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Old 08-24-2012, 03:30 PM   #1
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Carbon Steel

(not to be confused with high carbon stainless steel). Plain old carbon steel is excellent. You have to keep it clean and dry, or it will rust and pit, but that's not so hard and it takes and holds an edge better than anything. Also, the hand made Japanese knives generally use either the Hitachi "blue" or "white" steel ingots (named for the color of the paper wrapper they come in), which are also types of non-stainless carbon steels, and are excellent. Old Hickory knives are made in the USA out of old fashioned carbon steel. They are inexpensive and, although they don't come from the factory very sharp, they can be easily sharpened up to a keen edge. I also found a website that has "new old stock" of the Thiers-Issard Sabatier carbon steel knives that used to be found in all good kitchens. I have the 10" and 8" chef knives and I use them all the time.

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Old 08-25-2012, 02:42 AM   #2
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I share your enthusiasm. However there are quite a few (e.g. VG-10 and CPM S30V) that compare favorably. I use knives made from different steels depending on their intended use. Some are easier to sharpen, others more chip resistant, some have better edge retention (wear resistance), and some are thinner and more flexible.
My wife's everyday knife is a Shun petty knife made from SG-2.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:20 AM   #3
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Good Stainless

Yes, I have a couple of good stainless knives, too. I like my Henkel Four Star 8" chef's knife, and I have a 10", inexpensive (stamped) Dexter Russel which is really quite good. I have no idea what sort of stainless steel either one of them are made of, though, but they take a good edge and hold it fairly well.

Japan Woodworker sells a line of "Tosagata" knives that are hand made by Japanese farmers during the winter, of which I have four. They have the western style double bevel edge, which I like vs. the super traditional chisel edge. They are made from the blue or white carbon steel sandwiched between some softer metal. Hand forged.Traditional wooden handles. Very inexpensive and excellent edges. They are harder than my butcher's steel, though. I made a "steel" from a large borosilicate glass laboratory stirring rod and an old paint brush handle to take care of that. They go for around $30 - $80 each, depending on size and style.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:28 AM   #4
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Yes, I have a couple of good stainless knives, too. I like my Henkel Four Star 8" chef's knife, and I have a 10", inexpensive (stamped) Dexter Russel which is really quite good. I have no idea what sort of stainless steel either one of them are made of, though, but they take a good edge and hold it fairly well.

Japan Woodworker sells a line of "Tosagata" knives that are hand made by Japanese farmers during the winter, of which I have four. They have the western style double bevel edge, which I like vs. the super traditional chisel edge. They are made from the blue or white carbon steel sandwiched between some softer metal. Hand forged.Traditional wooden handles. Very inexpensive and excellent edges. They are harder than my butcher's steel, though. I made a "steel" from a large borosilicate glass laboratory stirring rod and an old paint brush handle to take care of that. They go for around $30 - $80 each, depending on size and style.
Good to know. Do you prefer the blue or white?
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:31 AM   #5
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Blue or White

No preference. I really can't tell the difference. But some of the real enthusiasts say the white will take the best edge.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:36 AM   #6
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New West Knife Works is making Carbon Steel blades now. All USA made
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:43 AM   #7
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New West

Thanks, I will check them out.
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:51 PM   #8
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Yes, I have a couple of good stainless knives, too. I like my Henkel Four Star 8" chef's knife, and I have a 10", inexpensive (stamped) Dexter Russel which is really quite good. I have no idea what sort of stainless steel either one of them are made of, though, but they take a good edge and hold it fairly well.

Japan Woodworker sells a line of "Tosagata" knives that are hand made by Japanese farmers during the winter, of which I have four. They have the western style double bevel edge, which I like vs. the super traditional chisel edge. They are made from the blue or white carbon steel sandwiched between some softer metal. Hand forged.Traditional wooden handles. Very inexpensive and excellent edges. They are harder than my butcher's steel, though. I made a "steel" from a large borosilicate glass laboratory stirring rod and an old paint brush handle to take care of that. They go for around $30 - $80 each, depending on size and style.
On balance (price & performance) I think Dexter Russel US made HC stainless is a pretty good choice. On the other hand the Shun Elite 6" utility knife in SG2 at RC 64 for $135 seemed expensive at the time I bought it, but it takes and holds a marvelous edge that even tolerates my wife's abusive handling. Glad I bought it 3 1/2 years ago, particularly since it no longer seems to be available. The petite handle helps prevent my wife from exerting excessive torque.
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:32 PM   #9
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Shun

I have never heard anyone say anything other than great praise for their Shun knives. They must be really good. Maybe someday...
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:52 AM   #10
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New West

btw I checked out the New West knives. Beautiful. I've got my eye on one. Just have to wait to catch my wife in a moment of weakness.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:17 PM   #11
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btw I checked out the New West knives. Beautiful. I've got my eye on one. Just have to wait to catch my wife in a moment of weakness.

Just show her shoes...
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:27 PM   #12
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Just show her shoes...
or a pair of insulated pac boots.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:58 PM   #13
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Moment of Weakness

The moment of weakness occurred. I pounced. A beautiful New West 9" "Phoenix" carbon steel knife is in transit to me right now.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:46 PM   #14
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New West Knife

And it has arrived. And it is awesome. What a beautifully designed and made product. I got the Phoenix series 9" knife with the black and blue handle.

This one: 9" Chef Phoenix Carbon 52100 : New West KnifeWorks
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:03 PM   #15
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I have never heard anyone say anything other than great praise for their Shun knives. They must be really good. Maybe someday...
I received the 12" Chef's knife as a gift from a friend. I have child size hands. Way too big for me. I gave it to my son. I hated to give it up, but I knew for me it was an accident waiting to happen.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:08 PM   #16
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12" is a very big knife, even if you have big hands. Do consider this company for an 8" knife, though someday. Really good stuff!
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:13 PM   #17
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12" is a very big knife, even if you have big hands. Do consider this company for an 8" knife, though someday. Really good stuff!
It was a Shun knife. I replaced it with their 8" one. Much easier to hold. But boy is that thing sharp. I use it only for meats.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:15 PM   #18
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Shun

I have heard nothing but praise for the Shun knives.
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Old 09-09-2012, 01:00 AM   #19
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And it has arrived. And it is awesome. What a beautifully designed and made product. I got the Phoenix series 9" knife with the black and blue handle.

This one: 9" Chef Phoenix Carbon 52100 : New West KnifeWorks
I've never heard of that brand, but if the HT is done properly, 52100 is just about as good as carbon steel gets for kitchen knives. The Hitachi steels are also very good.

A few days ago I received my Richmond Ultimatum in Bohler M390 MicroClean. It's the sharpest knife OOTB that I've ever seen. M390 is supposed to be one of the greatest of the new Uber-powdered steels. We shall see how it holds up to a pro kitchen.
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