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52100 vs blue and white?

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inferno

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i dont have any 52100 steel knives yet but i'm planning on making a few.

those of you that have them, do you notice any difference between 52100 and blue/white?
 

M1k3

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I'd liken 51200 to White steel. Very similar in use and sharpening, slightly less reactive than White steel.
 

Alder26

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I have only used Tsourkan’s 52100 so I don’t know everything. That said, I would say 52100 falls somewhere between white #2 and blue #2 leaning more on the side of b#2. I tend to like blue steels better and I really like 52100 a lot. Enough to have 2 Tsourkan’s
 

AFKitchenknivesguy

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I have only used Tsourkan’s 52100 so I don’t know everything. That said, I would say 52100 falls somewhere between white #2 and blue #2 leaning more on the side of b#2. I tend to like blue steels better and I really like 52100 a lot. Enough to have 2 Tsourkan’s
I agree with this. It's my favorite steel.
 

LostHighway

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I haven't owned a 52100 knife yet but going by Larrin's data and assuming all else is equal it appears that 52100 should be fairly close to the Aogami steels in edge retention and a bit tougher than either Shirogami or Aogami steels.
 

daveb

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At some point all these steel comparisons eventually get to "it's the maker". That's been my experience, a couple three Markos, a couple of Haburns, from 52100 are among my favorites. I had a 52100 from another maker that I didn't care for - don't remember why. When I decide on a maker I want them using the steel that they like best.

And these discussions always remind me of our friends at Bloodroot. A new knife made from a scrapped submarine door with a bolster from a John Deer tractor blade and a handle made from cat litter would have a crowd trying to win the lottery for it. And I would be in that crowd.
 

Barmoley

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This is the conundrum, you can't discuss differences in steels if you don't assume good heat treat for the steels you discuss. Good heat treat is not a solid definition though, so makes it even harder to compare. For example munetoshi white 2 is very hard, honyaki might be even harder. Toyama blue 2 is very hard too. Shihan 52100 is very tough, but not as hard. Tsourkan 52100 seems to be a little harder. Tansu 52100 at 64 HRC is very hard, but yet seems to still be tough and tougher than blue 2 on toyama. Kippington 52100 felt similar to me. To me 52100 is closer to blue 2, but tougher at high hardness, can support thinner edges without chipping. I think 52100 gives you more range, can be extremely tough or hard, but still tougher than blue 2. Wear resistance to me is very similar to blue 2, but because you can get thinner edges at high hardness without chipping, might give you more at extremes. Hard to say really, but definitely good steel when done right for your application.
 

Matus

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@Barmoley you’ve nailed. I can only add that my BloodrootBlade knife from 552100 at 64.5 hrc (the value I was told) is surprisingly resistant to chipping even though is used for fairly tough work. I would not expect white2 with similar hardness to be quite as tough (just a gut feel, not a measurement-based statement)
 

ModRQC

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@Barmoley you’ve nailed. I can only add that my BloodrootBlade knife from 552100 at 64.5 hrc (the value I was told) is surprisingly resistant to chipping even though is used for fairly tough work. I would not expect white2 with similar hardness to be quite as tough (just a gut feel, not a measurement-based statement)
The confusing aspect about such assumptions, and I'm not saying they're wrong but probably misinformation/misinterpretation on my behalf, is that the finer grained and low alloyed a steel, the more it should resist chipping (not much carbides creating "stress points" at the edge) but tradeoff would be lesser wear resistance and edge retention. That was my understanding. And as such White #2 is among the simplest carbons out there, shouldn't it be quite resistant to chipping? I'd expect it at least to be on par with 52100, for the matter of that discussion, if pure science as I understood it applies?

Any rectifying of my own assumptions will be appreciated.
 

M1k3

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The confusing aspect about such assumptions, and I'm not saying they're wrong but probably misinformation/misinterpretation on my behalf, is that the finer grained and low alloyed a steel, the more it should resist chipping (not much carbides creating "stress points" at the edge) but tradeoff would be lesser wear resistance and edge retention. That was my understanding. And as such White #2 is among the simplest carbons out there, shouldn't it be quite resistant to chipping? I'd expect it at least to be on par with 52100, for the matter of that discussion, if pure science as I understood it applies?

Any rectifying of my own assumptions will be appreciated.
 

ModRQC

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Aaaaaah I see, I should have looked closely to the properties of 52100 of itself. Thanks @M1k3
 

inferno

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The confusing aspect about such assumptions, and I'm not saying they're wrong but probably misinformation/misinterpretation on my behalf, is that the finer grained and low alloyed a steel, the more it should resist chipping (not much carbides creating "stress points" at the edge) but tradeoff would be lesser wear resistance and edge retention. That was my understanding. And as such White #2 is among the simplest carbons out there, shouldn't it be quite resistant to chipping? I'd expect it at least to be on par with 52100, for the matter of that discussion, if pure science as I understood it applies?

