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What is the optimal hardness?

Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:22 am

Is it different for every type of steel or universal?

Re: What is the optimal hardness?

Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:48 am

I'm not real experienced with metallurgy, so for what it is worth:

Each steel has a different range of attainable hardnesses based on the heat treating. So it does differ some from steel to steel. Some steels can handle high hardnesses without chipping...others not so much.

The optimum hardness depends on what you are using the edge for. A softer edge cannot take as acute an angle as a harder one, but the softer steel will not chip as easily. For an ax or machete softer means more durability and sharpness is not that big of a deal. On a sushi knife a really sharp edge that is a bit delicate is a better trade off.

Even a given task does not automatically imply a single hardness as ideal. A chef knife can vary in hardness depending on whether you have good technique or not or what ingredients you use most frequently. In general lower hardnesses are better for bone in cuts of protein, hard vegetables, novice knife users, poor quality cutting surfaces, etc. Higher hardnesses are better for finer cuts in softer materials (ie. no bones or anything frozen) using good technique on a quality cutting surface.

So the question: is what are you doing and how are you doing it?

Re: What is the optimal hardness?

Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:49 am

differs on heat treat, steel, and application.

but usually around 60rc is a good medium.

Re: What is the optimal hardness?

Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:32 pm

666 <> Optimal is preferential, and as CEDAR sums up, it depends on numerous factors.

Re: What is the optimal hardness?

Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:48 pm

To understand "Optimal Hardness", it might be beneficial to understand some steel terms:

Toughness = A steel's ability to resist chipping or breaking

Wear resistance = how well it resists wear

Strength = a steels ability to resist deformation which is indicated by the HRC

Strength and toughness are usually polar opposites.....raise the strength, lower the toughness. Makes sense, right? Raise the hardness of the steel, the more likely it is to chip (lower toughness).

Re: What is the optimal hardness?

Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:01 am

Thank You Adam!

So the optimal steel is the one that has high HRC yet does not chip easily.

Would this be an accurate description?

Re: What is the optimal hardness?

Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:06 am

666 <> What is your native tongue?

Re: What is the optimal hardness?

Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:29 am

Oregato Mel san,

Watashi Americajin.

Or ....thank You Mel,
I am an american (in Japanese.)

I was born in Ukraine, lived all my life in US, traveled to 34 countries, speak very badly in 5-6 languages.

Re: What is the optimal hardness?

Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:23 am

I am American born. Three generations back (my great-grandfather) on one side is Ukraine...

Re: What is the optimal hardness?

Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:01 pm

I speak very badly in just one language. :mrgreen:
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