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High Carbon Steel Explained: White Steel, Blue Steel, and Super Blue

High Carbon Steel Explained: White Steel, Blue Steel, and Super Blue

high carbon steel

high carbon steel




Steel is a compound of iron and carbon. Yet to be classified as high-carbon steel, it needs to have anywhere from 0.6% to 1.7% carbon by weight. For premium cutlery and knives, the higher carbon content is typically better. For one, higher carbon allows for a sharper cutting edge. To be considered stainless steel, the steel must have a chromium content of more than 12%. While all steel contains carbon, typically steels that do not contain chromium are referred to as carbon steels.
high carbon steel
The differences between high carbon steel can be subtle, but they all work to create a specific knife experience. Below we explain the differences between white steel, blue steel, as well as the different types of each.

high carbon steel

White High-Carbon Steel #1 & #2
White steel is made from finely grained carbon steel that lacks a lot of contaminates within the iron, meaning that knives made from white, high-carbon steel are able to sharpen into a razor-like edge. Many sashimi chefs love white steel knives because they can create very fine, exact cuts of fish, vegetables, and garnish. Very volatile and difficult to forge, white steel varies in its level on carbon content. #1 has the highest and will, therefore, hold its cutting edge the best. However, it’s also the most brittle, which is typically why #2 is the most commonly used by chefs.

high carbon steel

Blue High-Carbon Steel #1 & #2, and Super Blue High-Carbon

As stated above, steel consists of iron and carbon but different alloys can be added to create different types of steel. For example, stainless steel is created from added chromium. Blue steel has tungsten and chromium added to the iron and carbon to create an easier tempering process and also a knife that holds its edge longer than a white steel knife, however while not taking on such a fine cutting edge. Just like white steel #1 and white steel #2, blue, high-carbon steel #1 has more carbon content than its #2 companion and super blue high-carbon steel has added vanadium for wear resistance and has the longest edge life of the blue steels.

high carbon steel

Carbon Steel
White Steel, Blue Steel, and Super Blue
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