A Brief Introduction To The Two Most Common Japanese High Carbon Steels
Ok, you want high carbon steel, but which type of high carbon steel?
Japanese High Carbon steel knives come in two main types, Shirogami, also known as White steel, and Aogami, also known as Blue steel. Shirogami is the more traditional metal used in high end sushi knives and is the purest form of high carbon steel.
See our selection of traditional Shirogami Japanese kitchen knives!
So why aren’t all knives made out of Shirogami?
Shirogami high carbon steel can be sharpened to a razor-sharp edge, however, it comes with a cost. It becomes more brittle and is more susceptible to rust. A solution to this was to add Tungsten to increase the durability of the blade. Enter Aogami. With Aogami, Tungsten and Chromium have been added to increase durability and corrosion resistance respectively. The added durability also makes the blade tougher to sharpen which is why many chefs actually prefer Shirogami.
Willing to do the work? Check out these great Aogami kitchen knives and outdoor knives!
At the time of forging, Aogami is even more challenging to forge into a blade than Shirogami due to the addition of Tungsten. Master Blacksmiths are typically the only craftsmen that hand forge Aogami because the knives are more likely to crack or break during the process.
Aogami does have the added benefit of corrosion resistance in addition to the durability which can lead to a longer life, but it is very similar to Shirogami in that it does need to be wiped down and dried after use. Leaving either metal in water will lead to corrosion and potentially rusting.
Both Shirogami 1 and Aogami 1 have the same Carbon content. The only difference is the addition of the Tungsten and Chromium.
Here is a link to the manufacturers website which shows the chemical composition of the different metals:
You will need to go over to the “YSS” drop down and then scroll all the way to the bottom to find the Shirogami and Aogami. This is a great way to compare Shirogami vs Aogami.
Check out our next article (coming soon) discussing Shirogami 1 vs Shirogami 2.