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Thread: Rockwell & Blue Paper steel & White #2

  1. #1

    Rockwell & Blue Paper steel & White #2

    "The Tanaka Sekiso series of knives by Tanaka features handmade custom knives that are hot forged with Damascus blades. The core blade is made from Hitachi Blue Paper Steel (HRC 60 and up)."

    Above is an ad that I read. Rockwell 60 & up (not sure how far "up" that goes)

    I read another ad for a White #2 (different maker) with a Rockwell of 61.

    I was under the impression that White #2 was softer than blue Paper Steel.

    Can someone clear that up for me, or direct me to the proper source?



  2. #2
    Hardness is determined by the method of heat treatment, not the composition of the steel. Some steels get harder than others, but both white and blue steel can do 60-62 no problem. You can heat treat the same steel to a wide range of hardnesses*.

    The difference between white and blue steels is that white steel has less alloying elements than blue steel. Both are very nice.

    *is 'hardnesses' a word? I'm not sure it should be.

  3. #3
    Senior Member

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    Feb 2011
    Pensacola, FL, USA

    Hardness is a function of the heat treatment of a steel, not a particular steel.


  4. #4
    The steels can be heat treated to a range of hardness. Some steels are easier than others to heat treat to a high hardness, either of the steels mentioned could easily be heat treated to 60-61 Rc. Many of the Japanese knives heat treated by eye in a forge can range in hardness because of the limitations of doing it by eye.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by BurkeCutlery View Post
    *is 'hardnesses' a word? I'm not sure it should be.
    According to the Wiktionary it is:

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Top of Georgia
    I would argue that the heat treatment of a given steel is determined by it's composition therefore chemistry is relevant.

    I think in comparing steel it would be best to discuss in general terms. These two steels in general do not have the same hardness but two specific pieces of these steels could have the same hardness.


  7. #7
    Senior Member stevenStefano's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Norn Iron
    Quote Originally Posted by dennis7490 View Post

    I was under the impression that White #2 was softer than blue Paper Steel.
    Many people feel that blue steel has greater edge retention than white steel whereas white steel takes a better edge. I don't think there is a huge difference to be honest, blue steel is generally more expensive though

  8. #8
    Steels can be hardened in a range of Rockwells depending on the HT and tempering. Just because it is harder, doesn't always mean it's better! If the steel gets too brittle at the higher hardness, it wouldn't be as good performance wise if the edge chips. I do have a Fujiwara Terayasu Nakiri in White #1 that is reputed to be between 63 and 64 rockwell, but I have no way of knowing what it actually is w/o a tester!

    I have one of those Tanaka Blue Sekiso's incoming as a 270mm gyuto I also have one of his Blue #2 Kurouchi Nakiri's that takes a very sick edge off of J Nats. I have a white #2 Tojiro Shirogami Nakiri, but I haven't sharpened it up fully yet. The Tanaka Blue #2 takes a very nice edge.

  9. #9
    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Clayton, NC- surrounded by lots of trees
    I have a couple Tanaka damascus blue blades...I would guess them to be much higher than 60hrc....
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!

  10. #10
    Is the Tanaka knife handle D shaped or octagonal? I'm debating between that knife, the Hitachi Blue Paper Steel (HRC 60 and up) and the Gesshin Ginga 210mm White #2 Wa-Gyuto from far. Difference in price is the JKI is about $70 more expensive. As they say, I will forget the $70 down the road if the knife is great.

    Any input is appreciated. NOTE: I prefer a D-shaped handle, but I think this can be easily changed out at a place like JKI.



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