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TheDispossessed
06-12-2013, 08:30 AM
Some thoughts here about White #2 steel.
My experience has led me to feel this might be the best beginner's steel for kitchen knives. I think it's high reactivity and poor edge retention are actually good qualities under the right consideration.
Young cooks looking to develop knife skills and maintenance would do well to learn to always be mindful of the cleanliness of their blades, and you get get a whole lot better at sharpening if you have to do it every night. As well, and as many of you are aware, it's an easy steel to sharpen and takes a great edge, which is very rewarding. A little bit of fragility is a good thing too, as I find force is rarely if ever neccesary with a knife and using a blade you have to be mindful of will help develop finesse with your approach to cutting and such. oh yeah and there's no need for sharpies when taking these blades to the stone.
i think all young cooks should go buy a $200 white steel gyuto should they be able to afford it. it will teach you a lot of good things and be a lot of fun. it feels good having a moderately priced, unassuming knife that's way way sharpen than anyone else's! then there's always room to upgrade in the future..
just some random thoughts..
thanks!

NO ChoP!
06-12-2013, 08:39 AM
In my collection I have two stainless; an Ealy parer, and an ITK bread; a few semi, and a few dozen carbon, probably close to half being white 1 or 2.

I have zero issues with maintenance, besides having to be mindful of keeping them well oiled when out of rotation.

I find that with deliberate, push cutting, with light board contact, that my edges last far longer than a night.

The fact I bring them back to whistling sharp with a few passes on a green brick or a Rika is awesome...

Love white and blue. 52100 and 1095 aren't so bad either....

Dusty
06-12-2013, 10:53 AM
Sharpening a white #2 deba tonight I had the same thought. It's so rewarding to sharpen, especially as I'm only now getting really confident with single bevel sharpening. Jon's post the other day about beginners single bevel knives was along the same lines.

stevenStefano
06-12-2013, 04:43 PM
So having to sharpen a knife all the time makes it good? In a profession where you have very little free time I cannot agree with this. I got rid of all my White #2 knives because the edge retention is not good and I got tired of sharpening them every week or so when I had others that would last a month. I suspect a lot of young cooks would try something else or just use it blunt after a few weeks of regular sharpening a White#2 blade

jayhay
06-12-2013, 05:17 PM
So having to sharpen a knife all the time makes it good? In a profession where you have very little free time I cannot agree with this. I got rid of all my White #2 knives because the edge retention is not good and I got tired of sharpening them every week or so when I had others that would last a month. I suspect a lot of young cooks would try something else or just use it blunt after a few weeks of regular sharpening a White#2 blade

I totally agree. For me, edge retention is just about the most important factor in a pro environment. I can adjust to different profiles, but losing an edge quickly is something I can't deal with on a day to day basis. It's the reason I got rid of all my white steel too. Blue is far superior to white in the retention category IMHO. I love blue, but can't stand white. Ymmv depending on usage and the environment.

panda
06-12-2013, 05:41 PM
I don't think I will ever own a white steel blade for the crappy retention, that is about as annoying as you can get! Imagine if you had to recharge your cell phone 3 times a day just to send text msgs..

CoqaVin
06-12-2013, 07:12 PM
I don't think I will ever own a white steel blade for the crappy retention, that is about as annoying as you can get! Imagine if you had to recharge your cell phone 3 times a day just to send text msgs..

I have to charge my phone quite a bit these days b/c I have a heavy user and constantly using it...that's b/c I have a 4.7 in HD screen too gobbling it all up

Zwiefel
06-12-2013, 07:19 PM
I literally just had a White steel Usuba delivered today, made for the proper hand of course: left.

Any specific thoughts on sharpening for me? Sounds like I'm going to be doing some in the near future.

jayhay
06-12-2013, 07:48 PM
I literally just had a White steel Usuba delivered today, made for the proper hand of course: left.

Any specific thoughts on sharpening for me? Sounds like I'm going to be doing some in the near future.

Hey Zwi. Just checked out your profile. I'd probably do whatever your fav 1000 stone is, followed by the 5000 Mizuyama and strop lightly on the Kitayama 8000. White steel is stupid easy to get a good edge on. I like a toothier edge, so I don't go crazy high in the stones or with the strops. I generally stop with stones at around 4-5k and then strop with boron carbide on leather. White isn't bad steel by any means, it just needs a lil more tlc.

