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Daniel Fairly
08-07-2011, 10:33 PM
I am a knife maker who is new to making kitchen knives. I know of some great steels for kitchen knives but I'd like to know what is preferred for high end kitchen knives.

What do you think? Thanks for the help!

MadMel
08-07-2011, 10:49 PM
52100 and White 1/2 are pretty well received for carbon, though I like my Blue Super for it's edge retention.
Maybe AEB-L from DT for stainless? Not too comments about stainless about...

jmforge
08-07-2011, 10:58 PM
How is W2 working out? It seems that it is fairly new to the custom kitchen knife game, but some of us have been using Don Hanson's General Motors body stamping tool W2 for a few years and Aldo is having it made in Germany now.

echerub
08-07-2011, 11:01 PM
I'm partial to white steel and blue super, one for its ease of sharpening and the other for toughness & good retention, but admittedly I have yet to get to know 52100 and O-1. That ought to change shortly. Love what Devin Thomas has done with AEB-L steel, but other than that I'm not really interested in stainless steel.

obtuse
08-07-2011, 11:07 PM
For carbon we like O1, W2, 1095, 52100... For stainless 13c26, 19c27, cpm154. Stuff that's hard, but not to hard to sharpen. I haven't seen any kitchen knives in A2, don't know why. Some people like D2 while others hate it.

RRLOVER
08-07-2011, 11:12 PM
I am fond of AS,01,52100.I have used most of anything that has been made into a chef knife.As for W2 it has not been used enough in kitchen blade as far as I can see,I guess someone here can change that.

goodchef1
08-07-2011, 11:19 PM
I would love to see kitchen cutlery made of these:
CTS-XHP
CPM-M4
CPM-S110V, S125V
CPM-10V
ZDP-189
ELMAX
VANAX-75
CPM-154

Just to name a few. The ZDP is an excellent performer and I don't see why any of these others would not perform also. Please contact me if you plan on using any of these, exception zdp/cpm154 (tried it)

l r harner
08-07-2011, 11:30 PM
i have used all but 3 of them so tima will tell

I would love to see kitchen cutlery made of these:
CTS-XHP
CPM-M4
CPM-S110V, S125V
CPM-10V
ZDP-189
ELMAX
VANAX-75
CPM-154

Just to name a few. The ZDP is an excellent performer and I don't see why any of these others would not perform also. Please contact me if you plan on using any of these, exception zdp/cpm154 (tried it)

jm2hill
08-07-2011, 11:41 PM
I'm partial to white steel and blue super, one for its ease of sharpening and the other for toughness & good retention, but admittedly I have yet to get to know 52100 and O-1. That ought to change shortly. Love what Devin Thomas has done with AEB-L steel, but other than that I'm not really interested in stainless steel.

wow how can I say this any better.

I love my White (3 knives) and Blue (2 knives) and come september will hopefully be ordering a Dave and Del in O-1 and will find someone to make me something in 52100. Gotta try it all right.

Gotta try it all right.

AnxiousCowboy
08-08-2011, 12:55 AM
White steel

jmforge
08-08-2011, 03:48 AM
W2 was a steel that was on its way out the door. Some have expressed concerns recently that O1 may be on the outs too. In many tool applications, W2 had been replaced either by W1, O1 or one of the nominal air hardening tool steels like A2 and D2.. IIRC, the stuff that Don Hanson, Jason Knight and others found a few years back had been "out of circulation' for ten years and was leftover stock from a GM order. What has made it popular with us metal pounders is the quality of the stuff that we have, its combination of toughness and wear resistance and the fact that that it's shallow hardening makes it ideal for getting a wicked looking hamon. it also has a reputation of being a little less tempermental than O1 as far as red shortness and air hardening and 52100 in that you don't have to nail the quench right the first time. You can do it over again. The only real downside is that is can be so shallow hardening that in thicker cross sections, you can often get an "accidental hamon" where it doesn't harden through. I suspect that is not a problem in sections as thin as kitchen knives, but I will differ to my brethren who have used it in that application because I haven't made any W2 knives less than about 3/16 thick at the ricasso. Bill Moran used a lot of W2 when it was readily available and he said that it was almost as tough as 5160, had the potential to take a better edge and hold it longer. The good news is that Aldo Bruno had a batch cooked up in Germany that appears to be very similar to the round bar stock that Don Hanson has been selling and it is available in flat stock as thin as .103.
I am fond of AS,01,52100.I have used most of anything that has been made into a chef knife.As for W2 it has not been used enough in kitchen blade as far as I can see,I guess someone here can change that.

mdoublestack
08-08-2011, 04:10 AM
Ma favorite steel I've used is, unequivocally, Murray Carter's White #1. I also like 52100, blue#2, and White #2, um, a lot ... as of late, I am far less a fan of stainless... though, I am very interested in stainless clad carbon kitchen knives - I dont think there are enough out there.

AnxiousCowboy
08-08-2011, 10:41 AM
Ma favorite steel I've used is, unequivocally, Murray Carter's White #1. I also like 52100, blue#2, and White #2, um, a lot ... as of late, I am far less a fan of stainless... though, I am very interested in stainless clad carbon kitchen knives - I dont think there are enough out there.

i wish i had an oppritunity to compare white #1 and #2

Daniel Fairly
08-08-2011, 04:46 PM
Great information here! Here are my rambling thoughts...

