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

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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.
Not sure I’m following. Barring monosteel do they normally clad with the same steel that’s used in the core? My understanding is that it’s a softer steel that’s cladding but not necessarily the same steel as what’s in the core.
 
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.
This is kind of the point I’m getting at. I feel like the draw for carbon knives (even stainless clad) is a pretty niche group. Wouldn’t stainless/stainless make more sense as a tool? Theirs plenty of great stainless steel options and makers that support that combo.

Is there really such a draw for stainless/carbon to support these makers almost exclusively going with that combo?

At the very least, if it’s 50/50 wouldn’t it be smart for makers to still cater to the audience looking for carbon/carbon if there’s no either constraints?
 
When I started going down the rabbit hole, stainless clad carbon was a go-to. Wakui, Anryu, Yoshi, Toyama SS were all early pickups... as well as a really nice TX in stainless clad AS that I shouldn't have sold. My early experiences with ironclads were on the very reactive end of the spectrum (Mazaki and Munetoshi white 2) and I shied away from them for a while.

Now I've got zero SS clad and roughly a third each of my collection is stainless, mono carbon, and ironclad carbon. If I'm looking at stainless, I want it to be as low maintenance as possible, and if I'm okay with reactivity, I might as well enjoy developing a nice patina on the whole blade.
 
I've had 2 SS-clad AS knives that I then forced a coffee patina on. Makes them effectively full stainless and is a nice best of both worlds kinda thing until I got a big chip in one. Thinning and reprofiling has sucked on the stainless and made me wish it was iron clad.
 
Not really about function but I love the look of a patina on a core with a shiny cladding
Freely admit I think this is cool as hell. Same with a regular blue/purple funky patina

(Not my knife)

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magnacut with wrought cladding, you got it @MSicardCutlery ?
Oh....f**k it.........hey @KasumiJLA .......guess what we're doing 😁


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.
It should be on par with 52100. There's no real reason for it to be much different, I don't think. .
 
This is kind of the point I’m getting at. I feel like the draw for carbon knives (even stainless clad) is a pretty niche group. Wouldn’t stainless/stainless make more sense as a tool? Theirs plenty of great stainless steel options and makers that support that combo.

Is there really such a draw for stainless/carbon to support these makers almost exclusively going with that combo?

At the very least, if it’s 50/50 wouldn’t it be smart for makers to still cater to the audience looking for carbon/carbon if there’s no either constraints?
You are not wrong, but this has nothing to do with it being a better or worse tool, whatever that might be. The knives we buy are not just tools. Some like to polish and etch and sharpen on natural stones and bring out contrast or mess with patina, etc. Stainless mostly prevents one from doing that. Purely as a tool it is hard to argue with stainless being the best, be it mono stainless or stainless clad. On the other hand it’s not like carbon or carbon clad stainless makes it a bad tool. Stainless cladding is harder to do without specialized equipment, so many makers that make excellent knives don’t. As far as stainless clad carbon being enough of a draw to support makers, it clearly is since they make these and seem to be doing fine. If there wasn’t a demand they wouldn’t make these. I am not really sure what you are asking. You have to understand we here are a tiny, tiny subset of people that buy and use kitchen knives and even though we clearly know best :LOL:that doesn’t necessarily affect the larger kitchen knife market.

When you say 50/50 what do you mean?
 
I think it's mostly a matter of practicality. As someone who kinda went 'the other way', starting with semistainless, then mono carbon, then iron clad carbon, I always found the difference in reactivity between iron clad and mono carbon bigger than between mono carbon and (semi)-stainless.

And I think there's some misunderstanding... when I complain about reactivity, I'm not whining about 'OHMYGAWD RUST!'.... though with some iron clads I've actually had superficial rust after leaving a knife dirty for a few minutes. I'm talking about discoloration of the cut product or having an effect on taste... something I've encountered far more with iron-clads than with mono carbons.
Patina is great on meat knives but once you start cutting stuff like bell peppers and pineapple the blues always went out of the window for me anyway.

Now if there was some major advantage to them you could make an argument for them, but there really isn't. Yes you can wipe your knife every now and then but why bother when you don't have to. Give me the monocarbon every day. Even for the monocarbon the advantages in ease of sharpening are still pretty much negligible... There's plenty of great stainless steels out there that don't suck.

But I think at this point there's so much pro-carbon propaganda on the internet for the last few decades that it's simply what 'the people want'... at least a large part of the people who are willing to splurge on knives. People generally just don't get their dicks for something in AEB-L or Ginsan the same way they do for something in blue or white for some reason.
 
