Notable makers primarily using stainless cladding w/carbon core - why?

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Joined
Feb 4, 2023
Messages
328
Reaction score
874
Location
PNW
I was admiring the patina thread and was thinking about how the general consensus I've picked up (at least on this forum), is that there's a preference for carbon clad knives if the core steel is carbon. There's some notable makers who primarily make stainless clad knives w/carbon cores (e.g. Toyama, TF, Wakui).

I'm curious if there's specific reasons they go that route vs. carbon clad? Do stainless clad knives sell better to the general public? Are materials cheaper or more readily available?

Curious if any KKF folks knows more on the subject.

Thanks!
 
I was admiring the patina thread and was thinking about how the general consensus I've picked up (at least on this forum), is that there's a preference for carbon clad knives if the core steel is carbon. There's some notable makers who primarily make stainless clad knives w/carbon cores (e.g. Toyama, TF, Wakui).

I'm curious if there's specific reasons they go that route vs. carbon clad? Do stainless clad knives sell better to the general public? Are materials cheaper or more readily available?

Curious if any KKF folks knows more on the subject.

Thanks!
On a functional level, stainless clad is much easier to care for than iron clad. I prefer iron clad, but understand the need for stainless—I have both.
 
I don't know that there would be a KKF consensus for iron clad. This topic has often been adressed and at best it's around 50/50.

If you ask me, I'll never buy White steel in iron clad again. But I own some Blue steel and it's fine.

I'd generally prefer SS clad. But as the maker see fit is usually best.
 
On a functional level, stainless clad is much easier to care for than iron clad
And a tool has to be functional in the first place, right? Otherwise it'd be no tool.
That is not to say i enjoy some patina but yeah i would say the majority wants stainless.

Why would the average cook (home or pro) get a knife that eventually rusts within a few minutes ot faster (aka iron clad), is the more interesting question.
It might be a tiny bit easier to thin and it turns funky colours but other than that it is just more effort in actual use.

I personally got rid of very reactive iron clads. Only stainless clad and mono steels left. If i was having a dedicated slicer for proteins though it would definitely be monosteel carbon or iron clad.

Carter and Toyamabe have done stainless clads as long as i have been interested in kitchen knives. I think they are not only brilliant but also smart blacksmiths.
 
but it is still interesting that there are so many stainless clad carbon options.

personally that's my least fav combo out of carbon/carbon, stainless/stainless and stainless clad/carbon core.

guess the smiths want to work with carbon but think it wont sell with iron cladding?
 
And a tool has to be functional in the first place, right? Otherwise it'd be no tool.
That is not to say i enjoy some patina but yeah i would say the majority wants stainless.

Why would the average cook (home or pro) get a knife that eventually rusts within a few minutes ot faster (aka iron clad), is the more interesting question.
It might be a tiny bit easier to thin and it turns funky colours but other than that it is just more effort in actual use.

I personally got rid of very reactive iron clads. Only stainless clad and mono steels left. If i was having a dedicated slicer for proteins though it would definitely be monosteel carbon or iron clad.

Carter and Toyamabe have done stainless clads as long as i have been interested in kitchen knives. I think they are not only brilliant but also smart blacksmiths.

Every knife in my current active rotation is non-stainless, either mono or iron clad. I do not baby my knives. I do not have rust issues. I have a couple that the cladding is a little more reactive than others but nothing terrible. I don't wipe and dry them any more than I did my stainless knives. I never left those just sitting around but my knives don't get wiped "before they touch the board" or anything even close. My clad knives all live permanently above a stovetop with no hood so they see plenty of steam. I don't have rust issues.

I find iron clad much nicer to work on than soft stainless.

I used to be a stalwart stainless guy in all my knives including kitchen, EDC, hunting, etc. I'm almost completely the opposite now and employ stainless only in very specific applications or in certain knives I already own and love.

My granddaughter's first knife is an iron clad small nakiri. She'll learn to care for it. Not so much because of that but again, I will not allow her to leave a knife sitting for any period time.
 
