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  1. #1

    Honyaki question

    I think i understand what a Honyaki blade is about - a single piece of forged steel (as opposed to a clad steel blade with softer outer steel and a hard core).

    I have read that Honyaki blades have a better edge holding ability than non Honyaki blades of the same steel. Also i have read that they are more prone to chipping than non Honyaki blades.

    If the same steel and a corresponding heat treatment would result in the same hardness of a.) the whole Honyaki blade (apart from the upper part of the blade in case of Mizu-Honyaki) and b.) the core (and thus the edge) of a non-Honyaki blade, why should the edges be different in edge holding ability and being prone to chipping?

    Tom.

  2. #2
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    JBroida's Avatar
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    the heat treatments are not the same... not can they be... clad knives are heat treated differently from honyaki knives

  3. #3
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    The treatment of the steel during the knifemaking process is also slightly different e.g heating to forge welding temperatures to stick the layers together, and the potential for carbon migration from the core to the cladding could also be considered.

  4. #4
    I said 'same steel' but did not mean to say the same heat treatment. I meant a heat treatment that would shoot for (and result) in the same hardness of the edge. Is that possible and if it is, would the edges still differ in edge holding ability and being prone to chipping or would that be the same?

    Or is it the case that using the same steel, one can achieve a higher hardness in Honyaki blades and thus have the different characteristics? For instance due to the different heat treatment or because of this:

    TB_London
    The treatment of the steel during the knifemaking process is also slightly different e.g heating to forge welding temperatures to stick the layers together, and the potential for carbon migration from the core to the cladding could also be considered.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Crothcipt's Avatar
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    Different construction of both knives gives both "better" character. Usually the Honyaki is a lot thinner, and doesn't have a different steel for a core. The softer steel absorbs any shock that may cause some chipping with a honyaki. You can have both at the same hardness but the construction itself will be a big difference you see. Most honyaki's have the soft part of the blade on the spine vs. the softer steel in the middle. This needing a totally different heat treatments. Also higher hardness usually means more "chippyness"
    Chewie's the man.

  6. #6
    So, it boils down to the steel on the edge being similarly brittle when it's the same steel at the same hardness. Differences may be found in the structure of the steel itself, due to the different process used to produce the blade (heat treatment and such). Also the kind of blade (Honyaki or clad steel) is plaing a role in how the force is applied to the edge and thus how it's affecting it. Does this sound about right or do i miss something important?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Crothcipt's Avatar
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    There is a lot more to it than that.
    Chewie's the man.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Crothcipt View Post
    There is a lot more to it than that.
    Of course there is a lot more on the topic of blade steel than 3 sentences. More like 3 shelfes full of books.

    My question was simple, i thought so at least. I have read every thread i could find with 'Honyaki' in it in this forum (apart from every BST thread). I could find something supporting what my guess is now and some opposing opinions.


    If you know what's more to it, concerning my question, please share

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by TaJ View Post
    I think i understand what a Honyaki blade is about - a single piece of forged steel (as opposed to a clad steel blade with softer outer steel and a hard core).

    I have read that Honyaki blades have a better edge holding ability than non Honyaki blades of the same steel. Also i have read that they are more prone to chipping than non Honyaki blades.

    If the same steel and a corresponding heat treatment would result in the same hardness of a.) the whole Honyaki blade (apart from the upper part of the blade in case of Mizu-Honyaki) and b.) the core (and thus the edge) of a non-Honyaki blade, why should the edges be different in edge holding ability and being prone to chipping?

    Tom.
    The cladding would have zero effect on the chippiness or lack thereof of the same edge steel tempered to the same hardness. Things that WILL have an effect on chippiness with those two things controlled, are all in the heat treat. How long did it soak at quench temp before actually quenching? How high was the quench temp? What was the quench medium (water, brine, fast quench oil, food prep oils, motor oil? The options are endless here). What temperature was the quench medium at the time of quench? How long was the blade submerged? Was the quench interrupted? All of these things have a huge impact, and changing one only changes everything. The main goal is to get the blade hard of course, but controlling the carbides is right up there...and that is all in how a blade is heat treated. Large, irregularly spread carbides are BAD. They chip out very easily. Small, uniformly spread carbides are very, very good, and can increase edge retention and overall sharpness a hundredfold. Again, these things have nothing to do with the tempered hardness.

    On the cladding 'supporting' the edge...unless the core steel is thinner than the thickness behind the edge, this is a falsehood. Also, the whole concept of clad blades for performance is based in the making of swords (as is differential hardening, or 'mizu honyaki). The whole 'shock absorption' thing doesn't apply to a kitchen knife, or even to a cleaver for that matter. Imagine it this way...a 240mm (9.5") long piece of obsidian (very, VERY brittle) would chop on a cutting board forever without snapping. Now slam a 28" long piece down with the kind of force necessary to dismember a human being wearing even leather armor...and you get the picture. In all honesty, cladding is mostly used to bring the price down, by using cheaper low carbon steel for the body of the blade. This of course excludes stainless clad blades, which are clad for an entirely different purpose.

    I'm not sure if that helps at all, but I think it gives you a better overall picture of the processes...and can possibly help you to figure out a few other directions to research in search of your answers.
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

  10. #10
    Nicely said.

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