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SKD Steel?

Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:45 pm

Could I get an opinion or two on SKD steel used in a san mai knife with SUS-405 stainless steel outer layer? What kind of quality/characteristics would the SKD have compared to other types of san mai blades?

Thanks very much.

Re: SKD Steel?

Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:59 pm

I guess I'm not quite sure what you mean with your question(s)?

Are you asking how the knife performs as a san mai blade, or what SKD steel is like?

Also, there are different variants of SKD. Are we talking about them in general, or are you asking about a particular variant?

Re: SKD Steel?

Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:06 pm

Well, depends on what grade of SKD we're talking about here, but for the sake of guessing I'm going to say SKD-11.

It's the same composition as D-2 steel (and I'm still waiting for a san-mai of this with an R2 cladding....), which I actually find the steel to do great on kitchen knives. The characteristics are very close to a stiff carbon steel, and while it does not have huge carbides like most chromed alloys, they aren't the finest either. I don't know if it's considered full stainless, but it does have decent corrosion resistance. The high amount of carbon makes the most of the little bit of vanadium, and added nickel gives it better toughness than most stainless steel.

All in all, I like the steel very much, although it wouldn't be my choice for a knife that I wanted to take above 8,000 grit, it should do great for most people. 1.4 to 1.6% carbon is a LOT of carbon. :mrgreen:

Now, everything else aside, the san-mai part has nothing to do with the core of SKD, although some will agree that san-mai construction changes the feel of the knife. I'll stop here and let someone else chime in or ask another question.

Re: SKD Steel?

Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:13 pm

Knife Fanatic wrote:Well, depends on what grade of SKD we're talking about here, but for the sake of guessing I'm going to say SKD-11.

It's the same composition as D-2 steel (and I'm still waiting for a san-mai of this with an R2 cladding....), which I actually find the steel to do great on kitchen knives. The characteristics are very close to a stiff carbon steel, and while it does not have huge carbides like most chromed alloys, they aren't the finest either. I don't know if it's considered full stainless, but it does have decent corrosion resistance. The high amount of carbon makes the most of the little bit of vanadium, and added nickel gives it better toughness than most stainless steel.

All in all, I like the steel very much, although it wouldn't be my choice for a knife that I wanted to take above 8,000 grit, it should do great for most people. 1.4 to 1.6% carbon is a LOT of carbon. :mrgreen:

Now, everything else aside, the san-mai part has nothing to do with the core of SKD, although some will agree that san-mai construction changes the feel of the knife. I'll stop here and let someone else chime in or ask another question.



Just a small correction here - the SLD (not SKD) has the higher carbon content and is the better all round steel.

Made by Hitachi.

:)

Re: SKD Steel?

Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:11 pm

SKD:
We might as well name names? Are we talking about Yoshikane?

If so, Yoshikane westerns have an SKD 11 hagane lovingly wrapped in SUS 405 hagane. The hagane is very hard, in the neighborhood of 65RCH and is a little cranky to sharpen and a real bitch to profile (as in thinning) or repair. The big appeal with SKD 11 is edge holding. Yoshikane edge holding IS very good -- but not really better than whateverthehell other tool steel Aritsugu uses for its "A" series, or a properly executed, high-end PM like SG2, CPM 154, or (expensive!) ZDP-189. On reputation alone -- because I've never used a knife made from it -- Bohler 390 is probably a step up in that respect.

SKD 11 in its Yoshikane incarnation is good stuff, but HD is a better overall semi-stainless knife steel; 52100 is a better overall tool steel for knives; and Bohler 390 (in the experience of others) is not only better overall, but beats SKD 11 at what it does best.

San-Mai:
The primary benefit of san-mai/warikomi construction goes to the knife maker, in that it helps prevent failures. It allow maker can use some tricky hagane alloys without wasting too much time and material, which in turn benefits the consumer because it keeps prices down.

Another benefit is that, everything else being equal (which it never is) san-mai knives tend to be stiffer than "single steel" knives.

Maybe half the people who've used both san-mai and single notice the difference in feeling. Of those who do, probably half don't care. So, we're talking about something like a quarter of knife users who experience it as a serious negative. I'm the sort of genuine princess who feels the pea (that's pea with an "a") under forty mattresses, because my own take is that san-mai construction gives a knife a damped, unpleasant feel; which, by the way, is quite noticeable in the Yoshis. KC Ma famously and delicately compared the experience of using a san-mai knife to wearing a condom. Apt. Damn apt.

Bottom Line:
A Yoshikane western might or might not be a great choice for you. Why the interest? What do you want from your knife?

BDL

Re: SKD Steel?

Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:21 am

I have been privileged to have owned & used all the steel mentioned, excepting 52100.

I am a M390 junkie, but of late I have switched to the Yoshikane in the SLD steel. (for my kitchen cutlery)

SLD takes a very keen edge, is very tough at 64Rc and very easy to strop back to scary (unlike M390 which due to the high Vanadium content is a pita to strop).

But the edge retention only plays part in my call - out of the lot (and I include many of the "top" custom makers gyutos I own, have owned/used), the Yoshikane although not being a laser has the best blade geometry I have experienced - truly a superb cutter.

My personal experience/opinion:

M390: very high carbon content/best edge retention/good toughness/stainless/scary edge taking/pita to maintain (based on the average user which is not always a sharpener junkie with oodles of high tech sharpening equipment).
SLD: high carbon content/very good edge retention/takes very keen edge/very tough/easy to sharpen & maintain.
SKD12: similar to SLD with lower carbon content/not as good edge retention.
SG2: presents carbide fallout in less than 30 degrees (inclusive) angles and is rather prone to chipping.

The comparison chart below (courtesy of zknives) depicts the chemical makeup of the steels in question - various element percentages boosts certain characteristics in a steel - it will always be a trade off between hardness/toughness/edge retention/oxidation/ease of sharpening etc...etc....

What the chart cannot do is take the best steel and insert it into the perfect/ideal knife geometry/profile - this is what Yoshikane does near perfectly.

Will the quest for the ultimate, perfect knife ever stop......methinks not......

Image


This is just my take after years of beating the crap out of most veggies & protein with a variety of knives, inclusive of sharpening them - an extremely costly exercise it has been.......


8-) 8-) 8-)

Re: SKD Steel?

Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:59 am

MadRookie wrote: "Will the quest for the ultimate, perfect knife ever stop.?!"


...me thinks not ;)
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