From the little I know on the subject, I think the only advantage of Hitachi paper steels is that they can be adopted fairly easily to traditional forging and heat treating methods used by Japanese makers. Other than that, (well, forgot to mention hamon) I see no real advantage using White steel as it offers not much of edge retention. For home cook it might be OK, but for pros, it might be a handicap, unless you are prepared to sharpen your knives after every shift as many Japanese cooks do. For hamon, I would use W2, but if I were to make a performance knife, I would look for more complex carbon steels.
Talk to this guy he is in charge of answering cutlery steel questions at Hitachi metals America. hope it helps. son
Hitachi Metals America, Ltd.
2 Manhattanville Rd., Ste 301
Purchase, NY 10577-2103
(914) 694-9200 ext. 4814 Phone
(914) 694-9279 Fax
Hmm... I should have said better balanced carbon steels instead. Steels that have alloys in them to give you better edge retention and other benefits.
Bubba San over on knife dogs gave me a link to purchase some of the paper steels from germany and the price was about the same as many stainless steels after shipping was included. I lost the link in a computer change but I am sure he still has it.
Here's the link to buy Blue, White, and layered paper steels from Germany. The piece linked to here appears to be Blue #2 by alloy. For a piece sized 4.5 x 30 x 500 mm, they want 36.90 Euro. Shipping would be 29 Euro. Total rough cost for the one bar of steel, weighing approximately 1.17 lbs: 65.90 Euro. That converts to about $93.00 U.S. Too rich for my blood.
Interesting site, though. They have Tamahagane as well. Also very expensive.
In other words, you can make a thin, hard blade out of it and not have to worry as much about major or minor edge chipping as you would with many other steels. Some of what we think of as "dulling" is actually small edge chipping.
As far as White's potential for hamon, I see that as a reason to experiment with it on it's own merit. I don't like to think I put aesthetics over performance, but once you get into chasing the elusive hamon knife after knife, you want to seek out the materials and techniques that will aid you in achieving the ultimate result. I guess it's a type of art that's about the beauty and fickleness of grain patterns in steel. Not necessarily the right thing for every person or knife.
Great info. Thanks guys. I now have the ability to experiment and HT some new steels. Looking through this posts and it seems one of the first I should look into is W2. would be a good one to start with.
On a side note.. I have a question for you guys.
What stainless or semi stainless do you prefer in the kitchen?? and why..
I want to start with some mono stainless or semi stainless steels to tune in my HT process and choosing a "standard" HHH steel type that I like to work with and will do the JOB. etc. So this is my next step.. Im thinking we may do some cladding and stainless damascus at some point in the near future..