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Thread: Preferred steel for kitchen knives?

  1. #11

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    W2 was a steel that was on its way out the door. Some have expressed concerns recently that O1 may be on the outs too. In many tool applications, W2 had been replaced either by W1, O1 or one of the nominal air hardening tool steels like A2 and D2.. IIRC, the stuff that Don Hanson, Jason Knight and others found a few years back had been "out of circulation' for ten years and was leftover stock from a GM order. What has made it popular with us metal pounders is the quality of the stuff that we have, its combination of toughness and wear resistance and the fact that that it's shallow hardening makes it ideal for getting a wicked looking hamon. it also has a reputation of being a little less tempermental than O1 as far as red shortness and air hardening and 52100 in that you don't have to nail the quench right the first time. You can do it over again. The only real downside is that is can be so shallow hardening that in thicker cross sections, you can often get an "accidental hamon" where it doesn't harden through. I suspect that is not a problem in sections as thin as kitchen knives, but I will differ to my brethren who have used it in that application because I haven't made any W2 knives less than about 3/16 thick at the ricasso. Bill Moran used a lot of W2 when it was readily available and he said that it was almost as tough as 5160, had the potential to take a better edge and hold it longer. The good news is that Aldo Bruno had a batch cooked up in Germany that appears to be very similar to the round bar stock that Don Hanson has been selling and it is available in flat stock as thin as .103.
    Quote Originally Posted by RRLOVER View Post
    I am fond of AS,01,52100.I have used most of anything that has been made into a chef knife.As for W2 it has not been used enough in kitchen blade as far as I can see,I guess someone here can change that.

  2. #12
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    Ma favorite steel I've used is, unequivocally, Murray Carter's White #1. I also like 52100, blue#2, and White #2, um, a lot ... as of late, I am far less a fan of stainless... though, I am very interested in stainless clad carbon kitchen knives - I dont think there are enough out there.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdoublestack View Post
    Ma favorite steel I've used is, unequivocally, Murray Carter's White #1. I also like 52100, blue#2, and White #2, um, a lot ... as of late, I am far less a fan of stainless... though, I am very interested in stainless clad carbon kitchen knives - I dont think there are enough out there.
    i wish i had an oppritunity to compare white #1 and #2
    Music--Food .:':. Dancing--Eating

  4. #14

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    Great information here! Here are my rambling thoughts...

    I have been researching the blue and white steels and I'm not too sure what to think they are, I guess they are a very high carbon (1.5%?) simple steel? I wonder where I buy the stuff. Hitachi might have it but I haven't researched much yet.

    The 52100 seems very popular, it is good stuff. I have been looking in to ordering some 3/32-5/32 for kitchen knives.

    I have been working with O1, S7, 5160, 1084fg and Titanium for my knives at the moment. (mainly 5160 for choppers and O1 for everything else) I'm leaning towards buying more air hardening steels because they are so stable during heat treat, I even have a plate quench setup on the way. A2 is on the list. Water hardening steels are cool for the hamon but I really don't like them for my knives. My 5160 and S7 seem like overkill for kitchen use, they would be good heavy duty chopper steels but maybe not the best for everyday slicing.

    I have some .070 Ti coming in for some wild carbidized edge chef's knives!

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by mdoublestack View Post
    I am very interested in stainless clad carbon kitchen knives
    +1

    I really like Carters White over my Hiro AS
    Havent tried 52100.

  6. #16

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    stephan fowler does a killer HT with W2... very impressive for a kitchen knife
    likewise, there are many makers out there who do great things with 01 (and just as many if not more that have no clue what they are doing)

    To be honest, i think its a lot less about the steel (as long as you pick a generally good one) and more about what you bring to the table with the HT and grind

    you could make a killer knife out of 1095 (which isnt popular at all), but if you had an awesome HT and grind, i'm sure people would buy it (especially if they have a chance to see if or other examples of similar work)

  7. #17

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    If you aren't set up to give O1 a nice, long controlled soak, you should probably be using something else like 1080 or 1084. The same it true to a slightly lesser extent with W2. No reason to leave some performance potential on the table.
    Quote Originally Posted by JBroida View Post
    stephan fowler does a killer HT with W2... very impressive for a kitchen knife
    likewise, there are many makers out there who do great things with 01 (and just as many if not more that have no clue what they are doing)

    To be honest, i think its a lot less about the steel (as long as you pick a generally good one) and more about what you bring to the table with the HT and grind

    you could make a killer knife out of 1095 (which isnt popular at all), but if you had an awesome HT and grind, i'm sure people would buy it (especially if they have a chance to see if or other examples of similar work)

  8. #18
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    Actually, O1 doesn't need a long soak, at least according to the Devins.
    Spike C
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  9. #19

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    I'm going by what I recall Kevin Cashen saying about O1. Long soak may have been the wrong term. Not hours, but 5-20 minutes, which you would really have trouble doing in a regular forge. A Fogg style drum forge or something like a black iron baffle pipe with a thermocouple in a forge on LOW temp is about as primitive as i would want to go. Cashen does his in salt and does a little demonstration where he takes an untempered O1 blade right out of the low temp salt quench and drops it point first onto the concrete floor with no ill effect.
    Quote Originally Posted by SpikeC View Post
    Actually, O1 doesn't need a long soak, at least according to the Devins.

  10. #20

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    Thanks again everyone for the help, it is always good to hear what the people want! I was expecting to see more stainless steels mentioned but it looks like lower Chromium content wins again!

    On the O1 I use it a lot and it requires a 10 minute soak time from what I understand. It takes a while for everything to get in to solution with O1, it will harden fine with a short soak or just taking past critical but it will be nowhere near is's potential.

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