Zwiefel
06-12-2013, 07:59 PM
Hey Zwi. Just checked out your profile. I'd probably do whatever your fav 1000 stone is, followed by the 5000 Mizuyama and strop lightly on the Kitayama 8000. White steel is stupid easy to get a good edge on. I like a toothier edge, so I don't go crazy high in the stones or with the strops. I generally stop with stones at around 4-5k and then strop with boron carbide on leather. White isn't bad steel by any means, it just needs a lil more tlc.

excellent, thanks Mr. Hay!

jayhay
06-12-2013, 08:18 PM
excellent, thanks Mr. Hay!

Lol. No problem, Mr. Fel!

Dave Martell
06-12-2013, 08:43 PM
I like the idea of white steel yanagibas.

chuck239
06-12-2013, 08:56 PM
So having to sharpen a knife all the time makes it good? In a profession where you have very little free time I cannot agree with this. I got rid of all my White #2 knives because the edge retention is not good and I got tired of sharpening them every week or so when I had others that would last a month. I suspect a lot of young cooks would try something else or just use it blunt after a few weeks of regular sharpening a White#2 blade

Hey,

Which knives do you use in a pro kitchen that last you a full month without sharpening?? I can't say I have any knives that I would still consider sharp after 2 weeks of solid use in my kitchen.

Also, I am just curious as to which white steel knives all of you are using that you dislike so much? I personally think people worry to much about the steel of a knife. I have some white steel knives that out perform many of my other steels. At the same time I have had some white steel knives that had terrible edge retention like my kono gyuto. But I am just curious exactly which white steel knives you have all used that you hated so much?

-Chuck

TheDispossessed
06-12-2013, 11:10 PM
of course edge retention is key, and crucial in a pro environment, this i do not argue. i'm just saying, there's hidden virtues in the fault of things. for a beginner, having to sharpen every day or two will make you learn much, much faster is all. and as i said, there's always room for upgrading in the future.
fyi, i'm using white #2 gyuto and petty for all my knife work which is a very solid 8 hours a day (out of a twelve hour shift), on poly boards. the gyuto i sharpen daily, the petty every two or three. both knives could absolutely be used for much longer between sharpening but i enjoy doing it and want a really keen edge for every shift.

TheDispossessed
06-12-2013, 11:11 PM
I personally think people worry to much about the steel of a knife.


+1

theLawlCat
06-12-2013, 11:49 PM
I loved starting with a tojiro white steel. And that was only $80 for a 240. Really good steel to learn on, seems like no matter what I do it gets scary sharp. Lasts ok in home kitchen and seems to strop pretty well.

keithsaltydog
06-13-2013, 12:22 AM
In my collection I have two stainless; an Ealy parer, and an ITK bread; a few semi, and a few dozen carbon, probably close to half being white 1 or 2.

I have zero issues with maintenance, besides having to be mindful of keeping them well oiled when out of rotation.

I find that with deliberate, push cutting, with light board contact, that my edges last far longer than a night.

The fact I bring them back to whistling sharp with a few passes on a green brick or a Rika is awesome...

Love white and blue. 52100 and 1095 aren't so bad either....

Agree Carbons deff. work well for Pro. Kit.Used everyday little or no maintainence except sharpening.Ease of sharpening eg. whistling sharp on a few passes is huge when spending hours cutting.

I used White & Blue steel Yanagi's both worked awesome.Thin Lazors & thicker workhorse carbon gyuto's.Look at a Japanese Fishmarket,cutting huge quantities of fish wt. carbon blades & Chinatowns all those cleavers cutting Duck,Chicken & Pork,tons of vegitables.Asian nationals esp. pro Kit. use more carbons & have sharper knives than Americans & Europeans as a rule.

No Sushi Chef I know ever used stainless steel yanagi's or other Single Bevels.Is it because they are ignorant or they prize extremely sharp edges that peel thin sheets of daikon & Fish & are easy to sharpen.:soapbox:I go for the latter

eshua
06-13-2013, 12:36 AM
Its always hard to judge other peoples workload and let it translate into "I only sharpen every X days"

If you shave a case of green onion during each of your 12 hour shifts, but only need to sharpen once a month, I am doing something fundamentally wrong on the stones.

