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Which stainless can attain the highest level of sharpness?

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James

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So I've read through a lot of posts saying that shirogami gets the sharpest out of the carbon steels and this got me wondering, which of the SSs can get the sharpest? The one that comes into mind for me is 13c26. Just a post made out of curiosity; input, as always, is really appreciated.
 

JohnnyChance

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My favorite stainless edges come from Devin's AEB-L and Miyabi's SG2. I don't think I have used 13c26 though.
 

Aphex

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The steel (13c27 i think) on my Suisin Honyaki gets pretty darn sharp as well.
 

James

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13c26, unless I'm mistaken, is the same as AEB-L. haha I always hear such great things about it (very fine edge due to fine carbide structure etc etc), not to mention Devin's great heat treat.
 

Lefty

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Cowry-X surprises me. I always thought it was really tough to sharpen, because of it's hardness. However, if it's abrasion resistance isn't crazy, or if the HT is done with sharpenability in mind, I guess I could see it on "the list".
 

JohnnyChance

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Well the question was, which stainless gets the sharpest, not which one is easiest to sharpen. I am sure it was a bear to sharpen, but in the end, Dave apparently was happy with the edge he was able to put on it.
 

Lefty

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Good point. I guess I assumed sharpest = easy to sharpen.
 

Larrin

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The better question is what properties of a steel affect the level of sharpness and then to look at which steels exhibit those properties to the extent that we know them.
 

Dave Martell

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I mentioned Cowry-X (Hattori KD experience only) because, even today after all I've seen, it always makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck when I touch the edge. Funny thing about this is that it's super easy to both abrade & de-burr.
 

Eamon Burke

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I think that, in a kitchen setting, the factors that would determine the most extreme level of attainable sharpness are moot. Carbide size, etc. Kind of a non issue since kitchen knives sharpened up to a grit where the largest depression in the steel's surface is equal or lesser than the size of a particle in the steel...doesn't cut well often, and almost never lasts beyond a few foods.

To me, the qualities that make good steel good are how LONG it holds it's edge. After a day at work, you can't do a comfortable shave with the knives I've used at work for years...but that doesn't mean they don't still breeze through food.

Not sure how we would even test this, since there isn't a cost-effective, realistic means of sharpening a blade to that kind of comparative extreme.
 

Eamon Burke

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I mentioned Cowry-X (Hattori KD experience only) because, even today after all I've seen, it always makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck when I touch the edge. Funny thing about this is that it's super easy to both abrade & de-burr.
Interesting! I would love to check that out.
 

ajhuff

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The better question is what properties of a steel affect the level of sharpness and then to look at which steels exhibit those properties to the extent that we know them.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say the speed across the liquidus when the steel is cast is important and completely overlooked though to be fair, would also be completely unknown to anyone outside the process. I think that initial grain size and shape and precipitate distribution sets the stage for everything else.

-AJ
 

Larrin

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I think that, in a kitchen setting, the factors that would determine the most extreme level of attainable sharpness are moot. Carbide size, etc. Kind of a non issue since kitchen knives sharpened up to a grit where the largest depression in the steel's surface is equal or lesser than the size of a particle in the steel...doesn't cut well often, and almost never lasts beyond a few foods.

To me, the qualities that make good steel good are how LONG it holds it's edge. After a day at work, you can't do a comfortable shave with the knives I've used at work for years...but that doesn't mean they don't still breeze through food.

Not sure how we would even test this, since there isn't a cost-effective, realistic means of sharpening a blade to that kind of comparative extreme.
If we're not taking things to extremes then what is the point of this forum? Are we going to be "everyone else?"
 

Larrin

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I'm going to go out on a limb and say the speed across the liquidus when the steel is cast is important and completely overlooked though to be fair, would also be completely unknown to anyone outside the process. I think that initial grain size and shape and precipitate distribution sets the stage for everything else.

