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Kitchen knives - steel choices


I know how much you like VG-10 steel. Weel Fallkniven has a line of kitchen knives made from 63 layer damascus with VG-10 and carbon steel. Very nice gift kitchen knives in many styles, including Japanese chopping styles.

I can get you more information if you are interested.


[This message has been edited by LagaNet (edited 18 July 1999).]
Yesterday, as I was doing a cookout, I noticed a patina on my Dozier personal utlity of D2. I pretty cautious about wiping it clean and dry after use in cutting food stuff. I even put a coat of tuff cloth on it.

The patina is definitely there, though no big deal as long as it isn't rust.

laganet --

I'm definitely interested if Cliff isn't. Can you get us some info and post it here? I'd be much obliged.

Cliff, great topic! As domestic concerns become paramount in my household, I'm turning my attention to kitchen knives also.


I brought one in to check it out and have sent it to James Mattis for him to check it out. It is the 1HI-170 Hattori Santoku Kumo. The full line is pictured at Fallkniven's web site at www.fallkniven.com. Look under Hattori. Text is in Swedish but I have asked for English information.

I will be bringing some in to make available as specialty items. They come in nice presentation boxes. Great for a gift.

I'll post something here in the next few days.

Let me echo Joe Talmadge, thank you LagaNet! I didn't think anyone made VG-10 kitchen knives--great possibilities. Translation and monetary conversion help greatly appreciated.

I'm not as interested in a damascene blade, but if it came with the "Right Stuff" it would be great to try.

Any one out there able to report how these worked for them? Any personal experiences from the Fallkniven people themselves?
Sharpsteel :

Somehow we manage to wash them and then wipe them off before they get put away and corrosion is Never a problem. Maybe respecting an expensive tool is part of it.

Not everyone has the same viewpoint. These knives are not for me and I know they are not going to get the care required for a tool steel blade. Because of this I need to have a degree of corrosion resistance and for similar reasons impact toughness.

Dan, yes I am leaning towards custom currently. I like this for the performance gain, but more importantly it puts a part of me directly into the gift. Currently I am discussing it with Mel Sorg. As for 3V, I like the impact toughness and the wear resistance but I don't think it would be as corrosion resistant as I would require.

I just realized after talking to Marvin that I of course have one of Mel's D2 blades and I can see how it handles the above.

Tom, I would appreciate the info, thanks. The VG-10 in the A1 definately has the required edge durability and corrosion resistance.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 21 July 1999).]
James Mattis has my sample right now and he will be doing his scan thing to produce a pic which he will be posting in the forums to get some feedback. I'll let James tell you what he thinks. He is much more eloquent than I.

I will gather some more detailed info and get the Swedish text translated for posting. We are working on North American pricing right now and I'll let you know when we get some firm numbers and evaluate the market.

I can make the sample that I have, available to interested dealers and makers (sorry others). If demand is high I'll bring in some others. Let me know which specific models you might like to see.

Thanks for the enthusiastic interest.



Take a look at the question thread:
"Help with 204 sharpener" on the Spyderco forum

This is the reason that I suggest softer, finer grained steel in a GIFT kitchen knife. I have tried AUS-8 in kitchen knives and it is a good compromise. It is only a tiny bit softer that MBS-26 (that Spyderco provides in very limited design options) and AUS-8 is famous for taking a razor edge. I would guesstimate that it is about half as hard to sharpen as the RADA steel.

There are a few companies that make kitchen knives out of AUS-6, but I haven't found any that seem currently to be using AUS-8. I've got some old japanese MAC kitchen knives that I've been told are made from AUS-8. They have a very thin cross-section and work real well (they have rounded ends with holes in them). The newer MAC knives promote molybdenum in their alloy which is a trend in Japanese knives that I despise. It makes the blades real hard to sharpen without any benefit in my uses.

If I had custom gift knives made I would get them made from AUS-8. Theoretically they are more subject to corrosion than some stainless, but I have not observed any problems. I think that the gift recipient could maintain the knives with ceramic rods with minimal chance of marring the blades.
Jeff, the reason that I didn't mention AUS-8 is that from what I have experienced (CS and Spyderco), it indents a bit too much. It is however very easy to sharpen and resists corrosion enough to be suitable in those areas though as you mention.

With your blades, if you put a fine edge on them how would then be effected by the occasional glance off of bone, ceramic and even other knives (washing in the sink - blah). This is the primary reason I think it might be necessary to go with a steel that will resist impacting better like 440C.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 21 July 1999).]
I haven't found edge bending or indenting to be a problem in practise, but I don't use my 1/16 inch thick AUS-8 blades for breaking bones. I've never damaged a knife blade by any other sane kitchen application. When I've seen damaged blades they have generally been used in place of a screwdriver, putty knife, chisel or crowbar. I think the risks of damage could be moderated by careful selection of blade geometry. If it does happen you can likely fix it by tapping it back. You almost need to provide your gift recipient with a cleaver as part of the set any time you give out a really thin blade.

When I'm splitting bones I use a razor sharp carbon steel cleaver (every thing I've got is razor sharp). If it's only chicken bones I just use the same fully tapered Forschner chef's knife that I use to cut veggies. Chicken breast bones are the only ones I split routinely so my cleaver sees very little use. Unless you stab into a beef joint I don't see any likelyhood of indenting a blade from bone contact. If you stab with a thin-point almost any steel is in jeopardy. If you use a boning knife shape I would expect AUS-8 to hold up as well as any practical steel, and it would be less likely to break than most.

I've never seen knife-to-knife contact damage a kitchen blade. Blade-to-plate contact is common, but just rolls the edge slightly on the belly of the blade (assuming your steel isn't brittle). If your steel is ductile like AUS-8 you fix the damage with a steel and a ceramic rod.

I expect 440C to be hard to sharpen and impossible to steel. What have you been doing when you have indented AUS-8? Does it have any bearing on kitchen use?
Jeff :

I expect 440C to be hard to sharpen and impossible to steel.

I have not found steeling that productive on the harder high-alloy blade steels either, but sharpening should not be a problem with 440C due mainly to its toughness allowing a thin edge geometry.

What have you been doing when you have indented AUS-8?

Twisting on cuts accidently so the edge experiences a lateral strain or glancing off something fairly hard so that it compresses.

Does it have any bearing on kitchen use?

Yes. I know how the knife will be used and it will encounter similar strains. I have replicated several events which I know will happen with a D2 blade and an AUS-8 one. The AUS-8 blade indented more than I would like and generally required more work to keep it sharp than I would want.

I guess you know your customers' knife habits and need for toughness. I would choose BG-42 as tough, available, and easy to get sharp. I wouldn't use 440C because it doesn't have vanadium. I've always found that I get a sharper edge easier if a knife alloy contains vanadium. Examples are: O1, A2, AUS-8, BG42, D2, VG-10. I repeat the words of many professionals that they want their kitchen knives easy to sharpen rather than real hard. The pros don't worry about being stainless and tend to like O1 and A2 if they go for the harder stuff.

Generally I find it easier to sharpen a blade if it doesn't have too much molybdenum therefore I would prefer VG-10 with 1% Mo to BG42 with 4% Mo. I just don't know how hard it would be to find VG-10 for a custom knife.
Jeff :

I repeat the words of many professionals that they want their kitchen knives easy to sharpen rather than real hard. The pros don't worry about being stainless and tend to like O1 and A2 if they go for the harder stuff.

I am not buying the knife for a professional cook Jeff. I have already started before why I need the qualities I do. I understand how they are different than what others would want but I don't see the logic in giving a gift that is suited to anyone but the person that will be getting it.