Which carbon steel for kitchen knife?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by mostadonte2, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. mostadonte2

    mostadonte2

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    I want to purchase a carbon steel kitchen knife but I am not sure which alloy to chose. From what i read Aogami Blue Super (AS) seems to be best of its kind. Also CPM M4 seems to be highly valued but I am not sure if there are any Kitchen knives made out of it, especially Japanese ones.

    Also I am considering ZDP-189, but form what I understand it's not a Carbon steel per se, but very close.

    The reason I want to purchase a Carbon steel knife, is because I do not have one, and I would like to try very good carbon knife

    Which one would you recommend guys, any other contenders?
     
  2. jbroida

    jbroida

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    Best is a tough term... Aogami super will have the best edge retention an corrosion resistance of the Japanese carbon steels, but it won't get as sharp as others, will be more difficult to sharpen, and will be more brittle.

    Zdp189 is most assuredly a stainless steel.
     
  3. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    I really like my old Sabatiers from the 70's and 80's.
     
  4. mostadonte2

    mostadonte2

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    I do not think this is an option for me :)
    Which Carbon steel do you recommend then? I've read that AS can get quite sharp, similar to other Aogami (Blues and whites).
     
     
  5. jbroida

    jbroida

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    it depends on what you are looking for... if you want edge retention, i like blue #1, if you want ease of sharpening, i say white #2, and if you want ease of sharpening and awesome edge taking ability with decent edge retention i say white #1, but it can also be a bit more brittle depending on how it was heat treated.  Personally, i'm not a bit fan of blue super in kitchens.... i prefer other steels.
     
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    There's "carbon steel" and there's "carbon steel."  By definition steel is an alloy of iron and carbon.  So, in one sense, all steel is "carbon steel."  Some steels are "high carbon."  "High carbon" is a term of art which means that the alloy in question has at least 0.50% carbon by weight -- except in the EU where anything above 0.45% is "high carbon." 

    Any steel alloy which contains at least 13% chromium is referred to as stainless.  Knives with between 5% and 12% chromium are referred to as semi-stainless or stain-resistant.  Materials and knife guys call any alloy made up of 4% or less chromium "carbon." 

    So far, the other guys responding to your questions have all been talking about carbon (i.e., not stainless) knives, because they think that's what you're asking about. 

    Unless you're an extremely good sharpener, almost all of the high quality high carbons and tool steels, and a few of the better stainless alloys work about equally well.  Edge quality tends to be far more dependent on edge geometry, maintenance routines, use, and sharpening skills than on the identity of any particular alloy.

    ZDP-189 is a metallurgical powder (aka PM), with 3% carbon and 20% chromium.  Because of its chromium content, it's not only extremely stainless but is not referred to as a "carbon" alloy.   It's not referred to as "stainless" either, because PM conveys so much more information. 

    As a class, the metallurgical powders (aka PMs) are something of an exception to the practical rules of "most good steels tend to be very much alike."  Compared to other knife alloys, the powders tend to be extremely strong (another materials term) and are almost always hardened to a very high degree.  That means that sharpening is usually somewhat awkward, but that edge holding is usually extremely good (they can also be very chippy). 

    People new to high-performance knife universe are often very attracted to PMs because they associated with very hardness.  But what the noob doesn't know is that hardness numbers can be more distraction than vital knowledge.  As a property, very high hardness is almost always double edged in practice for the reasons already mentioned:  good wear resistance; difficult and unpleasant to sharpen; stay in true, difficult to true when they do ding; chippy; etc.   

    Several of the best metallurgical powders are extremely expensive, including ZDP-189 and Cowry X; however the current high-performance PM darling, Bohler 390, is more reasonable.  CPM-154 is another high-performance, high-vale powder.  SG-2 is well priced, but you want to be careful as SG-2 knives are often prone to chipping.      

    If you're looking for a knife made from ZDP-189, you're looking to spend a lot of money to replace occasional sharpening with very occasional sharpening.  To my mind, not a good tradeoff -- but opinions differ.

    By and large, guys who make a big deal about alloys are knife collectors and not cooks.  Nothing wrong with that, but if you're all about the cutting consider -- as long as the knife is made from any one of many good alloys -- other things should be higher priorities.  

    Unless you're throwing a LOT of money at the "what knife?" problem, there are going to be some trade-offs.  And even then, not only is there no single best knife for everyone, there's probably no single best knife for you.  The thing to do is to figure out what things you want most, and using those bases limit the range of possibilities to a group in which the only choices are good ones.  After that, throw darts.  

    If you prefer "single steel" to san-mai, your choices become limited.  Without cladding, many of the prestige alloys fail too often during the heat treatment, raising keep costs too high for their use as single-steel knives. 

    There are many excellent knives made with Aogami Super.  But, like Jon, I don't like them.  In my case it has more to do with other things than with AS itself. 

    The big Sabatier makers importing into the US -- K-Sab, Mexeur et Cie, and Thiers-Issard -- use the same carbon steel now that they did in the "seventies and eighties."  If you want a knife of the sort that kokopuffs loves (I love them as well), they're easy to buy.  Older Sabatier production is also readily available NOS, and has its own, slightly different charms (love those too). 

    One of the two chef's knives I use the most is a 51200 (high performance carbon) wa-gyuto (Japanese handled chef knife) with a Sabatier profile.  The other one is a "laser" (extremely light and thin" wa-gyuto made from some type of semi-stainless.   They are very different from one another; but the distinctions in their characters are not based in their respective alloys.  

