Hard or soft steel?

Hard or soft steel?

"Hey, Tara."

"Which is better, hard or soft steel in kitchen knives?" 

Answer: It depends :)

Tara has been working in and around the kitchen knife industry for decades and has a wealth of knowhow to share.

Check the video below or scan the transcript for context on soft and hard steel.

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Transcript:

Okay, we're going to get Tara. Alright. Invited. Hey, it worked again. Okay. So we at Vivront, turn to Tara for knife, knife knife stuff, and you've been so helpful that it's birthed this live chat experience. And we have this question on our minds. One of our persons came to us and it was like, Hey, I was reading on all these forums online that I need the most crazy hard steel possible in my knives.

Is that true?

It depends. Some of us in this world think hard is the best thing ever and some of us think sometimes there's thickness at times, but knife wise, yes, it's really popular right now to be all about really hard Rockwell, which is what we're talking about. And it is really common to kind of understand, like read it and go, okay, well, if my edge lasts longer with a harder seal, it must be better.

And yes, absolutely. One of the things I usually to be bad, Excel people, the plate in your cupboard right now that you're going to put on your table and eat dinner with is actually harder than the steal of any of the knife in your kitchen.

It's more than 63.

Yes. And that's why I will shatter when it is used improperly, which is anything other than washing it carefully into a, into a cupboard or onto a table [same thing happening] huge benefit.

But you see that benefit in understanding how to use those knives and having very good technique because the trade off is that they are sensitive to damage. A lot of times you'll also read, oh, there they're easy to damage or they're just sensitive to miscalculations in use this particularly side to side.

Lateral movement on skinny

japanese knives.

Yeah. And burying them in something is, is just an instinctive thing to cause that. Another thing I find a lot is the microchipping on edges that are the harder steels. So, S G2 CDP, 189 R two. These are all terms that people might've. I never know. It's, it's different every day. But, they'll chip the edges.

And a lot of times it's as simple as you're chopping with a lot more force than you need. So it's like, you're really bring that edge into burying it inside your board and then moving that right or left a bit. The edge is actually buried in the wood. It has no choice, but to actually break at that point. Yeah.

And so in that case, it's possible for certain persons, either through technique or style, maybe those are the same thing- that a softer knife might be better?

Yes. It's a lot more forgiving as you're learning and getting comfortable. Having a sharp edge that is easily maintained or adjusted based on these little things that you'll be learning.

So there's, there's merit to, you know, with something harder and learning it. But I've always found myself. that it's been easier for people to learn what they need to do to buy a knife that fits their use.

Then, pick up little tricks and skills, which is, which is what you're going to do as you cook more. But the other choice is find out everything you want to know about our knife and do all this research and then go buy that knife. You've just committed to having to change your, use to fit that knife now. Whereas it's more than likely going to be a disappointment it will fail you and you will feel like the knife was a failure, but pretty much the knives could use almost any knife because the variations are just really stepping stones, I think.

You know, like I'm a big big proponent of Victorinox, uh, or even like the Misen or a lot of these knives that are out there now because they're awesome knives. But they also might, the person that's going to go further in knives is going to be able to find how to take care of them properly, maintain them properly, start to understand the relationship of the actual sharpened cutting edge, and then how to use it by its blade profile to get the best lifespan out of that cutting edge and the happiest cooking with it.

Yeah.

You can go and do it. They're great. I mean, I also love them too. For what I do with them. If somebody is just getting in to knives, it's great. You can do that. Just don't plan on sharpening them yourself for a little while, because you're going to be learning a new knife. So it's kind of where those harder steels, I typically will say, it's probably best to have them maintain professionally for, for a while.

If you're going to get into sharpening, that's a whole other skill, you know? It is. And there's, uh, there's a lot of these firms that tell everybody, oh, if you're not an iPhone owner, if you're not sharpening yourself, truth is if you're sharpening yourself, you know what you're doing, you just have a knife that doesn't work right.

Right? Sure. So on style, I shouldn't rock a Nakiri and on hardness, I should maybe start softer, learn like usage... honing, before you move up into a harder knife- which is counter most, assumptions around knives. Like you buy them once for your lifetime and then you dull 'em out and you forget, they can be sharp.

It's an overgeneralization.

I mean, I still get people that come in that say for 20 years, we've never had a. Yeah, totally. No, that's actually what's happened. Yeah, but they, they sometimes I'll go buy a little knife here or there to go do something. But for the most part, they just, they power those bad boys through that food.

But something you say on a regular basis is, not so much the hardness or the shape or the profile of the knife, but a safe use. And that's about some education and some practice. And it's awesome. Well, thanks. We've put to, we haven't, bed the crazy hard steel conversation across the internet. No, we'll keep having it, but thank you for the nuance on hardness and softness for skill level and, um, and seeing it across a continuum of time.

Okay, cool. Until next time, like, and follow more. If you liked this, we got more.


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