Which ... is not at all out of the question lol

tk59
06-13-2013, 01:04 AM
I'm inclined to agree with Chuck on this one. Sharp is relative and I don't have any knives nor have I been exposed to any that don't beg for a touch-up within a couple of months and I'm not a pro. Maybe I suck at sharpening or stretching my edge life but I don't think so. To the OP, I agree but you don't have to spend $200 for decent carbon steel and white 2 isn't very stinky at all in the grand scheme of things.

chuck239
06-13-2013, 01:54 AM
Its always hard to judge other peoples workload and let it translate into "I only sharpen every X days"

If you shave a case of green onion during each of your 12 hour shifts, but only need to sharpen once a month, I am doing something fundamentally wrong on the stones.

Which ... is not at all out of the question lol

I am not saying he is wrong or lying. To be honest my 2 week quote is even pushing my liking of a sharp knife. I just have not found a knife that can last a month with an edge I am satisfied with and I think I have tried quite a few knives (only a few people on the forum know how sick I am). I was just curious which knives they had this luck with because I have not found that knife. There could be something wrong with my sharpening but I have several other people very well known for sharpening sharpen some of my best knives.

My main concern was about the white steel knives. I have used one or 2 that I hated but I have also used many knives with different steels that I have disliked just as much. My main point is that I feel the heat treatment is more important when it comes to edge retention. Hell, give some of the crazy steels devin is using (mystery carbon, Wear resistant, ect) to an old school Japanese knife maker and I would bet the heat treatment would not be as solid as it is on the steels they are used to using.

-Chuck

labor of love
06-13-2013, 02:37 AM
chuck, what knives do you like that are made from white steel that have decent edge retention and heat treat? i found many differences in white steel performance varying from maker to maker but none that i would consider to have decent edge retention.

kalaeb
06-13-2013, 02:50 AM
I am just curious exactly which white steel knives you have all used that you hated so much?

-Chuck

Carter.:2cents:

His blue was not bad, sucks he does not use it anymore. But his white.......

chuck239
06-13-2013, 03:21 AM
chuck, what knives do you like that are made from white steel that have decent edge retention and heat treat? i found many differences in white steel performance varying from maker to maker but none that i would consider to have decent edge retention.

Carter, gengetsu, Gesshin Ittetsu, gesshin ginga Honyaki (being one of my favorite knives period), Gesshin Uraku single beveled knives, I feel like I am forgetting one or 2.

Like I said before, I have also used several white steel knives that I have disliked very much. What what steel knives have you felt had terrible edge retention? I am curious as to what other people are seeing.... I have personally seen a few. Just curious as to others opinions.

-Chuck

stevenStefano
06-13-2013, 03:43 AM
I had a Masamoto KS and the edge retention was not good. I used a Sakai Yusuke suji for a while and the edge retention was better than the Masamoto but still not what I'd call good. I found that with these knives once the edge started to lose its sharpness at all I almost needed to strop after every cut. I have 2 of Tilman's knives and the edge retention is way better. I'm not trying to say they're screaming sharp after a month, but they're still useable and I don't have to continually strop every 5 mins like with the white steel knives. I work 6 days a week so I don't sharpen as often as I'd like so I kinda baby the knives a little to get them to go that long, but with the white steel knives I tried it was impossible

chuck239
06-13-2013, 09:54 PM
Steven,

I have actually never owned the 2 knives you talked about. I did get to use a KS and I liked it (profile) but the edge retention was not great. I will say the knives I mentions all had better edge retention then the masamoto I got to use. But again, my main point is I still feel it is all about heat treatment. It really doesn't matter which steel it matters how it was treated. I own a Tilman and have not been blown away by the edge retention to be honest. It's a very good knife but not one of my best for edge retention. I do like my knives very sharp at work and don;t get a long time out of them but I have never been satisfied with the edge on my Tilman after a dew days at work.

I guess my point is, I have used blue steel, CMP, 52100, 0-1, powdered steels, so on and so forth... And been very disappointed with knives by certain makers using these steels. But It is not the steel, it is the heat treatment. Because I have also used knives in many of those steels that were very good knives with great edge retention... I will just keep preaching that I don't think it is a singular steel that is bad, I believe it is the heat treatment of each individual knife.