I have been researching the blue and white steels and I'm not too sure what to think they are, I guess they are a very high carbon (1.5%?) simple steel? I wonder where I buy the stuff. Hitachi might have it but I haven't researched much yet.

The 52100 seems very popular, it is good stuff. I have been looking in to ordering some 3/32-5/32 for kitchen knives.

I have been working with O1, S7, 5160, 1084fg and Titanium for my knives at the moment. (mainly 5160 for choppers and O1 for everything else) I'm leaning towards buying more air hardening steels because they are so stable during heat treat, I even have a plate quench setup on the way. A2 is on the list. Water hardening steels are cool for the hamon but I really don't like them for my knives. My 5160 and S7 seem like overkill for kitchen use, they would be good heavy duty chopper steels but maybe not the best for everyday slicing.

I have some .070 Ti coming in for some wild carbidized edge chef's knives!

oivind_dahle
08-08-2011, 04:50 PM
I am very interested in stainless clad carbon kitchen knives

+1

I really like Carters White over my Hiro AS
Havent tried 52100.

JBroida
08-08-2011, 05:02 PM
stephan fowler does a killer HT with W2... very impressive for a kitchen knife
likewise, there are many makers out there who do great things with 01 (and just as many if not more that have no clue what they are doing)

To be honest, i think its a lot less about the steel (as long as you pick a generally good one) and more about what you bring to the table with the HT and grind

you could make a killer knife out of 1095 (which isnt popular at all), but if you had an awesome HT and grind, i'm sure people would buy it (especially if they have a chance to see if or other examples of similar work)

jmforge
08-08-2011, 05:42 PM
If you aren't set up to give O1 a nice, long controlled soak, you should probably be using something else like 1080 or 1084. The same it true to a slightly lesser extent with W2. No reason to leave some performance potential on the table.
stephan fowler does a killer HT with W2... very impressive for a kitchen knife
likewise, there are many makers out there who do great things with 01 (and just as many if not more that have no clue what they are doing)

To be honest, i think its a lot less about the steel (as long as you pick a generally good one) and more about what you bring to the table with the HT and grind

you could make a killer knife out of 1095 (which isnt popular at all), but if you had an awesome HT and grind, i'm sure people would buy it (especially if they have a chance to see if or other examples of similar work)

SpikeC
08-08-2011, 06:17 PM
Actually, O1 doesn't need a long soak, at least according to the Devins.

jmforge
08-08-2011, 08:32 PM
I'm going by what I recall Kevin Cashen saying about O1. Long soak may have been the wrong term. Not hours, but 5-20 minutes, which you would really have trouble doing in a regular forge. A Fogg style drum forge or something like a black iron baffle pipe with a thermocouple in a forge on LOW temp is about as primitive as i would want to go. Cashen does his in salt and does a little demonstration where he takes an untempered O1 blade right out of the low temp salt quench and drops it point first onto the concrete floor with no ill effect.

Actually, O1 doesn't need a long soak, at least according to the Devins.

Daniel Fairly
08-09-2011, 01:12 PM
Thanks again everyone for the help, it is always good to hear what the people want! I was expecting to see more stainless steels mentioned but it looks like lower Chromium content wins again!

On the O1 I use it a lot and it requires a 10 minute soak time from what I understand. It takes a while for everything to get in to solution with O1, it will harden fine with a short soak or just taking past critical but it will be nowhere near is's potential.

jmforge
08-09-2011, 05:34 PM
You hit the nail on the head, Daniel. You can make a very serviceable blade from O1 using something like the torch and goop method and probably get to 90% of the steel's potential if you are careful, but that is not what people on here expect. By contrast, I think that you can get quite a bit closer to the full potential of steel like 5160, 52100 or most of the 10xx steels using fairly rudimentary heat treating methods.
Thanks again everyone for the help, it is always good to hear what the people want! I was expecting to see more stainless steels mentioned but it looks like lower Chromium content wins again!

On the O1 I use it a lot and it requires a 10 minute soak time from what I understand. It takes a while for everything to get in to solution with O1, it will harden fine with a short soak or just taking past critical but it will be nowhere near is's potential.

Mike Davis
08-10-2011, 12:46 AM
To be honest, i think its a lot less about the steel (as long as you pick a generally good one) and more about what you bring to the table with the HT and grind

you could make a killer knife out of 1095 (which isnt popular at all), but if you had an awesome HT and grind, i'm sure people would buy it (especially if they have a chance to see if or other examples of similar work)
Why is 1095 not a popular steel? When compared to white #1 and 2, there isn't much of a difference at all...a few points of carbon in #1. I like the hamon ability of 1095 and i just do not understand.

