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Thread: please tell me more about Shiro-ko #3(white#3)

  1. #1
    Senior Member cclin's Avatar
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    please tell me more about Shiro-ko #3(white#3)

    hi: I'm thinking buy a Shiro-ko #3(white#3)Honyaki Gyuto. However, never have any experience with white steel blade. please tell me more characteristic about Shiro-ko #3(white#3)steel. does it get rust/patina easy? does it reactive with food? how about compare blue#1,#2, AS, white#1,#2 & 52100?? thanks!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    I had 1 knife that made of it. It was san-mai, not honyaki, but tempered very hard and the tip sheared clean off under normal use (no lateral or torsional force). The break looked like a piece of glass (no deformation, just a clean snap) so the knife was likely improperly heat treated. However, as the the other attributes it did see fairly reactive and pretty "stinky" with a strong sulfur odor.
    White #3 is less pure that either 1 or 2.
    As I understand it, White #1 is most pure and has the highest carbon content, but it is difficult to work with so few makers use it. It is also not known for having the best edge retention (although I have been impressed with mine). White #2 is less pure, but has some alloys that make it easier to work with and supposedly add some toughness and edge retention.
    White #3 is the least pure and has a higher allowed amount of some things like sulfur which don't really add anything positive to the mix. It's the cheapest of the 3 and also not used in many high-end knives.

    Again, so much depends on the skill of the maker and what characteristics they choose to bring out of the steel, but in general, white steels with get very sharp, very easily, but will also be the most "fragile" and be the least wear resistant.

  3. #3
    not exactly... its not less pure at all... just lower carbon. Yellow steel is less pure, but within white steel, they are all the same. Just the carbon varies.

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    I think the only difference is the carbon content. White #1 is the highest carbon content, then #2, then #3. max. P and S levels are the same. Perhaps you are thinking of yellow steel? which has a couple of thousands of a percent more phosphorus and sulfur? There is a graph of the composition of the yasugi steels out there somewhere.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cclin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBroida View Post
    not exactly... its not less pure at all... just lower carbon. Yellow steel is less pure, but within white steel, they are all the same. Just the carbon varies.
    one of my friend told me the higher carbon means better cutter! so, Shiro-ko #3 cuting perfornance not as good as wihite#1,#2?? but, it's less brittle than white#1/#2?

  6. #6
    cutting performance has nothing to do with it. Higher carbon equals higher hardenability (and usually does). Higher hardness equals better ability to hold acute angles and better edge retention. However, the cost of this is that the higher hardness also equals more brittle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin0505 View Post
    As I understand it, White #1 is most pure and has the highest carbon content, but it is difficult to work with so few makers use it. It is also not known for having the best edge retention (although I have been impressed with mine).
    I was always under the impression that white #1 had the best edge retention and takes the best edge, but is the most brittle of the 3. So perhaps white #1 has the best edge retention, but can easily dull due to chipping? I always thought of white #1 as the AS of the white steels.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cclin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    I was always under the impression that white #1 had the best edge retention and takes the best edge, but is the most brittle of the 3. So perhaps white #1 has the best edge retention, but can easily dull due to chipping? I always thought of white #1 as the AS of the white steels.
    I think AS not taking quite as keen of an edge as white#1

  9. #9
    so, steels.... here's a quick rundown...

    Hitachi makes a number of carbon steels. Here are the common ones found in knives.

    SK Steels (sk5, sk4, sk3)- the least expensive of the carbon steels and the lowest carbon content (#5 has the least carbon, #3 the most). This steel has higher amounts of phosphorus and sulfur than the other steels i'm about to mention. This steel tends to be tough (due to the lower carbon content and thus lower hardness). It also tends to be more reactive.

    Yellow Steel (yellow 3, yellow 2)- This steel is more pure (less phosphorus and sulfur than the SK Steels). It also has higher carbon content (#3 has less carbon than #2 in this case as well). This steel is commonly found in saws and wood working tools. It is also sometimes found in knives.

    White Steel (White 3, white 2, white #1)- This steel is even more pure than yellow steel (which is relatively pure). Once again, the lower the number, the higher the carbon content, so white #1 has the most carbon and white #3 has the least. The higher carbon (and hardness) leads to white #1 having the best edge retention of the white steels and also the best ability to hold an acute angle. White #3 has the best toughness.

    Blue Steel (Blue #2 and Blue #1... i'll talk about blue super later)- Blue steel is white steel with chromium and tungsten added to it. Blue #2 has the same amount of carbon as white #2 but has the added elements. Same for blue #1 and white #1. The added elements lead to better corrosion resistance and edge retention (as well as deeper hardening). This also comes at the cost of being more difficult to sharpen and not taking quite as keen of an edge. Blue steel also tends to be more brittle (ever so slight).

    Blue Super- Blue super is blue #1 with even more carbon, chromium, and tungsten added to it. Its the best of the hitachi carbon steels with regard to edge retention and ability to hold an acute angle (due to the higher carbon/hardness and added elements). This comes at the cost of being more difficult to sharpen, not getting quite as sharp, and being the most brittle of the bunch.

    So, in conclusion, the white steels take the best edge (#1 holding the most acute angle and #3 being the toughest), while the blue steels hold the best edge (Blue super being the best at this while blue #2 and #1 have better toughness).

  10. #10
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    Jon wonderful explanation as usual. Makes me want to get my hands on a white #3 knife

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