-Chuck

panda
06-13-2013, 10:12 PM
chuck which heat treats did you find the best retention from? ease of sharpening is something i also value so i look for a balance. i will sacrifice ultimate sharpness for either one of those qualities (wear & ease) without hesitation

Colorado_cutter
06-13-2013, 10:24 PM
I agree. The knives I've had made with white #2 just seem to WANT to get sharp. I've only been freehand sharpening a year or so, but I find the white #2 knives uniquely satisfying. I picked up an Ashi Hamono Cleaver in white #2 from BST a while back. It arrived not particularly sharp, but I put it tentatively and briefly on my 1200 Bester and 5k Rika- and BANG- it cuts tomatoes without my holding them. And I've gone two months since then with just stropping on balsa with CBN. Admittedly, I'm a home cook, so edge retention isn't a priority, but I really can't complain.

labor of love
06-13-2013, 11:42 PM
ive owned konosuke, carter, sakai yusuke and masamoto white steel gyutos. Atleast those are the only ones that come to mind at the moment. sakai yusuke had the best retention of them all while i think konosuke had the worst. Carter and Masamoto were somewhere in the middle. That being said, none of these knives had good edge retention. White steel gyutos are for people who want screaming sharp edges quickly and dont mind touching up their blades daily, atleast in professional kitchens.
on the other end of the spectrum ive used gesshin gingas, suisin inox honyakis, konosuke hd, misono 440 and swed stainless, DT ITK, and tojiro just to name a few. ofcourse the retention varies between these stainless knives but to me the strategy is to get through the work week with a good edge and just resharpening on my day off.

smilesenpai
06-14-2013, 02:49 AM
I like a toothier edge, so I don't go crazy high in the stones or with the strops. I generally stop with stones at around 4-5k and then strop with boron carbide on leather.
Why do you rather an edge with bite? Is there benefit to this?

So different brands of stones have important property difference? :dazed:

Is it safe to used a leather belt to strop?

stevenStefano
06-14-2013, 08:25 AM
I guess my point is, I have used blue steel, CMP, 52100, 0-1, powdered steels, so on and so forth... And been very disappointed with knives by certain makers using these steels. But It is not the steel, it is the heat treatment. Because I have also used knives in many of those steels that were very good knives with great edge retention... I will just keep preaching that I don't think it is a singular steel that is bad, I believe it is the heat treatment of each individual knife.

-Chuck

I understand what you are saying Chuck and I have a feeling that some of the higher end White #2 knives that JKI carry for example would be better than those I have tried because if they weren't I don't think Jon would sell them. At the same time though you know the saying "Once bitten twice shy"


White steel gyutos are for people who want screaming sharp edges quickly and dont mind touching up their blades daily, at least in professional kitchens.


I think this is fair, and that kind of person is the total opposite to me

mhlee
06-14-2013, 11:07 AM
(only a few people on the forum know how sick I am)

-Chuck

Is it finally time for therapy, Chuck? ;)

TheDispossessed
06-15-2013, 12:13 AM
So I work in a Japanese kitchen, at the end of a shift i brought my knife up to my chef to show him the patina. I thought it was beautiful and said, "For me this is Wabi Sabi, I like it."
He says, "Japanese image, this is no care."
We laughed.

WiscoNole
06-16-2013, 01:40 AM
I find Blue #2 drastically more reactive than any White steel

Timthebeaver
06-16-2013, 02:36 AM
I find Blue #2 drastically more reactive than any White steel

Really? - Blue contains alloying elements (chromium and tungsten) which should attenuate reactivity relative to white, if anything.

Which blue #2 steel knives in particular? - iirc there are not many blue monosteel knives out there (Takayuki western gyuto, various honyakis spring to mind, think the yoshihiro blue wa-gyuto is blue #1).

