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Thread: Blue vs white steels

  1. #11
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    The discussion of steels is similar to discussing the ingredients in a dish. While it does matter, what is important is how the knife maker brings out and combines those qualities, in the final product. When looking to purchase, I am more interested in the reputation of the maker, then the type of steel.

    Jay

  2. #12
    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    since we're on the topic of white & blue steels, I have another question;

    why is it there are several single steel knives (not honyaki) available in primarily white #2 (and a couple in white #1 from what I've heard) but none in any of the blue steels?

  3. #13
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
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    perhaps because white is significantly cheaper. that would be my guess.

  4. #14
    there are blue steel honyaki knives... however, white is easier to work with and generally more user friendly which is why you see it more often

  5. #15
    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    [/FONT]
    Quote Originally Posted by JBroida View Post
    there are blue steel honyaki knives... however, white is easier to work with and generally more user friendly which is why you see it more often
    Is this true, John? Not questioning you, but I've read several sources that say white is HARDER to work with than blue. Here's a quote from the giant cypress page I linked earlier (granted this guy is talking about chisels and tools, but the steels are the same as in kitchen knives);

    So why would Japanese toolmakers choose one steel over another steel for making a tool? From a manufacturing standpoint, it’s easier to work with blue steel than white steel. If white steel is properly processed, the range of temperatures that you can use for the annealing/hardening/tempering process is fairly narrow compared to blue steel. Since the tolerances are tighter, it takes more precision and skill when working with white steel.

    On the other hand, white steel also is less expensive than blue steel, so it tends to show up more in cheaper Japanese tools. As you move up the ladder of price points of Japanese tools, I find white steel chisels and plane blades on the cheap end, because of the lower cost of materials, then inexpensive blue steel tools, and then finally high end chisels and plane blades of both white and blue steel, where the cost more is a reflection of the skills and experience of the tool maker.


    Is he correct? He states that blue is harder to sharpen to the same degree as white but holds it's edge better, which seems to be commonly agreed, so would that be why people think white is easier to work with than blue?

  6. #16
    Senior Member Potato42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    It's hard to say. So much seems to depend on the maker.
    Definitely. Much more so than the steel.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikemac View Post
    I know just enough to know that for me, as a home user & knife knut (and probably for most of us...) it really doesn't matter...let the knifemaker use a steel he is skilled with and you will be happy.
    I totally agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikemac View Post
    I just threw that number up there as some form of frame of reference
    Precisely 75% of all statistics are made up the spot.



    After you figure out if you want carbon or stainless the steel choice really becomes such a minor issue it's not worth debating very much. A good maker will use good steel and more importantly, they'll know how to properly forge, heat treat and grind that steel into an awesome knife.
    - Sean

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by mpukas View Post
    [/FONT]

    Is this true, John? Not questioning you, but I've read several sources that say white is HARDER to work with than blue. Here's a quote from the giant cypress page I linked earlier (granted this guy is talking about chisels and tools, but the steels are the same as in kitchen knives);

    So why would Japanese toolmakers choose one steel over another steel for making a tool? From a manufacturing standpoint, it’s easier to work with blue steel than white steel. If white steel is properly processed, the range of temperatures that you can use for the annealing/hardening/tempering process is fairly narrow compared to blue steel. Since the tolerances are tighter, it takes more precision and skill when working with white steel.

    On the other hand, white steel also is less expensive than blue steel, so it tends to show up more in cheaper Japanese tools. As you move up the ladder of price points of Japanese tools, I find white steel chisels and plane blades on the cheap end, because of the lower cost of materials, then inexpensive blue steel tools, and then finally high end chisels and plane blades of both white and blue steel, where the cost more is a reflection of the skills and experience of the tool maker.


    Is he correct? He states that blue is harder to sharpen to the same degree as white but holds it's edge better, which seems to be commonly agreed, so would that be why people think white is easier to work with than blue?
    he could be totally right for all i know... at the end of the day i'm not a blacksmith. I just know that in asking the same question to the makers i work with, what i said was the answer they gave me. Maybe different smiths think about it differently.

  8. #18
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Maybe it's like this:
    If you ask how to bubala (high rise pancake) and someone tells you you need high heat in the oven for about 20 mins, do you think you'll get it bang on every time? I doubt it!
    But, if the tell you 450* for 17 minutes, your life just got a lot easier.
    09/06

    Take a look around at: www.sharpandshinyshop.com

    Email me at: tmclean@sharpandshinyshop.com

  9. #19
    So on a semi- related note, if the end result is largely determined by the skill of the maker, what accounts for price differences in similar knives produced by a given maker where the only real difference is the type of steel used? Why might an aogami super knife cost $50 more than the same blade made of blue 1? Is this a reflection of the difficulty in working with a particular steel, cost of the raw materials, savvy marketing or something else entirely?

  10. #20
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    I bet it's a combination of the three.

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