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View Full Version : VG10 Steel, Opinions



Gravy Power
03-19-2013, 01:50 AM
As I approach my first year of membership here, mostly lurking rather than posting (depending on my work schedule), I've gravitated much more to the carbon knife as many would expect. Before joining, I had (and still do I guess), a Shun 3.5 inch pairing knife, 7-inch Asain cooks knife, and 9.5-inch slicer.

There are a number of reasons I'm looking to ditch these knives at this point, and I'll probablty have my best luck at school. I'm the only owner of a carbon blade, or stainless-clad carbon blade (I have a Carter) that I've seen. The students see the Shun or Miyabi line as gospel. Sure, theyre sharp and prettty OOTB, but get a few scratches on that fake damascus and dull up the edge and you stuck with what they still consider a good knife, in spite of performance and accredited to the name.

So what is the deal with VG10? I think I've seen it alluded to on here and have my own experience. Does it come sharp OOTB, but is rediculously hard to sharpen, especially given a total amateur's expereince on a school's tri-stone? I know i have my own problems with Dave's core kit. Thoughts on VG10 or the knives that use them in general? Also, if anyone wants to buy some used Shuns I have some for sale, though I doubt this is the place to pawn them.

James
03-19-2013, 02:08 AM
I have a hattori hd and the stuff is pretty decent. Sharpens up pretty darn easily and edge keenness and retention are much better than expected given reviews of other vg10 knives. I think it's on par with my TKC wrt edge retention. Hattori/ryusen must do a good job HTing the stuff.

franzb69
03-19-2013, 02:11 AM
depends on the maker and how they heat treat.

only vg10 knives that i think that are good with vg10 is tojiro (only vg10 i've experienced that does okay with me), my mother has a shun santoku i gifted her, but she doesn't use it a lot coz she doesn't wanna "waste" the knife. but i've played around with it and shun does an okay job with them if you know how to use thinner knives in general. i also have a yoshihiro petty 135mm that's vg10 core that has gets plenty sharp but loses it quite quickly and retains a "blah" type sharpness for a long time. most japanese knives aren't designed for whacking away at ingredients as opposed to softer steel knives that are tougher and less sharp.

from what i've read, hattori does a great job with their vg10 lines and so does another company that i forgot who that heat treats hattori's FH line for them.

in my experience, it really isn't much the knife's fault as to more like the fault of the user not knowing how to use it properly. vg10 from what i've seen is a finicky knife steel if not done right.

=D

i'll let everyone else say what they think of vg10.

labor of love
03-19-2013, 02:20 AM
vg10 might get a bad wrap sometimes because companies like shun and myabi among others dont always have real good geometry OOTB. any knife thats thick behind the edge at first is going to take a little extra time to perform better and sharpen easier. i have many many friends that cook professionally that still love their shuns, and having sharpened them many times i would say vg10 isnt nearly as bad as people make it out to be. at worst, vg10 seems to take longer to develop a burr than most other steels ive used. i spend more time on my bester 500 with vg10 than i do other knives. i really like tojiros dp line with vg10 alot more than shuns or myabi. that being said, theres more than a few stainless knives out there that i think are much superior to vg10 in edge taking and edge holding, but for a $100 budget i think i think vg10 is okay. i never understood some of the fancier vg10 knives that are priced close to swedish steel or ginsanko.

Benuser
03-19-2013, 02:59 AM
I would note the unusual dulling curve with VG-10. It looses its crazy fresh from the stones sharpness very quickly, but will stay almost forever at some 80% level, which normal people will still call very sharp.

Sharpening VG-10 is an art in itself. Don't expect any burr to disappear with chasing only, it really has to get abraded, and the last little bit won't give up before the finest stone or strop.

Squilliam
03-19-2013, 04:32 AM
The other night I sharpened a Tojiro DP, finishing on a naniwa ss 10k, and a lot of stropping on 0.75CBN on leather. But the knife still retained a micro-burr, which I would estimate to be in the region of 0.5-2 microns long. This burr extended along the entire edge. After an hour or so of flip-flopping it on the strop, trying to pull it off on various materials and cutting it off on the stones (even one pass would remove it, and create a new one at the same time), I gave up, and left it there. The result is a near instant loss of a perfect feeling edge. A larger burr would exacerbate this and make the loss of sharpness higher.

Even with these problems it is streets ahead of standard soft stainless at angles of 20 degrees per side (even just microbevels at this angle). Unfortunately the true nature of vg-10 is revealed at lower angles where the edge will just fall to pieces and become full of chips (and carbide pull-out?).

keithsaltydog
03-19-2013, 04:32 AM
I sharpen alot of abused Shuns,they are popular knives in the stores here,agree wt. Franz much of it is people get a little harder Japan gyuto & treat it badly because they do not know better.Usually when repair & sharpen teach a little knife care when return them.

