retain their original appearance for a long time. This makes them practical for daily use without the need for constant care and maintenance.

In summary, the stonewashed finish is a very popular choice for knife blades due to its ability to hide scratches, its less reflective appearance and its ease of maintenance.

It is a versatile finish that adapts well to a wide range of applications, and is particularly suitable for those looking for a knife that can maintain its beauty over time, even with regular use.

The types of surface blade finishing

Hammered finish

The hammered finish, obtained through the use of a hammer with a round head of specific dimensions or a chisel with a tip of the desired shape, is a technique that creates an irregular and textured surface on the blade of the knife.

This technique can produce larger or smaller marks, depending on the type of hammer or chisel used and the desired visual effect.

One of the distinctive features of the hammered finish is the “rough” aesthetic appearance that gives the knife.

This textured surface can range from slightly wrinkled to deeply hammered, giving the knife a unique and rustic look.

A notable advantage of this finish is its ability to hide imperfections on the blade, such as small scratches or marks.

The hammered finish is often used for aesthetic purposes, as it gives the knife an artistic and artisanal look. However, this finish can also have functional benefits.

The textured surface can help improve non-stick, as it creates small air spaces between the food and the blade, reducing the risk of adhesion when cutting.

In summary, the hammered finish is a technique that gives the knife a rustic and textured look, hiding imperfections and adding an artistic touch.

This finish is appreciated both for its aesthetic and functional qualities and is a fascinating choice for those looking for a unique knife.

This finish is made with a hammer with round head of a certain size (depending on the desired effect) or a chisel with the tip of the punching shape that you want to get on the knife.

They can be larger or smaller and finer signs.

It provides a rude aesthetic appearance to the knife and tends to hide the imperfections of the knife.The types of surface blade finishing

Knapped Finish

The knapped finish, achieved by using a round file or special grinding wheels to create designs on the surface of the blade, gives the knife a unique and distinctive aesthetic appearance.

This finish is known for its ability to hide imperfections on the blade, helping to improve the overall appearance of the knife.

The knapping process involves the creation of designs or patterns on the surface of the blade, often inspired by chipped stone processing techniques.

These designs can vary in size and complexity, allowing a wide range of aesthetic possibilities.

The knapped finish is especially popular with those looking for a knife with a unique and handcrafted look.

In addition to the aesthetic appearance, the knapped finish can also have some functional qualities.

The designs and patterns created on the blade can contribute to anti-adhesion when cutting, as they create small air spaces between the food and the blade.

This can be especially useful for cutting foods that tend to stick to the blade, such as soft cheeses or sticky materials.

In summary, knapped finishing is a decorative technique that uses round filings or molette to create designs on the knife blade, helping to hide imperfections and providing a unique aesthetic appearance.

This finish offers a combination of aesthetics and functionality, making the knife not only visually attractive but also practical for some culinary applications.

This finish is made with the round file or with molettes that create designs on the plate of the blade giving it an aesthetic appearance that tends to hide the imperfections of the knife. Surface blade finish

Hamon (HamonFinish)

Hamon finish, or Hamon Finish, is a traditional Japanese technique used in the creation of katana swords and some Japanese kitchen knives.

This finish is achieved through a differential hardening process in which the blade is coated with a layer of clay or cement before being heated and tempered.

The result is a distinctive appearance on the blade, characterized by irregular lines or shadows that follow the pattern in which the coating was applied.

The pattern of the shadows or lines on the blade depends on how the coating was distributed over the surface before quenching.

These lines or shadows can vary greatly in shape and design, creating a unique and artistic look on each blade.

In addition to the aesthetic appearance, the Hamon finish also has a practical function.

The differential hardening, which creates the Hamon finish, gives the blade a different hardness between the cutting edge and the back of the blade.

This difference in hardness makes the cutting edge harder and stronger, while the back of the blade is softer and more flexible.

This combination of hardness helps to improve cutting performance and blade strength.

Hamon finish is a traditional Japanese art and adds a touch of beauty and functionality to the blades.

It is particularly appreciated by collectors of swords and knives for its unique aesthetic and its history rooted in Japanese culture.

