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View Full Version : white steel, for those who love it ,please tell us



DevinT
11-07-2011, 09:20 AM
the reasons why.

On paper it's not all that impressive. I don't have much experiance with it, a couple of Carter's, but it does get very sharp and is very easy to sharpen.

Hoss

Sarge
11-07-2011, 09:32 AM
I would estimate that is why it is loved so much. Gets amazingly screaming sharp, and does so rather easily, and has decent enough retention.

Mike Davis
11-07-2011, 09:32 AM
I have no experience with it, but on paper it is not too much different than 1095/W1....At least from what i saw, maybe i am a bit off on this.

Rottman
11-07-2011, 09:51 AM
I guess the low amount of S and P sure helps to set the Hitachi paper steels apart from some other "plain" carbons.

aaronsgibson
11-07-2011, 09:55 AM
Well, as it is already been stated, white steel gets very sharp, very fast. Granted it won't hold its edge as long as blue or AS steel, (especially on poly, I can feel my kono getting dull after so much use, but I do put a high natural finish on so won't say that, that doesn't help) But it's kind of a fun steel to have and use. My .02$

Iceman91
11-07-2011, 10:24 AM
I have a Carter in white #1 and i love it. It's my first knife in white #1, and it gets ridiculously sharp and is so easy to sharpen. I have found that it holds an edge longer than a few other carbon steels i have as well. I will be looking for more knives with this steel in the future.

Mike

jackslimpson
11-07-2011, 10:24 AM
the reasons why.

On paper it's not all that impressive ... but it does get very sharp ... .

Hoss

I must be made of white steel.

Cheers,

Jack

hien
11-07-2011, 10:39 AM
sharppp

ajhuff
11-07-2011, 10:40 AM
Excellent question Hoss, my guess, mythology.

-AJ

wsfarrell
11-07-2011, 11:32 AM
As a guess, white steel is more popular among home cooks than pro cooks, for two reasons:

1. Home cooks can sharpen whenever they feel like it. Pro cooks might have to go for several hours between sessions on the stones.
2. White steel seems to be be more reactive than blue. Again, home cooks can wipe it off after every carrot if they want to. In a pro kitchen it might sit around wet a little longer.

stevenStefano
11-07-2011, 11:56 AM
I think if you put a poll, most people would prefer blue steel to be honest. Perhaps one of the reasons for its popularity is that it isn't super-expensive generally? A lot of makers charge a premium for blue, whereas white is at a nice price point

Marko Tsourkan
11-07-2011, 12:02 PM
I am curios how long does a knife in white steel from a reputable maker hold an edge in a pro kitchen? I don't think I have seen a reference on this.

M

echerub
11-07-2011, 12:09 PM
Unless I know a particular maker specializes in blue, I'm not keen on paying there extra money for blue over white. I'm a home cook, so edge retention is not add critical a concern as for a pro user. It's not that I love white over other steels, it's just a good steel in skilled hands at a better price point.

Salty dog
11-07-2011, 12:23 PM
I like blue for the knives that are "extra duty" knives, ie: the Mizuno. I like white in general because of the ease of and level of sharpness. I can usually get two good shifts out of a white edge. However, I touch up after one shift, so to get more is a needless trade off. I can pretty much say the same for most of the knives I own. (Of various steels.) It's why I'm not a steel junky.

mpukas
11-07-2011, 12:36 PM
IMHO, white #2 is super easy to get super sharp. Edge retention is decent, not as good as the SGT and AS knives I own, but it's easier to strop/steel on a ceramic rod/touch-up on a high-grit stone to get it sharp again. I think I'd prolly prefer white #1 just for a little extra hardness and better edge retention. I don't have experience w/ AEBL or 52100, but really wanna try them. I'm slipping more into Salty's camp where steel isn't the main priority (as long as it's a good steel, carbon or SS, i.e. white, blue, AS, HD, AEBL, 52100, 61+ etc). If the design and geometry of the knife are not good I don't care what the steel is I won't use it.

JBroida
11-07-2011, 01:35 PM
honestly, i like the paper steels because those are the ones the makers i work with are good at heat treating... kind of how people look to Devin for his AEB-l

Some people are better at the HT for white steel, and some better at blue

JohnnyChance
11-07-2011, 01:38 PM
Excellent question Hoss, my guess, mythology.

