Originally Posted by Lazy Sharpener
Hey, BDL -
Your views on what's a passe alloy, what's an au courant alloy, and what difference these alloys make in practice (edge durability, brittleness, etc.)? Or are we just talking fashion?
Glestains are "Acuto 440," which is at the high end of the 440C family with more moly than "ordinary" 440C. Acuto 440 is good compared to ordinary 440C, but not very good compared to what other makers are using for knives of the same price. In one respect at least, edge taking, it's better than ordinary 440C, but otherwise suffers from the same, edge-holding limitations. That is, it's simultaneously soft -- about as hard as Wusthof's X50CrMoV15 -- but wears quickly.
440C was formerly a "wonder alloy," but has gone out of fashion -- at least among the kitchen knife cognoscenti -- because it's not very good steel compared to the other stuff that's currently on the market. I guess manufacturers feel the same way because while you don't see successful 440C or Acuto 440 knife lines pulled from the market, you don't see new ones coming in either.
It's not easy to tell whether new steels are popular with knife makers because they're new or because they're actually better. It's almost inevitable that newer alloys will be perceived as better simply because they're newer; and even knowledgeable users get caught up in the hype. It takes some time for the real world to work its magic. VG-10 was considered an ultimate alloy not long ago, but now that we've had a better chance to see its limitations the general opinion has moved its status down to merely "good." In the meantime, the reputation of other alloys, like G3, has actually improved.
Something else to think about, is that it's never just about the alloy. How it's handled -- especially how well it's hardened -- by a given maker has to be considered as well.
Edited by boar_d_laze - 12/26/12 at 9:22am