Justin0505
06-16-2013, 04:27 AM
Some thoughts here about White #2 steel.
My experience has led me to feel this might be the best beginner's steel for kitchen knives. I think it's high reactivity and poor edge retention are actually good qualities under the right consideration.
Young cooks looking to develop knife skills and maintenance would do well to learn to always be mindful of the cleanliness of their blades, and you get get a whole lot better at sharpening if you have to do it every night. As well, and as many of you are aware, it's an easy steel to sharpen and takes a great edge, which is very rewarding. A little bit of fragility is a good thing too, as I find force is rarely if ever neccesary with a knife and using a blade you have to be mindful of will help develop finesse with your approach to cutting and such. oh yeah and there's no need for sharpies when taking these blades to the stone.
i think all young cooks should go buy a $200 white steel gyuto should they be able to afford it. it will teach you a lot of good things and be a lot of fun. it feels good having a moderately priced, unassuming knife that's way way sharpen than anyone else's! then there's always room to upgrade in the future..
just some random thoughts..
thanks!

I agree with all of your points and almost all of the "first j-knives" that I've given a presents that I've given have been white #2. There does seem to be quite a bit a variation as to the edge retention though and I have a w#2 honyaki that's pretty darn good.
I also sharpen or touch up my knives once they lose 10-15% of their initial edge and I've found that there really isnt much difference between steels when it comes to holding on the finest part of the initial edge and, if anything I'd say that some of the simple carbon steels are actually BETTER at that than the fancy SWR stainless stuff.
I agree on your points of it teaching good habits in terms of hygiene and frequent maintenance, but I do think that one potential problem is that they are almost too easy to sharpen / touch up so developing clean / precise sharpening technique is as important. While this is certainly much less frustrating for a beginner, it also means that they can get away with not holding consistent angles, not developing a small / even bur and removing most of if when refining the edge, etc. I really did most of my learning on very difficult to sharpen steels and while it was frustrating, it also forced me to develope very good technique and to also understand exactly what I was doing and why.... it also made me really appreciate good carbon steel.

keithsaltydog
06-16-2013, 08:25 AM
Justin agree wt alot of what you said.I have had carbons that stay sharp longer than many so called better stainless like VG-10.If doing alot of prep. nothing can be too easy to sharpen.Much is made of edge retention,I think HT is important for this.To me ease of sharpening is just as important.If rotating knives,can have very sharp blades that are easy to refreash.

I made a rehandle on a 440c skinner blade was going to put a convex edge on it,could not thin well or raise a burr on my bester 1200.I can raise a burr easy on first pass wt my trained Carbons wt beaster 1200 or gesshin 2000.Also put a convex on a M-390 Gyuto for a friend who bought one of these.The M-390 may have better edge reten. than many carbons but I go to my diamond plates to thin & raise a burr on these steels.

Same way sharpening alot of cheap crap stainless for other people.I have little tolerance for even slightly dull knives,thats why I only used carbons at work,razor edges & ease of sharpening a great combination.

Colorado_cutter
06-16-2013, 12:01 PM
I agree with all of your points and almost all of the "first j-knives" that I've given a presents that I've given have been white #2. There does seem to be quite a bit a variation as to the edge retention though and I have a w#2 honyaki that's pretty darn good.
I also sharpen or touch up my knives once they lose 10-15% of their initial edge and I've found that there really isnt much difference between steels when it comes to holding on the finest part of the initial edge and, if anything I'd say that some of the simple carbon steels are actually BETTER at that than the fancy SWR stainless stuff.
I agree on your points of it teaching good habits in terms of hygiene and frequent maintenance, but I do think that one potential problem is that they are almost too easy to sharpen / touch up so developing clean / precise sharpening technique is as important. While this is certainly much less frustrating for a beginner, it also means that they can get away with not holding consistent angles, not developing a small / even bur and removing most of if when refining the edge, etc. I really did most of my learning on very difficult to sharpen steels and while it was frustrating, it also forced me to develope very good technique and to also understand exactly what I was doing and why.... it also made me really appreciate good carbon steel.

Yes, maybe the best thing for a beginner sharpener is to have one white steel knife and another one made of something pretty tough to sharpen. The white steel knife lets the beginner get immediate results and get inspired about sharpening. Then getting the "difficult" knife sharp can be the next goal. I sort of had that over the past year or so as I learned to sharpen. I had a CCK cleaver (and now an Ashi cleaver)- dead easy to sharpen. And an Artifex gyuto... which is more of a "project" knife, since it has a wedge-like profile and doesn't really begin to act like a sharp knife until you thin it. I'm partway there.

