Posted on December 12, by Scott Alexander Aquinas famously said: For example, take medical research. Suppose a certain drug is weakly effective against a certain disease. After a few years, a bunch of different research groups have gotten their hands on it and done all sorts of different studies.
Stainless Steel Mankind is now producing the finest tool steels ever created in history; why would you want anything less? Many of us older guys grew up with our fathers boasting about their carbon steel hunting and butcher knives and how they were so much better than the stainless steel blades.
Unfortunately, this is one of the most prevalent and enduring misconceptions and wives' tales that persists in the modern world of knives. There are two phases to this problem. First, in the early part of the 20th century, when stainless steels were at their infancy, the addition of chromium prevented full martensitic transformation, leaving lots of unstable retained austenite, which showed up a high wear and instability.
It was only later that it was discovered that a sub-zero quenching of knife blade steels would give a fuller, more complete transformation into martensite, but the bad reputation of stainless steels had already been established. Even though the problem was gone, the myth of bad stainless steel persisted.
Second, low carbon Japanese stainless steel stainless was introduced into the world of cheap kitchen knives in the s and s. If you were alive then, you remember the ridiculous commercials showing the imported junk knives pounded through cinder blocks and then shaving off tomato slices.
The common man ate up this drivel, and lots of money was made in the low-end kitchen knife market based on this hype.
The truth is, this type of knife was made of cheap, springy, and thin low-carbon series stainless steels, which were tough, but not hard or wear-resistant.
So when the edges did wear down, it was not reasonable to sharpen them, and they were left dull, but were still thin enough to be forced through foodstuffs and other cutting chores. The eternally dull knives ceased to perform, were not easily sharpened like the carbon steel knives, and the failure to understand sharpening of this different steel meant that the stainless knives were left dull.
It followed then that people assumed that they couldn't be sharpened, so the steel was blamed. Most people then made a casual assumption that the stainless steel blades were of low value the price was a good hintand saved their most important cutting chores to high carbon, non-stainless steel butcher and hunting knives, because they were relatively easy to sharpen and they held a very keen edge a longer time than the imports.
The stainless steel is no good myth continued, and continues today, despite the fact that the majority of knives from cheap imports to fine collectors knives are made of stainless steel.
Some people still long for the good old carbon steel knives from the past.
One of the world's most respected knife historians and experts writes: I have found that good quality modern stainless steel knives, when properly sharpened, are superior in use to all older knives, even the very best.
Stainless steel knives can be made at least as sharp as carbon steel ones, they stay sharp many times longer, and of course, they do not stain Since the mid-eighties, there have been many new and improved stainless tool steels become available, so the old wife's tale is even more flawed.
One of the problems does continue, however, and that is the infomercial that still claims cheap Asian imported knives are worth your hard-earned money.
This myth of carbon steels extends into the handmade knife field, and bears examination. If the four digit number starts with 10, it is a plain carbon steel.
Typically, in the knife trade and industry,and are often used. It has manganese in it to increase forgeability, reduce brittleness, and improve hardenability, though the manganese does not itself improve hardness.
No other notable alloy elements are included. These steels are usually chosen because they are inexpensive, usually about one fourth of the cost of stainless tool steels, and one tenth the cost of crucible particle metallurgy tool steels.
These carbon steels are easy to work, are ductile and soft when annealed, and are gentle on tools and abrasives.
Simply put, it is easy, cheap, and fast to make a knife from any of these steels. They have absolutely no corrosion resistance, and will quickly and easily rust and pit when left in the open air. They are easy to sharpen because they are not wear-resistant, and they frequently dull.
In my experience, they are a bad steel for any knife. The only exception in my studio is when is married with nickel for nickel damascus in decorative blades. More about that below. Another commonly seen type of knife steel used by makers and the knife industry is Mechanics of solids, science concerned with the stressing, deformation, and failure of solid materials and structures..
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