I find the VG-10 sharpens up easy,use a strop to finish give the edge some polish.Not so much the chef knife,but some of the Shuns have not so good profiles & geometry + you pay for the bling,while you can get good Japan Gyuto's for less without the surface decoration that are much better blades.

franzb69
03-19-2013, 05:40 AM
if you want an easy to sharpen knife that's stainless, choose another kind of knife steel. maybe 19c27 or aeb-l......

Chefdog
03-19-2013, 08:04 AM
I think it's VERY dependant on the particular knife. My experience with my Hattori FH is that the VG-10 performs like any other high quality stainless. Easy to grind, takes a fairly keen edge, feels very clean on the stones, and takes a little extra effort to deburr compared to carbon steels. This version of VG-10 is very different than the few Shun knives I've sharpened.

franzb69
03-19-2013, 08:25 AM
I think it's VERY dependant on the particular knife. My experience with my Hattori FH is that the VG-10 performs like any other high quality stainless. Easy to grind, takes a fairly keen edge, feels very clean on the stones, and takes a little extra effort to deburr compared to carbon steels. This version of VG-10 is very different than the few Shun knives I've sharpened.

i agree but i was talking about vg-10 knives in general, they aren't as good as the FH line. =D

Lefty
03-19-2013, 09:12 AM
I just sharpened 3 Tojiro DPs, for a customer, a couple weeks ago, and while they were stubborn at the outset, they turned out great. I had to do a crap load of reprofiling on the parer (parers are harder to sharpen, in general, I find), and that wasn't fun. However, the keenness and tooth combo they ended up with was fantastic. VG10 is just tougher to deburr, but if you flip it back and forth more times tha you might think you need to, deburr and then refine from there, you're laughing.

I currently have two Hattori FH gyutos I'm studying and along with the Tojiros, I've decided that VG10, when done properly is much MUCH better than most people think. As they say on the shaving forums, YMMV.

keithsaltydog
03-19-2013, 11:17 AM
I think it's VERY dependant on the particular knife. My experience with my Hattori FH is that the VG-10 performs like any other high quality stainless. Easy to grind, takes a fairly keen edge, feels very clean on the stones, and takes a little extra effort to deburr compared to carbon steels. This version of VG-10 is very different than the few Shun knives I've sharpened.

Yeh maybe the HT in the Hattori FH is better than the mass produced Shuns,tho just a guess really don't know.I like sharpening carbon the best,others knives most all stainless much of it low quality.The VG-10 is a major step up compared to alot of the cheap stainless most people buy.

Pensacola Tiger
03-19-2013, 01:17 PM
I think it's time to put the "VG-10 is chippy, hard to sharpen and won't hold an edge" meme into the "myths" thread.

Just my two cents.

JBroida
03-19-2013, 01:28 PM
i dont know about that... i still sharpen a lot of vg10, and i would say the vast majority of it is so-so at best. Its not that its a bad steel, its just that there are so many better options now days.

Pensacola Tiger
03-19-2013, 02:05 PM
i dont know about that... i still sharpen a lot of vg10, and i would say the vast majority of it is so-so at best. Its not that its a bad steel, its just that there are so many better options now days.

I can't argue about there being better options, and my experience is limited to Shuns, Hattoris (both FH and HD), Yoshikane and Mcusta. Maybe I've just been lucky enough to not run into a "so-so" knife.

JBroida
03-19-2013, 02:11 PM
i sharpen a lot of shuns, hattori, mcusta, etc... they are all the same to me. The hattori FH series is nice for vg10, but i dislike the HD series. There are also a few other brands that dont publicly share that their knives are vg10, and some of them do a good job. But shun, hattori hd, mcusta, henckles myabi, etc, are all so-so at best IMO. That being said, i'm not giving up on vg-10... i just dont like those ones. I've got a new vg-10 knife coming to me soon to test out... i'm hoping they do a good job with it.

cclin
03-19-2013, 02:29 PM
[QUOTE=JBroida;191281]i ..................There are also a few other brands that dont publicly share that their knives are vg10......, [QUOTE]

I'm agree your statement about VG-10! however, :knife:I'm more interesting which brands are you talking about???:scratchhead:

stevenStefano
03-19-2013, 03:18 PM
I think it's time to put the "VG-10 is chippy, hard to sharpen and won't hold an edge" meme into the "myths" thread.

Just my two cents.

