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What Hitachi steel is best?

Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:01 pm

Hello Mark

So I have some more questions I'm hoping you can help. As I said before this is my first carbon knife so not too knowledgeable about the steels. I wanna pick the right steel, so I've done some talking with fellow chefs as well as looking at knife forums. Most seem to have the opinion that if I want an extremely sharp edge get white #1 maybe even #2, but if I want good edge retention get blue #2 or maybe #1. What's your opinion about white and blue, and what to pick for something that has good edge retention but is also sharp.

Thank you

Re: What Hitachi steel is best?

Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:13 pm

Hi Roy,

There are small differences between steels and the problem is that heat treatment by the smith is as important as the steel used.

That said, in general the difference between the konosuke knives with these steels done by the Fujiyama blacksmith have these features.

White #2: Easy to sharpen. Holds an edge well. Not very chippy. Good edge holding.
White #1: Easy to sharpen. Holds an edge a little better. Not very chippy. Better edge holding.
Blue #2: Harder to sharpen Holds it's edge better. Little chippy. Best edge holding.

These are small differences. I usually recommed the standard white #2 for most people.

Re: What Hitachi steel is best?

Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:13 pm

Just to add in here, I agree with Mark. I have some Blue #2 knives. They can get screaming sharp, especially with the higher J Nat finishing stones, but that screaming edge doesn't last very long, but it is still very sharp. It's been described as Blue steels losing some of their edge, then plateauing and holding a 90% sharp edge for a long time. White steels are more gradual in their how the edges get duller. I have some White #1 and #2 steels and they take a screaming edge, too. The white steels are a touch easier to sharpen.

I find the Blue steels patina slightly less, too. White #1, White #2, Blue #2 are all nice steels. They all will take a screaming sharp edge (get an Ozuka Asagi Koppa for a low cost J nat finisher for the screaming edge) and hold it decently well.

Re: What Hitachi steel is best?

Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:05 pm

Any differences in how easily they stain/rust or is this about the same for white and blue steel?

Re: What Hitachi steel is best?

Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:40 am

The Blue is supposed to be a hair more corrosion resistant than white, but it is still reactive. I have a few Tanaka's in Blue #2 and love the edge that they take. I have a White#1 Nakiri from Fujiwara Terayasu that takes a wicked edge and some White #2 stuff that takes a nice edge as well. All will patina.

I would choose the knife on the knife itself, rather than the steel that is in it if it's a choice between White and Blue. #1 has more carbon than #2 steels, so it may take a finer edge and be a bit harder, but may be slightly more difficult to sharpen and easier to chip. In terms of practical experience, you won't notice much of a practical difference between the steels until you have a lot of time spent with them. But it will also depend on the heat treatment and how hard the steel is, etc.

Re: What Hitachi steel is best?

Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:11 am

At the end of the day, pick the knife based on the maker and the knife you like better rather than getting hung up on white versus blue. The differences are essentially too minute for anyone to determine unless you conciously set out with near identical examples of each to find the differences. Even then it was difficult for me to determine.

Re: What Hitachi steel is best?

Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:36 pm

Aogami Super.

I mean, I could talk all day about the application(if I were doing sushi, I'd want white #1), but overall, for most jobs, most knives, most heat treat methods, most of the world...AS is one of the best knife steels in existence. AS, AEB-L, 52100...those are the big boys.

Re: What Hitachi steel is best?

Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:57 pm

Curious...Why Eamon? Short answer please!! :)

BTW, Hitachi Aogami Super (AS) is not one of the steels the original poster (By Mark's submission) was asking about.

Re: What Hitachi steel is best?

Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:33 pm

i probably would agree, i like aogami super the most, although theyre all very good. all hitachi steels are really easy to sharpen, but AS will give lasting edge retention.

Re: What Hitachi steel is best?

Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:14 pm

One thing some customers don't understand is that some steels are ideally suited to some types of knives and use habits and others are not.

For instance, edge retention with high hardness is a good quality on a slicing type knife like a yanagiba or suji. A tougher and less chippy knife using a little softer steel is better on a knife where you're doing tougher tasks like a cleaver or a deba.
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