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  7. mostadonte2

    mostadonte2

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    Are you telling that blue #1 has better edge retention then super blue?
    That's exactlly what I am looking for. Carbon steel, the one that rusts with ease :)
    Good explanation, thanks fro that. I guess then ZDP is out of question at this moment in time. May be for the New Years holidays or something :p
    Well that's a tricky one; I am a bit of both and none of each :) I like to cook and I like knifes but none of them is my life. I just got that Japanese knife bug lately and I already got semi-stainless and stainless knifes. So the next one should be Carbon Steel, hence a question which alloy should I get because most likely I will stop there for a while.
    Being in that situation I want the best deal for the buck.
    As all my other knifes are "single steel" I would not mind san-mai for a change so I have different experience.
    Which one is that, may I ask?
    I am not a good sharpener. Hence I think edge retention will be the priority #1, is not it?

    At this point I am looking into Moritaka Kiritsuke or some Takeda in AS (Moritaka being a leader mostlly because of price). But again I am open for the suggestions I did not decide yet as my

    experience with carbon steel is null.
     
  8. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Richmond 51200 Ultimatum.
    No.  Learning to sharpen better is priority #1.  Just in terms of knife properties, for someone working on their sharpening skills, "edge taking" properties are more important than edge retention. 
    Both knives are fairly easy to sharpen.  Takedas are better made.  I don't like san-mai, kurouchi, or flat profiles, so I'm not the right guy to talk to about these knives except in the most general terms. 

    I'm not sure if there's anyone who posts at CT who has much experience with both -- although there are certainly a few who've had some with one or the other.  You might want to go to the CKtG forum, the Kitchen Knife Forum (KKF), and give Mark Richmond at CKtG a call (CKtG sells both).  You should also call Jon Broida (of JKI), who feels somewhat constrained about talking about specific brands online. 

    BDL
     
  9. mostadonte2

    mostadonte2

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    In progress :)

    From what I get from this thread is that it does not really matter which alloy to chose. I guess the wallet and looks will decide.
     
  10. jbroida

    jbroida

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    i'm not saying that blue #1 has better edge retention than blue super, but it has very good edge retention and is much less chipping usually... edge retention doesnt mean much if your edge microchips all of the time ;)
     
  11. mostadonte2

    mostadonte2

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    I was giving some thought about not going with AS steel necessarily and so far I narrowed my choice to the three knifes

    All of them are available local (no duties or overpriced shipments), and roughly in $200 range

    1.  Nakiri 165mm Masakage Mizu  - San-mai in Blue #2 + Re-handle as the stock handle does no fit me

    http://www.knifewear.com/knife-detail.asp?knife=19nakiri165&family=19

    2. Nakiri 165mm Masakage Shimo - San-mai in White #2

    http://www.knifewear.com/knife-detail.asp?knife=17nakiri165&family=17

    3. Nakiri 165mm Moritaka Supreme - San-mai in AS

    http://www.paulsfinest.com/Moritaka-Supreme-Nakiri-165mm-6.5-Aogami-Blue-Super-Carbon-Steel.html

    Which one do you think is a better choice?
     
  12. Iceman

    Iceman

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    Never mind. 
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
  13. mostadonte2

    mostadonte2

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    You are correct IceMan I did not tell I wanted a nakiri. The reason is simple, I was not sure what profile I was looking for as the main purpose was and is - is to buy a good quality carbon steel knife. Technically i had 4 options, nakiri, santoko, kiritsuke or small petty under 100mm. I still want the knife to be usable in my applications.
    Hence couple days ago I decided that Nakiri will be the best fit and price wise they are looking not too bad.

    As for your recommendation, it is very good priced, but I would prefer not to buy a Tojiro. For the price/buck purposes I have CCK store not to far away that I am planning to visit next time I visit my sister. For now I would prefer something of more quality/novelty :)
     
  14. Iceman

    Iceman

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    Whatever. 
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
  15. mostadonte2

    mostadonte2

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    Pretty much, I do not have any practical knowledge on the issue.

    I really appreciate your suggestion, I really do. I might consider it, but I do not think I will stick to it :) Any opinions about the 3 knifes I've selected.....
     
  16. Iceman

    Iceman

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    Knives are nice. 
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
  17. mostadonte2

    mostadonte2

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    May be they are may be not. I would like to have an insight of somebody who might know more abt them. That's why I am asking on the forum.
    I already have a 240 semi stainless gyuto that I find quite comfortable and practical for everything I do.
    Yep, I love new toys, unfortunatelly I cant afford all toys I want either :(
    I tend to think the same way. The small paring knife I have barely have any use, hence I bought 150mm one - works for me.

    Never the less, I feel some resentment coming from you man. I might be wrong, but well, I hope I did not offend you somehow :-/ Sorry if so.
     
  18. Iceman

    Iceman

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    There you go. 
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
  19. mostadonte2

    mostadonte2

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    Dude, honestly, read the damn thread. You can go all over how cool you are using the knife as a tool etc etc, I am not looking for that. I opened this thread with a purpose, my own purpose. Your help, seriously, was Null. I tried to be polite but god damit you are annoying as a little bee. Thanks for nothing, well for spending some time on this I guess.

    Also what's up with the bringing up JBorida and BDL name in every post of yours? I know they are knowledgeable, so I listened to their opinions and I will go with Shirogami #2 knife instead of AS, for now :p. Not to mention that I watched mostly all Joh's videos and dozen of others and it does not make me an expert in sharpening, so I keep my mouth shut in this area. You should follow that example, seriously.

    Anyways have fun and smile.
     
  20. Iceman

    Iceman

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    WOW. DUDE.      LOL. 

    OK.   For you, I wiped out every one of my posts.   You don't have any clue, just money to spend.   Buy whatever knife you want.   It makes no difference at all.   You won't understand any difference anyway.