Secret of the sharpness and cutting performance of Japanese knives, is
mostly from the Japan’s traditional way and long history of knife making
experience and techniques.
But the steel material is also very important because each of steels makes
different characteristics and it is one of important elements when you
will select the knives for your specific needs and preference. (Of course,
it is also important that the knives are made properly to extract the most
features of each steel characteristic, because, even using same steel material
for the blade, any improper processes in heat treatment,Grinding, sharpening etc might ruin the intended characteristics of the performance and ability). Our selected Knife Makers and Craftsmen are paying special care in each production step to turn out best performed knives in every aspect. Among them, we can especially recommend Hatori, Misono, Hiromoto, Mizuno Tanrenjo, Mr. Itou for those points)
As you can see from our selections of fine Japanese knives, there are many
kinds of Steels being used for the blades. In this page, we would like
to explain the details about each Steel material and its Characteristics. Generally, most of Steel materials can be divided in three Categories.
One is the Stainless steel. Another one is Carbon steel. And additionally
we can not forget about attractive steel called Powdered High Speed Tool
Steel. (Powdered Tool Steel often be considered as Stainless Steel, but
because of its uniqueness and difference from regular Stainless steel,
we put “Powdered Tool Steel” in one different category.
Stainless Steel which makes good rust resistance, easy maintenance.( the steels which have more than approximate 11% of Chromium in Chemical Composition is considered as Stainless Steel). (Chemical Element “Chromium” will provides resistance to wear and corrosion) From the experience and history (a while time ago), people may consider
the Stainless steel blades can not make good cutting performance or stainless
steel blade get dull quick or difficult to re-sharpen. It was true. But in this generation, with the Steel Companies’ researches and technological
progresses, Stainless steel materials have been improved magnificently,
and there are many attractive and fine Stainless Steel materials available
with good sharpness, longer edge retention and ease of re-sharpening.
Good Stainless steel blade kitchen knives make good rust resistance, easy
maintenance, good sharpness, edge retention and ease of re-sharpening.
Therefore, they are very popular among beginning users to professional
users in this generation.
You may often see or hear the Stainless steels which are called “High Carbon
Stainless Steel”. Generally, the new and good Stainless steel blades (different
from old stainless steel) often be called “High Carbon Stainless” which
has high % of Carbon in Chemical Composition and similar good characteristics
as Carbon Steel.(Sharpness, edge retention and ease of re-sharpening) All of our carrying Stainless steels blades are made of High Carbon Stainless steels. And among them and our selections, below Stainless Steel Materials are
especially popular and often be used for our selections.
Important Information about steel Steel Elements(before you learn each of steels)
Just like adding various seasonings to the cooking ingredients for better taste, the steel is also added with necessary chemical elements to increase the hardness, strength, edge retention, resistance to corrosion etc, in addition to the main compositions of Carbon and Chromium. Also, the continuous researches and developments by Japanese steel makers and recent advanced technologies have made it possible to make special forge cladding and welding steels called “Fukugozai” (layered steel with different materials). Thanks for these Japanese outstanding special steels, that has made a big contribution to improve Japanese knives to be considered the world number one cutting tool. We will continue to develop and offer new products using the newest steels. Here are the basic steel elements and their features.
Increases hardness, tensile strength and toughness. Provides resistance
to wear and corrosion.
Cobalt (CO) Increases strength and hardness, and permits quenching in higher temperatures.
Intensifies the individual effects of other elements in more complex steels.
(MO) Increases strength, hardness, harden ability, and toughness.Improves machinability
and resistance to corrosion.
Vanadium(VA) Increases strength, wear resistance, and increases toughness.
(W) Adds strength, toughness, and improves hardneability. These information will help you to learn more about each of steels below.
VG-10 One of most popular and high ranked Japanese Stainless Steel for sharpness,
edge retention and durability. Cobalt added Special high Carbon Stainless
Steel, often be called as “Cobalt Steel”.Many of makers use VG-10 for the Damascus blade too.
14.5 to 15.5
VG-1 VG-1 is good basic and common Japanese
Stainless steel which makes high hardness, edge retention, strength and rust
resistance. Both VG-1 and VG-10 are produced from Takefu Steel Company.
Gingami No.3 Fine Japanese Steel Company Hitachi’s special stainless steel which makes
similar sharpness, edge retention as Carbon Steel.Gingami No.3 often be used for Japanese Traditional Style knives
13.00 to 14.50
Sweden Stainless Steel The Pure Stainless Steel material from Sweden. We heard several makers
use Sweden Stainless Steels for the stable quality control. Selected Sweden
Stainless steel material are easier for making process, heat-treating process,
and it will help for making stable good quality control.
Molybdenum Vanadium Stainless Steel（AUS-8） One of
common and good standard, stainless steel for the knife blades. We often recommend
Molybdenum Steel Kitchen knives for first users and beginning users of Japanese
knives because of its characteristics.Ease of re-sharpening,good
durability and rust resistance, and reasonable price range.
One Point Advice and knowledge for Stainless Steel Blade Stainless steel blades have good rust resistance. But even the Stainless
steel blades get rust or discolor if you leave it in water or with wet
condition for long time. For keeping the knife’s good condition, we recommend
to wipe it with clean cloth for keeping it dry after the hand washing.
We also recommend to wipe the handle for drying which helps for avoiding
the shrinkage and keeping the good condition for longer period.This daily
and basic maintenance are important for every kitchen knives.
Carbon Steel As opposed to the Stainless Steel blade, Carbon Steel blade gets rust and discolor very easily. This is one of the big differences of Carbon Steel from Stainless Steel.
