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Pro chef's-to-be, please don't be put-off by carbon steel!
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Thread: Pro chef's-to-be, please don't be put-off by carbon steel!

  1. #1

    Pro chef's-to-be, please don't be put-off by carbon steel!

    I answered a "what knife to buy" post on another forum with my recommendation...(a white#2 gyuto) and the general response both from the poster and others was basically "carbon requires too much maintenance". I'd like to go on the record as saying carbon knives don't really require a "great" deal of care, only a tiny bit more than stainless. When I first get one, it gets a hot vinegar bath for a couple hours. This helps bring down the reactivity a bit and turns the steel gray. Then I take it to work and use it for everything. The steel will still be reactive at first, but if I'm mindful of drying it with a towel every once-in-a-while, all that's occuring is the foundation of a beautiful patina. The patina will continue to evolve indefinately, sometimes being partially erased by very acidic foods, then being built back up by raw meat, ect. So don't let carbon's scare you away, new members to the kitchen knife-nut world...I work in a pro kitchen and don't use anything but white #2 knives and I'll never go back to the shiny stuff . Oh yes, and after a week or two of steady use, the steel becomes very stable and you may fully enjoy the ridiculously sharp edges that one can achieve with a carbon knife. Also, sharpening on the stones will feel so buttery smooth....there's something about it that just feels right to me.

  2. #2
    Yep. Basic knife safety and hygiene dictates behavior that makes the difference between carbon and stainless nothing more than aesthetic.

  3. #3
    Senior Member VoodooMajik's Avatar
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    I love using my Carbons, but I find it you don't force a base patina on the knife it can be VERY reactive for a little while till things start to take hold. I love the way different steels behave differently. Dirty Fijiwara Carbon Steel has gone deep grey, cleaner steels have blues, purples. Love the character that develops.

    I feel being "forced" to keep your knife clean will help encourage a cleaner work space and reduce any cross contamination risks and health hazards. Nothing wrong with good habits, nothing to be scared of. Not for the minimal amount of work involved
    It's not the Answer it's the Experience

  4. #4
    Senior Member labor of love's Avatar
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    hot vinegar bath? ill have to try that sometime. i usually just let my carbons form their patinas naturally. i do agree white 2 gets a bad rap from time to time for no good reason.

  5. #5
    After reading a bit here (and looking at the pictures in the patina thread) I think I've pretty much changed my mind and will be getting the White #2 version of the Gesshin Ginga instead of the stainless whenever they become available again.

  6. #6
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    SpikeC's Avatar
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    I have had a hard time understanding the idea that a carbon knife was high maintenance because I have always wiped my knives down as I use them. Why would you leave crud on your tools?
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  7. #7
    Senior Member shankster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpikeC View Post
    I have had a hard time understanding the idea that a carbon knife was high maintenance because I have always wiped my knives down as I use them. Why would you leave crud on your tools?
    Not all pro kitchens are created equally.I work in a busy catering/production kitchen where I don't always have the time or luxury to baby my knives(run to the oven/stove/fridge etc etc..)
    I've made the switch to SS and semi stainless(Kono Swedish& HD)and I won't look back.thank you very much..

  8. #8
    Senior Member labor of love's Avatar
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    i dont know...ive worked in pretty busy places too and i use mainly carbon. if your busy on the line with pushing out alot of tickets then yeah get a semi stainless/stainless petty but in my experience gyuto work has never really been to busy to wipe down.or if its that bad just use stainless clad carbon. the only reason i ever give stainless the time of day is because the nicer ones have great edge retention.this is a little off topic but lately ive been thinking about how that zakuri 240 blue 1 gyuto for only $180 has got to be the best deal and would make a great first carbon knife?

  9. #9
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    I wonder what cooks did before SS?
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  10. #10
    Senior Member labor of love's Avatar
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    and theres nothing wrong at all with that gesshin ginga stainless! aeb-l and 1927c are my 2 favorite stainless steels. that gesshin is about as good as stainless gets without spending alot more $$$

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