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View Full Version : What is it about carbon steel???



Miles
03-24-2013, 04:12 PM
What is it about a carbon blade that's so appealing? I like to keep at least one "stainless" gyutou in my kit, at the moment an HD, but I realized everything else is largely carbon. I like high performing stainless knives, but there's something about a carbon blade that's just somehow, more alive, I guess. The everchanging patina, the glint of a fresh edge against the contrasting patina, the way they take a wicked sharp edge. When I first tried a carbon blade, I definitely felt more of a connection to it than other blades. Maybe it's the old school quality of a carbon blade or just the slight cockiness you feel from wielding something which to many seems "antique" but can easily outperform a lot of the "new" knives? The way the blade demands more attention to maintain it? I don't know exactly, it's probably all those things and a lot more, but I sure do like me some carbon steel. :thumbsup:

Mike9
03-24-2013, 04:28 PM
:plus1:

The Anti-Chrysler
03-24-2013, 04:47 PM
I have only just recently developed a liking for carbon myself, but there is definitely something about it.
For one thing, you can (at least I do) pick up some nice steel for next to nothing at yard sales and such. Plus it's fun to bring something old back to life. Ease sharpening is a big plus, too.

Dave Martell
03-24-2013, 07:50 PM
Mike you summed it up pretty well there. :doublethumbsup:

RoanRoks29
03-24-2013, 08:05 PM
:plus1:
Those are all the things that I love about them tooo!! There`s nothing better than having that sexy fresh edge line an the rustic old patina on your knife!! There is also that moment when you get some one barrows your knife after using a stainless slightly dull knife most there life and you just see that surprise in there eyes when they are like "HOLY **** THIS KNIFE IS SHARP!" hahaha Love it!

rdpx
03-24-2013, 08:10 PM
I don't have a carbon (yet?) but today after chopping up a whole load of horseradish with my CarboNext (which I had read only takes a very slight boring grey patina) I was thrilled to see it had taken a gorgeous blue and purple smoke effect all along the blade. It made me think about getting a full carbon...

Marko Tsourkan
03-24-2013, 08:17 PM
I like things that require care and attention. Some years ago, I used to own automatic watches that needed to be manually winded. It was a routine - you wind your watch every 24 hours and it gives you a best time possible (they weren't super accurate). I think same is with carbon steel. You know you have to make an effort to keep them dry, oiled, clean. I think when you you program yourself to make a conscious effort, even if it becomes a routine, you develop attachment and respect for your things. If you leave your dirty knife on a board overnight (you can do that with a stainless knife), that's says something how much you respect that knife as a tool.

On a more practical side, carbon is always more fun to sharpen than stainless.

mhenry
03-24-2013, 08:24 PM
Mike, Didn't we just talk about this a couple months ago, and you ended up with my HD. You did sum it up perfectly. I couldn't agree more

Chefdog
03-24-2013, 08:46 PM
I guess I'm more of a pragmatist than many, but to me the bottom line is how easily carbon steel sharpens. It's just so quick and clean on the stones, whether thinning, adjusting bevels, or just touching up. But I still have and use stainless every day, they just don't make me smile when I sharpen them.

Mike9
03-24-2013, 09:28 PM
I love carbon for most everything, but prefer stainless when I have to supreme citrus, or prep other super reactive ingredients.

tomsch
03-24-2013, 09:52 PM
I too like how easy it is to maintain a very sharp edge. May not last as long as some steels but the way it feels on the stone is great.

chinacats
03-24-2013, 11:03 PM
It just makes me smile. :knife:

Miles
03-24-2013, 11:13 PM
Mike and I covered this a couple months ago, true, and I did end up with his HD, which is the only "stainless" knife I keep in my kit. I think what it comes down to is that there's something inherently soulful about it and the fact that it's everchanging and a bit demanding is what gives it that quality. I just plain like it.

keithsaltydog
03-25-2013, 01:32 AM
Thanks Miles

jaybett
03-25-2013, 06:14 AM
Mike and I covered this a couple months ago, true, and I did end up with his HD, which is the only "stainless" knife I keep in my kit. I think what it comes down to is that there's something inherently soulful about it and the fact that it's everchanging and a bit demanding is what gives it that quality. I just plain like it.

Wait a minute. Haven't you waxed poetically about your Suisin Inbox Honyaki?