I don't have rust issues.
I only have issues with iron clads that are VERY reactive and unfortunately some very nice knives I had were of that kind. I enjoy caring for my tools but not slowly and carefully building up a patina with specific ingredients every time after thinning.
She'll learn to care for it.
Very nice! That´s a good thing to teach. Appreciate and care for your tools/belongings etc., especially so in such a materialistic world.
Everyone knows stainless core carbon clad is the best
I sure wouldn´t mind having a knife in ginsan (or so) clad with a mildly reactive steel (52100 or similar).
Wasn´t it Spare who made such a custom knife once? I´m sure I read of it here in the forums.
 
People generally just don't get their dicks for something in AEB-L or Ginsan the same way they do for something in blue or white for some reason.

AEB-L mono is for grown-ups who've graduated from the "omg do my knives have the right cladding" vortex.🌶️

It's just the right steel for a western kitchen. Yes you need to heat treat it properly but when you do? 🤌

Looking at you, Dan Bidinger. Incredible knife.
 
AEB-L mono is for grown-ups who've graduated from the "omg do my knives have the right cladding" vortex.🌶️

It's just the right steel for a western kitchen. Yes you need to heat treat it properly but when you do? 🤌

Looking at you, Dan Bidinger. Incredible knife.

I like AEB-L. I actually also like ginsan. I think it's a really nice, easy going stainless. I'm not anti-stainless, I just prefer non-stainless and with that, non-stainless cladding. Maybe it's just a phase and before you know it I'm on a stainless buying spree. 😁

I mean, the real answer to all of it is K390.
 
I think from the makers perspective the stainless cladding is very appealing to a broader range of customers. It is also available in pre-laminated bar stock from Hitachi Steel Corp. I believe in the case of Toyama and Watanabe the old iron clad ones were hand laminated, and the new ones and made from pre lam billets. This cuts way down on manufacturing costs, and without any sacrifice to practical utility. I'm sure many other makers made that switch for the same reason
 
Stainless cladding is much more practical, sensible, albeit a little anonymous compared to carbon cladding.

Iron cladding has considerably more range, can capture the imagination much more—wrought, old French anchor, vintage Russian railroad tracks?

Iron cladding can be more expressive, is better looking to me. I also prefer my cast iron skillets and carbon steel pan more than my stainless ones.
 
I was shocked when I came to KKF and learned that people prefer iron-clad knives. I was taught that stainless-clad is simply superior: you get all the cutting advantages of carbon steel, but without having to deal with 90% of the reactivity. That means less reactivity with food (carbon steel can react with foods creating a metallic flavor), less rust, and less patina. Less patina is nice because it means you can create a beautiful knife (damascus, mirror finish, etc) and it stays that way. There's also less cleaning or paranoia about rust involved. This also lines up with stainless-clad cookware, where an aluminum core is clad in stainless. You get the heat conductivity of aluminum (or copper or silver) but the non-reactivity of stainless.

In the same spirit, I would say that stainless-clad knives have been surpassed by stainless-only knives (either mono or with a stainless core), particularly with new powdered steels that either equal or outperform the very best carbon steels. There's now no risk of rust, patina or metallic tastes in food, and the knife can be left wet for much longer, and you get the best edge retention as well.

On a side note, I personally find the patina thread to be full of unappealing knives: a lot of them have brown spots on them that are particularly unappealing. It's also hard to see the original damascus patterns that they came with. I don't know how people can find a brown-smeared knife to be attractive, but to each their own.
 
Certainly no right or wrong, better or worse, but just a matter of personal taste regarding iron vs stainless clad.

I prefer the rustic-ness, reactivity of non-stainless kitchen knives. The cladding can look beautiful, or sometimes ugly, but it's always changing. Stainless cladding for me is too sterile, anonymously, nondescript—carbon clad knives reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen tools.

89C2719F-9FFA-4288-80D4-B25B44B4827C.jpg
 
I was shocked when I came to KKF and learned that people prefer iron-clad knives. I was taught that stainless-clad is simply superior: you get all the cutting advantages of carbon steel, but without having to deal with 90% of the reactivity. That means less reactivity with food (carbon steel can react with foods creating a metallic flavor), less rust, and less patina. Less patina is nice because it means you can create a beautiful knife (damascus, mirror finish, etc) and it stays that way. There's also less cleaning or paranoia about rust involved. This also lines up with stainless-clad cookware, where an aluminum core is clad in stainless. You get the heat conductivity of aluminum (or copper or silver) but the non-reactivity of stainless.

In the same spirit, I would say that stainless-clad knives have been surpassed by stainless-only knives (either mono or with a stainless core), particularly with new powdered steels that either equal or outperform the very best carbon steels. There's now no risk of rust, patina or metallic tastes in food, and the knife can be left wet for much longer, and you get the best edge retention as well.

On a side note, I personally find the patina thread to be full of unappealing knives: a lot of them have brown spots on them that are particularly unappealing. It's also hard to see the original damascus patterns that they came with. I don't know how people can find a brown-smeared knife to be attractive, but to each their own.

