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For non-knife nuts, why carbon?
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Thread: For non-knife nuts, why carbon?

  1. #1

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    For non-knife nuts, why carbon?

    I know we all love carbon blades here, patinas, etc.

    I've thought about this a lot; if someone came up to me and asked what the advantages of a carbon knife were, I'm not sure how to answer. From what I know, there are stainless steels out there that can take a keen edge like a carbon steel will. Stainless theoretically needs less maintenance to worry about. No need to consider reactivity. Aaand for those who can't appreciate the patina, well, there isn't one.

    Is it cost?
    Ease of sharpening?
    Durability of edge?

    Thanks for schooling me

    -Don

  2. #2

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    IMO, carbon steel is better when price is a factor. Yes, there are stainless steels that are just as good, but they are not as readily accessible, the cost more, they are harder to work with, harder to laminate, etc etc.

    I think the Low-end world of knives still needs carbon. Middle to High-end knives, though...stainless has finally caught up. It's an aesthetic choice for me.

  3. #3
    Senior Member tkern's Avatar
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    For me its ease of sharpening and sense of tradition. I usually don't have time to work a knife from 700grit to 10000 grit and marvel at its prettiness. I need the knife to get very sharp, very quickly and retain that.

    On the tradition side, I feel that knives forged with carbon steel are carrying on something passed down and I enjoy being a part in that blacksmith/user chain. I know many non-carbon knives are forged well and with great care but its not the same for me. Perhaps thats irrational or unjustified but eh.

  4. #4
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    I don't recommend carbon to non knife nuts. Perhaps something clad, but non nuts don't constantly think about the tools in their hands. "I cut this box of lemons and now my new knife is dull and rusty.".

    What most knuts consider absolute minimal care is way over the top for the average person. After all - its just a knife.

    Ease of sharpening is handy, but most people, even pros, don't sharpen.

  5. #5

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    In my limited experiences... Carbon fine distributed grain + tiny (0.2-0.4u) carbide cut & feel silky, also easier to sharpen. Stainless alloy carbide mostly bigger than 1u, so cutting doesn't give that carbon silky feel. M390 is close to get that 'feel' - ******** Ultimatum m390 where are you?

    High density + hard carbide stainless can be challenging for avg mortal to sharpen. But, it sure holds the edge longer than carbon. Carbon patina looks nice but rust + acid dulling + lazy/abuse shy me from owning more carbon (including san-mai).

  6. #6
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    There is also the fact that recommending a beginners j-knife like a tojiro or a Fujiwara fkm is going to be light years ahead of what they are currently using.

  7. #7
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    Give me a PM anytime. But carbon still gets some love.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Shinob1's Avatar
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    For those who prefer carbon, do you still keep a stainless around incase you need to cut a lot of acidic food?

  9. #9

    stereo.pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinob1 View Post
    For those who prefer carbon, do you still keep a stainless around incase you need to cut a lot of acidic food?
    I imagine that question was geared towards a professional but as a home cook I never shy away from using my carbon knives. I love to sharpen so if my blade happens to get dulled from too much acidity I will gladly take the blade to the stones. This is especially true now that I have stepped up in the world of whet stones with my new Gesshin line up. Not to mention as stated above, there's something cool and old school about a knife with a heavy patina.

    Back to the original question, I am in the same boat as Dusty when it comes to never recommending carbon to a non-knife nut. For my best friend's wedding I bought him a set of Misono 440 stainless knives (Gyuto, Santoku and petty). He and his wife love to cook but they absolutely suck at taking care of knives. A year later, they've lost the petty, chipped the tip of the santoku and are afraid to use the gyuto because it is "too big" (210mm ). I will sharpen their Misono's usually once every quarter and am still amazed at just how easy it is too form a burr on that particular steel.
    Twitter: @PeterDaEater

  10. #10
    Senior Member Shinob1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stereo.pete View Post
    I imagine that question was geared towards a professional but as a home cook I never shy away from using my carbon knives. I love to sharpen so if my blade happens to get dulled from too much acidity I will gladly take the blade to the stones. This is especially true now that I have stepped up in the world of whet stones with my new Gesshin line up. Not to mention as stated above, there's something cool and old school about a knife with a heavy patina.
    I'm a home cook too and I prefer the carbon knife I have over my stainless. I like sharpening as well and the extra care so far hasn't been a big deal for me. I'm thinking of trading out my Gyuto which is stainless for a carbon one, but I wouldn't have a stainless knife, (other than my Henkels, but I don't use them any longer), and didn't know if an all carbon lineup would be unwise.

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