View Full Version : white steel blue steel???
01-18-2005, 10:46 PM
hey everybody i'm still trying to buy my first japanese knife can anybody explain the difference between the white steel and blue steel also does anybody own any knives by nenox what is your opinion of them thanks for the help i'm thinking of getting a knife made by murray carter does anybody have any? i wanted to get one of watanabe's but he was out of stock of the knife and he said it was a limited edition thanks for your help ryan
01-18-2005, 11:01 PM
What were you looking at by watenabe? He will make a knife for you.
This is a blurb about the steels from his sight:
The Steel Used In Japanese Knives
When people talk about traditional Japanese knives, you may hear them say that the knives were made from "white (Shiro in Japanese)" steel or "blue (Ao)" steel. Alternatively, they might say "white paper (Shiro Kami)" steel or "blue paper (Ao Kami)" steel. These are not technical standards but refer to the color of the labels that Hitachi uses for some of their commercial grade steels. Among Japanese manufacturers, these become "Blue Label #1," "White Label #2," and so on. Both types are high-carbon steels in the 1.0% to 1.2% carbon range alloyed with silica (0.1% to 0.2%) and manganese (0.2% to 0.3%). The "blue paper" steels also have chromium (0.2% to 0.5%) and Tungsten (1.0% to 1.5%) added for toughness. Japanese manufacturers routinely produce knives from these steels in the Rc62 to Rc64 range, substantially harder than any Western-style blades.
For the soft-steel back, they use a very low carbon steel (0.06%) with a bit of silica and manganese (both at 0.2%). The highest-quality tools still use wrought iron from old anchors or anchor chain as the backing material.
From my understanding, the blue steel may hold and edge a little longer than the white but might also be a little more brittle. Both can be made extremely hard. The reason that the majority of these knives are laminated with a softer steel is to make them "tougher", that is to combat the brittleness. Some of the the very expensive honyaki knives are made out of all blue or all white. They undergo a special tempering.
I don't own any Nenox but they are supposed to be top notch. Nobody really knows what the steel is but is supposed to be very hard and it is stainless.
Murry Carter is supposed to be of similar quality to something like watenabe. I imagine you might wait longer for one of his knives, as I have read that he is travelling right now.
In practice blue steel is somewhat more abrasion resistant than white steel and blades made with it last somewhat longer. White steel is less expensive. You wouldn't know one from the other while you were working in the kitchen but over time you would simply because the blue steel blade would wear less and take a little more work to sharpen.
Blue steel has a little chromium in it so it is actually slightly more corrosion resistant than white steel. But, without a doubt, blue steel corrodes over time and develops the same patina white steel does.
01-18-2005, 11:32 PM
Ryan, white steel and blue steel are both simple carbon steels. They both produce superb cutlery in the hands of a master bladesmith, because they benefit so much from forging and proper heat treatment, and can be given such a keen edge. They both can rust, but if treated carefully will only take a patina.
Watanabe and Carter are both masters of kitchen cutlery. Both use traditional Japanese methods, but Carter is more tuned to the Western kitchen. Both have affordable, medium, and high end offerings. Watanabe is much easier to order from because he takes credit cards and web orders, while with Carter you have to mail a money order. I have knives from both and love them. Aside from being incredible cutters they are a real attention getter in the kitchen. Don't be afraid of the rougher kuro-uichi style knives either, the rough finish gives them tremendous charm and character, and you can really tell they are handmade.
I don't have a Nenox but would like to. I haven't seen any reviews of the cheaper Nenox line. It certainly is more affordable. Plus they are stainless, a real benefit in the kitchen.
Ryan, please don't take this as a criticism, but I find your posts hard to read because of the lack of punctuation. Don't change the way you write because of this (or any) post, but I wanted to let you know that I am used to skimming text in seconds and with yours, I have to really slow down to make sense of it. Again, let me emphasize that you are free to write any way you want and I don't expect you to change. Your posts are welcome with or without punctuation. I once read an entire book that lacked punctuation - I forget the authors name but it was an entertaining read. I just thought I would let you know.
01-18-2005, 11:52 PM
Everyone above has covered your white/blue steel question pretty well. As to your question about Nenox: I own 9 of them (7 S-1's, 2 G-Series), and I find them the best production knives I've used in 36 years as a restaurant professional.
Technical information on Hitachi YSS steels (http://www.paragoncode.com/temp/YSS_HCC_spec.pdf) (White, Blue and their variants).
A discussing in Woodworking Forum (http://www.woodworking-forum.com/woodworking/White_and_Blue_Japanese_Steel_936937.html) bout these steels.
<font color="purple"> Fred... this might be interesting addition to the Links page... </font>
An explanation, including edge holding as function of usage, of Japanese knife steels (http://www.japanese-knife.com/steel) (from Korin's site)
By the way: The most critical factor determining the Japanese steel superiority (comparing to most western steel) is the extremely low content of contaminating Sulphur and Phosphor
01-19-2005, 10:56 AM
hi everybody, thanks for all of the information. Sorry about the punctuation, or lack of it i should say. I can barely type so it is much easier to just leave it out. As to answer the one reply, Watanabe said he would make me a knife just not the one i wanted, it was a limited edition he said. Thanks again everybody. P.S. This message took me five times longer with the punctuation. Ryan
01-20-2005, 03:04 PM
Don't feel bad about the punctuation. When I was working on my Masters, I had a professor who routinely would correct the punctuation/grammar on email! I thought he was crazy.