Jay

franzb69
03-25-2013, 07:51 AM
i only have 5 knives that's stainless and everything else is carbon. swedish carbon, 1095, 2 in blue steel, virgin carbon(masamoto), high carbon(suisin).... forgot the rest of what i got. lol.

mhenry
03-25-2013, 11:25 AM
That HD is the most carbon like stainless knife I have ever used, it even develops a patina. Great knife!



Mike and I covered this a couple months ago, true, and I did end up with his HD, which is the only "stainless" knife I keep in my kit. I think what it comes down to is that there's something inherently soulful about it and the fact that it's everchanging and a bit demanding is what gives it that quality. I just plain like it.

Miles
03-25-2013, 10:38 PM
I'm not sure, but I'd wager that if I spent the time to inventory my extended batterie, the carbon blades would seriously outnumber the stainless.
I don't dislike stainless. There are stainless knives which I really like, but some of those probably have more to do with what I put into them to make them into "my" knives so I have a natural affinity for them. I think that's a philosophy which is inherently Japanese. The fact that Japanese makers tend to deliver blades which have either no edge or a basic edge at best, demands more from the user. It seems as if that approach forces a person to become much more connected and attuned to the knife and in turn, the knife becomes more attuned to the user. I guess I just find that connection much easier with carbon blades.

andrewbernst
04-04-2013, 03:53 PM
This is getting me pretty misty-eyed. Forget about me trying to figure out if I like patina, what colors to make it, forcing etc... How can I not get a real carbon suji now? I have two Tojiro Shirogamis but with the kurouchi and cladding I don't get to see the beauty happen.

Would everyone here recommend carbon steel for a suji? I've been looking at the Sakai Yusuke, Ginga (too pricey), and some yo-s (Misono Swedish, Fuji, Suisin HC, etc.) But I really want to stick with the was. Too bad there are almost no wa sujis in the sub $200 range! I hate to say it, but the pictures on the Gesshin Urakus do not make me want to buy that.

K-Fed
04-04-2013, 04:29 PM
I really like carbon over all but especially for a suji. My sujis don't see a lot of board contact so they hold that razor carbon edge for a nice long time. Plus hot protein patina is just cool :-)

Vangelis
04-04-2013, 07:22 PM
+ 1 to carbon blades.

I will not comment on how easy are to sharpen and how acute edge can get as I am not pro on sharpening and definitely there are some very good stainless steels. What I really love with carbon knives is the character they are having when reacting with food, every blade has a different patina :p really enjoyable.

The only non carbon knives I currently use are my two petties and the parers (well I don't use them at all, only my gf does). I found handy not to worry about them getting rusted while I am cooking, plus I use them as fruits knives.

Miles
04-06-2013, 06:38 PM
Wait a minute. Haven't you waxed poetically about your Suisin Inbox Honyaki?

Jay

I have. That's hands down my fave stainless knife. It has it's own unique quality. It doesn't quite have the soulfulness of carbon, but it is a knife with which I have a strong connection. Were I to shed all my stainless knives, the HD and the Suisin IH would be the two I'd keep.

Mitbud
04-07-2013, 12:13 PM
For me it's the conversation I have with a knife. Carbon teaches me more with a much clearer voice.

bieniek
04-07-2013, 01:52 PM
really want to stick with the was. Too bad there are almost no wa sujis in the sub $200 range! I hate to say it, but the pictures on the Gesshin Urakus do not make me want to buy that.

The Yoshihiros are very good knives.

So are the ones on ebay. Whats wrong with the looks?

schanop
04-07-2013, 05:29 PM
Would everyone here recommend carbon steel for a suji? I've been looking at the Sakai Yusuke, Ginga (too pricey), and some yo-s (Misono Swedish, Fuji, Suisin HC, etc.) But I really want to stick with the was. Too bad there are almost no wa sujis in the sub $200 range! I hate to say it, but the pictures on the Gesshin Urakus do not make me want to buy that.

Sakai Yusuke wa-suji 270-300mm was sub 200USD once, a long time ago though.

If you have been looking at ginga: have a look at Ashi Hamono Ginga wa suji carbon here (http://www.jshoppers.com/shohin.asp?shocd=W00008R1&PageNo=1&bunrui1=9&bunrui2=10&bunrui3=10); 270mm is still sub-200. There is a typo on the page, but this page is white #2 version, stainless version is a little bit more expensive, note W0008R1 vs W0007R1 and description differences (http://www.jshoppers.com/shohin.asp?shocd=W00007R1&PageNo=1&bunrui1=9&bunrui2=10&bunrui3=10).