I agree completely. It ain't amazing, but I don't find it hard to sharpen at all and my VG10 knives aren't chippy. As others have said already, the Hattori FH is probably the best line of VG10 knives there are. I thinned a Tojiro DP for a co-worker and it has kept a decent edge for a surprisingly long time

labor of love
03-19-2013, 03:49 PM
im just glad my first gyuto wasnt a vg10 knife. its probably the last knife you want to use to learn to sharpen with.

mpukas
03-19-2013, 04:21 PM
I had a Hattori FH gyuto as one of my first J-knives, and I didn't have any problem sharpening it as I was learning. I did find it didn't get quite as sharp as I could get AS or SG2, and found it pretty tough and didn't chip.

I've only sharpened one Shun (my mom's) and I was sucky. The steel and the knife. It would get sharp, but I had to work at it. No idea how it's held up since.

Chefdog
03-19-2013, 04:28 PM
its just that there are so many better options now days.

I'm interested to hear your preferences for stainless steels, Jon.

JBroida
03-19-2013, 04:41 PM
the list can be very long, but assuming a proper HT, here are some steels i would take over vg-10:
ginsanko
aeb-l/13c26
aeb-h/19c27
srs-15
sdk11
sdk12
cpm-154
ats-34
alot of the CPM Steels
Elmax
aus10

just to name some of the more well known ones

labor of love
03-19-2013, 05:52 PM
I had a Hattori FH gyuto as one of my first J-knives, and I didn't have any problem sharpening it as I was learning. I did find it didn't get quite as sharp as I could get AS or SG2.
well my konosuke in white steel gave me alot of confidence as a sharpening noob. it was my first j knife where i could tell my strokes were sharpening the edge. some other stainless ones frustrated me early on.

Chefdog
03-19-2013, 05:57 PM
the list can be very long, but assuming a proper HT, here are some steels i would take over vg-10:
ginsanko
aeb-l/13c26
aeb-h/19c27
srs-15
sdk11
sdk12
cpm-154
ats-34
alot of the CPM Steels
Elmax
aus10

just to name some of the more well known ones
Woah.
That's quite a longer list than I was expecting...
If you had to pick just a couple for your personal use? (Nothing too specialized, just general use)

Customfan
03-19-2013, 06:00 PM
Well... as stainless goes... sure, I prefer CPM, AEB-L, etc.

But I have no big problem with VG-10, its served me well in knives like Glestain and Masanobu. I guess, some would say it depends on brand and personal preference.

JBroida
03-19-2013, 06:02 PM
it just depends on the HT...

Customfan
03-19-2013, 06:06 PM
I agree Jon! :biggrin:

JBroida
03-19-2013, 06:16 PM
glestain is not vg10

Chefdog
03-19-2013, 06:23 PM
it just depends on the HT...

I knew that was coming as soon as I posted...
But I understand.

mpukas
03-19-2013, 06:34 PM
well my konosuke in white steel gave me alot of confidence as a sharpening noob. it was my first j knife where i could tell my strokes were sharpening the edge. some other stainless ones frustrated me early on.

When I got my first Yusuke knives in white #2, I really learned what sharp is - or at least the potential. Still learning...

Gravy Power
03-19-2013, 07:06 PM
I've put in a lot of time practicing on my Shun VG10's, and I've managed to improve the edges, but with a lot more work and not as good results than my Carter (which is white steel, can't remember which one). I haven't had any chipping problems though, however I had significant chipping issues whith my Bob Kramer Shun, which was SG2 I believe. Granted, I really wasn't the best at caring for it. This is prior to me entering the industry and knowing nothing about knives. I had steeled it several times, probably incorrectly, as well as sent it through some chicken bones. The chipping was significant though. Thankfully, SLT just took it back.

What are the thoughts on SG2? Is chipping common for that steel or was the Kramer just ground really thin, along with a combination of my poor habits?

Customfan
03-19-2013, 07:49 PM
I stand corrected... Koki has on his site that its... ACUTO 440 (HRC 59)

Any other name for this or is it one of those mystery steels?

jer
03-19-2013, 08:16 PM
I beleive that Acuto is a steel from Aichi Steel Corporation and the 440 variety has a known composition. Recently CRKT started using Acuto steel (Acuto 440 and Acuto +) in some of its offerings - may be limited to the Ken Onion designed models.

The Anti-Chrysler
03-19-2013, 10:49 PM
Well, I ain't no expert by any means, but I like VG-10 knives. In fact, I just got another one today.

Chef Doom
03-19-2013, 11:53 PM
Echizen makes a decent VG10 blade. But they are mass produced, I have not used any other VG10 blades to compare it to, and I have not used their pure VG10 line.

