Opinions on VG10

Discussion in 'Kitchen Knife Knowledge' started by flying hippo, Aug 14, 2019.

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  1. Aug 14, 2019 #1

    flying hippo

    flying hippo

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    I've shied away from VG10 thinking its a "lesser" steel. Being new to Japanese kitchen knives, I've seen some VG10 based layered Damascus style patterns which are admittedly pretty nifty. Setting aside the stain resistance, I was wondering what people's opinions were on VG10 and which smith/company has a good VG10 heat treatment.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Aug 14, 2019 #2

    chinacats

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    I personally don't do stainless but if i did I'd be all over Tanakas vg-10... excellent steel w good treatment.
     
  3. Aug 14, 2019 #3

    pkjames

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    From my experience, the negative perception of VG10 is largely because it is widely used in mass produced knives, which mostly have mediocre performance compared to the handmade forged knives.
    However, properly forged VG10 knife, with good profile and geometry,can still bg a good knife as VG10 never the less was originally designed as a dedicated cutlery steel.

    Put it this way: not many people associate Hitachi Ginsan (Gin3, Silver 3) with a bad steel, the price of Ginsan knives are generally higher as well. Yet if we look at the following chart, we can see, from a pure composition point of view: the VG10 has similar carbon to Ginsan, but with more alloy elements (enhancing the steel properties), it should in theory be on par with (if not better than) Ginsan in terms of performance.
    Steel together with proper heat treatment, along with a good profile, good balance, and good geometry define a good knife.
    vg10_g3.jpg
    (Kudos to Gator!)
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  4. Aug 15, 2019 #4

    flying hippo

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    Thanks for the comments. I think you are correct about the mass production of VG10 in mass produced knives. That's certainly the bias I have.

    Heat treatment is one of those things that you can never tell when looking at a knife. Edge geometry, profile you can get a idea when looking at pictures, but steel and heat treat you don't quite know until you have knife in hand and are using it.
     
  5. Aug 15, 2019 #5

    bahamaroot

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    If you get a knife from a well known smith with a good reputation odds are heat treatment will not be an issue.
    I think it is an underrated stainless steel.
     
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  6. Aug 15, 2019 #6

    stringer

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    I've used VG10 at home and at work. It works great. Even the mass produced stuff. Some people don't like to sharpen it, and while not as easy as Ginsan or AEBL, it's not bad and it holds a "working edge" about as well as anything available on the market.

    An old chef had a Masanobu in VG10. It was the nicest rendition I've worked with. Solid middleweight knife.
     
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  7. Aug 16, 2019 #7

    Benuser

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    Deburring VG-10 takes some more attention than some other stainless. Careful abrading the burr through the entire progression is needed. Likely to develop a wire edge.
    AEB-L indeed, or 14C28N are almost carbon-like in that respect.
    The dulling curve is a bit abrupt. Its screaming sharpness right of the stones will soon disappear. What remains, though, is a very acceptable level of sharpness that stays almost forever.
     
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  8. Aug 16, 2019 #8

    kayman67

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    It got a bad rep because:

    For most people this is the first step from softer alloys, not so good knives and so on. But those knives are really strong and it's hard to damage those edges. If used the same way, a VG10 edge can be damaged badly and fast. I've seen people doing in less than 10 seconds. First cuts and it was done.

    Second, since manufacturers are aware that this is likely to be that first step towards better knives, they want to impress and many will offer very aggressive edges, really thin. This just makes things worse. I got many with "chipping" problems, made a few adjustments and they are still in one piece.
    Some makers do put more resilient edges on knives. I think Yoshihiro does this with some of them.

    Third, sharpening. I've been reading for ages that VG10 will deburr extremely hard, that it's very problematic to sharpen. I can't comment that much on this. The way I sharpen, I never had any problems with it. I find VG10 easy to sharpen and keep sharp with routine maintenance.
     
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  9. Aug 16, 2019 #9

    stringer

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    Routine maintenance is key. People buy them as a first Japanese knife and think they are chippy and then a few years of sharpening without thinning later they have a wedge monster. Vg-10 requires very little maintenance but it has to be routine. A little thinning every couple of sharpenings. For a home knife, a couple of sharpenings a year. It could be awhile. For a work knife, whatever's appropriate, but make sure you pay attention to thinning and don't let the bench grinder/belt sander guy touch them.
     
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  10. Aug 17, 2019 at 12:39 AM #10

    flying hippo

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    I think I read that another stainless behaved very similar (S30V maybe?) that it couldn't keep a ridiculous edge but kept a decent one for a long time. Contrast to that with a finer grained 14C28/14C28N that was easier to get sharp but had generally less edge retention.

    Are there any other smiths/makers who have standout reputations with VG10?
     
  11. Aug 17, 2019 at 12:52 AM #11

    parbaked

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    Hattori & Shigeki Tanaka are two that I have tried....
     
  12. Aug 17, 2019 at 12:55 AM #12

    Nemo

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    I think that Ryusen has ap pretty good reputation for VG10 heat treatment.
     
  13. Aug 17, 2019 at 1:05 AM #13

    McMan

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    I agree with what’s been said about Tanaka. I’ve got an older one in vg10 from him and it’s very nice. Wish I could speak to Ryusen—it’s on the list and I’ve heard good stuff about them. I’ve also heard Takeshita Saji does VG10 well.
    Id be wary of trying it from lesser known makers—when it’s bad, it’s really bad.
     
  14. Aug 17, 2019 at 1:12 AM #14

    bahamaroot

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    I've used VG10 from Yu Kurosaki and think he does a very good job with it.
     
  15. Aug 17, 2019 at 1:27 AM #15

    inferno

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    even crappy aus8 from mac is actually very very good. because they process it well.
     
  16. Aug 17, 2019 at 1:43 AM #16

    never mind

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    Hiromoto vg-10 is wonderful. I didn’t believe it is vg-10. Crazy.

    I use it more than I should. Very happy about the damascus pattern, the edge retention and sharpening (I don’t think I have any burr-removal problem at all). I felt he is a magician in his heat treatment. His point of views for all his knife collections is also very artistic & interesting in his own way. Sad that he closed his very unique shop for retirement
     
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  17. Aug 17, 2019 at 4:29 PM #17

    Marek07

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    As others have already said - Tanaka. Not surprising though. Every Tanaka I've had, regardless of steel, style or price point has been a great cutter.
     
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  18. Aug 17, 2019 at 5:30 PM #18

    flying hippo

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    Thanks everyone for the recommendations!
     
  19. Aug 17, 2019 at 6:00 PM #19

    inferno

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    my buddy has a new production hattori and he is very satisfied with it. hattoris are made by ryusen, at least they HT the blades for them.
     

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