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Carbon compared to Stainless

Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:16 am

Alright everyone as you may know I have just gotten into carbon knives. I have I think 10 or so decent quality Japanese stainless steel knives of different metals and in the past 2 weeks bought 3 carbon knives, 2 Tojiro ITK and a Fujiwara FKH 210.

First off my highest end knife is the Konosuke HH 240mm, which yes I know there are MANY nicer knives out there. This knife gets screaming sharp after going from 8k snow white to nano cloth and kangaroo strop. Now I put my 3 carbon knives through the same exact progression and the difference is astounding. I am not the best in analyzing sharpness of knives but if I were a betting man I would say that the cheap ITK knives take a keener edge than the Kono I have. This being said if anyone that reads this is wanting to start using carbon steel knives, you should! I can't wait to buy some better carbon knives to see what they have to offer.

Those of you worried about the extra maintenance of a carbon blade, don't be. I gave my fujiwara a hot vinegar bath for a couple hours, took #0000 steel wool to remove the black stuff and wiped it down with a wet then dry towel. This knife is incredible, the patina is so tough on this knife I have yet to see ANYTHING close to a rust color.

Now even the tojiro ITK knives which I consider very reactive, I also gave a vinegar bath patina and that helped out tremendously. I have used the 150mm petty as a line knife for a week or so now and no issues whatsoever.

Needless to say nobody that is willing to spend this kind of money and time on a knife should not be deterred from a quality blade due to a little extra maintenance. Try out an ITK is you are worried, whats the worst that can happen you hate the $40-60 knife????

Re: Carbon compared to Stainless

Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:48 am

Very excited about how excited you are about carbon.

Do you know for sure that you're removing the entire burr/wire edge from the stainless knives when comparing how sharp they are in comparison to the carbon?

I ask because that's a big problem I always ran into...stainless, with it's additives, is harder to sharpen primarily because it can hold onto a burr with force.

Re: Carbon compared to Stainless

Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:24 pm

I always recommend learning to sharpen on a cheap carbon blade like a fujiwara because it's so easy to sharpen. Better to learn basic muscle memory on a good hard stone with a nice easy steel.

If you want to pull your hair out try learning to sharpen on my CPM154 Addict. My wrist hurts after sharpening that knife.

Re: Carbon compared to Stainless

Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:33 pm

Yes adam I am sure there is no wire edge.

Mark the fuji is SOOO easy to sharpen, as is the tojiro ITK's.

As for stating that I feel the carbon feels as sharp as the kono HH. I however have not used the 3 carbons long enough to compare edge retention. I am going to assume with stropping as necessary the kono will long outlast any of the carbons I own. Purely due to the heat treat and fit and finish of the knives.

The ITK's will take probably 10 more sharpenings before they hit there peak edge, due to the lack luster finish on the blade. This is not a complaint of the ITK's, I knew what I was buying, but the knives are worth the money to get use to using carbon everyday.

I am stating a new job this week and plan on the 3 carbons being my ONLY knives so I am forced to break habits that stainless knives lead to!

Re: Carbon compared to Stainless

Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:16 am

Nice, I had been debating on getting a carbon blade too. It's a hard choice. I am looking at the kono HD for a workhorse knife but I may pick up a Tojiro too. I mean you can't beat a $80 240mm gyuto. What did you do to force the patina and where did you learn how to do it? Congrats on the new job. Where will you be working?

Re: Carbon compared to Stainless

Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:42 am

I'll be working in a small tapas place in charlotte. I looked stuff up online for forcing a patina. I have used the mustard patina but that gives a more eye appealing patina, and doesn't do as sufficient of a job as I'd like out of forcing it. So recently I tried the hot vinegar bath and I liked the results a lot more. For the vinegar bath patina, you find a container tall enough so that the entire blade can be submerged. In a pot bring a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to a boil. Add it into the container and leave the knife in it as long as you'd like. I got a more even patina by going 30 minutes at a time and in between taking the black stuff off with a #0000 steel wool, then rinsing and drying with paper towel. I repeated this 4 times and had a very strong patina. You can also just leave it in for a straight 2 hours but I did this with a petty and the patina ended up streaky for some reason. Could have just been the knife I'm not sure. Any other questions let me know, someone will be able to help!

In my personal opinion if you are looking to get a carbon knife and want to stay under $100 I would go with the fujiwara. It is a night and day difference in fit and finish and it is the easiest knife ever to sharpen.

Re: Carbon compared to Stainless

Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:58 am

Thanks for the info! I work in Charlotte as well. Fujiwara looks nice but I like the J handles. I may try and get a carbon to use at home to see how I like it before I head to the production kitchen.
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