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 Post subject: Difference between white and blue steel?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:58 pm 
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What is the real difference between white and blue steel? I have read reviews online and used mostly blue steel with some white steel like fujiwara teruyasu shirogami in is marboroshi no meito and his denna no hoto blue steel. Though blue steel stays sharper longer, i have heard people say to get white steel due to how pure it is and that a master can bring out limitless potential in a white steel knife where as blue steel is not as hard to forge since it is a highly engineered steel.



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 Post subject: Re: Difference between white and blue steel?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:32 pm 
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This is a good illustration overview of some of the carbon steels: http://www.hidatool.com/image/data/pdf/ ... 0Chart.pdf.

The knife maker's treatment of the steel (forging, heat treat, and other processes) can have a great impact on a knife's actual performance ITK. Teruyasu Fujiwara's Nashiji White #1 at a very high hardness of HRC 64-65 is a good example, versus many other White #1 blades.


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 Post subject: Re: Difference between white and blue steel?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:10 pm 
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The chart is a good intro to the composition of steels. SteveG hit on a good point by mentioning how a smith or manufacturer actually treats the steel.

Blue steel is, I think, inherently more wear resistant than white due to increased Tungsten and Chromium. But it may also be true that a Aogami knife at 63 HRC could still be easier to sharpen than Shirogami at 65 HRC. I'm speculating, if this is not the case, fear not, someone with more knowledge will correct me.



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 Post subject: Re: Difference between white and blue steel?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:29 pm 
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chefknivestogo wrote:...a master can bring out limitless potential in a white steel knife where as blue steel is not as hard to forge since it is a highly engineered steel.


I think this notion came into being from this video; skip to 3:00:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWIKDlWhW0o

It could be true. Maybe Hitachi engineered the steel to make things easier on the bean counters; maybe it's an urban myth.
I've also heard similar notions of difficulty/workability between different grades of Aogami.

They each have their benefits, imo, and they each get super sharp. If you're looking for something to shave your face with,
you might want to go with Shirogami.



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 Post subject: Re: Difference between white and blue steel?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:44 pm 

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It was probably a figure of speech, but it is important to note that nothing here is limitless. All steels are constrained by their material properties. White #1 may take well to a higher hardness than, say, blue #2, but it too has its limits. Make it too hard and it will be brittle, no matter your skill as a blacksmith. What is important is the range in which a steel exhibits good working characteristics and the skill of the smith to optimally achieve those properties. White #1 is awesome stuff, but so is aogami super, most definitely a "highly engineered" steel, meaning one that is relatively heavily alloyed. I have a feeling there is some mysticism or marketing going on, in terms of the cachet of achieving results with very pure steel. But I would not argue with the assertion that some steels have higher limits and would be more difficult to extract maximum performance from. That will depend very much upon the steel's chemical composition.


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 Post subject: Re: Difference between white and blue steel?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:51 pm 

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The steel's potential for greatness is much higher, but the margin of error is much smaller for the smith when working it. It's been called the modern day tamahagane since it's one of the purist, commercially available steels available. My experience with Carter's neck knives confirmed that purity of steel equals superior keenness, but not edge retention due to the lack of alloys. My daily neck knife is made from Hitachi proprietary YXR7, about 65 RC, and it cannot reach the same level of refinement I could tweak out of the white steel. It always had that take your breath away feeling when do the "3 finger test". I know what steel I'd be using if I were forging a straight razor. -Josh


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 Post subject: Re: Difference between white and blue steel?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:08 pm 
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Quite honestly, there is not a lot of difference in the steels. Blue will hold an edge a little longer and not sharpen quite so easily, white sharpens easier, but won't hold an edge as long. White will take a little finer edge. In the kitchen, I generally don't take the knives up to a grit level where the white is sharper than the blue, usually stopping at a J Nat in the 8-10K range if I go that high. The heat treat is important to get the knife to it's full potential. With a knife in either steel heat treated well, both will work well.

If you made up 2 knives (White #1 and Blue #1, heat treated to the optimum for each steel) otherwise identical except for the steel, that were sharpened to the same grit (say around a 6K synthetic), and handed them to someone to use, I doubt most would be able to tell the difference short term. Longer term, you may see the better edge holding of the blue coming through, and with sharpening, white may be a bit easier. Blue or Super Blue are by no means hard to sharpen/deburr and they can take a very fine edge, too. White will hold an edge for a decent amount of time, so in the short term, you may not noticed a difference at all.

Razors are a different ballgame because the end traits are different.


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 Post subject: Re: Difference between white and blue steel?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:23 pm 
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One is shipped in white paper the other in blue paper. Sorry, I couldn't resist! :D



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 Post subject: Re: Difference between white and blue steel?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:44 pm 
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LOL...what color is Aogami Super shipped in? Jeff B, there was a HAP40 knife mentioned in another thread you haven't replied to yet...you feeling OK?


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 Post subject: Re: Difference between white and blue steel?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:51 pm 

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taz575 wrote:LOL...what color is Aogami Super shipped in? Jeff B, there was a HAP40 knife mentioned in another thread you haven't replied to yet...you feeling OK?


HAHHAHA, my AS knives came in white paper :P ITS A CONSPIRACY I TELL YOU!


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