AEB-L knife questions

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Ggmerino

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I really want to try a knife in aeb-l steel as I am very curious about its qualities. Are all aeb-l knives stamped? Does anyone really hammer forge aeb-l knives? I am aware of the various hardnesses and heat treats. Can anyone recommend a maker for a quality aeb-l gyuto? Laser grind (thin behind the edge and aggressive taper to the point), good height, and any food release qualities a plus (s- or hook grind or hammer marks, finish). Thanks in advance for the education.
 

M1k3

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Forged and stamped are 2 different things. A knife can be forged, then stamped to shape.

The only j-knives I know that is definitely AEB-L is the Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef and the stainless Ashi/Gesshin Ginga.
 

tostadas

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Shihan also works with AEBL. I don't know about how thin he typically makes them, but you can reach out directly and ask.
 

blokey

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Kanehide uses PS60 steel, which is said to be very close to AEB-L. Many Western smiths use them tho, Tsourkan, Shihan, Devin Thomas, Fredrik Spare, Greg Cimms (He actually just released some Nitro-V knives, which are very close to AEB-L) Pig Iron Forge. For J-lasers you can't go wrong with Gesshin Ginga, slightly harder than the regular Ginga.
 

captaincaed

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AEBL seems to be one of the few common steels where there's a real gulf between an adequate and a great HT. Many modern steels seem to be developed to be more forgiving to HT.

I was also a fan of Bidinger AEBL. Just a PA, but no hint of dullness after a week of use
 

Bensbites

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I know western makers that will heat up Aebl and add distal taper or texture with a hammer. Beyond that I have never seen it sold as round stock. All steel e en sheets used for stock removal are forged. It the factory forging it to thickness or a maker.

you can Aebl /cpm154 that’s been forge welded. .
 

MSicardCutlery

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Devin Thomas has called AEB-L the stainless 52100, and testing seems to corroborate that. 62/63hrc would be perfect for kitchen knife, it can be taken to 65 hrc, but it's much weaker at that hardness, requiring a hotter austenitizing temp. Any softer than 62 hrc, and I think it would be somewhat lackluster as a kitchen knife.

I've compared AEB-L at 63 hrc, to W2 at 64 hrc on nearly identical knives, side by side for cutting feel, and while AEB-L doesn't have quite the same bite that W2 does, it's really close. In a blind test you might not notice the difference.

AEB-L was designed as a low carbide razor and scalpel steel, it's fairly easy to sharpen, but not a high wearing steel. You can expect similar performance to a carbon steel, just with corrosion resistance.

I could be wrong, but I don't think you'll have much luck finding hammer marked blades made from it. AEB-L has a notorious propensity for warping-worse than any other steel I know of, and for that reason most makers do all of their grinding on it post HT, and stick to stock removal.
 

Matt Jacobs

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Jamison Chopp and Alex Horn do great AEB-L. DCB customs is pretty bullet proof. One of my favorites is Doghouse forge, fantastic heat treat. AEB-L is one of my all time favorite knife steels. I find it the easiest steel to sharpen and in my opinion holds an edge way better than white steel. As much as I love the carbon steels I will always own at least one in AEB-L for acidic foods if nothing else. I would almost go as far as saying I have never had a bad heat treat in AEB-L, unlike 52100 for example where I have seen quality all over the board.
 

Benuser

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Marko and Devin are very good w AEBL. Have both, both are favs. I'm sure there are others.

I have had some that was very average - me thinks it's the heat treatment that makes the magic. I would avoid it in mass or factory produced knives.
Have been allowed to use a fantastic Habburn AEB-L. And a lot of indifferent ones. Hard to believe it was the same steel.
 

timebard

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My Kippington WP in AEBL is a fantastic knife... I don't have a really strong opinion on the steel, but it's easy to sharpen for a stainless, very sturdy, and holds an edge pretty respectably (in fairness, I haven't used anything with better retention than AS, so take with a grain of salt). I have a Dalman in AEBL on the way and am stoked to try it and compare the two.
 

Ggmerino

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Kanehide uses PS60 steel, which is said to be very close to AEB-L. Many Western smiths use them tho, Tsourkan, Shihan, Devin Thomas, Fredrik Spare, Greg Cimms (He actually just released some Nitro-V knives, which are very close to AEB-L) Pig Iron Forge. For J-lasers you can't go wrong with Gesshin Ginga, slightly harder than the regular Ginga.
Thanks- am looking into Nitro-V, did not know about PS60.
 

Ggmerino

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Anyone familiar with Pie Cutlery AEB-L knives? They have a stainless clad white #1 I have lusted over for a bit. Haven’t seen much commentary about them.
 