JBroida
08-10-2011, 12:51 AM
in all honesty its just not popular beause its not popular... it doesnt have any real hype and isnt any kind of crazy supersteel... that being said, it can be an awesome steel for kitchen knives with the right HT

jmforge
08-10-2011, 12:51 AM
Mike, A lot of 1095 developed a reputation over the past few years of being rather spotty in the quality and cleanliness department. Some people I know describe W1 as "clean 1095" and use it instead. Apparently, stuff sold as "water hardening tool steel" as opposed to "spring steel" is less likely to have boogers buried in the bar. Some folks have found the same problem with "generic" 5160 if you are not careful where you get it. That's why the super clean John Deere load shaft spec 5160 is kind of the Holy Grail to some guys who use that steel.
Why is 1095 not a popular steel? When compared to white #1 and 2, there isn't much of a difference at all...a few points of carbon in #1. I like the hamon ability of 1095 and i just do not understand.

ajhuff
08-10-2011, 12:52 AM
Why is 1095 not a popular steel? When compared to white #1 and 2, there isn't much of a difference at all...a few points of carbon in #1. I like the hamon ability of 1095 and i just do not understand.

Marketing.

-AJ

jmforge
08-10-2011, 12:56 AM
The Hitachi stuff is no doubt some very clean and well made steel. However, I wonder how much of its reputation revolves around the natural hype and hoodoo of anything having to do with Japanese cutlery? The old "quenched in the blood of virgins during the full moon while facing magnetic north chanting Shinto scripture and tested on the bodies of prisoners" thingie.:lol2:

Marko Tsourkan
08-10-2011, 01:09 AM
I think those simple carbon steels are easily available and suitable for forging methods like san mai and heat treatment in charcoal furnace or gas oven. They are also shallow hardening steels, so you can create hamon on each of them. In terms of edge retention, there are steels that outperform those, yet very seldom used cutlery in Japan.

jmforge
08-10-2011, 01:15 AM
Marko, I was thinking about the heat treat of traditional Japanese knives. Yes the steel that they start with is very good, but they are lucky that most of it is fairly simple stuff because heating the blade in the charcoal forge and dunking it in the slop bucket ain't exactly high tech heat treatment, ESPECIALLY when you are talking about the blue steel which appears to have a fair amount of tungsten to act as a carbide former. I know that they leave their "hard steel" at very high levels of hardness, but I have never really been able to figure out how they temper stuff like tahamagane or the modern steels for that matter, if at all.
I think those simple carbon steels are easily available and suitable for forging methods like san mai and heat treatment in charcoal furnace or gas oven. They are also shallow hardening steels, so you can create hamon on each of them. In terms of edge retention, there are steels that outperform those, yet very seldom used cutlery in Japan.

Mike Davis
08-10-2011, 02:05 AM
W1 is certified 1095. I understand the "dirty steel" thing, but with the quality of steel as is being produced right now i would think there would be less to worry about. I personally enjoy seeing a nice hamon in a knife, as it gives a clue to a proper HT. It is not a guarantee that it is treated properly, but does offer some insight. I am a fan of simple carbon steels, as i cannot forge stainless steel. Getting White#1 or 2 in the us requires a ridiculous amount of money, and i think the W1, W2 and 1095 are good alternatives for these, none have a forgiving HT process though.
I am pretty new to this yet, this is just my thoughts....

Mike

jmforge
08-10-2011, 02:21 AM
Mike, from what I have been told, those steels are actually slightly more forgiving in the heat treat that say 52100 because you can do them over. The trick with W1, W2 or 1095 is having a quenchant that is fast enough to harden the steel properly without getting the dreaded "ping" and that generally means something like Parks #50 or the Houghton equivalent. As for the quality of some of the carbon simple steels being produced, you are safe if you buy steel from knife guys like Aldo Bruno, Kelly Cupples, Don Hanson, Ray Kirk or Scott Devanna, but beyond that, I think there is still some junk out there. I would be hesitant to buy any plain carbon steel from say Admiral.
W1 is certified 1095. I understand the "dirty steel" thing, but with the quality of steel as is being produced right now i would think there would be less to worry about. I personally enjoy seeing a nice hamon in a knife, as it gives a clue to a proper HT. It is not a guarantee that it is treated properly, but does offer some insight. I am a fan of simple carbon steels, as i cannot forge stainless steel. Getting White#1 or 2 in the us requires a ridiculous amount of money, and i think the W1, W2 and 1095 are good alternatives for these, none have a forgiving HT process though.
I am pretty new to this yet, this is just my thoughts....

Mike

Mike Davis
08-10-2011, 02:29 AM
I will go with Aldo 100%. I have spoken to numerous makers that rave about Aldo and i like what i have used so far.

jmforge
08-10-2011, 02:43 AM
All of the steel that I am currently using came from Aldo, Ray, Don or Scott. The advantage that Aldo has is that he has gotten into a position where he can have otherwise hard to find carbon steel made to his specs, which in reality are our specs that he has gathered in his travels so to speak..
I will go with Aldo 100%. I have spoken to numerous makers that rave about Aldo and i like what i have used so far.

JBroida
08-10-2011, 02:46 AM
i met aldo a few months ago... you knife makers are lucky to have a guy like him around... the fact that he's a nice guy is just icing on the cake so to speak

jmforge
08-10-2011, 03:01 AM
And he's a lot of fun at parties.:lol2: Aldo has done a great job getting us all of this nice steel.
i met aldo a few months ago... you knife makers are lucky to have a guy like him around... the fact that he's a nice guy is just icing on the cake so to speak

HHH Knives
08-10-2011, 11:08 AM
I was going to say that Aldo is the best source for 1095 and many other knife steels for that matter. Glad to see him getting some love here! :) not only is he a great guy to deal with, Theres a HUGE difference between his 1095HC and 1080fg and what some others are passing off.

