Materials of the blade of Japanese knives

There are several requirements for kitchen knives’ material: good sharpness, toughness, wear(abrasive) resistance, and rust resistance.


Today’s Japanese skilled craftsmen realize a fusion of ancient steel-making knowledge and the latest technology.  Below is the list of the materials used for knives of our shop and the explanation.

Make  Material  Explanation
(note: HRC indicates how hard the material is. Bigger number = harder = sharper)
Sharpness /
Rust-resistance
(note:the score is purely
subjective!)

  Yasuki Hagane

(Hitachi
Metal)

 

 White steel
(White paper,
Shirogami)
 Top class steel developped by Hitachi Metal from “Wako” which is used for Samurai sword. It is quite difficult to harden due to few impurities, where high level skill is required. White I contains more carbon and therefore harder than White II. (White I: 1.25%-, White II: 1.05%-)  HRC over60. 10 / 2
Blue steel
(Blue paper,
Aogami)
Blue steel is made from White steel, adding Chrome (for toughness and easier hardening) and Tungusten (for wear resistance) . Duration of the sharpness is longer. It is more expensive than White due to the material cost and complicated process to produce. Blue I contains more carbon and therefore harder than Blue II.(Blue I:1.25%-、Blue II:1.05%~) HRC over60. 10 / 3
Silver steel
(Silver paper,
Gingami)
 Rust-resistant stainless steel with more Chrome. Inferior to White or Blue steel in terms of hardness, but much easier to treat. Silver III contains more carbon than Silver I. (Silver III: 0.95-1.1% HRC over59) 8 / 8
 Takefu steel  VG10  Stainless steel (Chrome 13%) but also high-carbon ratio (1.0%) which enables hard edge. DIfficult to polish / edge-making. Flequently used for high-end kitchen knives. HRC60.  7 / 8
Aichi steel  8A  Popular stainless steel used for middle range kitchen knives. Easy to maintain. Carbon 0.8%, Chrome 13-14%. HRC56-59.  6 / 8
 Hitachi metal  SLD steel  The latest steel with high-technology. Normally used for e.g. die casting mold. It can be harden very well (HRC60-62), also tough and wear-resistant. Utilized HK series of Tadafusa.  8 / 7

 

 

This post is also available in: Japanese, Spanish


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