And a tool has to be functional in the first place, right? Otherwise it'd be no tool.
That is not to say i enjoy some patina but yeah i would say the majority wants stainless.

Why would the average cook (home or pro) get a knife that eventually rusts within a few minutes ot faster (aka iron clad), is the more interesting question.
It might be a tiny bit easier to thin and it turns funky colours but other than that it is just more effort in actual use.

I personally got rid of very reactive iron clads. Only stainless clad and mono steels left. If i was having a dedicated slicer for proteins though it would definitely be monosteel carbon or iron clad.

Carter and Toyamabe have done stainless clads as long as i have been interested in kitchen knives. I think they are not only brilliant but also smart blacksmiths.
IMHO, based on conversations I’ve had with some vendors and cooks, iron clad-carbon core knives are a much smaller niche market than stainless. FWIW, 90%+ of my knives are carbon.
 
Most of my knives are carbon, too. But as with core steel, cladding is down the list of things I stress about. I think it has gotten easier and less expensive to work with stainless cladding, and that is what most people want.
 
Pros and cons.

I'm more concerned about the grind. That is to say, which one I buy will depend on which cladding the knife I want to try is available in.
 
I'm about 50:50 iron clad vs SS. I'm enjoying iron clad for the opportunity to give them kasumi finishes. Everyone should have a hobby. I appreciate both for the strengths they offer and would be hard pressed to give up either.
 
I was surprised that the 2 knives in Milan’s recent drop were both stainless clad.

I don’t particularly care either way, but if I had to choose between two otherwise identical knives I’d probably go with stainless-clad.

Outside of raving knife nerds, the vast majority of the public probably would prefer stainless.
 
I was surprised that the 2 knives in Milan’s recent drop were both stainless clad.

I don’t particularly care either way, but if I had to choose between two otherwise identical knives I’d probably go with stainless-clad.

Outside of raving knife nerds, the vast majority of the public probably would prefer stainless.

but wouldnt they also mostly prefer stainless cores?
 
I was surprised that the 2 knives in Milan’s recent drop were both stainless clad.

I don’t particularly care either way, but if I had to choose between two otherwise identical knives I’d probably go with stainless-clad.

Outside of raving knife nerds, the vast majority of the public probably would prefer stainless.

Yeah but they will never buy anything san mai and put their knives in the dishwasher soooo...

:p
 
I was admiring the patina thread and was thinking about how the general consensus I've picked up (at least on this forum), is that there's a preference for carbon clad knives if the core steel is carbon. There's some notable makers who primarily make stainless clad knives w/carbon cores (e.g. Toyama, TF, Wakui).

I'm curious if there's specific reasons they go that route vs. carbon clad? Do stainless clad knives sell better to the general public? Are materials cheaper or more readily available?

Curious if any KKF folks knows more on the subject.

Thanks!
Carbon cladding mainly excels in two distinct attributes. It is easier to abrade and it can be more visually interesting since it oxidizes easily. Most people who are not into knives like some of us would pick stainless every time because it requires a lot less maintenance, especially if you want the "clean" look of a shiny blade. Stainless clad is the next best thing to full stainless when someone wants the benefits of carbon steel edge and the lower maintenance and shiny look of stainless. Non stainless knives make up a tiny percentage of kitchen knives in general, but are much more popular with local nerds. Fully stainless knives are not as "alive" since they don't change their look much through out their lives. Most here don't see them as just tools, so our preferences might contradict what would make more sense for just a tool.
 
People who buy carbon knives are those who tend to put up with inconvenience for possible performance or aesthetic benefits. Carbon clad knives are more common in hand forged knives in Japan, by far with single bevels. Steel and carbon cladding are easiest to forge weld. Most people don't want to clean rust, or sharpen even, so stainless anything is more common, whether stainless monosteel or stainless clad stainless. Where the two audiences intersect is when we have stainless clad carbon. In Japan -- I have no idea which is cheaper material-wise. I don't have price sheets. I guess some retail steel bars are available for purchase I've seen, but knife maker bulk pricing is different.

