Understanding Blade Materials: A Guide to Koi Knives' Steel Options

Understanding Blade Materials: A Guide to Koi Knives' Steel Options

Posted by Sam Flaherty on

Choosing the right knife can be a profoundly personal experience. You're not just selecting a tool; you're investing in an extension of your skill and passion in the kitchen. The steel used in your knife is pivotal in its performance and longevity.

So, whether you're an experienced chef, a home cook, or simply appreciate the beauty of fine cutlery, this exploration of Koi Knives' steel options is your key to informed decision-making.

Steel in Knife Making

Firstly, steel is the backbone of a knife's performance and durability. The type of steel used directly affects how well a knife will cut and how long it will stay sharp.

Secondly, fundamental properties make steel a crucial consideration. Hardness, corrosion resistance, and edge retention are among the most critical. The hardness of the steel determines how well it can hold a sharp edge. Corrosion resistance ensures your knife doesn't rust or stain easily, while edge retention defines how long your knife will stay sharp between honing or sharpening.

VG-10 Steel in Koi Knives (The Japanese and Big Red Collections)

Exploring VG-10 Steel

VG-10 steel is at the core of Koi Knives' Japanese and Big Red Collections, each thoughtfully designed for specific culinary needs. This high-end Japanese stainless steel boasts a high carbon content, making it incredibly sharp and offering exceptional edge retention. The addition of vanadium and cobalt enhances its durability, ensuring that your knives remain in impeccable condition.

Japanese Collection

In Koi Knives' Japanese Collection, VG-10 steel takes shape in an array of exquisite blades, including the Kiritsuke, Pankiri, Ko-Bunka, Cleaver, Honesuki, and the Paring Knife. These knives are expertly designed for specific culinary tasks, showcasing VG-10's versatility.

Big Red Collection

The Big Red Knife Collection uniquely merges the ruggedness of Australian wildlife with the elegance of Japanese steel. It encompasses The Big Red, The Joey, The Croc, The Wombat, The Dingo, and The Koala. Recently, The Wallaby has been added to this collection.

For the Great Outdoors

For outdoor culinary adventures, Koi Knives offers a range of BBQ knives, including The Kookaburra, The Barramundi, The Great White, The Tassie Devil, The Platypus, and The Brolga. It's a comprehensive collection tailored to meet every culinary requirement.

The Sandblasting Touch

The addition of a sandblasted finish on the upper section of the blade not only pays homage to the Australian landscape but also creates a non-stick surface, facilitating the effortless slicing of vegetables.

Key Properties of VG-10 Steel

VG-10 is a premium Japanese stainless steel produced by the Takefu Special Steel Corporation in Fukui, Japan.

VG-10 has a remarkable chemical composition, including 1.05% carbon, 15.5% chromium, 0.5% manganese, 0.03% phosphorus, 1.2% molybdenum, 0.3% vanadium, and 1.5% cobalt. It easily meets the stainless-steel classification with 15.5% chromium content.

VG-10 Steel Hardness (HRC): VG-10 can reach a maximum hardness of 60 HRC, making it a hard steel.

VG-10 combines desirable properties such as excellent edge retention, remarkable corrosion resistance, great wear resistance, ease of sharpening, high machinability, and toughness. Knife enthusiasts favour VG-10 for its blend of durability, low maintenance, and ease of sharpening.

Sandvik 12C27N Steel in Koi Knives

Now, let's delve deeper into the remarkable properties and benefits of Sandvik 12C27N steel, which forms the heart of Koi Knives' Bushman and Barossa Sabre collections.

What is Sandvik 12C27 Steel?

Sandvik 12C27N is a low-end Swedish martensitic stainless chromium steel, expertly tailored and optimised for knives. This steel is a preferred choice for various applications, including kitchen knives, hunting knives, fishing knives, and even ice drills and skate blades. It's a testament to its versatility and exceptional qualities that have made it a prime candidate for Koi Knives.

Chemical Composition

  • 6% Carbon: This amount of carbon improves hardness and wear and corrosion resistance, making it ideal for knife blades. However, an excessive amount can decrease strength.
  • 5% Chromium: Chromium significantly enhances tensile strength, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance. It's a pivotal component that makes Sandvik 12C27N a superb choice for blades.
  • 4% Manganese: Manganese contributes to increased hardness but can lead to brittleness in excessive amounts.
  • 4% Silicon: Similar to manganese, silicon is added to boost strength.
  • 03% Phosphorus: Phosphorus adds to the steel's strength.
  • 03% Sulphur: Sulphur increases machinability but decreases strength.