However, he did have a good point. I realized later that the habit he started me with (I never sent another punctuation/grammatically incorrect email to him again) was actually helpful. After becoming and working with managers, I found that their picture of someone's competence (and intelligence) was directly correlated with their perceptions of that person's writing ability (at least how it compared to theirs). This cost at least one person some money at raise time. Fair? Probably not, but it is reality.
Another issue is that most people speak/think the way they write and write the way they speak. I have personally noticed that I both wrote better formal papers, had less rewrites to do, and actually spoke better after I started improving my writing skills.
And then there is the readability/comprehension issue... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
PS. Except in the most hurried of circumstances, I almost always do at least one revision of any email/post/paper I write. It is easy to do on the computer (especially since I type at 50-70wpm). At first it took so much time that I would go through 4-5 revisions to get things so I would be able to read them as though I were someone else. However, now it only takes a couple extra minutes. FWIW.
07-13-2005, 06:32 PM
hey wanted to let you know about nenox. They are of the highest most precision knives I have ever used. I'm a chef in las vegas and I own or haved owned kasumi masahiro mac etc. and nenox they blow these knives away. I own the s-series and I payed over 300 dollars for a single slicer but if you can afford it you will not be disappointed. They level of sharpness and length of time they maintain an edge is phenomenal. If you can afford it buy it. They are hand made one of kind masterpieces.
07-14-2005, 02:19 AM
I have three Nenox S1's. The only negative thing I can say about them is that they are expensive but given a choice I'd happily buy these knives again.
07-14-2005, 09:13 AM
aside from whats already been said on white $ blue, let me paraphrase Shin Watanabe..."let the maker of the knife use the steel he wants, as it's the material he knows best and will do the best job with..."
07-14-2005, 12:30 PM
Ryan: I second KneeKnocks opinion regarding Nenox. I have a few and love them. The quality is second to none and the edge retention is astounding.
07-14-2005, 01:58 PM
Kneeknocks, I am very close to picking up a G series Nenox gyuto as my main kitchen knife. Since you own both types, what is your opinion on the G versus S series? This would be my main knife on the line, so it would have a lot of use. My other choice is a Glestain because I have a larger one for banquet work that I love. I know the S series is better steel, but at this level is it just splitting hairs between the two, or is the G series just totally average and not worth the price? Any info. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
07-14-2005, 03:17 PM
Oooh, tough question!
First, if you haven't already done so, I'd suggest you read my post "NenoxS-1/Nenox G" on p.17 (as of now) in the cutlery threads. That should give you a good start.
Having that post under your belt, I'd add the following: no, I don't think the G-Series is "just average", but I do think the S-Series is exceptionally superior to everything else I've tried (including the G-Series).
Then, just to really clarify the issue, I'll make two observations: 1) I've just replaced my two G-Series knives with S-1's (the G's are on sale in the Trading Post); and 2) I have a 300mm Glestain gyuto that I absolutely love, and would not part with (even tho' I also have a 300mm S-1).
I'm sure that will clear everything up......
07-14-2005, 10:07 PM
I third what KneeKnocks says. No other manufacturer has impressed me as much with edge retention, ease of sharpening and maintainence, not to mention asthetics that make you week in the knees. I have only 2 but plan to add on 3 or 4 more and maybe some custom jobs too.
07-14-2005, 10:13 PM
...and I'll 4th what I said. I'm so sold on the S-1's that I just received #10 in the mail today: the 240mm Sole Fillet knife. Since it arrived just in time for the Friday fish specials, I'll be able to post a user's review early next week.....
07-14-2005, 10:17 PM
Damn son, what is there left to buy, the carving tools? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
07-14-2005, 10:18 PM
Damn it KneeKnocks, I almost shorted out my keyboard drooling! Some day I'll put that plastic cover on. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
07-14-2005, 10:24 PM
Got the straight fork....does that count?....
07-14-2005, 10:31 PM
Damn It! Now I've got to change my shirt! S1 fork aughhh.... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
07-14-2005, 10:33 PM
Thank God they don't make tongs!......
07-14-2005, 10:43 PM
Seriously, which one's don't you have. Let me guess... the long petty and the short sujihiki? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
07-14-2005, 10:48 PM
Sorry. Wrong on both counts.
240 sole filet
Makes for an impressive looking case, eh?.......
Oh, and for sure they're insured.....
07-14-2005, 10:50 PM
He's missing the off set sandwich knife and the all purpose nail/dry wall cutting utilty tomato knife. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
07-14-2005, 10:52 PM
They're on order.....
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif
Can't say a word.....
07-15-2005, 12:05 AM
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