I prefer 1095 and use it on my kitchen knives.. Mainly because I have dialed in on the HT and can consistently reach my desired RC.. As others have said, it make a very nice cutting blade.. Another thing is that 1095 gains a rich and beautiful patina quickly compared to some other steels .. Making it look as good as it cuts!

SpikeC
08-10-2011, 03:26 PM
Cut Brooklyn uses 1095 and gets a pretty penny for it.

jmforge
08-10-2011, 04:29 PM
If I was going to use plain old carbon steel like one of the 10xx steels and wasn't worried about a super active hamon, I would consider the Aldo 1084FG that I use for damascus because it has a small amount of vanadium added to the mix and it is a bit less finicky in the quench.

Daniel Fairly
08-11-2011, 01:07 PM
Interesting stuff. I also feel there are vastly varying qualities of the same steel. I was using steel from Jantz and then switched suppliers to Aldo and another company, the quality difference is unreal. I have had the worst luck ever with Jantz's 1095, I can't even get it to normalize correctly with my digitally controlled kiln and I have noticed all sorts of banding and variation in the steel. I swore off the 1095 as the result of this but after reading other reports of the same thing I feel I need to try the 1095 from a better supplier. I have also found the same with O1, my new O1 grinds cleaner and has no banding and even less decarb.

With 5160 I am finding it is all about the same, it has a lot of inclusions but they only seem to effect the finish and you can usually grind past them. I'd like to find the John Deere stuff in flat bar or have a run smelted to spec.

jmforge
08-11-2011, 01:40 PM
Aldo has some 5160. I have a tiny bit of good 5160 from Ray Kirk, but it is 3/4 round bar, so a bit limited. i also still have 2 bars of 1 1/2 x 3/8 stuff that I got a long time ago from Uncle Al. Also pretty good stuff. With that said, according to Ed Fowler and others, the John Deere steel is supposed to be extraordinarily good 5160.
Interesting stuff. I also feel there are vastly varying qualities of the same steel. I was using steel from Jantz and then switched suppliers to Aldo and another company, the quality difference is unreal. I have had the worst luck ever with Jantz's 1095, I can't even get it to normalize correctly with my digitally controlled kiln and I have noticed all sorts of banding and variation in the steel. I swore off the 1095 as the result of this but after reading other reports of the same thing I feel I need to try the 1095 from a better supplier. I have also found the same with O1, my new O1 grinds cleaner and has no banding and even less decarb.

With 5160 I am finding it is all about the same, it has a lot of inclusions but they only seem to effect the finish and you can usually grind past them. I'd like to find the John Deere stuff in flat bar or have a run smelted to spec.

Daniel Fairly
08-11-2011, 11:59 PM
Aldo has some 5160. I have a tiny bit of good 5160 from Ray Kirk, but it is 3/4 round bar, so a bit limited. i also still have 2 bars of 1 1/2 x 3/8 stuff that I got a long time ago from Uncle Al. Also pretty good stuff. With that said, according to Ed Fowler and others, the John Deere steel is supposed to be extraordinarily good 5160.

Yeah I use a bit of Aldo's 5160 and so far it is all the same to me, funky stuff but it is my very favorite steel. I find it has a lot of character and takes a beating. I bet as far as most kitchen knives go there are better steels but I bet 5160 would make one heck of a cleaver or big chopper!

So far I have ordered the least popular product, lmao... Titanium! I have a carbidizer though and think it it going to just rock for slicers, 72 Rockwell edge! It is half the weight of steel and stronger also. I believe steel is a better choice for your main chef knife but the Titanium cuts like a laser through softer materials and is self sharpening with the carbide edge.

I still plan on getting some 52100 from Aldo, he has some 5/32 that would make an ideal go-to chef's knife. As a former chef I like a thicker spine for pushing through tougher stuff and he also has thicker stock, I have all kinds of options!

El Pescador
08-12-2011, 12:11 AM
I occationally use a 1095 knife at work and can tell you it reacts very quickly. I would not buy another knife made from it again. On the other hand, I am amazed at how nonreactive my DT ITK 52100 is.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 01:32 AM
Daniel, is that the .103 stuff? If so, he also has that thickness in W2.:biggrin: 5160 is interesting stuff. It is a bit tougher than W2 but not as tough as say L6. It is a lot easier to work with than real L6 like Champalloy. If you get some of the really good 5160 and treat it kindly, you can get the grain size down to the point where you can draw out that LONG wire edge and flop it back and forth with your finger like tissue paper. Bailey Bradshaw told me that was the best quick and dirty test for grain size. That is not something you would try on a thin kitchen knife, but it is good to do on a big knife to see if you nailed the HT.. You can't do that when the grain looks like beach sand.
Yeah I use a bit of Aldo's 5160 and so far it is all the same to me, funky stuff but it is my very favorite steel. I find it has a lot of character and takes a beating. I bet as far as most kitchen knives go there are better steels but I bet 5160 would make one heck of a cleaver or big chopper!

So far I have ordered the least popular product, lmao... Titanium! I have a carbidizer though and think it it going to just rock for slicers, 72 Rockwell edge! It is half the weight of steel and stronger also. I believe steel is a better choice for your main chef knife but the Titanium cuts like a laser through softer materials and is self sharpening with the carbide edge.

