Question and possible need of suggestion.

Joined Aug 18, 2018
I'm looking for another knife, maybe with a thinner profile, without a bolster, good edge retention and stainless. I'm not sure if I'm a naive person, sadly looking for a unicorn knife, but that'd be cool if it were around 60 Rockwell without being too prone to chipping.

My max price around 150 dollars and I'm in Texas. This is for homecooking and I'm not a professional chef, but I'm looking to upgrade from the 40 dollar Mercers or 50 dollar Dalstrongs that I'm currently using.

One of the ones that has recently caught my eye is the Mercer MX3 set being that it's around 60-62 in terms of hardness which is much better than the 55 that I'm currently used to.

Problem is I can't seem to find much info but maybe there is someone here that knows why they would laminate high carbon steel around a stainless slab of metal (which you actually cut on)

Is that Rockwell rating, tested from the harder, outer edge or the softer inside? And why would it even be done this way? Sorry for the stupid questions. If someone has a better knife suggestion in that price range (or below) I'm all ears. I initially got interested in these from JPM.Cuisine's reviews on Youtube.
Joined Oct 9, 2008
I don't have the answer, but I do want to say that this is WAY not a stupid question. I'm flagging it, in fact, because you've given us an enormous amount of information that is relevant, in a small space. This is rare and deserves praise.

Kudos to you!
Joined Apr 25, 2014
M mike bajsel welcome. I guess my first advice is: Don't get hung up on hardness ratings. Anything in the 58+ range will be noticeably better than what you're used to. There's no standard for where hardness is measured that I know of. I would assume they try to give you the highest number at the edge. There could be variation even within a batch. Higher isn't all better either, at some point it is too chippy.

I would worry more about geometry than hardness. For the same price as that factory knife you can get something hand made that cuts better. I recommend this as a good first J knife

There's a western handle version too if you prefer. I think it doesn't come with the saya.

I think your confusion is from marketing mumbo jumbo. Steel is an alloy all steel contains carbon. 'High carbon' steel doesn't tell you anything; that could be referring to stainless or carbon steel. In knife forums stainless is anything with chromium 11%-13%+ and anything else is just called carbon steel colloquially. You're looking at a vg-10 core clad with softer stainless. Why do they do this? Cost. The core steel material costs more.
Joined Aug 18, 2018
I appreciate the help of you guys' laser vision to be able to see through a little bit more of the marketing bs that seems to cloud the judgement of novices such as myself when trying to figure out what purchasing decision to make. While it seems that vg-10 steel is regarded as a good quality material, I've become somewhat convinced that being hardened to 63 rockwell (hrc) might make it a bit too brittle so I probably should decide against getting this Mercer MX3 knife even though it seemed like a good option a few days ago to me.

I checked that knife out and while it looks pretty good, I think I'm more interested in the higher end stainless steels such as the S35VN powdered steel which is used by Warther Cutlery and New West Knifeworks that I know of so far for culinary cutlery. I've been using as a general guide for quality/properties of steel and it seems that the AUS-8 steel that the suggested Gessin is made of seems to have average to below average edge retention. But who knows, maybe I'll end up going your suggested route.

One problem I'm having is finding enough info regarding the products from these companies at the moment, but I've seen a few things that might help myself and others make future purchasing judgments. That's all I've been able to find so far, but I'll be adding more to the thread for those interested in this topic.

Thanks again for your input and I'm sure that you guys know a hell of a lot more than I's just that I'm on that obsessive journey for a holy-grail, general-purpose knife that doesn't venture into the price tags of custom knife makers.
Joined Apr 25, 2014
All knives dull eventually.. are you sure you are up to sharpening S35VN ? Sounds difficult to sharpen even for people good at sharpening. Some steels that work in shorter fatter hunting knives when you take them to a geometry as thin as a chefs knife needs to be, don't really work for various reasons.

I know some other powder steels used in kitchen knives get chippy at the high hardnesses. Edge retention means nothing if you have to sharpen out large chips and lessen the life of your knife right
Joined Nov 15, 2012
The Mercer is actually likely right around 60RC, but the problem with V-10 is that it can be chippy or extremely difficult to sharpen all depending on how well they did the HT to bring it to temper. From the the talk I would only trust VG-10 by Hattori (which I hear is actually made by Ryusen) or Tanaka, and a few other exceptional small makers, but the Tanaka undersells them on price, but they are rarely in stock.

The Geshin stainless is easy to sharpen and touch up to a very good edge, so edge retention not so much a problem. You can read about the Warther and New West in an older post that recently got bumped.

The Geshin Kagero is in stock. Fully stainless, takes a great edge easily and easily keener than most other stainless, and insane edge holding. For general prep I would take it over any other PM alloy. R2 takes a slightly sharper edge, but looses that sharp too quick for boardwork compared to the Kagero's SRS-15 steel. For you then, if you have $300 to spend on your chefs, I'd say put it here.

You'll still need to buy stones and learn how to use them, or I wouldn't go above the Geshin stainless. You can use a pull-through wheel-type sharpener on this knife, but not a power unit as this knife is rather thin at the edge.
Joined Apr 24, 2018
I also spent a good deal of time researching steel types and hardness before investing in a $100+ knife for the 1st time. Now that I own a few better quality knives, my experience has been that the grind of the knife , edge geometry and how it feels in the hand are much more important than steel type or edge retention. A knife made of decent steel (exg AUS-8) with a good blade geometry will cut much better than a high end steel knife with a bad grind. Also how each manufacture heat treats the steel will affects its performance as much as the steel itself.

As a home cook, my experience is that edge retention is not an issue as long as you are cutting on a good surface such as hardwood or a better quality synthetic cutting board. Home chefs usually only spend 5-10 minutes of cutting for a family meal, whereas a professional can spend many hours cutting in a single shift. As long as you properly store your knives (not in the drawer) you should be able to go months in between sharpening. A few quick strops on a whetstone every week will keep most knives sharp for months. Sharpening on a whetstone is surprisingly easy to learn and takes only a few minutes, unless the knife edge is actually damaged. King makes a good 1000/6000 grit starter stone for $50.

My 1st better quality knife was a MAC Pro MTH-80 ($140). It's AUS-8 stainless with a western handle, no bolster, lighter than most western knives and much thinner behind the edge (better) than most western knives. Great knife-nice hybrid of Japanese and Western styles.The 8" Chef series MAC runs about $100 is also highly recommended.

Millionsknives recommended the Gesshin Stainless. While I have not used this knife I have bought knives from Japanese Knife Imports and highly recommend them. Very knowledgeable, very honest and always willing to spend time on the phone to help a customer pick the right knife.
Joined Aug 18, 2018
I'm still taking all this in by the way...Imma be posting again when I feel I got a better answer! Appreciated again you guys
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