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S35CN Cutlery

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
In the world of folding knives, CPM S35VN is one of the very top tier steels. It is currently quite popular with custom knife makers, and several high-end production knife companies use it including Spyderco, Rick Hinderer, Spartan Blades, Chris Reeve and many others.

I'm curious as to why it hasn't been embraced by the kitchen cutlery crowd as it has the folding knife crowd. After a quick search, I came across an Ohio-based kitchen knife maker whose been around for over a century and is exclusively utilizing S35VN to fabricate their knives. They are called Warther Cutlery, and they can be accessed via http://www.warthercutlery.com. Has anyone heard of them? Does anyone have any experience with their knives? What are your impressions?


-Cal
post #2 of 17

This was brought up before, and regardless of the knife people should visit the Warther site because it is fascinating.  Old man Warther was a legendary carver and his work on locomotives is unbelievable in its detail.  All the moving parts are not only present but operational!

 

The knife in question seems a decent deal and anyone wanting to buy American in what looks like a quality knife should take a look.

 

 

S35VN takes a very good edge,  holds it well, is relatively chip resistant and sharpens well for a stainless alloy.

 

 

Rick

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback, Rick. I agree about the carvings--it's amazing what patience and attention to detail can accomplish. Anyone else have opinions of the Warther Cutlery?


-Cal
post #4 of 17

posting not not so much about Warther but about a powder steel knife. 
I'm a semi retired chef, not a carver (although I am related to some carvers).
 I don't have a Warther knife, but I have a competing makers' CPM S35VN knives. The belly on Warthers French chef's looks a bit large for me, but it IS a low enough price where I might want to look at it if the handle wasn't so crummy. The handles might be OK on a smaller knife like a paring or the tomato knife, but it would be horrible to use on the line. The price on his knives doesn't appear too much more than the cost of the knife blank itself. The knife is probably so inexpensive because it lacks many of the hand grinding processes in many other stamped knives. (Stamped does NOT mean bad and forged does NOT especially with todays technology). MANY high end knives are stamped now, but have many processes in fabrication, this just looks like a cookie cutter and finished with a few passes of a circular sander and again those handles look just plain fugly.

I'm using a New West Knifeworks  CPM S35VN santoku, petty and paring from their G-fusion line. I've got a friend (former Bocuse competitor and Beard winner) that uses a 9inch chefs from back when they used real wood instead of G10. I don't have one of their chefs knives yet but will be picking one up.
They haven't released any chefs knives in the new GFusion line yet, but I hear the 9' are about ready.
S35CN is pretty nice to use. The Santoku is a very nice knife to use, the handles are really nice because they're really long they can be used pinch grip or tennis racket grip for more leverage when needed. When in pinch grip, the balance point is perfect at the knuckle of your index finger. G10 is very popular as a handle material amongst outdoor enthusiasts. sturdy, and I have no problem keeping a grip with blood and slime on the handle. The petty/utility is closer in shape to a petty than a utility, but I've VERY happy with it. I don't like the paring knife quite as much. Takes a great edge, it has great balance and it's very nimble, but the shape is just a little weird for me, and I don't use it too often.

As for the steel itself. S35 is "machine tool steel", so it is very durable, takes a good edge and keeps a good edge. If it can cut ridges into a screw and last, it will last when cutting veggies or meat.
As far as the hand machining processes, look at a close up of a new west knife and one of a walther. BIG difference, but that's why there is the price difference too. And that "fancy finish" on the walther is not labor intensive, nor will it probably last more than a few months and I hate their handles. But I might pick up one like the paring or the tomato knife just for experimenting because they ARE a very good value. But it's more likely I might just get one if given a sample. Based on the blade shape and the handles, I would NOT expect to use this for more than a few minutes at a time. When I got my New West knives, I worked a whole day of prep just to see how they held up and how fatigued I would be at the end of the day. In those respects the New Wests were superlative. When the 9's are ready, I WILL be picking one up, (and on my own dime).