Jason183

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I also did not know they were AEB-L. Not clear from description. Thanks.
Not 100% sure, liked others have said Jon would liked to keep it as proprietary. I just heard it’s similar as Ashi Ginga(AEB-L 59 HRC) but heat treated harder to 61 HRC and better fit&finish.

AEB-L heat treated to 61+- is the perfect range IMO, it holds the best edge while still chip resistance, I heard AEB-L above 63HRC can be brittle
 
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blokey

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Not 100% sure, liked others have said Jon would liked to keep it as proprietary. I just heard it’s similar as Ashi Ginga(AEB-L 59 HRC) but heat treated harder to 61 HRC and better fit&finish.

AEB-L heat treated to 61+- is the perfect range IMO, it holds the best edge while still chip resistance, I heard AEB-L above 63HRC can be brittle
Razor sharp Singapore did say their Ashi Ginga is AEB-L treated to 61 HRC, I assume they are similar to Gesshin. I have the Gesshin Ginga cleaver and absolutely love it, good edge retention and easy to sharpen than most stainless.

 
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Jamison Chopp and Alex Horn do great AEB-L.

Do you know if they forge and heat treat their own AEB-L at this point or source it from someone else? I was looking at a funayuki / small gyuto from each but seem to recall reading that they started out using AEB-L while they were still in the process of opening their own shop.
 

Matt Jacobs

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Do you know if they forge and heat treat their own AEB-L at this point or source it from someone else? I was looking at a funayuki / small gyuto from each but seem to recall reading that they started out using AEB-L while they were still in the process of opening their own shop.
I don't believe they forge their own AEB-l. I know they forge Damascus and San Mai but I could be wrong.
 

Matt Jacobs

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Anyone familiar with Pie Cutlery AEB-L knives? They have a stainless clad white #1 I have lusted over for a bit. Haven’t seen much commentary about them.
watch home butcher on Instagram. He puts out 25-30% off deals monthly and stocks a bunch of Pie Cutlery
 

Alex Horn

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Do you know if they forge and heat treat their own AEB-L at this point or source it from someone else? I was looking at a funayuki / small gyuto from each but seem to recall reading that they started out using AEB-L while they were still in the process of opening their own shop.

Right now our AEB-L is all stock removal, heat treated from Peter's. Stainless forging can be tricky, so unless someone really knows what they're doing with forging it, it's usually easier to ruin stainless by forging it than improving it.

The first batch we sent to Peter's was in April of 2020. They were on full priority for medical or emergency services, so we had no idea when we'd get them treated. We asked for 62 HRC, but got 60-61. We were setting up shop and needed knives to work on, and were very lucky that they even got to our batch, so we weren't in a place to complain.

That being said, we've had really good reviews of the heat treat. I know there's one guy that vehemently despises AEB-L unless it's his very specific heat treatment, but I tend to underestimate AEB-L and it always seems to surprise me. It's a very good, user friendly steel, even when ground super thin.
 
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Right now our AEB-L is all stock removal, heat treated from Peter's. Stainless forging can be tricky, so unless someone really knows what they're doing with forging it, it's usually easier to ruin stainless by forging it than improving it.

The first batch we sent to Peter's was in April of 2020. They were on full priority for medical or emergency services, so we had no idea when we'd get them treated. We asked for 62 HRC, but got 60-61. We were setting up shop and needed knives to work on, and were very lucky that they even got to our batch, so we weren't in a place to complain.

That being said, we've had really good reviews of the heat treat. I know there's one guy that vehemently despises AEB-L unless it's his very specific heat treatment, but I tend to underestimate AEB-L and it always seems to surprise me. It's a very good, user friendly steel, even when ground super thin.

This site is incredible. I ask a simple question, and not only do I get helpful feedback from a knowledgeable poster but I get direct information from the actual maker. Thanks!
 

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Matt Jacobs

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I cant give you a ton of info here but in my opinion a Shi.Han is a fantastic all around daily workhorse. an Alex Horn is going to be an absolute laser, in fact the AEB-L of his that I tried moved through product better than any other knife I have tried. I agree pick the maker or design you like and dont worry about the steel. Pick a handle type you like. What are you looking for in your knife?
 

Ggmerino

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I agree pick the maker or design you like and dont worry about the steel. Pick a handle type you like. What are you looking for in your knife?

I want something that can go through soft produce when I don’t want any color or smell due to carbon steel reactivity as with most of my other knives (e.g., think raw onions, limes and mangoes). The steel, heat-treat and geometry are primary to me. I love sharpening and trying different steels is fun. I generally prefer a bit of height and shoulder, but am willing to try different styles, handles and grips- I actually like some variety in my knives in that regard- forces me to use various cutting styles and it keeps the calluses spread out. That‘s why this is difficult. I have heard Shi.Han is a bit of a workhorse compared to some of the lasers on the list but I love his unpretentious style and textured blade finish.
 
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