Author Topic: Identifying steel types  (Read 391 times)

Offline smurfs

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Identifying steel types
« on: July 25, 2019, 12:52:50 pm »
Good morning all,

I am just starting out on my Tormek and sharpening journey and have gained an enormous amount of knowledge in such a short time simply by watching loads of YouTube videos and reading through the numerous informative and instructional posts in this forum.

As I come from a software engineering background I can readily identify with the processes and techniques of shaping, sharpening and honing and expect I will become extremely proficient in time, however metallurgy is my achilles heal and something I'll need to work on if I am to correctly match knife steels with the various grinding wheel combinations available. Of course it could be I am over analysing the issue and should simply work towards getting a set diamond wheels which appear suitable for every type of steel and just be done with it... or maybe not, I just don't know!

No doubt many of you were in my position when you started out, so it would be interesting to hear your insights and tips for identifying different knife steels, and any links to online sources you may rely on, like a knife manufacturers almanac if it exists!

Thanks


Offline john.jcb

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Re: Identifying steel types
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2019, 02:50:52 pm »
I have not found a good up to date listing of knife steels used by each manufacturer. Here is a listing of a few of the more common ones.
https://www.knivesandtools.com/en/ct/steel-types-for-kitchen-knives.htm
There are many sites that discuss the individual steels.

It has been my experience that the vast majority of knife owners own knives ranging from the very inexpensive to the moderately priced knives such as Victorinox, W├╝sthof , Shun, Global, Henckels, etc. These knives can all be sharpened to a razor's edge using only the SG-250 and the leather wheel. I know a couple of chefs that own and use high end Japanese knives. They treat them very well and all sharpen them by hand on water stones. Also note that many of the knives made from the super steels are EDC and survial/hunting knives not kitchen knives.

I think a lot depends on who you are sharpening for and the range of knives you see. If you look at the knife forums I get the impression that super steel knives are common place. This has not been my experience. I too am tempted to buy a fine diamond wheel and even a Japanese wheel but both are hard to justify based on the knives I see. I am what I like to call a concierge sharpener. I have a nice group of loyal customers that I sharpen for and my financial goal is to support my hobbies.

My recommendation is to become truly proficient using the SG-250 and leather wheel and only buy additional wheels if you have knives that require it. The one add on that I did buy was the FVB. This and the software for setting the proper blade sharpening angle have resulted in consistently sharper knives. https://www.tormek.com/forum/index.php?topic=3627.0

Offline Ken S

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Re: Identifying steel types
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2019, 04:26:58 pm »
Very good question, Smurfs.

Very well stated answer, John.

Ken

Offline smurfs

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Re: Identifying steel types
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2019, 06:55:08 pm »
Thank you for the detailed and insightful answer John.

It has put my mind at rest knowing that the SG-250 is suitable for the majority of knives I am likely to come across.

Offline john.jcb

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Re: Identifying steel types
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2019, 09:04:11 pm »
Do take a hard look at the FVB. It can be made in a shop quite easily or bought fully assembled.

The software and accurate height setting is key to really sharp knives. When I say sharp I am referring to several levels beyond out of the box sharpness.

Offline smurfs

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Re: Identifying steel types
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2019, 09:29:35 pm »
Thanks for that.

From what I have read elsewhere it would appear that trailing edge sharpening produces much better results so I definitely have the stripped-down FVB version and software from Knife Grinders on my shopping list so I can experiment for myself.