Damascus is known for its responsible approach to the production of knives, not without reason in the past, craftsmen spent years creating a single blade. It is not surprising that more than 200 varieties of knives are produced in the Land of the Rising Sun for a variety of purposes. Experts around the world highly appreciate not only finished blades from Damascus but also raw materials – VG-10 steel, which is purchased by world concerns for the production of their products. Let us consider in more detail the characteristics of V-Gold No. 10 steel, composition, advantages, and disadvantages.
ADVANTAGES OF VG-10
Even at the stage of creating the formula of this metal, J Damascus craftsmen set the task of making strong and durable steel specifically for kitchen knives. They considered that the sharpness and excellent cutting properties of a professional kitchen tool are of key importance, while it must be corrosion resistant and keep sharpening for a long time.
They managed to achieve their goal not only due to the chemical composition, but also the features of the technological process of production – heat treatment and “lining”. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To begin with, let’s denote the indisputable advantages of Custom Damascus knives made of VG-10 steel:
- premium-class products with high practical and strength characteristics;
- with high hardness of hardening (up to 61 HRC), they can be easily sharpened with suitable abrasives (water stones of a certain degree of graininess);
- durability and versatility of use;
- high corrosion resistance (blades are resistant even to pitting corrosion – dark spots).
DISADVANTAGES OF VG-10
From the point of view of the consumer, the VG-10 kitchen knife has the only drawback – a relatively high price. Compared to stainless steel, for example, VG-10 will cost much more, but it will also serve much longer without loss of cut quality. Also, the disadvantages include the need for proper care for such a knife-hand washing, use strictly for its intended purpose, the use of wooden and plastic boards for cutting. However, these rules apply to any high-class blades, because professional chefs know how to take care of their steel assistants. Taking good care at home is not difficult.
From the point of view of knife manufacturers, the disadvantage of VG-10 steel is the difficulty of heat treatment. The Damascus scrupulously approached the development of technology, so the process of creating a knife from a plate became quite laborious and costly. For this reason, global knife brands prefer to purchase finished steel in Damascus and work with this material.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF VG-10
In addition to the standard components of any iron, carbon, and chromium, the creators of VG-10 added some alloying substances to the formula. Most notable is cobalt, which steelmakers rarely use because of its high cost. Vanadium and molybdenum also contributed to strength and corrosion. The result is a very hard and strong high carbon steel with a high degree of tempering. Let’s list all its components:
- C (carbon) – 1-2%. The main “hardener”, is a link for the elements of the crystal lattice.
- Cr (chromium) – 14.5-15.5%. Knife steels of this content are considered high quality. This component increases the resistance to corrosion and mechanical damage increases the ability to harden.
- Mo (molybdenum) – 0.90-1.20%. Provides rigidity to the knife and reduces sensitivity to high temperatures due to its refractory properties. Prevents cutting-edge brittleness.
- V (vanadium) – 0.10-0.30%. Gives steel the necessary toughness, enhances the action of chromium provides the chemical inertness of the blade, and thus prolongs its service life.
- Co (cobalt) – 1.30-1.50%. The most expensive component, due to which the steel acquires heat resistance, it becomes possible to harden the metal at very high temperatures.
As we have already said, in many respects the high strength and performance characteristics of Damascus VG-10 knives are provided by a special technology for the production of this steel. Here are the steps involved:
- Metal casting at a temperature of about 900°C.
- Heating to a temperature of 1000-1100 °C.
- Cooling in a gaseous medium.
- Long heating (1-2 hours) at a temperature of 150-200 °C.
At the final stage, the manufacturer gives the workpiece a finished look, grinds, and sharpens the future blade. Any deviations from the temperature regime or exposure time can lead to the fact. That the resulting metal will be unsuitable for the production of knives. Steel is also used for the production of multi-purpose tools, in the aircraft and automotive industries.
Knives made of VG-10 premium steel have a relatively high price. But they have high cutting properties, serve for a very long time without loss of sharpness and presentable appearance. No wonder this particular steel is chosen by professional chefs who know a lot about the convenience of using knives. In combination with the minimum sharpening angle characteristic of Damascus blades, such a knife acquires super-sharpness, hardness, and strength.