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Knife Steel – The Basics

It can be difficult to choose the best chef knife. At first it may seem like a simple case of what’s the sharpest, coolest looking knife. But how well does the knife take an edge? How long does that knife keep that edge?

Two knives with the exact same size and shape can be hugely different based on the type of steel used to make them. And there are hundreds of different kinds of steel. Many are designated by a series of numbers and letters, others are given a brand name.

Not all steels are suitable for use in kitchen knives, though. Each mixture of metals – an alloy – has its own characteristics. Such characteristics might include hardness, flexibility or grain (ability to take an edge). Though many different alloys – both patented and not patented – can be used, there are three main groups of steels that are used to make chef knives.

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