It is a finish of the blade obtained by a process of hardening the knife coated with cement.

It makes the blade take on an appearance with a shadow that take the form of how the cement was distributed on the blade.

 Surface blade finish


This surface finish is bonded with damask steel.

Today the welded Damascus technique is used for the artisanal production of artistic knife.

Packages of different steels are prepared looking at both chromatic contrast and mechanical functionality, the packages are brought to the temperature of “boiling”, 1200-1300 degrees Celsius depending on the steels used, and beaten with hammer and anvil or malin or presses.

With hot typing you get an autogenac welding of the various layers of steel, the elongated package, folded, twisted, engraved and retorted with the most varied forging techniques allows you to obtain almost infinite aesthetic variations while maintaining the blade functionality.

The Damascus designs are varied and of the highest quality.

It is a finish that is used on custom knives for collectors and valuable knives.

The Damasco finish is one of the most refined and artistic finishes used in the creation of high-end and collectible knife blades.

This finish is closely related to the use of Damascus steel, which is known for its beauty and complexity.

The process of creating a Damascus blade begins with the preparation of packages of different types of steel, with attention to both the color contrast and the mechanical properties of the steels themselves.

These steel packages are then brought to very high temperatures, generally between 1200 and 1300 degrees Celsius, depending on the steels used.

Once the “boiling” temperature is reached, the packages are beaten with hammer and anvil, hammer or special presses.

During hot beating, autogenous welding occurs between the various layers of steel in the package, creating a multilayer structure.

The package is then stretched, folded, twisted and shaped using different forging techniques, giving rise to an infinite variety of designs and aesthetic patterns.

These Damascus designs are renowned for their beauty and complexity.

In addition to the aesthetic appearance, Damascus blades are highly functional and often boast a combination of hardness and strength that make them exceptional for cutting.

However, these blades are usually reserved for custom knives intended for collectors or valuable models, since the creation process is extremely laborious and requires great craftsmanship.

In summary, the Damascus finish is one of the most valuable and artistic finishes in the world of knives.

The process of creating these blades is highly specialized and requires a remarkable level of craftsmanship, resulting in knives of high quality and extraordinary beauty, often intended for collectors and lovers of the art of cutlery.

The types of surface blade finishing



The surface finishes of the knife blades are a fundamental aspect in the creation of these sharp tools, with a crucial role both from an aesthetic and functional point of view.

Each type of finish offers a unique range of benefits, helping to define the appearance, performance and durability of the knife.

From the hand satin finishing, which gives elegance and resistance to stains, to the spectacular damask finish, which celebrates the artisan tradition, these finishes convey the passion and dedication of master cutlers from all over the world.

The art of knife blade finishes is not limited to the surface, but is a form of expression that embraces history, culture and functionality.

Each knife with a particular finish brings with it a story, a tradition or an innovation.

The choice of a finish becomes a style statement and a practical consideration, since it affects the suitability of the knife for specific tasks.

Whether it’s a professional kitchen knife, a collector’s blade or a survival tool for outdoor adventures, blade finishes are an essential part of its identity.

In this diverse world of knife finishes, there is room for aesthetics and functionality, for innovation and tradition, and for the creativity of those who embrace the art of creating unique and fascinating knives.

So, whatever your personal preference, knife blade finishes remain a testament to human skill and love for this ancient and fascinating craft.

Overall, each surface finish has its advantages and disadvantages but is often just an aesthetic choice related to the taste of the maker.

Depending on the use of the knife and what it is used for, the finish should be chosen, which can still help maintain its appearance or durability.

The surface finish of the knife blade influences the overall cost of a knife and must reflect the purpose of the knife.

A blade finish is both an aesthetic choice and a practical choice in the evaluation of knives.

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Andrea F

Maker and Enthusiast of Knifemaking. Other: Engineer / Professional Blogger / Bass Player / Instructor of Boxing / Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling / CSW / MMA / Self Defence / FMA / Dirty Boxing / Silat / Jeet Kune Do & Kali / Fencing Knife / Stick Fighting / Weapons / Firearms. Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport! State Of Love And Trust!


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