-AJ


As a guess, white steel is more popular among home cooks than pro cooks, for two reasons:

1. Home cooks can sharpen whenever they feel like it. Pro cooks might have to go for several hours between sessions on the stones.
2. White steel seems to be be more reactive than blue. Again, home cooks can wipe it off after every carrot if they want to. In a pro kitchen it might sit around wet a little longer.

+1 to these. For double bevel knives, I haven't used White #1 that much, but have a knife in White #2 and I don't really care for it. Sure it gets pretty sharp quickly, but it loses it just as fast. And how much time does a White steel knife save you in sharpening compared to a more complex carbon or stainless steel? I don't really see "gets sharp quick" as a major advantage. I would much rather put in 5 extra minutes on the stones and end up with a knife that gets me through 5 shifts instead of 2. I do like Blue steel and Blue Super more than White, and if a knife is offered in both I will pay extra for Blue. I have no plans to purchase any more double bevel White steel knives.

wsfarrell
11-07-2011, 01:51 PM
honestly, i like the paper steels because those are the ones the makers i work with are good at heat treating... kind of how people look to Devin for his AEB-l.

I know some work on the mid-techs is outsourced. Does Devin do his heat treating in-house on these?

tk59
11-07-2011, 01:53 PM
...Gets ... sharp, and does so rather easily, and has decent enough retention.Pretty much this along with high purity and ability to achieve high hardness. (Can you put a hamon on white 1?).

JBroida
11-07-2011, 01:55 PM
I know some work on the mid-techs is outsourced. Does Devin do his heat treating in-house on these?

no clue... hopefully he can respond to that.

El Pescador
11-07-2011, 01:56 PM
I know some work on the mid-techs is outsourced. Does Devin do his heat treating in-house on these?

that's what Devin's known for.

Salty dog
11-07-2011, 02:24 PM
There isn't a knife made that will get me through 5 shifts.

wsfarrell
11-07-2011, 02:34 PM
that's what Devin's known for.

Interestingly, I just found this on his site. Sounds like the heat treatment is outsourced.

Mid-Tech knives, also sometimes called semi-custom knives, are knives made by a knife maker where some parts of the process are done by someone other than the knife maker. The goal of these knives is to offer a knife that is custom quality with a near-production price. Our mid-tech knives are made almost completely in-house. Using waterjet cutting for the profile, outside heat treating, and limiting the number of options keeps the price down. All grinding is done in-house but other employees in the shop help produce them. They are finish ground by hand.

Cadillac J
11-07-2011, 02:41 PM
I love white#2 because it isn't cladded, feels so refined on the stones, plus takes a killer edge.

If they made a monosteel blue#2 (not honyaki) knife with the profile and geometry I like, then of course I would try it...they just don't.

JohnnyChance
11-07-2011, 02:43 PM
There isn't a knife made that will get me through 5 shifts.

I believe you. Everyone's amount of prep is different, menu items are different, how they use the knife, even acceptable level of sharpness are different. For me at my current job, I can get a full week out of my edges. At other places where I did a ton of knife work prep every day, 1-3 depending.

wsfarrell
11-07-2011, 02:48 PM
If they made a monosteel blue#2 (not honyaki) knife with the profile and geometry I like, then of course I would try it...they just don't.

Would this (http://www.paulsfinest.com/Sakai-Takayuki-Aonikou-Blue-2-Carbon-Steel-Chef-s-Knife-Gyutou-240mm-9.5.html) work or do you need a wa handle?

Larrin
11-07-2011, 02:55 PM
Interestingly, I just found this on his site. Sounds like the heat treatment is outsourced.

Mid-Tech knives, also sometimes called semi-custom knives, are knives made by a knife maker where some parts of the process are done by someone other than the knife maker. The goal of these knives is to offer a knife that is custom quality with a near-production price. Our mid-tech knives are made almost completely in-house. Using waterjet cutting for the profile, outside heat treating, and limiting the number of options keeps the price down. All grinding is done in-house but other employees in the shop help produce them. They are finish ground by hand.
Fixed.

JohnnyChance
11-07-2011, 03:10 PM
Also, Devin developed and set the specifications for the heat treat on the AEB-L. Just because he isn't the one monitoring the oven, doesn't mean they aren't following his instructions.

