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Thread: Preferred steel for kitchen knives?

  1. #21

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    You hit the nail on the head, Daniel. You can make a very serviceable blade from O1 using something like the torch and goop method and probably get to 90% of the steel's potential if you are careful, but that is not what people on here expect. By contrast, I think that you can get quite a bit closer to the full potential of steel like 5160, 52100 or most of the 10xx steels using fairly rudimentary heat treating methods.
    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Fairly Knives View Post
    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.

  2. #22
    Mike Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBroida View Post

    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)
    Why is 1095 not a popular steel? When compared to white #1 and 2, there isn't much of a difference at all...a few points of carbon in #1. I like the hamon ability of 1095 and i just do not understand.

  3. #23

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    in all honesty its just not popular beause its not popular... it doesnt have any real hype and isnt any kind of crazy supersteel... that being said, it can be an awesome steel for kitchen knives with the right HT

  4. #24

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    Mike, A lot of 1095 developed a reputation over the past few years of being rather spotty in the quality and cleanliness department. Some people I know describe W1 as "clean 1095" and use it instead. Apparently, stuff sold as "water hardening tool steel" as opposed to "spring steel" is less likely to have boogers buried in the bar. Some folks have found the same problem with "generic" 5160 if you are not careful where you get it. That's why the super clean John Deere load shaft spec 5160 is kind of the Holy Grail to some guys who use that steel.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Davis View Post
    Why is 1095 not a popular steel? When compared to white #1 and 2, there isn't much of a difference at all...a few points of carbon in #1. I like the hamon ability of 1095 and i just do not understand.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Davis View Post
    Why is 1095 not a popular steel? When compared to white #1 and 2, there isn't much of a difference at all...a few points of carbon in #1. I like the hamon ability of 1095 and i just do not understand.
    Marketing.

    -AJ

  6. #26

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    The Hitachi stuff is no doubt some very clean and well made steel. However, I wonder how much of its reputation revolves around the natural hype and hoodoo of anything having to do with Japanese cutlery? The old "quenched in the blood of virgins during the full moon while facing magnetic north chanting Shinto scripture and tested on the bodies of prisoners" thingie.

  7. #27
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    I think those simple carbon steels are easily available and suitable for forging methods like san mai and heat treatment in charcoal furnace or gas oven. They are also shallow hardening steels, so you can create hamon on each of them. In terms of edge retention, there are steels that outperform those, yet very seldom used cutlery in Japan.


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  8. #28

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    Marko, I was thinking about the heat treat of traditional Japanese knives. Yes the steel that they start with is very good, but they are lucky that most of it is fairly simple stuff because heating the blade in the charcoal forge and dunking it in the slop bucket ain't exactly high tech heat treatment, ESPECIALLY when you are talking about the blue steel which appears to have a fair amount of tungsten to act as a carbide former. I know that they leave their "hard steel" at very high levels of hardness, but I have never really been able to figure out how they temper stuff like tahamagane or the modern steels for that matter, if at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marko Tsourkan View Post
    I think those simple carbon steels are easily available and suitable for forging methods like san mai and heat treatment in charcoal furnace or gas oven. They are also shallow hardening steels, so you can create hamon on each of them. In terms of edge retention, there are steels that outperform those, yet very seldom used cutlery in Japan.

  9. #29
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    W1 is certified 1095. I understand the "dirty steel" thing, but with the quality of steel as is being produced right now i would think there would be less to worry about. I personally enjoy seeing a nice hamon in a knife, as it gives a clue to a proper HT. It is not a guarantee that it is treated properly, but does offer some insight. I am a fan of simple carbon steels, as i cannot forge stainless steel. Getting White#1 or 2 in the us requires a ridiculous amount of money, and i think the W1, W2 and 1095 are good alternatives for these, none have a forgiving HT process though.
    I am pretty new to this yet, this is just my thoughts....

    Mike

  10. #30

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    Mike, from what I have been told, those steels are actually slightly more forgiving in the heat treat that say 52100 because you can do them over. The trick with W1, W2 or 1095 is having a quenchant that is fast enough to harden the steel properly without getting the dreaded "ping" and that generally means something like Parks #50 or the Houghton equivalent. As for the quality of some of the carbon simple steels being produced, you are safe if you buy steel from knife guys like Aldo Bruno, Kelly Cupples, Don Hanson, Ray Kirk or Scott Devanna, but beyond that, I think there is still some junk out there. I would be hesitant to buy any plain carbon steel from say Admiral.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Davis View Post
    W1 is certified 1095. I understand the "dirty steel" thing, but with the quality of steel as is being produced right now i would think there would be less to worry about. I personally enjoy seeing a nice hamon in a knife, as it gives a clue to a proper HT. It is not a guarantee that it is treated properly, but does offer some insight. I am a fan of simple carbon steels, as i cannot forge stainless steel. Getting White#1 or 2 in the us requires a ridiculous amount of money, and i think the W1, W2 and 1095 are good alternatives for these, none have a forgiving HT process though.
    I am pretty new to this yet, this is just my thoughts....

    Mike

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