Doug8066
03-20-2013, 12:32 AM
Well, I have several knives with VG10 core - a Hiro Shiki 'limited edition' and 2 Ryusen Damascus knives.
Easy to sharpen - yes. Edge retention, very satisfactory for me. I refresh the edge (very gently) with a ceramic rod after each use.
Overall, not quite as easy or sharp as AS carbon steel, but still very satisfactory.
My 2 cents worth

ThEoRy
03-20-2013, 02:12 AM
I don't have problems sharpening VG 10. I wouldn't blanket statement the whole thing and say "VG 10 is chippy". Any hardened steel can be brittle or chippy. I just feel like for the amount of work I put into the edge I should be able to get more pro use out of it. My wife's Miyabi Gyuto is vg10 and that puppy stays pretty sharp around the home. But in a pro scene, edge retention surely seems lacking. There's no denying that.

panda
03-20-2013, 02:27 AM
re: miyabi gyuto, takes a while to sharpen, and edge does not last. in other words, NOT a fan of vg10.

Slypig5000
03-20-2013, 04:21 PM
I have/had (on permanent loan to a family member now) miyabi gyuto and agree with the sentiment that the edge stays really sharp for a short period of time and about 80% for a very long time. The Shun that I have had seemed harder to sharpen. For a move from german knives the steel is superior in my opinion, but when you start getting into comparing with other Japanese stainless i'm at a loss for experience. All in all though I did like this knife quite a bit, and was very impressed with it, although the blade was torqued every so slightly towards the tip. Since I kind of went off the deep end with ODC I really don't want to go back to stainless, the carbon is so much easier to sharpen.

Matus
03-20-2013, 04:35 PM
My only experience with VG10 is with 6" SHUN knife which does not have the reputation as the best VG10 out there. But it is rather easy to sharpen (well, with diamond plates) and the edge holds in the state of 'good enough' for rather long. It is however rather brittle - micro chipping may occur if one is not careful.

Benuser
03-20-2013, 10:22 PM
I've found the JCK Kagayaki VG-10 well made, once - as so often - you get rid of the factory edge.

franzb69
03-20-2013, 11:49 PM
and the kagayaki is afaik all vg10 steel and not cladded in softer stainless.which explains a bit about the higher cost of the knife. =D

JKerr
03-21-2013, 03:03 AM
In the right hands, I think VG-10 is a great stainless. Takeshi Saji and whoever does the HT on the Hattori FH line have got it down, personally I'd take either of those offerings over the CPM steels I've used. Granted, I may just not be good enough at sharpening to get the most out of these tougher stainless steels.

franzb69
03-21-2013, 03:23 AM
wow, was it Saji San that does it? awesome stuff, so he does ryusen by blazen as well?

JKerr
03-21-2013, 04:02 AM
Sorry, just meant Saji's HT of his own blades is top notch. I'm not sure who HTs the Forum series.

I don't know much about Ryusen/Echizan as a company. I believe they out source to other companies, kinda like Kaneshige (parent company of Konosuke) and that Takamura make some of the Blazen series knives so who knows, guess it's possible. I think Takeshi Saji is somewhat involved with the Echizan group. But this is just my opinion formed on hearsay from various forums.

vai777
03-27-2013, 02:57 PM
VG-10 is a very good steel, it's not as good as SG-2 or SRS-15 but it get really sharp, just doesn't hold the edge that the other two do.

orange
03-27-2013, 09:55 PM
My Falkniven F1 and S1 are my favorite outdoor knives.
A Tanaka petty in VG10 that I recently bought from b/s/t is a super little cutter and another petty that I paid more than twice of its price is nowhere close to the Tanaka's performance.

I do not see any reason to be very picky about steel.
What I would pay close attention to is blade's profile, grind, and thickness relation.

ChiliPepper
03-29-2013, 01:41 AM
I have a hattori hd and the stuff is pretty decent. Sharpens up pretty darn easily and edge keenness and retention are much better than expected given reviews of other vg10 knives. I think it's on par with my TKC wrt edge retention. Hattori/ryusen must do a good job HTing the stuff.

+1. Exactly my same situation and impressions. The knife works and sharpens beautifully.

Miles
03-29-2013, 03:43 AM
I have a couple knives which are VG10. I've had no major issues with them. THey take a good edge and hold it for a reasonable length of time. Are there other steels I'd gravitate towards? Yes. But are the VG10 blades problematic? Hell no. They get the job done. No issues there.

franzb69
03-29-2013, 05:55 AM
I think it's more of knowing what to do with the knife, getting to know the knife itself, and knowing how to sharpen comes first.....