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Differences in VG10 Steels?

Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:09 pm

Hi. A question, please. Are there any differences in VG10 knives between the various knife makers? Do some do a better job than others when they make a knife using it?

Trying to figure out why some say that VG10 is not a very good knife steel.

Thanks much.

Re: Differences in VG10 Steels?

Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:26 pm

VG-10 is an excellent steel compared to 440C or the like that was available 20 years ago. From my perspective, stainless has generally been trying to get the edge that carbon steel has, both in terms of edge quality, as well as ease of sharpening, but with corrosion resistance. Until recently, they haven't been successful, or even close.

Would I buy a VG-10 kitchen knife if I could buy one in something like AEB-L or Konosuke's HD at a comparable price? No. I dislike sharpening VG-10 and the end result compared to HD. Ten or twenty years ago, I would have gone for VG-10 in a heartbeat, but times have changed. Another decade or two and people will wonder why "AEB-L is just mediocre steel" as something better will likely come along. You just buy the best you can afford (and get your hands on) at the time.

Different makers will have differences due to hardening, even with the same steel. There is definitely "bad" VG-10 out there, but generally not from respectable makers. I'm sure you can find really bad VG-10 knives on eBay...

Re: Differences in VG10 Steels?

Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:57 pm

only good vg-10 i can think of is ryusen's heat treat. which definitely shows in their vg-10 lines and their lines that they make for hattori which is the HD and FH.

their vg10 is substantially different in the way the steel acts when they do it.

they say it sharpens up easily and takes a great edge and holds it nice and long.

Re: Differences in VG10 Steels?

Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:59 pm

RAY <> As you skirt upon and Jeff & Franz mention, yes, different companies/bladesmiths create different quality products from Takefu's raw VG-10. Its analogous to giving a steak to a short order cook & giving the same meat to a 3-star Chef; you're going to get dramatically different plates. :)

In reply, some people chastise VG-10 as it is on the chippy side for steel. I have to agree, but I don't find it terribly bad if it's respected. Shocker. Some also say it's not that fun to sharpen. I disagree. I find it absurdly easy to sharpen, or at least those of which I've dealt with which I list below..

I agree with Franz. I own a Ryusen, and find the steel to perform admirably; better than other VG-10 blades I've owned, sharpened and/or used. I close tie is Asai; extremely impressive VG-10 blades. Shuns, all of them, have always found their way to me to be repaired for chips. I found they all sharpened extremely easily. My Tojiro DP VG-10 performs well. My VG-10 Spydercos have had great edge retention on their serrations.

Re: Differences in VG10 Steels?

Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:32 am

Like Franz, my experience with the likes of the Hattori FH knives was my most pleasant experience with VG10. They HT their VG10 differently than any other I've used.

So, yes, there are differences in HT that matter.

Re: Differences in VG10 Steels?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:56 am

I've been using a Shun Premier (VG-10) professionally for over a year now. I've yet to experience this chippiness that so many on these forums claim to have experienced. I guess I got lucky or something. Easily my favorite knife in my bag. My wife has a Taiyo hidden around here somewheres that I will finally get my hands on Saturday. That may very likely be the end of my VG-10 use, but it has been a great ride so far. Love that knife.

Re: Differences in VG10 Steels?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:43 am

I can guarantee you, most people saying VG-10 is hard to sharpen are probably sharpening a knife that needs a little thinning. Sharpening a thin edged VG-10 Shun is very easy. Now, start removing height from the blade after a few chip repairs and you'll start noticing how much harder it gets to sharpen.

I find Tojiro's VG-10 to be less chippy than Shun's. This could be due to a slight increase in thickness behind the edge as well, but I can certainly tell you I've repaired a lot more Shuns than Tojiros. Although I haven't gotten any of either as of late. ;)

Re: Differences in VG10 Steels?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:09 am

In my experience VG-10 isn't hard to sharpen, just unpleasant on the stones; with possibly the scratchiest feeling of any "quality" alloy. It sharpens pretty easily as those things go, because it abrades so quickly.

Its place on the strength/toughness continuum is heavily weighted toward strength. As a rule with those sorts of alloys, "sharpens easily" means "chips easily" too. However, Hattori/Ryusen and Tojiro seem to do VG-10 better in that their knives are less prone to chipping than other VG-10 knives -- or at least those I know enough about to comment on.

With the exception of the Tojiro DP which is a durable knife and a good bargain; and the Hattori HD and FH which are practical enough and outstandingly pretty, there's not much point in buying a VG-10 knife.


Re: Differences in VG10 Steels?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:43 pm

You guys think a VG-10 gyuto with damascus cladding and micarta handle would sell if I offered it for $75?

I've been toying with doing these. Trying to get them to do the shape like the KS. It's been a heavy lift. They wan't me to buy a thousand to get that price.

Re: Differences in VG10 Steels?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:08 pm


Either way, probably so. But that's a lot of inventory. If it's got good geometry, and a good profile....it would sell though.
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