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Choose tool steel or carbon steel - A Beginner's Guide to Buying Custom Kitchen Knives
2016-07-04 16:09:41

Choose tool steel or carbon steel - A Beginner's Guide to Buying Custom Kitchen Knives

-By Alta Special Steel


When selecting a set of knives for your kitchen, you can certainly go to any retail store and purchase an inexpensive set of knives made with plastic handles and low-grade steel. But, when you want something of higher quality, specialized design or materials, or you just want something a bit more personalized, custom is the way to go.

Custom knives in general have a reputation for being more expensive than production knives; however, when you start looking at mid- to high-range kitchen knives, you will notice that the prices are largely similar to most custom offerings out there. There are exceptions, of course—you can pay over $3,000 for a custom sushi knife from some makers. But there are many competitive options available for the price-conscious buyer.

1. Use

When embarking on your custom knife journey, the first thing to consider is what knives you need. If you currently own a block of production knives, you probably have one or two that are used frequently, while the others are rarely if ever used. Those well-used knives are the ones you're going to want to replace with customs—don't bother buying a custom bread knife if you never slice bread. I found that I am pretty well set with a chef knife and a paring knife.

The other part of the use criteria is what you will use them for. If you cook a lot of fish and seafood, you will want a knife much more adept at slicing than if you cook a lot of poultry and red meat. Knives that excel at slicing tend to be narrower to reduce the amount of metal that has to pass through whatever you are cutting. Good examples are filet and boning knives, plus the Japanese yanagi, which is the most common style of knife used for sushi and sashimi.


2. Profile

Chef knives are generally classified by profile. A blade with a fairly straight edge, curving only slightly from the heel to the tip, is commonly referred to as a French profile. More commonly used is the German profile, which has greater curvature and can therefore be used for rocking motions when cutting. Another common profile is the santoku, with its downturned tip and gradual curve. The way a chef knife is profiled will determine how it is used, what it will excel at, and what it won't do as well. For instance, a santoku will chop vegetables very well, but, due to the lack of a pointy tip and shallow curvature, it will perform comparatively poorly when deboning a chicken versus a French profile chef knife.


3. Types of Steel

Once you know what kind of knives you want, you will have to make the ever-important decision of stainless versus carbon steel. "Stainless" refers to steels with high chromium content, making them resistant to corrosion. In fact, "stainless" is a misnomer, as any steel can stain and rust without proper maintenance. Carbon steel, on the other hand, has very little, if any, chromium. It therefore stains very easily and will rapidly rust if neglected.

After picking between stainless and carbon steel, you can go even further and pick the exact type of steel. Just like knife styles, knife steels vary widely and there is as much opinion as fact surrounding most of it. Types of carbon steels alone include 5160, 52100, 1080, 1084, 1095, etc. Tool steels include O1, A2, D2, and so on. The numbers often denotes the metallurgy of the steel - 1095 indicates that the steel contains .95% carbon.

When you wanna a knive that made of tool steel A2, D2, O1 etc, Alta Special Steel wil be your BEST choice, just contact us to get the BEST raw materials!

-- sales@altaspecialsteel.com.

OR recommend our steels to your markers.

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