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Thread: Blue Steel #2 vs White Steel #2

  1. #1

    Blue Steel #2 vs White Steel #2

    I searched the forum and couldn't find a head to head comparison. I am sure it is out there an apologize if I overlooked a thread but can someone give me a quick rundown on which steel is better?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Lexington, KY
    One is not better than the other, really. They are just slightly different.
    Check out for comparing any steel you may want to.

  3. #3
    better is not very easy to say... they are different for sure. Here's a brief rundown on steels made by hitachi-

    The most basic and cheap steels made by hitachi are the sk steels (sk3, sk4, sk5). These are pretty simple carbon steels that arent particularly pure (sulfur and phosphorus). When you increase the purity a bit, you get yellow steel (yellow 3, yellow 2). These are more pure than the sk steels, but still not super pure. The lower the number, the more carbon the steel has (i.e. sk3 has more carbon than sk4, and yellow 2 has more carbon than yellow 3). When you increase the purity of yellow steel, you get white steel. (white 3, white 2, and white 1). White steel is a simple, pure carbon steel that takes a great edge, sharpens easily, and has good toughness. From white steel, when you add a bit of chromium and tungsten, you get blue steel (i.e. white #2 plus a bit of chromium and tungsten yields blue #2... the carbon level is equal). Blue steel has better edge retention and corrosion resistance than white steel at the cost of not getting quite as sharp, being a bit more difficult to sharpen, and being a bit more brittle. Blue #1 would be white #1 with chromium and tungsten added. Blue super is created by taking blue #1 and adding even more carbon, chromium, and tungsten. It has the best edge retention and corrosion resistance at the cost of being more brittle and tougher to sharpen. So if you wanted to make a scale with the white and blue steels most often used in kitchen knives, with one side being the easiest to sharpen and having the best toughness and the other side having the best edge retention and corrosion resistance (but being a bit more brittle), on the first end you would have white #2 (or white #3, but #2 is more common) and on the other side, blue super.

    Does that make sense?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Keep in mind that while blue steel is more corrosion resistant, that is really a pretty minor effect, in my experience. There is very little chromium in any of them and some (or nearly all) of it is probably tied up in carbides. I would also say that in the grand scheme of things, they are all terribly easy to sharpen when done right. In my mind, it's really an ultimate sharpness vs wear resistance trade-off.

  5. #5
    Senior Member sel1k1's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Bay Area
    Great thread.

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    99Limited's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    LVW, Manchester, NJ
    Quote Originally Posted by JBroida View Post
    and heat treatments can vary and make a big difference
    This should be written in big, bold letters any time steel comparisons are brought up.

  8. #8
    It makes a very dramatic difference.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Seth's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    I asked this once before but didn't really get my question across -- so, if you have blue 2 that is low temperature forged are you moving toward the best of both worlds?
    Everywhere you go, there you are.

  10. #10

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