I still plan on getting some 52100 from Aldo, he has some 5/32 that would make an ideal go-to chef's knife. As a former chef I like a thicker spine for pushing through tougher stuff and he also has thicker stock, I have all kinds of options!

tk59
08-12-2011, 02:23 AM
...5/32 that would make an ideal go-to chef's knife. As a former chef I like a thicker spine for pushing through tougher stuff and he also has thicker stock, I have all kinds of options!
This is an interesting thread. Watching all the "new guys" interacting, lol. I'm curious as to precisely what a "thicker spine" means and what exactly this "tougher stuff" is that requires it. Are you suggesting that a 3 mm spine is ideal? If so, where are the spine would you be taking that measurement? Exactly what was your "go-to knife" as a chef?

Salty dog
08-12-2011, 02:36 AM
I don't think I've seen so many combinations of numbers and letters.

It's cool an all but I'd have a hard time telling you what steel is what knife of mine.

Do you see forest or trees?

El Pescador
08-12-2011, 03:16 AM
I don't think I've seen so many combinations of numbers and letters.

It's cool an all but I'd have a hard time telling you what steel is what knife of mine.

Do you see forest or trees?

I have to agree with Salty on this one. I'm thinking cart in front of the horse though. Get the profile and grind down.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 03:33 AM
Tougher stuff means that you can take a cleaver shaped cutting comp "race knife" made from CPM M4 with a spine between 1/4 and 3/8 thick down to say .012 before you put the convex edge on it, chop through a couple of 2 x 4's, 1, 1 1/2 and 2 inch free hanging manila rope (the record is 15 pieces of 1 inch rope bundled, IIRC), 10 or 12 full plastic water bottles and split a plastic drinking straw lengthwise standing on its end and still shave your arm with it when you are done. But you wouldn't want to try to hand sharpen the darn thing too much. :biggrin:
This is an interesting thread. Watching all the "new guys" interacting, lol. I'm curious as to precisely what a "thicker spine" means and what exactly this "tougher stuff" is that requires it. Are you suggesting that a 3 mm spine is ideal? If so, where are the spine would you be taking that measurement? Exactly what was your "go-to knife" as a chef?

jmforge
08-12-2011, 03:38 AM
I can't help but notice that one of your test knives that performed VERY well in the potato test is probably made from steel with a lot of numbers. :lol2:Yes, some of us are new to the kitchen knife game. Thats why we are here. Your apparent amazment with all of the "numbers" of steel stypes is similar to mine when I try to figure out why the Japanese have 200 different types of food prep knives. Just because we haven't quite figured out everything about kitchen knives doesn't mean that we don't have a fair idea of the capabilities of the various and sundry steels that we have been using. :wink:
I don't think I've seen so many combinations of numbers and letters.

It's cool an all but I'd have a hard time telling you what steel is what knife of mine.

Do you see forest or trees?

JohnnyChance
08-12-2011, 03:54 AM
Tougher stuff means that you can take a cleaver shaped cutting comp "race knife" made from CPM M4 with a spine between 1/4 and 3/8 thick down to say .012 before you put the convex edge on it, chop through a couple of 2 x 4's, 1, 1 1/2 and 2 inch free hanging manila rope (the record is 15 pieces of 1 inch rope bundled, IIRC), 10 or 12 full plastic water bottles and split a plastic drinking straw lengthwise standing on its end and still shave your arm with it when you are done. But you wouldn't want to try to hand sharpen the darn thing too much. :biggrin:

Fairly said "As a former chef I like a thicker spine for pushing through tougher stuff...". Those are not activities a chef needs to care about. TK was asking what he preferred a thicker chefs knife for and what an ideal spine thickness would be for him.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 03:59 AM
I was merely commenting on what we were talking about when speaking of steel types that have a higher toughness.
Fairly said "As a former chef I like a thicker spine for pushing through tougher stuff...". Those are not activities a chef needs to care about. TK was asking what he preferred a thicker chefs knife for and what an ideal spine thickness would be for him.

JohnnyChance
08-12-2011, 04:04 AM
I can't help but notice that one of your test knives that performed VERY well in the potato test is probably made from steel with a lot of numbers. :lol2:Yes, some of us are new to the kitchen knife game. Thats why we are here. Your apparent amazment with all of the "numbers" of steel stypes is similar to mine when I try to figure out why the Japanese have 200 different types of food prep knives. Just because we haven't quite figured out everything about kitchen knives doesn't mean that we don't have a fair idea of the capabilities of the various and sundry steels that we have been using. :wink:

Actually, the number is somewhere around 800 different types of knives.

