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  1. #21

    JohnnyChance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    I don't really see a huge difference in most of these carbon steels in terms of sharpness. They all seem to get super sharp with minimal difficulty. It's when you get to stainless that it's tricky. It think it's funny that people talk about HT all the time. While the statement is absolutely true, there are few on this board outside of knifemakers that really know. In order to know, you have to try a lot of knives made of the same material. There is variation even between batches of the same steel. For example, carbon content for a steel can have a range of 0.90 to 1.1 % C. That is a HUGE difference, if you ask me. Even if you can feel a difference, what is it due to? What trade-offs were made? There are only a few things I think we can honestly evaluate with any sort of certainty: cutting resistance, sharpenability, toughness, grind consistency, reactivity. Even wear-resistance can be a little iffy since I really doubt most of the damage an edge takes is actually from wear. Why do you think relatively low carbon steels are so awesome? Anyway, I might have missed something but just my two cents. Get some good steel from a well-regarded knifemaker using what he likes to use and you'll be fine and the fact of the matter is that 90% of the Japanese knives I've tried have been at least very good, if not excellent or even outstanding, regardless of steel or maker.
    Yep.

    Nearly all of the makers and manufacturers we talk about and like here use perfectly acceptable steels and heat treats. Sure, one steel might be might better than another, and someone's heat treat might be better than someone elses, but the differences aren't that extreme. And, on top of all that, each person's experience and how they use the knife can change the results or how the knife's performance is perceived.

    If you gave 5 great chefs great produce from 5 local farms, would their dishes all be good? Probably. Could you pick a personal favorite? Most likely. Would your buddy have a completely different favorite than you? Possibly.

    We are in the upper echelon of kitchen cutlery, in materials and manufacturing. Most everything will be acceptable. Just buy knives in different steels and from different makers, because you can. Only real way to find YOUR best steel or heat treat.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyChance View Post
    Yep.

    Nearly all of the makers and manufacturers we talk about and like here use perfectly acceptable steels and heat treats. Sure, one steel might be might better than another, and someone's heat treat might be better than someone elses, but the differences aren't that extreme. And, on top of all that, each person's experience and how they use the knife can change the results or how the knife's performance is perceived.

    If you gave 5 great chefs great produce from 5 local farms, would their dishes all be good? Probably. Could you pick a personal favorite? Most likely. Would your buddy have a completely different favorite than you? Possibly.

    We are in the upper echelon of kitchen cutlery, in materials and manufacturing. Most everything will be acceptable. Just buy knives in different steels and from different makers, because you can. Only real way to find YOUR best steel or heat treat.
    Um, that's just what I was going to say.

    Most of the knives talked about here are going to be made of more than decent steels. Sure they have different characteristics, but the fine points of that shouldn't be your main concern. The ergonomics of the knife, blade style, weight, balance, etc will play a greater role in your like or dislike. Go handle some knives at Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table if you can.

    Oh yes, my choice:

    420J2 heat treated to RC64

  3. #23
    Senior Member Citizen Snips's Avatar
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    while i kinda agree that most of us are not going to benefit from the performance of different steel and the very minimal differences between some of the carbons, there is still something to be said for learning and educating yourself on the many steel types. doing the research and understanding them will be beneficial in other categories besides performance. knowing the qualities and differences will help us understand more about how each reacts to different sharpening techniques, wear and reactivity, and edge retention. all these are very important qualities when choosing a steel.

    im not saying that going with stainless is good or bad. ive gotten some wicked edges on stainless and bad edges on white 2, but the education i found about the steel was a linchpin in learning how to add retention or get more performance from each respective metal.
    It's like my ol' grandpappy used to say; "The less one makes declarative statements, the less apt he is to look a fool in retrospect"

  4. #24
    My favs:

    Carbon: White, 52100 + the combo of 1084 and 15N20.
    Stainless: AEB-L, PM and 416

    Big fan of sanmai, with carbon core and stainless clad

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen Snips View Post
    ...there is still something to be said for learning and educating yourself on the many steel types. doing the research and understanding them will be beneficial in other categories besides performance. knowing the qualities and differences will help us understand more about how each reacts to different sharpening techniques, wear and reactivity, and edge retention. all these are very important qualities when choosing a steel...
    Agreed. Although, as Larrin has pointed out, reactivity seems to depend more on finish than one would expect. In terms of the steel itself, it's probably more important to know if you've got a lot of undesirable impurities in your non-stainless.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by oivind_dahle View Post
    My favs:

    Carbon: White, 52100 + the combo of 1084 and 15N20.
    Stainless: AEB-L, PM and 416

    Big fan of sanmai, with carbon core and stainless clad
    I think you mean white #1, right? And the "pm" is what? There are dozens of "pm steels."

  7. #27
    Senior Member mateo's Avatar
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    I have rather limited experience, but my favorite thus far in my knife journey is White#2 -- sharpens well, not too reactive, and feels good on the stones. I find this personally easier than my Blue # 1 (Aogami), more responsive on the stones and I have a better instinct about what it is going to do.

    Stainless I have some VG-10 and SKD. The VG-10 is bleh to sharpen... the SKD has much better feeling on the stones, but is hard to deburr, as I've recently discovered I suffer from said affliction, according to Dave's recent post for those who don't have burrs...

  8. #28
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    Carbon: Aogami and C105 (not sure if this steel has the same name in the US as in Germany)
    Stainless: Becut Steel

    The Becut ist amazing in regards of edge retention. Even my Aogami Gyuto is no match for it. But I have to admit, quite a pain to sharpen. Very tough steel.

  9. #29

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    Any Crucible or Carpenter steel is best.

    Why?

    Because it's made in the good old U S of A, of course!


    The most important thing in choosing a steel type for a custom knife is letting your maker choose which they like working with the best. It's good to find out about the steel and heat treat from manufacturers because it is basically a test to see if they company/salespeople know jack about what they are selling you.

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