Which steel is my Kaneyoshi santoku made of?

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cheapskate

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This has been my go-to kitchen knife for years, a Kaneyoshi santoku 165mm worth roughly $100. As seen from the image, it's seen some sharpening practice as well (please don't judge me - I don't have the equipment to polish those scratches away... at least not yet) but performance-wise it's served me reasonably well.

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I've been told that it's pure carbon steel laminated between stainless steel layers, but I've never known which exact steel the edge is made of. I'd love to know which exact steel it uses, so I could compare my extensive experience with it with other knives where this information is usually available (blue #2, white steel, etc). Any ideas? Or is there a way to find out if it's any of the common ones?

The only information I could find that it's a carbon steel Rockwell hardness is C61. (And that's from the product page for a newer version of this knife.) To me it sharpens pretty easily (although my experience of other carbon steels is limited) and doesn't seem to be very reactive.
 

DavidPF

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Yaxell Kaneyoshi, right? (Sorry, the link in the original post doesn't work)
 

McMan

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Does the edge patina?
If not, judging from the DP, probably VG-10.
If so, probably low-tier carbon steel.
 

chiffonodd

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I've only seen Tojiro use the DP designator:



Is this knife a tojiro rebrand?
 

cheapskate

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There's no discoloration that I can see, though I've always attributed that to the fact that I've cleaned it like a maniac after use. And I never had much experience with "proper" carbon steels until much later.

So VG-10 stainless then? I almost feel cheated since it was sold to me as carbon steel. I suppose with 1% carbon content, it could be called one. I've always seen stainless steels and carbon steels as sharply distinct species.
 

chiffonodd

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So VG-10 stainless then? I almost feel cheated since it was sold to me as carbon steel. I suppose with 1% carbon content, it could be called one. I've always seen stainless steels and carbon steels as sharply distinct species.
Did that used to say stainless steel...?

 

cheapskate

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Yes, it reads "DP stainless steel" - I assumed it referred to the outer layers though. DP might mean Dual-phase steel, though I would probably need a doctorate in metallurgy to understand what that means.
 

McMan

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There's no discoloration that I can see, though I've always attributed that to the fact that I've cleaned it like a maniac after use. And I never had much experience with "proper" carbon steels until much later.

So VG-10 stainless then? I almost feel cheated since it was sold to me as carbon steel. I suppose with 1% carbon content, it could be called one. I've always seen stainless steels and carbon steels as sharply distinct species.
Easy question to answer:
Put a few drops of vinegar on a section of the blade. Come back in 10 mins. It it's dark, it's carbon.
If not, then it's not.
 

DavidPF

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Does this mean the knife is definitely a re-branded Tojiro DP? Or just that it might be one?

IF that's what it is, it's a well-known decent knife, and you could read a lot of opinions about it. (But they really just say what you said anyway, that it's not the fanciest knife in the world but it works well and is a good knife for the price.)
 

cheapskate

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The blade edge was untouched after a few minutes with the vinegar. So I guess stainless it is. Thanks for the help!

All in all, a nice little knife and could get pretty sharp as well - just a bit disappointed that it wasn't what I thought it was. Oh well, the whole world of "real" carbon awaits.
 

KenHash

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My bet would be on VG10. Maybe something else if the knife is old.
Definitely not a carbon steel core as it would have patina'd along the edge over time, apart from it
being stamped "Stainless Steel" on the blade. $100 sounds right for a typical VG10 core Santoku.
 
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DavidPF

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Oh well, the whole world of "real" carbon awaits.
Now you know that you've been sharpening VG10 all the time, you can be confident that if you do decide to find a carbon steel knife you'll find it very easy to sharpen. (Some people don't like sharpening VG10, other people say it's fine, but everybody agrees carbon is easier to do. Which is good, because it needs it more often.)
 

cheapskate

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Another turn in this adventure: I asked the reseller if they have any information about this knife. It turns out that they had a spec sheet, which says it's gingami #2!

Even Hitachi doesn't list this gingami #2 steel on their website. Compared with the steels that they do list, it seems that the amount of the carbon is in between gingami #1 and gingami #3, but it has a lot less chromium (just 7%, whereas the others have 13-17%). Which, I suppose, means that it doesn't qualify as stainless after all, at least if the wikipedia definition (chromium content must be more than 11%) is to be trusted.

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Benuser

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Which is good, because it needs it more often.
Not necessarily. VG-10 comes crazy sharp from the stones, loses this level of sharpness very soon and stays almost forever at a more or less acceptable level.
The best edge retention under harsh circumstances I've seen so far was with a hard Aogami Super, very thin behind the edge but with a conservative edge.
 

KenHash

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Another turn in this adventure: I asked the reseller if they have any information about this knife. It turns out that they had a spec sheet, which says it's gingami #2!

Even Hitachi doesn't list this gingami #2 steel on their website. Compared with the steels that they do list, it seems that the amount of the carbon is in between gingami #1 and gingami #3, but it has a lot less chromium (just 7%, whereas the others have 13-17%). Which, I suppose, means that it doesn't qualify as stainless after all, at least if the wikipedia definition (chromium content must be more than 11%) is to be trusted.

View attachment 116713
Very interesting. I don't think I've ever come across a knife with Gin-2 core.
 

DavidPF

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Not necessarily.
...
Thanks for explaining that. It's interesting how things that seem clearly defined tend to become much less clear when knife edges are involved. I have the subjective feeling that many years from now everyone will know "Back in the 2020s they didn't know about [single important variable] yet, which limited their ability to predict".
 

Delat

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Agee with @Benuser - my Shun vg10 loses the freshly-sharpened feel quickly, but then will stay usefully sharp for a very long time afterwards.
 
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