Any rectifying of my own assumptions will be appreciated.
they pretty much alloy steel to get them tougher and more wear resistant vs the old plain carbon steels. 1095 and similar steels are fairly low toughness at high hardness in general. but it could still be enough toughness for the intended use.

cr, mo, v and ni are usually used to increase toughness. in low amounts, in high amounts it can have the exact opposite effect.
 

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I think what often gets overlooked is the right steel for the job. White #1 can achieve very high hardness with fine grain, thus its able to be incredibly sharp. It is a great choice to slice raw fish. White can handle a big range of uses, but if the job is loads of prep or tougher meats, blue may be the better choice for the job due to greater edge retention and less need for Supreme sharpness.. To tie in the 1095 example above, I would chose it over 52100 or any of the high alloys for bushcraft or camping in general. 1095 works great with a ferro rod, is tough with hrc in the 58 range and you can sharpen it on a rock.

Having said that, a lot of the various steels we discuss are good for a range of uses, but we should sometime include the specific job or duty it will perform.
 

Twigg

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What would you say is the right or best job for 52100 steel? I mean, what would be its ideal application in the realm of knives?
 
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Twigg

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Funny.

I meant what application does it excel at for the desired result? Would it make a supreme sujihiki and be an arguably better choice than most other steels? Would it be ideal for a yanagiba, besting white steel for the necessary sharpness?
 

daveb

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The makers that use it are usually pretty good at what they do and knives made by these makers are likely good at what they do. That said, I'm not aware of any western makers that make a yanagiba that I would want - not saying they're not out there but my experience is that single bevels remain the province of Japanese makers.
 

M1k3

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Funny.

I meant what application does it excel at for the desired result? Would it make a supreme sujihiki and be an arguably better choice than most other steels? Would it be ideal for a yanagiba, besting white steel for the necessary sharpness?
I'd say it make a good choice as daily driver in a pro environment. Tough enough to withstand poly boards and other hazards. Slightly less reactive than simple steels like White. Holds an edge really good considering how easy it is to sharpen.

It's not a magical steel. It's just another good one.
 

pennman

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Consider W2. Not white #2, but W2 steel.
 

Twigg

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Thanks @daveb @M1k3 & @Carterwhopkins for the responses. My take aways are that 52100 is a highly regarded carbon steel that is used by several Western makers and liked by users. It would seem to have proven itself with gyuto and probably petty and suji, but has not been taken up by the single bevel masters yet. This is what I was looking for, the application(s) in which it really shines. Too bad we don't really know how it would work in practice with single bevel applications. Based on what I have gathered, it could possible do very well sliding betwixt white and blue. Maybe one day we will find out.
 

M1k3

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Thanks @daveb @M1k3 & @Carterwhopkins for the responses. My take aways are that 52100 is a highly regarded carbon steel that is used by several Western makers and liked by users. It would seem to have proven itself with gyuto and probably petty and suji, but has not been taken up by the single bevel masters yet. This is what I was looking for, the application(s) in which it really shines. Too bad we don't really know how it would work in practice with single bevel applications. Based on what I have gathered, it could possible do very well sliding betwixt white and blue. Maybe one day we will find out.
Mainly single bevels being common in Japan while 52100 is more common in the Western world.
 
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It would work well for a single bevel....main thing is grind and HT. The Hitachi steels are harder to get in the US and 52100 or W2 is fairly similar in chemical makeup to the Hitachi steels, so they are more frequently used by Western makers. I am not sure many users could tell the difference between any of these steels and pick them out in a blind cutting scenario. If you give sample blanks of any of these steels to four makers (US or Japanese) and let them grind and HT each blade, you will end up with four different feeling knives.
 

Barmoley

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Thanks @daveb @M1k3 & @Carterwhopkins for the responses. My take aways are that 52100 is a highly regarded carbon steel that is used by several Western makers and liked by users. It would seem to have proven itself with gyuto and probably petty and suji, but has not been taken up by the single bevel masters yet. This is what I was looking for, the application(s) in which it really shines. Too bad we don't really know how it would work in practice with single bevel applications. Based on what I have gathered, it could possible do very well sliding betwixt white and blue. Maybe one day we will find out.
It would do very well in any kitchen knife application in which a good maker that knows this steel would apply it to. It is tougher and more fine grained than any of the commonly used white or blue Hitachi steels, so it would excel in any of the applications where these steels are used.
 
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