Carbon Steel blade requires additional care and maintenance for avoiding
the rust and discolor situation. We recommend you not to leave the Carbon
steel blade with wet condition. For avoiding the rust and discolor situation,
it sometimes requires wiping the blade for drying even during the cooking
time And even you care and make extra attention for the Carbon steel blade,
still there is possibility the small rust and discolor situation be appeared.
(But these rust and discolor parts and situation do not affect for the
cutting performance and the foods.)
Additionally, before storing the Carbon steel knife, putting oil on the
blade or storing the blade with the the original paper blade cover (Carbon
steel knife comes with the paper blade cover which has protection for the
rust) help for avoiding the rust and keeping the good condition of blade).
As you understand now, Carbon Steel blade requires additional care and maintenance. But there have been many of serious users and professionals who prefer
the Carbon Steel blade. Why ??
Because of its excellent sharpness, edge retention and ease of re-sharpening.
These are the advantages of Carbon Steel blade, and reason to be selected.
For the people whose priority is sharpness, for those who needs to cut and
prepare the foods for long hours at professional kitchen, for those who
requires excellent cutting performance for preparing special foods (sashimi,
raw fish), from professionals to serious users, Carbon Steel blade kitchen
knives can be attractive and great tools. As world wide famous, legendary cutting performance of Japanese Swords
are made of special Japanese Carbon Steel “TAMAHAGANE”, Japanese Carbon
Steel blade kitchen knives can make extra cutting performance and fine
Among our selections, below Carbon Steel Materials are especially popular and often be used for our selections.
White Steel #2 (Shirogami No.2 or Shiroko No.2)
Very purity Carbon Steel material,often be used for Japanese Traditional Style
knives. White Steel #2 blade kitchen knives can have great sharp edge after the
re-sharpening. (Ease of re-sharpening)
White Steel No.2
1.05 to 1.15
White Steel #1 (Shirogami No.1 or Shiroko No.1)
Higher % of Carbon in its Chemical composition than White Steel #2, which
makes more hardness, but bit more brittle. White Steel #1 is also very
purity Carbon Steel material which makes ease of re-sharpening, the sharpness
and cutting performance is great advantages of White Steel blade.
White Steel No.1
1.25 to 1.35
Blue Steel #2 (Aogami No.2 or Aoko No.2)
Blue Steel #2 has same Carbon Content as White Steel #2, with additional element Harmonium and Tungsten. With these additional ingredients, Blue Steel #2 blade can have better edge retention and durability.
Blue Steel No.2
1.05 to 1.15
0.2 to 0.5
1.0 to 1.5
Blue Steel #1 (Aogami No.1 or Aoko No.1)
With more rich Chemical Composition than Blue Steel #2, higher % of Carbon, Chromium, Tungsten. Blue Steel #1 makes more hardness, better sharpness, edge retention.
Blue Steel No.1
1.25 to 1.35
0.3 to 0.5
1.5 to 2.0
Aogami Super (Blue Super Steel)
One of greatest Japanese Carbon steel with very rich Chemical composition
(much more % of Carbon, Chromium, Tungsten than Blue Steel #1. Aogami Super
which makes very high hardness, great cutting performance and edge retention,
yet durable. This is one of dream Steel for the Carbon Steel Lovers. But
Quenching, Tempering process for Aogami Super blade are especially difficult,
requires experience and techniques.
1.40 to 1.50
0.3 to 0.5
2.0 to 2.5
0.30 to 0.50
One Point Advice and knowledge for Carbon Steel Blade There are people don’t prefer the Carbon Steel blade because of additional
care and maintenance even though they really demand the sharpness, edge
retention. For those people Some Makers produce Cladding blade construction
of Carbon Steel blade. (Blade core is made of Carbon steel sandwiched with
Soft Stainless steel. Only blade core part has possibility to get rust
or discolor = Easier maintenance.) "Hiromoto Aogami Super Series", "Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan White Steel No.1 Series"
Or there is interesting Carbon Steel Kitchen knife which has better rust resistance, yet has full advantages of Carbon steel “CarboNext Series”.
Powdered High Speed Tool Steel
There is other interesting Steel called Powdered High Speed Tool Steel.
These steels are made through different making process (Powder metallurgy),
and has extremely rich chemical composition, unique and good characteristics.
Powdered High Speed Tool Steels are often used in cutting tools which must
requires ultra hardness for cutting hard materials and the characteristic
(withstanding higher temperatures without losing its hardness.) Now you can imagine how difference and how it works.Our carrying Powdered High Speed Tool Steel Knives also have good
resistance for the rust (easy maintenance), it is very ideal steel and next
generation of Special Steel. Popular among serious users and chefs who demands the ultra cutting performance
and edge retention.
Cowry X Daido Steel Company's Special steel, due to the difficulty of making process
and its high price range, we don't have chance to see Cowry X steel knives
in the market. Mr. Hattori is the one who has mastered this special high-end
steel, and his maximized Cowry X steel blade makes fantastic result. Very
special and premium steel which also seeks special experienced craftsman.
ZDP-189 Hitachi Steel company produced ZDP-189 for competing Daido steel's Cowry
X. ZDP-189 has similar Chemical Compositions as Cowry X and supposed to
be equal level of steel. Due to a difficulty of making process and its
high price, rareness in the market, only selected Makers can have chance
to make these Special Steel knives.
SG-2 (Super Gold
No.2) This is more common and popular Powdered High Speed Tool Steel for knife
blades. You can taste speechless cutting performance, great edge retention
and easy maintenance (resistance for the rust).
(Super Gold No.2)
1.25 to 1.45
14.00 to 16.00
2.3 to 3.3
1.8 to 2.2
After learning these information about steels, now you can search our selections more easily through our new page and system at"Searched By Steel&Blade Type"