And all of the knives Salty used in his videos where made from steels with all sorts of numbers and letters. Even the ones that performed very poorly. Does the steel matter? Sure, but these are all steels people use to make kitchen knives. To most people, there is a negligible difference in performance between the "worst" steel used by custom knife makers and the "best" steel used. Nobody is suggesting using fenders from an old Datsun and cutting blade profiles out of them. In the grand scheme of metal, all of these steels perform pretty well for cutlery. The bigger factor in how they actually cut is how they are ground.

tk59
08-12-2011, 04:17 AM
Tougher stuff means that you can take a cleaver shaped cutting comp "race knife" made from CPM M4 with a spine between 1/4 and 3/8 thick down to say .012 before you put the convex edge on it, chop through a couple of 2 x 4's, 1, 1 1/2 and 2 inch free hanging manila rope (the record is 15 pieces of 1 inch rope bundled, IIRC), 10 or 12 full plastic water bottles and split a plastic drinking straw lengthwise standing on its end and still shave your arm with it when you are done. But you wouldn't want to try to hand sharpen the darn thing too much. :biggrin: Funny. I am well aware of what goes on in these competitions. You obviously don't belong in a kitchen knife forum, lol. With regard to sharpening, I seriously doubt I would mind hand sharpening any steel kitchen knife blade unless it was a fixing job (ie chips).

Salty was just making a point. What he means is "There are plenty of good knife steels. No one will give a crap what the steel is if you actually make a good knife out of it."

jmforge
08-12-2011, 04:18 AM
I think that a more accurate statement would be that the various steels that you chose to use perform pretty well.:wink:Grind is a major part of what the knife will do but if the steel chosen and the heat treat cannot allow you to create a blade that can get a profile and edge as thin as you need and hold that edge for a reasonable period of time, then the best grind you can come up with is not going to matter a fig. You guys seem to be all about pushing the limits of performance in these knives and steel choice can be a factor. The expanded use of 52100 is an good example. That stuff was unknown i the world of kitchen knives not too long ago, right? yes now, it is one of the preferred steels. Where do you think that Bob Kramer learned about that stuff? Guys in the ABS have been playing with it for years it for years. Arguably, the only reason that we have 52100 bar stock to use today is because the ABS guys got tired of having to scrounge and forge down big ball bearings and bearing races to get the stuff into a usable form.
Actually, the number is somewhere around 800 different types of knives.

And all of the knives Salty used in his videos where made from steels with all sorts of numbers and letters. Even the ones that performed very poorly. Does the steel matter? Sure, but these are all steels people use to make kitchen knives. To most people, there is a negligible difference in performance between the "worst" steel used by custom knife makers and the "best" steel used. Nobody is suggesting using fenders from an old Datsun and cutting blade profiles out of them. In the grand scheme of metal, all of these steels perform pretty well for cutlery. The bigger factor in how they actually cut is how they are ground.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 04:25 AM
If you would enjoy sharpening something like CPM M4 by hand, then you are a VERY patient man. :biggrin: WE give a crap what kind of steel we make a knife out of just like you might give a crap about a particular ingredient in one of your recipes.
Funny. I am well aware of what goes on in these competitions. You obviously don't belong in a kitchen knife forum, lol. With regard to sharpening, I seriously doubt I would mind hand sharpening any steel kitchen knife blade unless it was a fixing job (ie chips).

Salty was just making a point. What he means is "There are plenty of good knife steels. No one will give a crap what the steel is if you actually make a good knife out of it."

JohnnyChance
08-12-2011, 04:27 AM
Tk thinned the entire blade of an Aritsugu A-type gyuto by hand. You can be sure he is quite patient.

El Pescador
08-12-2011, 04:39 AM
I think that a more accurate statement would be that the various steels that you chose to use perform pretty well.:wink:Grind is a major part of what the knife will do but if the steel chosen and the heat treat cannot allow you to create a blade that can get a profile and edge as thin as you need and hold that edge for a reasonable period of time, then the best grind you can come up with is not going to matter a fig. You guys seem to be all about pushing the limits of performance in these knives and steel choice can be a factor. The expanded use of 52100 is an good example. That stuff was unknown i the world of kitchen knives not too long ago, right? yes now, it is one of the preferred steels. Where do you think that Bob Kramer learned about that stuff? Guys in the ABS have been playing with it for years it for years. Arguably, the only reason that we have 52100 bar stock to use today is because the ABS guys got tired of having to scrounge and forge down big ball bearings and bearing races to get the stuff into a usable form.

While all this is true, you are here with the goal to make a good knife. The profile and grind is the tricky part. Anybody can see what DT, Rader, or Burke is using for their knives. While the heat treat is tougher but a phone call or 2 can get that taken care of. You're not going to reinvent the wheel here. Salty is right, its about performance.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 05:13 AM
Actually, if Bill Burke is using a heat treat for 52100 similar to what Ed Fowler uses, it cannot be learned with a phone call. it can be done with some fairly simple gear, but not a lot of guys have mastered that particular technique and not from lack of trying.
While all this is true, you are here with the goal to make a good knife. The profile and grind is the tricky part. Anybody can see what DT, Rader, or Burke is using for their knives. While the heat treat is tougher but a phone call or 2 can get that taken care of. You're not going to reinvent the wheel here. Salty is right, its about performance.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 05:18 AM
F You obviously don't belong in a kitchen knife forum, lol. Didn't see that at first. I see the 'lol" but I fail to see the humor in your statement. Isn't an interest in or desire to make kitchen knives what determines if someone "belongs" on a kitchen knife forum? Also, I thought this was the "getting started" section and not the "you don't know diddly so shut up and go back to making your silly bowie knives" section. Did I click the wrong subforum?:O

ajhuff
08-12-2011, 10:10 AM
Wow this thread got pissy fast. You knife guys are an odd bunch.