WiscoNole
06-16-2013, 04:54 PM
Really? - Blue contains alloying elements (chromium and tungsten) which should attenuate reactivity relative to white, if anything.

Which blue #2 steel knives in particular? - iirc there are not many blue monosteel knives out there (Takayuki western gyuto, various honyakis spring to mind, think the yoshihiro blue wa-gyuto is blue #1).
My Watanabe and Mizuno Tanrenjo gyutos are both extremely reactive. The Watanabe often develops orange spots mid-prep job...like if I'm cutting 10 onions, it'll develop rust on less-contacted parts of the blade by the time I've cut 7 of them. I have to take a green scrubbie to it 2-4x a day if I'm using it at work.

panda
06-16-2013, 05:19 PM
How does your Mizuno compare with the Watanabe? I have a way on order and the mix is on top of my list of what to try next.

Timthebeaver
06-16-2013, 05:40 PM
My Watanabe and Mizuno Tanrenjo gyutos are both extremely reactive. The Watanabe often develops orange spots mid-prep job...like if I'm cutting 10 onions, it'll develop rust on less-contacted parts of the blade by the time I've cut 7 of them. I have to take a green scrubbie to it 2-4x a day if I'm using it at work.

Both of those are renowned for being clad with very reactive soft iron. Is it the cladding or the edge that discolours?

JBroida
06-16-2013, 07:26 PM
yup... thats the cladding that is most reactive on those in my experience

Miles
06-16-2013, 10:34 PM
My Mizuno is hands down the most reactive knife I own. It's the sides, not the blade steel. I've had similar experiences with mine. Cut a couple onions and you'll have red/brown spots all over it. It demands a lot of attention but it does cut and keep on cutting for a long time.

labor of love
06-16-2013, 10:48 PM
Mizunos and Watanabes are real reactive? bummer.

Chuckles
06-17-2013, 10:22 AM
I got a Tojiro Shirogami Gyuto for a prep cook. I showed him how to sharpen and made a green brick available to him. His knife skills were so poor that the knife would be DULL by the end of the day. Then he would say he didn't have time to sharpen it. The knife got so dull he stopped bringing it to work. So of course I made fun of him and his lack of sticktoitiveness. He quit, moved to Miami and was an extra in a porno within a week.

True story.

So the white steel experience will depend on the person. I've had better luck starting them on forgecraft and CCK.

Mucho Bocho
06-17-2013, 01:45 PM
Sounds like your cook just moved from one form of tip work to another? I heard its great work if you can get it. :stinker:

Justin0505
06-17-2013, 01:54 PM
Sounds like your cook just moved from one form of tip work to another? I heard its great work if you can get it. :stinker:

Except he was an extra, so what's that mean? He spent most of his time trying to stay out of the line of fire/ dodge stray rounds? Hope he kept the apron...

Mucho Bocho
06-17-2013, 02:00 PM
:rofl2:

Chuckles
06-17-2013, 02:13 PM
In that industry paying your dues is a real pain in the a$$.

From what I understand.

Never would have happened if I had just gotten him a CCK 1303.

Justin0505
06-17-2013, 02:39 PM
lol, esp if you don't do a good job with your "prep work."
More similarities between the 2 service industries?
OK, I'll stop now before the thread gets locked...


That guy you gave the cck to damn near cut his hand off though didn't he?
So I'm not sure he was that much better off.

Moral of the story: if a clown is trying to give you a knife, RUN.

Mucho Bocho
06-17-2013, 02:49 PM
There has to be some tie to Lorena Bobbit. (Dave's going to scold us but its just too dam funny).

TheDispossessed
06-17-2013, 11:28 PM
I got a Tojiro Shirogami Gyuto for a prep cook. I showed him how to sharpen and made a green brick available to him. His knife skills were so poor that the knife would be DULL by the end of the day. Then he would say he didn't have time to sharpen it. The knife got so dull he stopped bringing it to work. So of course I made fun of him and his lack of sticktoitiveness. He quit, moved to Miami and was an extra in a porno within a week.

True story.

So the white steel experience will depend on the person. I've had better luck starting them on forgecraft and CCK.

love this