Sandvik 12C27N's composition, featuring over 12% chromium and 0.6% carbon, classifies it as stainless steel with properties tailored for knife blades.

Hardness (HRC)

According to Sandvik, the hardness of Sandvik 12C27N steel is rated at 56 HRC, denoting its robustness and suitability for demanding tasks.

Properties of Sandvik 12C27N Stainless Steel

Based on its chemical composition and HRC rating, Sandvik 12C27N steel offers:

  1. Edge Retention: With a 56 HRC rating and a substantial carbon content, 12C27N steel excels in edge retention, ensuring your knife stays sharp for extended periods.
  2. Corrosion Resistance: The 13.5% chromium content grants this steel high corrosion resistance, making it an excellent choice for hunting and fishing, where exposure to moisture is every day.
  3. Wear Resistance: With 0.6% carbon and a dash of phosphorus, Sandvik 12C27N exhibits exceptional strength and wear resistance, guaranteeing durability in challenging cutting tasks.
  4. Sharpness: This Swedish steel strikes a balance between hardness and toughness, resulting in blades that are not only hard but also easily sharpened.
  5. Machinability: Although not an expert in machinability, the manufacturer attests that Sandvik 12C27N offers good machinability, making it suitable for precision craftsmanship. Additionally, the presence of sulphur enhances this property.

The Bushman Knife: A Steel Marvel for the Wild

Koi Knives' Bushman Knife, an embodiment of Sandvik 12C27N steel's remarkable properties, is the ultimate survival tool for outdoor enthusiasts. It boasts corrosion resistance, edge retention, and versatile design elements, making it a reliable companion in the wild.

The Barossa Sabre: A Culinary Work of Art

In the form of the Barossa Sabre, Sandvik 12C27N steel transitions seamlessly from the rugged outdoors to the culinary domain. Its unparalleled hardness, sharpness, and corrosion resistance enable it to effortlessly glide through culinary tasks, whether slicing jamon or delicately handling strawberries.

High Carbon AUS10 67-Layer Damascus Japanese Steel (Seki Collection)

Composition and Characteristics of AUS10 Steel

AUS-10, a high-carbon stainless steel, forms the core material in our Seki Collection, featuring the versatile Gyuto, Bunka, Petty, Nakiri, Santoku, and Sujihiki knives. This remarkable steel is celebrated for its exceptional blend of toughness, sharpness, and corrosion resistance.

Boasting a higher carbon content, AUS-10 exhibits extraordinary hardness, guaranteeing a sustained razor-sharp edge even after prolonged use. In the realm of high-carbon stainless steels, it stands shoulder to shoulder with renowned counterparts like VG-10 and 440C, marking a significant leap in quality compared to commonly employed knife steels like 420 and 420HC.

Role in the Seki Collection

In the heart of our Seki Collection, AUS-10 steel plays a central role, offering these knives the precision and durability they need. Crafted in Seki City, Japan, each blade seamlessly blends the distinctive properties of AUS-10 steel with traditional Japanese techniques, resulting in knives that transcend mere tools and transform into exquisite works of culinary art.

Benefits and Qualities of AUS10 in the Seki Collection

The AUS-10 steel featured in the Seki Collection ensures an extraordinary culinary journey. Its fine-grained structure gives rise to an enduring razor-sharp edge, making it ideal for our favourite three knives—the Gyuto, Bunka, and Petty—versatile choices that excel in various tasks.

We've also added the Nakiri, the ultimate vegetable chopper; the Santoku, with its all-purpose curved tip blade; and the Sujihiki, your dedicated carving knife for sashimi, cured fish, or roast meats. These knives, crafted with AUS-10 steel, embody precision, longevity, and culinary excellence.

Final Thoughts

Selecting the right steel for your knife is not merely a matter of preference but a decision that profoundly impacts your culinary experience. The steel type dictates sharpness, durability, and overall performance. VG-10 excels in edge retention, AUS10 boasts exquisite craftsmanship, and Sandvik 12C27N embodies robustness.

Now, the power to elevate your culinary adventures lies in your hands. Consider your specific needs, whether precision, artistry, or ruggedness. Delve into Koi Knives' collections, and you'll discover the perfect blade to complement your skills and style.

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