*******, tell me more about the M4. I saw somewhere a hardness versus toughness graph and it looked like it would have excellent potential for edge retention. I understand the difficulty in sharpening tradeoff but I would guess that once you got and edge you'd be good to go

-AJ

Salty dog
08-12-2011, 10:11 AM
I will say that it's cool for the people who are interested in the technical aspects of steel and knife making to be able to exchange thoughts and opinions. I didn't mean to lesson any conversation.

I can see if you're into that thing this thread is very informative.
I couldn't help but notice the knifemakers carrying most of the conversation. It's because most of us cooks get lost trying to remember what is what.

goodchef1
08-12-2011, 10:39 AM
c,mon, can we just accept the fact that some people are more into steel make-up, and some are not? same with computers, cars, speakers. Not all perform the same and the housing is just a part of it. And some people like to know about it's make-up. It is what's inside that matters too. For "different purposes" some people do care what the steel is, and I personally know the difference between low-end and high-end steel performance, and I don't know of or heard of anyone doing crappy HT's and it is not being discuss exept by makers, so talking about HT's being important is a mute point at this time.

Talking down to people does not make people look or sound intelligent, especially making fun of things that one does not understand. bullying, scare tactics fail also. There is enough of them out there that belittle posts and mock members. Join XDA with over 4 million members and see just how insignificant one can be. This is a nice place and trash talking should be kept at a respectable, fun tone.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 12:45 PM
CPM M4 has shown up on some production knives from Spyderco, IIRC. It is very tough and incredibly abrasion resistant. That makes it hold an edge for a LONG time and also gives the edge great stabillity even when taken down very thin. The problem with the stuff is that it is so wear resistant once it is hardened that you had better be satisfied with a machine finish and be willing to use a belt grinder and diamonds stones to sharpen it because thats apparently about the only way you can touch the stuff. I got a chance to talk to Warren Osbourne and a couple of other others guys who first used the stuff in comp knives a few years back at the Knifemakers Guild show. They raved about the stuff, but said it was a bear to sharpen. The one thing that I did find very interest was that because the stuff will hold such a fine edge under the torturous conditions of comp cutting, they were able to reduced the thickness of the typical comp knife a fair amount and pretty much eliminate the distal taper which put the weight out front, but also made the "sweet spot' where the blade cut/hacked bet much larger. M4 might be a bit too difficult to work with for the typical thin pro kitchen knife, but it would make a hell of a cleaver for sure.
Wow this thread got pissy fast. You knife guys are an odd bunch.

*******, tell me more about the M4. I saw somewhere a hardness versus toughness graph and it looked like it would have excellent potential for edge retention. I understand the difficulty in sharpening tradeoff but I would guess that once you got and edge you'd be good to go

-AJ

Daniel Fairly
08-12-2011, 01:31 PM
This is an interesting thread. Watching all the "new guys" interacting, lol. I'm curious as to precisely what a "thicker spine" means and what exactly this "tougher stuff" is that requires it. Are you suggesting that a 3 mm spine is ideal? If so, where are the spine would you be taking that measurement? Exactly what was your "go-to knife" as a chef?

I'm just a newbie to the world of high quality kitchen knives and I was excited so see my favorite supplier with a steel that looked good.

The spine is the opposite of the sharpened edge, I like them on the thicker size for some knives. I'm not really sure why this is controversial to say this, I'm not trying to say I make the best kitchen knife or something, heck I haven't finished one! The 5/32 was the thinnest 52100 I found and I thought that could be a little thick for some people but I thought it sounded fun. The ideal knife is what is good for the job.

Lol, I'm not some celebrity chef or something, just some dude who worked in kitchens for maybe 10 years. I had what I thought was a decent knife at the time, a Wusthoff Wide Blade chef's knife. Lol, it cost me $100 back in '94 when I was making $8/hr and I thought it was a good knife. I now know that it could have been a whole lot better! I liked this knife for prep but it wasn't ideal for all tasks, I had a revolving assortment of other knives I liked for delicate slicing and boning or filleting.

When I referred to cutting up "tougher stuff" I was talking about half frozen chickens and that sort of thing. I used to prep about 100 half frozen chickens into 8 piece every weekend at this one place, when my hands would get half frozen and tired I liked my thick chef's knife as the larger surface area of the thick spine was more comfortable.

Daniel Fairly
08-12-2011, 01:46 PM
Fairly said "As a former chef I like a thicker spine for pushing through tougher stuff...". Those are not activities a chef needs to care about. TK was asking what he preferred a thicker chefs knife for and what an ideal spine thickness would be for him.

I think for joints and cartilage I like the thicker spine design, maybe 3/16? The wedge shape is nice for seperation also. It certainly is not the only or best way to go, it is just what I like. For vegetables and cutting food that goes on a plate on the line I would prefer a thinner spine, maybe around 1/8". Once again, just my opinion.

Daniel Fairly
08-12-2011, 02:02 PM
Here is my first attempt at a kitchen knife, it is an odd one to say the least. I ground it out of .049 15n20 steel and it has some 3/8" black paper micarta scales and stainless pins and is 12" long. The tang is exposed and it really serves no purpose, lol my scales were too short and I always do an exposed tang so I thought what the heck. It has a "short" convex chisel grind!