DevinT
11-07-2011, 03:10 PM
When we first talked about doing the mid techs, it sounded like a good idea to have the heat treatment out sourced but I didn't find anyone to do it exactly like I wanted.

We have never sent anything out for heat treating.

Hoss

JBroida
11-07-2011, 03:14 PM
and there you go ;)

UglyJoe
11-07-2011, 03:19 PM
I like white #2 because it's cheap, it get's super sharp, the heat treat isn't THAT difficult (which I think leads to white's price point generally being pretty good, as well as to why it's available from so many different Japanese makers), and I've found the edge retention to be much better than many others here claim it is. I think if you get completely rid of the wire edge and your technique is good for the edge bevels you've put on the knife, white stays sharp a long time. At least in my experience. I'm not a pro cook, but I've intentionally tried to kill edges on my white knives just to test their retention and (unlike a lot of posters) I've found edge retention on white knives to be just fine.

Cadillac J
11-07-2011, 04:05 PM
and I've found the edge retention to be much better than many others here claim it is. I think if you get completely rid of the wire edge and your technique is good for the edge bevels you've put on the knife, white stays sharp a long time.

I'm in 100% agreement with you on this. Retention of my white#2 knives has continued to grow over time (as does with other steels), and my Konosuke gyuto actually impresses me with the edge that it holds nowadays. Also, many white#2 knives are lasers and people don't like to use coaser stones on these, but I have a feeling that not all the fatigued metal is getting removed in some cases, and retention is suffering.

Loving white#2 right now, more than I ever have (and I loved it before)...many great characteristics at an affordable price

ajhuff
11-07-2011, 04:18 PM
When you guys talk about the purity of a steel, what do you mean? As an iron metallurgist this concept is lost on me.

-AJ

tk59
11-07-2011, 04:23 PM
When you guys talk about the purity of a steel, what do you mean? As an iron metallurgist this concept is lost on me.

-AJ

When I say purity, I'm referring mainly to sulfur and phosphorous content, as opposed to element purposefully added as alloying components.

Rottman
11-07-2011, 04:31 PM
The Hitachi paper steels are esp. low on sulfur (specs state 0.004 % versus 0.015 on Aeb-l and 0.025 on 52100).

Larrin
11-07-2011, 04:38 PM
The Hitachi paper steels are esp. low on sulfur (specs state 0.004 % versus 0.015 on Aeb-l and 0.025 on 52100).
AEB-L is made by one company but 52100 could be made by any number of companies and have all kinds of different ranges on sulfur content.

ajhuff
11-07-2011, 04:44 PM
AEB-L is made by one company but 52100 could be made by any number of companies and have all kinds of different ranges on sulfur content.

Good point on single sourcing. All those numbers are max levels, not nominal. Unless you're receiving certs with your steel, you would never know if your 52100 P levels could be as low Hitachi white or 3x as high.

-AJ

tk59
11-07-2011, 05:03 PM
Good point on single sourcing. All those numbers are max levels, not nominal. Unless you're receiving certs with your steel, you would never know if your 52100 P levels could be as low Hitachi white or 3x as high.

-AJTrue. Nevertheless, I would imagine that it is generally more expensive to make purer lots (or obtain the nicer starting material). Would you make an ultra-pure lot and then sell it as any old 52100?

ajhuff
11-07-2011, 05:27 PM
Sure I would. :) 1) it isn't that expensive or difficult to reduce the tramp element levels. And 2) in order to maintain 6 sigma control, I'm going to keep those levels WAY under the maximum spec level. I doubt that P and S contribute much or anything to the knife steels everyone uses in regards to hardness, ease of sharpening or edge retention. Now in a meteorite, that's a different story. :D

-AJ

tk59
11-07-2011, 05:46 PM
Sure I would. :) 1) it isn't that expensive or difficult to reduce the tramp element levels. And 2) in order to maintain 6 sigma control, I'm going to keep those levels WAY under the maximum spec level. I doubt that P and S contribute much or anything to the knife steels everyone uses in regards to hardness, ease of sharpening or edge retention. Now in a meteorite, that's a different story. :D

-AJHaha. 1) If that was the case, why doesn't everyone purify down to nothing? 2) Agreed. However, when you're talking about a knife imparting flavor/odor to food, a little sulfur goes a long way. If you don't believe me, try making some fruit and veggie salads with a Kanemasa-M series or Fujiwara carbon series vs something made from a "purer" steel and you won't want to eat one of them without a LOT of wiping. Big, big difference.