I'd ask the takefu special steel -- they have an Instagram and website, and laminate the steels
 
As always, 50/50. There is some kind of a vehemence with those that prefer iron clad though. It may seem overwhelming. It's superior and I have no rust issue ever and SS clad is mostly a market trend designed for "common" people. Like if you don't swear by it, then you're necessarily no hardcore knife enthusiast.

But as the thread title suggests even in question form... TF and Takamura and Yoshikane just to name a few are in turn amongst the most praise (and polarization) and they've been using SS clads for years. They're also pretty much celebrated for HT. So if it's a market trend, it's no new one, and it seems like it's enduring even amongst hardcore enthusiasts.

If it's there and it's as good/as intrinsically intended and it's convenient and it otherwise fits what you are seeking for, I think SS cladding is a feature I prefer over iron cladding. Doesn't change a thing to the fact that many options I wanted and bought into were iron clad. So out of... what is it, 8 knives at this point... I have 3 iron clad, 3 ss clad/carbon core, 1 ss/ss, and one mono carbon. Preference or not, it is obvious that the market is about 50/50 at any level of interest and that I have no particular problem with that.
 
As always, 50/50. There is some kind of a vehemence with those that prefer iron clad though. It may seem overwhelming. It's superior and I have no rust issue ever and SS clad is mostly a market trend designed for "common" people. Like if you don't swear by it, then you're necessarily no hardcore knife enthusiast.

But as the thread title suggests even in question form... TF and Takamura and Yoshikane just to name a few are in turn amongst the most praise (and polarization) and they've been using SS clads for years. They're also pretty much celebrated for HT. So if it's a market trend, it's no new one, and it seems like it's enduring even amongst hardcore enthusiasts.

If it's there and it's as good/as intrinsically intended and it's convenient and it otherwise fits what you are seeking for, I think SS cladding is a feature I prefer over iron cladding. Doesn't change a thing to the fact that many options I wanted and bought into were iron clad. So out of... what is it, 8 knives at this point... I have 3 iron clad, 3 ss clad/carbon core, 1 ss/ss, and one mono carbon. Preference or not, it is obvious that the market is about 50/50 at any level of interest and that I have no particular problem with that.

To be clear, I'm having a bit of fun and I sincerely don't care what people like and don't. I was just responding to what was presented as at least approaching facts that aren't my experience.

:)
 
I am currently at 70% carbon and 30% SS or stainless. And never had rust issues either but I don't let them sit about after using. I clean/wipe in a timely manner. Love my carbon and the petinas. I am actually looking to find some alternatives in blue to try perferrable As. Problem is I don't want to give up any of my current knives.
 
To be clear, I'm having a bit of fun and I sincerely don't care what people like and don't. I was just responding to what was presented as at least approaching facts that aren't my experience.

:)
Same here! And not particularly referring to you. I used first person with that particular rusting point because I, like you, never had any rust problem indeed. However, I do find White steels to be particularly prone to discoloration (food and themselves) only to generate an ugly brownish patina. That is not something I'll particularly buy into... unless it's the only option. Then it's really no biggie.
 
On the other hand, if you'd tell me that there were only iron clads Aogami left in the world, I'd be like, yeah! Especially if some of those makers I so totally love in SS clad would start making an iron clad as readily available instead. I'm still glad SS clads exist there, because well for one thing I figure that otherwise, I could never have landed a S. Tanaka A#2 any other way (well he might have done it at some point, I wouldn't know, but these days even an A#2 SS clad is rare as he seems to have turned only to SS/SS), and also that some people might still not especially find desirable even that beautifully controlled and spectacularly colorful patina Aogamis tend to get.
 
I loved Matt's idea of cladding Apex Ultra in low carbon steel. I mean, if only for the reason that we'll get to see just how corrosion enhanced Apex Ultra is. Otherwise, because it promises to be the lowest maintenance to have ever existed.
 
Last edited:
Back
Top