I did some minimal slicing and I was impressed, I was able to slice a banana just about paper thin! I also tested the heat treat by going all out on some seasoned 2x4's and it passed with flying colors, I was actually surprised by the performance, it was downright scary!

I only used the .049 15n20 because I had it laying around and I thought I'd try something different, it seems to be on the thin side to me.

Second from the top.
http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/4116/007pmp.jpg

obtuse
08-12-2011, 02:08 PM
I've been interested in how steels like 15n20 perform on their own.

HHH Knives
08-12-2011, 02:23 PM
Cool looking knives Dan.. If Im not mistaken 15N20 is essentially 1075 steel, with a 1.5% nickel content. It is fully hardenable. It makes a very serviceable filet blade as well from my experience.

Stay Sharp.
Randy

jmforge
08-12-2011, 02:52 PM
duplicate

jmforge
08-12-2011, 02:55 PM
You are correct, sir. Poor man's L6.:biggrin: IIRC, it is the Uddeholm steel used a lot for big commericial lumber mill bandsaws. The nickel is added to toughen it up. My recollection is that the nickel content may be closer to 2%. The general consensus is that more people would probably use it for hard use straight blades, but it is only available in thin stock. The thickest that I have ever seen is like .103 and I have only seen than once in 5 or 6 years. Typically, it is either the .49 stuff Dan has or maybe as thick as .62.

Mike Davis
08-12-2011, 03:02 PM
15n20 is a good steel. As Randy stated, it will full harden and should create a great thin knife. Also should have great stain resistance. I see both sides of this conversation. Steel/HT will have a big effect on the performance, but the steel is only as good as the grind..And vice versa. If the HT isn't good, the edge holding and abrasion resistance will suffer, If the grind isn't good....then it doesn't matter what steel it is if it sucks at it's job and no one wants to use it.
Here is the way i see it, A lot of the chef's don't care what the knives are made of, as long as they work well at the specified use. Knifemakers are sticklers for getting the best out of the steel we use, whatever steel that may be. It is a fine line finding the proper balance, That is why we, as makers need the chef's to use and offer us feedback on how our stuff works.

Me personally, i love carbon steels. Hamon's and patina's are a big thing for me. Also they are less complicated to use than the SS counterparts.
To each their own, but i use carbon steels for just about everything i do.


My 2 cents, sorry if it is long and drags on
Mike

Daniel Fairly
08-12-2011, 03:14 PM
I've been interested in how steels like 15n20 perform on their own.

I am also curious about the long term performance, in theory it should be a good steel. I was impressed by the very minimal testing I have done so far.


Cool looking knives Dan.. If Im not mistaken 15N20 is essentially 1075 steel, with a 1.5% nickel content. It is fully hardenable. It makes a very serviceable filet blade as well from my experience.

Stay Sharp.
Randy

I haven't found an assay of what I'm using but I did find this.


15n20
c .75%
mn .5%
ni 2%
si .25%
fe bal

L-6
c .75%
mn .70%
si .25%
cr .80%
ni 1.5%
mo .30%
fe bal


15n20 is a shallow hardening steel and L-6 is a deep hardening steel.
Both steels are excellent steel for knives and for mixing in damascus, they are different steels and both have there place and uses.

Del

Good idea on the fillet knives, that would be a good use of the ultra thin stock I have, lol either that or Damascus!

Daniel Fairly
08-12-2011, 03:18 PM
Oh yeah, Thanks for the compliments HHH!

jmforge
08-12-2011, 03:55 PM
15N20 is a shallow hardening steel as Del said, but the good news is that it is not quite as shallow hardening as typical 1095 or W2. I would guess that at least 80% of the good carbon steel damascus knives out there contain some 15N20.

tk59
08-12-2011, 06:47 PM
Didn't see that at first. I see the 'lol" but I fail to see the humor in your statement. Isn't an interest in or desire to make kitchen knives what determines if someone "belongs" on a kitchen knife forum? Also, I thought this was the "getting started" section and not the "you don't know diddly so shut up and go back to making your silly bowie knives" section. Did I click the wrong subforum?:O I actually like talking steel although I have very limited knowledge with regard to forging/HT processes. My comment was a response to the fact the I asked one person about their "ideal" kitchen knife design and your contribution to the conversation was a comment about competition choppers. Your comment had nothing to do with kitchen knives, thus eliciting the "you don't belong here, lol" comment from me.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 07:01 PM
I was actually commenting about sub part 2, subsection a of your question regarding "toughness" :biggrin:
I actually like talking steel although I have very limited knowledge with regard to forging/HT processes. My comment was a response to the fact the I asked one person about their "ideal" kitchen knife design and your contribution to the conversation was a comment about competition choppers. Your comment had nothing to do with kitchen knives, thus eliciting the "you don't belong here, lol" comment from me.

tk59
08-12-2011, 07:24 PM
...As a former chef I like a thicker spine for pushing through tougher stuff and he also has thicker stock, I have all kinds of options!

My tougher stuff comment referred to this statement made by Fairly. It was not a question about steel toughness.

jmforge
08-12-2011, 08:38 PM
Well, then just consider my comment a wild tangent.:wink:
My tougher stuff comment referred to this statement made by Fairly. It was not a question about steel toughness.