-AJ
But the final microstructure and properties of the steel can be tested. While the specifics of manufacture could only be conjecture based on these properties, certainly the end result can be analyzed. If the steel composition is good but the end result is bad than we can declare the steel is bad. If it's a general alloy (i.e. A2, D2, etc.) then the manufacturer of said steel is a point of comparison.
 

Eamon Burke

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Well, I think expecting a knife to survive a weekend with Chef Colin without sharpening is pretty damned extreme.

I am just saying that ultimate, mechanically perfect, definitive sharpness is not a quality that is even close to priority #1 for me in a Kitchen knife. I think there is more room to obsess over these technicalities and specifics in straight razors.
 

ajhuff

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But the final microstructure and properties of the steel can be tested. While the specifics of manufacture could only be conjecture based on these properties, certainly the end result can be analyzed. If the steel composition is good but the end result is bad than we can declare the steel is bad. If it's a general alloy (i.e. A2, D2, etc.) then the manufacturer of said steel is a point of comparison.
True. I guess I was thinking more of what drives the final microstructure by starting at the beginning.

I'm surprised no one has gathered up some broken blades and had the tests done. I know it's not cheap but still it could be done.

-AJ
 

Larrin

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Well, I think expecting a knife to survive a weekend with Chef Colin without sharpening is pretty damned extreme.

I am just saying that ultimate, mechanically perfect, definitive sharpness is not a quality that is even close to priority #1 for me in a Kitchen knife. I think there is more room to obsess over these technicalities and specifics in straight razors.
It's true that our ability to sharpen is usually more important than potential sharpness. However, many of the factors that control peak sharpness also mean greater edge stability. Which, of course, is a type of edge retention.
 

Cadillac J

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I can get my semi-stainless Kono HD, Suisin IH and CarbN ridiculously sharp to the point where I don't see a huge difference in sharpeness between them and my white#2 or other carbon knives (hence why I used to be a carbon man, but have been switching over to semi)...not to mention, they all hold their edges' longer as well.
 

Larrin

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I can get my semi-stainless Kono HD, Suisin IH and CarbN ridiculously sharp to the point where I don't see a huge difference in sharpeness between them and my white#2 or other carbon knives (hence why I used to be a carbon man, but have been switching over to semi)...not to mention, they all hold their edges' longer as well.
So to complete the evolution we just have to get you onto an AEB-L knife you like. :)
 

TamanegiKin

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I can get my semi-stainless Kono HD, Suisin IH and CarbN ridiculously sharp to the point where I don't see a huge difference in sharpeness between them and my white#2 or other carbon knives (hence why I used to be a carbon man, but have been switching over to semi)...not to mention, they all hold their edges' longer as well.
Of the three you listed I've used the Suisin 19c27 and have similar thoughts. I thought I was going crazy but it gets very sharp and hangs on to it well. Just dont tell my carbon knives...
 

Cadillac J

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So to complete the evolution we just have to get you onto an AEB-L knife you like. :)
Now you're talking man. The AEB-L in my old DT was really awesome to sharpen and it seemed to hold the edge well, but the geometry was too thick for me (it was an early one from the initial batch of 10). In fact, that was the knife that broke my carbon-only tunnel vision at that time.
 

Seb

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My Ashi Ginga 240mm Wa-gyuto is so thin it blows my mind. This sucker is AEB-L hardened to 61 (by special request to Ashi Hamono at no extra cost).
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Now you're talking man. The AEB-L in my old DT was really awesome to sharpen and it seemed to hold the edge well, but the geometry was too thick for me (it was an early one from the initial batch of 10). In fact, that was the knife that broke my carbon-only tunnel vision at that time.
Devin makes his thinner now, and his heat will top any Japanese. Maybe time to revisit another DT?

M
 

tk59

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I'm pretty much Caddy's situation but if I had to choose a stainless steel right now for my only knife, I'd choose Devin's AEB-L. After that, I'd go for some other AEB-L/13C26 and after that, 19C27.
 

Seb

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Devin makes his thinner now, and his heat will top any Japanese. Maybe time to revisit another DT?

M
What a load of nonsense and based on what?

You talking down Nenohi and Hattori? Good luck to you.
 
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