JBroida
11-07-2011, 05:48 PM
mostly its just reactivity... sulfur makes a stinky blade

Larrin
11-07-2011, 08:40 PM
Sulfur reduces toughness and is bad for forging. Refining steel is expensive, the more refined the more expensive it is, of course like anything there are diminishing returns where you have to use much more expensive processing for small improvements in impurities.

tk59
11-07-2011, 10:11 PM
Sulfur reduces toughness and is bad for forging...Thanks for the info.

...Refining steel is expensive, the more refined the more expensive it is, of course like anything there are diminishing returns where you have to use much more expensive processing for small improvements in impurities.I figured as much.

kalaeb
11-07-2011, 10:17 PM
the reasons why.

On paper it's not all that impressive. I don't have much experiance with it, a couple of Carter's, but it does get very sharp and is very easy to sharpen.

Hoss

My experiance has been ehh. Nothing to write home about.

The W2 that I am using from JM Jones and your "mystery" steel far outperform my Carter, Konosuke and Tojiro.

ajhuff
11-08-2011, 10:12 AM
Thanks for the info.
I figured as much.

It's all relative. Part depends on your melting process, qbop, arc, vacuum, etc. Basic slag or acid slag. And then there is the charge make up. While 0.004% is low, 0.015% S or P isn't really. Even in Gray Iron I used to have to add FeP and pyrite to get above those levels, and/or drastically change my charge make up.

Don't forget that even if the upper spec limit is say 0.015% of something, the upper control limit is lower say, 0.010%. That means the target is 0.005%. At least that would be true for any producer with at least a decent quality assurance program.

-AJ

JohnnyChance
11-08-2011, 01:29 PM
I like white #2 because it's cheap, it get's super sharp, the heat treat isn't THAT difficult (which I think leads to white's price point generally being pretty good, as well as to why it's available from so many different Japanese makers), and I've found the edge retention to be much better than many others here claim it is. I think if you get completely rid of the wire edge and your technique is good for the edge bevels you've put on the knife, white stays sharp a long time. At least in my experience. I'm not a pro cook, but I've intentionally tried to kill edges on my white knives just to test their retention and (unlike a lot of posters) I've found edge retention on white knives to be just fine.


I'm in 100% agreement with you on this. Retention of my white#2 knives has continued to grow over time (as does with other steels), and my Konosuke gyuto actually impresses me with the edge that it holds nowadays. Also, many white#2 knives are lasers and people don't like to use coaser stones on these, but I have a feeling that not all the fatigued metal is getting removed in some cases, and retention is suffering.

Loving white#2 right now, more than I ever have (and I loved it before)...many great characteristics at an affordable price

You know, after you mentioned it, I do use my White #2 gyuto at home pretty frequently. Most of favorite gyutos stay in my knife bag for work, so I end up using this one at home for most things. I don't hate poly boards as much as some people, but I do think my White #2 benefits more from my end grain block than other knives. At work on poly, it seems to go really quickly. But I don't sharpen it that often and it's been holding strong for awhile now. I don't love the White #2 knife as a whole, there are other issues I have with it than the steel, so perhaps I should try another White steel knife that is more suited to me overall.

Lefty
11-08-2011, 08:24 PM
I'm a HUGE fan of white steel. Both 1 and 2 are a pleasure to sharpen, the reactivity seems really low to me, and best of all the price is right even when it's made by master smith.
As a home cook, I just get the feeling it's the steel to go for. The retention is good, reactivity seems low, and overall it's just plain fun. Maybe it isn't the best for a pro kitchen, but I can't help but think it's damned good in one.

Zwiefel
07-28-2012, 11:28 PM
honestly, i like the paper steels because those are the ones the makers i work with are good at heat treating

What are paper steels? :scratchhead:

Andrew H
07-28-2012, 11:31 PM
What are paper steels? :scratchhead:

The most common ones are white #1 and #2 and blue #1 and #2.

Zwiefel
07-28-2012, 11:45 PM
Oh...that simple? just categories of steel like that?

