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Thread: What is it about carbon steel???

  1. #1
    Senior Member Miles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Deep in the heart of a Texas kitchen

    What is it about carbon steel???

    What is it about a carbon blade that's so appealing? I like to keep at least one "stainless" gyutou in my kit, at the moment an HD, but I realized everything else is largely carbon. I like high performing stainless knives, but there's something about a carbon blade that's just somehow, more alive, I guess. The everchanging patina, the glint of a fresh edge against the contrasting patina, the way they take a wicked sharp edge. When I first tried a carbon blade, I definitely felt more of a connection to it than other blades. Maybe it's the old school quality of a carbon blade or just the slight cockiness you feel from wielding something which to many seems "antique" but can easily outperform a lot of the "new" knives? The way the blade demands more attention to maintain it? I don't know exactly, it's probably all those things and a lot more, but I sure do like me some carbon steel.

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  3. #3
    I have only just recently developed a liking for carbon myself, but there is definitely something about it.
    For one thing, you can (at least I do) pick up some nice steel for next to nothing at yard sales and such. Plus it's fun to bring something old back to life. Ease sharpening is a big plus, too.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member RoanRoks29's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Those are all the things that I love about them tooo!! There`s nothing better than having that sexy fresh edge line an the rustic old patina on your knife!! There is also that moment when you get some one barrows your knife after using a stainless slightly dull knife most there life and you just see that surprise in there eyes when they are like "HOLY **** THIS KNIFE IS SHARP!" hahaha Love it!
    I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room. -Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662)

  6. #6
    Senior Member rdpx's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    I don't have a carbon (yet?) but today after chopping up a whole load of horseradish with my CarboNext (which I had read only takes a very slight boring grey patina) I was thrilled to see it had taken a gorgeous blue and purple smoke effect all along the blade. It made me think about getting a full carbon...

  7. #7
    I like things that require care and attention. Some years ago, I used to own automatic watches that needed to be manually winded. It was a routine - you wind your watch every 24 hours and it gives you a best time possible (they weren't super accurate). I think same is with carbon steel. You know you have to make an effort to keep them dry, oiled, clean. I think when you you program yourself to make a conscious effort, even if it becomes a routine, you develop attachment and respect for your things. If you leave your dirty knife on a board overnight (you can do that with a stainless knife), that's says something how much you respect that knife as a tool.

    On a more practical side, carbon is always more fun to sharpen than stainless.

    "All beauty that has no foundation in use, soon grows distasteful and needs continuous replacement with something new." The Shakers' saying.

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  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Houston TX
    Mike, Didn't we just talk about this a couple months ago, and you ended up with my HD. You did sum it up perfectly. I couldn't agree more

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chefdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Outside the Beltway
    I guess I'm more of a pragmatist than many, but to me the bottom line is how easily carbon steel sharpens. It's just so quick and clean on the stones, whether thinning, adjusting bevels, or just touching up. But I still have and use stainless every day, they just don't make me smile when I sharpen them.

  10. #10
    I love carbon for most everything, but prefer stainless when I have to supreme citrus, or prep other super reactive ingredients.

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