I am the opposite. I think stainless Damascus is hideous and love the look of some pepperoni pizza patina. Literally. If a knife is too reactive I will use it to slice pizza and then let the tomato sauce dry on it for a few days. Rust is never an issue with my knives. It's a constant annoyance with straight razors however.
 
I also find about 94.3% of all "Damascus" to be ugly. I also find it is often a performance detractor. I thought that even when I was all-in on stainless. And that "rainbow" stuff is, in my opinion, horrible. And if you find yourself wanting/having to thin the knife at any point, well have fun making it look the same again.

But that's just, like, my opinion man. :)
 
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I also find about 94.3% of all "Damascus" to be ugly. I also find it is often a performance detractor. I thought that even when I was all-in on stainless. And that "rainbow" stuff is, in my opinion, horrible. And if you find yourself wanting/having to thin the knife at any point, well have fun making look the same again.

But that's just, like, my opinion man. :)
Sensible opinion. For me, my sharpening/polishing skills are utilitarian—I'd uglify a damascus quickly, which is why I've never bought one.
 
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Certainly no right or wrong, better or worse, but just a matter of personal taste regarding iron vs stainless clad.

I prefer the rustic-ness, reactivity of non-stainless kitchen knives. The cladding can look beautiful, or sometimes ugly, but it's always changing. Stainless cladding for me is too sterile, anonymously, nondescript—carbon clad knives reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen tools.

I love the different types of looks you can get with stainless-clad. I’ve realized that I’m just not a huge fan of natural patina, except weirdly I find patina on non-stainless damascus to be very unique and attractive.

In the photo below from left to right, I love the diffused, jagged contrast of the cladding and the dark ku at the spine complementing the edge. With an s-grind you get that surprising playful 2nd peek at the core. You can also get a jagged but crisp transition, or a more gentle natural-looking wavy line.

Anyway, these are all my stainless-clad carbon core, 5 out of ~20 total. I don’t really go out of my way to look for stainless clad unless something really catches my eye or it’s a maker I’ve been wanting to grab and that’s what’s up for grabs.

IMG_3961.jpeg
 
I love the different types of looks you can get with stainless-clad. I’ve realized that I’m just not a huge fan of natural patina, except weirdly I find patina on non-stainless damascus to be very unique and attractive.

In the photo below from left to right, I love the diffused, jagged contrast of the cladding and the dark ku at the spine complementing the edge. With an s-grind you get that surprising playful 2nd peek at the core. You can also get a jagged but crisp transition, or a more gentle natural-looking wavy line.

Anyway, these are all my stainless-clad carbon core, 5 out of ~20 total. I don’t really go out of my way to look for stainless clad unless something really catches my eye or it’s a maker I’ve been wanting to grab and that’s what’s up for grabs.

View attachment 285610
Whao! Those are pretty cool.
 
I'm not sure this has been mentioned but in addition to grind ability cladding in general makes it very easy to straighten knives after the quench.

As far as iron vs stainless cladding I loved the look of both, I think you see more stainless cladding because it has more on-paper benefits, especially with the corrosion resistance.
 
I was shocked when I came to KKF and learned that people prefer iron-clad knives. I was taught that stainless-clad is simply superior: you get all the cutting advantages of carbon steel, but without having to deal with 90% of the reactivity. That means less reactivity with food (carbon steel can react with foods creating a metallic flavor), less rust, and less patina. Less patina is nice because it means you can create a beautiful knife (damascus, mirror finish, etc) and it stays that way. There's also less cleaning or paranoia about rust involved. This also lines up with stainless-clad cookware, where an aluminum core is clad in stainless. You get the heat conductivity of aluminum (or copper or silver) but the non-reactivity of stainless.

In the same spirit, I would say that stainless-clad knives have been surpassed by stainless-only knives (either mono or with a stainless core), particularly with new powdered steels that either equal or outperform the very best carbon steels. There's now no risk of rust, patina or metallic tastes in food, and the knife can be left wet for much longer, and you get the best edge retention as well.

On a side note, I personally find the patina thread to be full of unappealing knives: a lot of them have brown spots on them that are particularly unappealing. It's also hard to see the original damascus patterns that they came with. I don't know how people can find a brown-smeared knife to be attractive, but to each their own.
Look at it this way, how many shiny stainless 240 gyutos can you have, two maybe 5 max. What if you have 30, 50, 100? Reactive knives all look different due to what they cut and the finishes they can have. Something like wrought iron which is totally useless if you look at performance can look stellar and unique. Even Damascus when reactive can look cool because it is ever changing. Modern stainless is great as a tool, but when you are a collector and a connoisseur, pure performance and practicality give way to other attributes.
 

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