I've been conditioned to think everything on this forum is going to be more complicated than I first suspect :laughat:

Salty dog
07-29-2012, 12:07 AM
Still my favorite.

obtuse
07-29-2012, 12:26 AM
White steel may not have the best edge retention, but it sharpens up so easily. White no.1 is definitely one of my favorites.

keithsaltydog
07-29-2012, 02:48 AM
My first quality Yanagi was a Suisin 270 white Steel.It was used mostly for Sashimi platters for banquets.Also sushi topping we had one of those Japanese sushi rice machines,we would line up the rice on laquer trays,wasabi,then the topping.

Like people are saying here it gets razor sharp,deff. a great steel for cutting large quantities of fish.Yrs. later I got a Aritsugu Ako Blue steel 270 Yanagi.To me both are great knives.If I cut alot of fish in one night & need to do it again the next day,Lite touchup on polishing stone just to refresh the edge.

I am sure the heat treat on a hand forged Yanagiba is excellent.As well for good quality Gyuto,Deba,Usuba.Sharp edge is a plus,thats why I'm a fan of WS.For edge retention my Takagi Honyaki blue steel 240 drop nose Gyuto is superb.

For the Artiflex AEB-L steel Lamson sends out the blades for Heat Treatment.

keithsaltydog
07-29-2012, 02:52 AM
I should have said blanks to Peter's Heat Treatment.:knife:

ThEoRy
07-29-2012, 03:42 AM
Oh...that simple? just categories of steel like that?

I've been conditioned to think everything on this forum is going to be more complicated than I first suspect :laughat:

Now go ahead and ask why they are categorized like that. White, blue, yellow, silver etc... Go ahead, ask. :D

JasonD
07-29-2012, 04:21 AM
Cuz that's what color paper turns when they impregnate it with some of the steel, of course.

bkdc
07-29-2012, 02:54 PM
It's easy to sharpen to a rather impressive edge. And it's (relatively) inexpensive. The awesome qualities end there.

Gator
07-29-2012, 03:45 PM
I am curios how long does a knife in white steel from a reputable maker hold an edge in a pro kitchen? I don't think I have seen a reference on this.
I'm no pro but, FWIW.
I've had 4 Shirogami 1 kitchen knives (http://zknives.com/knives/kitchen/ktknv/steel/shirogami_1/index.shtml), 2 from Tadatsuna and 2 from Watanbe. Still have 3 of them, 1 Tada gyuto and 2 small paring knives from Watanabe. Both makers rate them at 62-64HRC, Watanabe is forged and dunno about Tadas.

Mixed results. Gyuto doesn't really measure up to Aogami or ZDP-189 knives. On paring knives results are better, and I suppose that's because I'm using high polished edge on all of them, and I tend to slice a lot more with gyutos and use mainly push-cutting with small knives.

Zwiefel
07-29-2012, 07:29 PM
Now go ahead and ask why they are categorized like that. White, blue, yellow, silver etc... Go ahead, ask. :D

"Why....what is the basis for categorization like that," he asked trepidatiously.

James
07-29-2012, 07:42 PM
"Why....what is the basis for categorization like that," he asked trepidatiously.

I'll let theory answer this, but the reason is totally nontrivial :lol2:

Pensacola Tiger
07-29-2012, 07:49 PM
Cuz that's what color paper turns when they impregnate it with some of the steel, of course.

:rofl2:

K-Fed
07-29-2012, 09:26 PM
I don't know if anyone else feels the same way but the thing I loved the most about white steel, especially while working to hone my sharpening technique is that it does get wickedly sharp very easily but you can also eff' it up just as quickly making it a fantastic steel to learn sharpening with. It will let you know imediately when things don't go quite right if you stop and check often enough. The fact that it requires sharpening relatively often and or touch ups doesn't hurt either.

Zwiefel
08-05-2012, 07:21 PM
I don't know if anyone else feels the same way but the thing I loved the most about white steel, especially while working to hone my sharpening technique is that it does get wickedly sharp very easily but you can also eff' it up just as quickly making it a fantastic steel to learn sharpening with. It will let you know imediately when things don't go quite right if you stop and check often enough. The fact that it requires sharpening relatively often and or touch ups doesn't hurt either.

Those are valuable comments for me...thans K-Fed!