Rick pointed out a R2 and a HAP40 knife to me that I'll probably pick up in a few months. If this is one of your primary knives and you're on a budget, I'd ask Rick to post a link for you for the R2 knife. I'm at work now so I don't have the link handy
Tojiro has a line of inexpensive powder metal knives that I think highly of too. Much better craftsmanship on the blade itself. They didn't tell me which powdered steel formulation it was.

 


Edited by harrisonh - 7/19/15 at 8:37am
post #5 of 17

Pretty much what Harrison has said, and though it has a significant curve up front and looks to have a very slight curve to the back half.  The handle wouldn't bother me, it's wood anyway and easy enough to shape.  But comes down to it I wouldn't be buying the chefs, but some of the other kitchen knives look a really great deal for S35VN.

 

That being said, is there really any reason you want this particular cpm alloy, and I have to think no, except for the price which is half or less of what these knives typically go for, even at this level of FF.  And the important thing is Warther does say they pride themselves on a thin edge, and the wood handle is respectable looking.

 

If I were to give warther a shot I personally would go for the 7" slicer as I have a need for something like that right now.  But I'm more inclined toward the Yoshihiro honkotsu in Daisu CPM alloy, again at twice the price.  And then again....

 

That leaves me with just one question about the Warthers.  Are they sent to a top-notch heat treater?  Because HT is everything with the CPM alloys. 

 

Right now I have to think the premier cpm steel for the kitchen is semi-stainless HAP40, but you are looking at about $230 for 240 chefs/gyuto.  Same for fully stainless SRS-15.

 

R2 is another great steel, but for a 240 you are looking at close to $400. But in a 210 though there is the Takamura that Harrison alluded to.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/takamura.html

 

But you have to understand that these alloys, though not really delicate, are not as tough as S35VN.  They require a little more finesse in use to prevent chipping.  Which really shouldn't be a problem for a home cook with decent knife skills.  The other alloys will take a better edge and hold it longer than S35VN.  The outdoor crowd likes S35VN I believe simply because its tougher than the other choices mentioned.

 

 So I hope this provides the information you need to make an informed choice on the Warthers.

 

 

Rick

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BootBuckle View Post



I'm curious as to why it hasn't been embraced by the kitchen cutlery crowd as it has the folding knife crowd. After a quick search, I came across an Ohio-based kitchen knife maker whose been around for over a century and is exclusively utilizing S35VN to fabricate their knives. They are called Warther Cutlery, and they can be accessed via http://www.warthercutlery.com. Has anyone heard of them? Does anyone have any experience with their knives? What are your impressions?


-Cal

 

In large part it's because what makes a steel great for EDC doesn't necessarily make it good for kitchen knives.  The steel should be chosen based on the task at hand.  For instance consider what makes a good knife for camping or hunting, or EDC; probably it needs to be very corrosion resistant, it needs to have good toughness and high edge stability.  And it's probably going to be hardened to a lower RC to make it less brittle (again, this will depend on the steel).  If I want to use my RAT7 in D2 to baton firewood then I want it to be tough but resilient.  It doesn't need to be razor sharp.  It can also be quiet thick, maybe 1/4", to allow it survive chopping and prying.

 

Now think of what makes a good kitchen knife.  Resistance to rust is okay but not a big deal.  I'm not going to chop firewood with my Konosuke or Nubatama either, so toughness isn't a huge issue.  If I want to chiffonade herbs I'm looking for a sharp, thin knife.  In that case having a fine grained steel is a lot bigger deal than having one with incredible toughness.

 

S35VN will probably have a lot larger carbides than something like White #1.  This limits how sharp it can get. You can think of steel as being a bit like concrete, or peanut brittle.  The steel has a matrix (like the concrete or praline) that holds carbides suspended (like aggregate or peanuts).  The finer the gravel or peanuts the finer the "grain" of the steel.  How sharp could you make a piece of peanut brittle? As sharp as the smallest peanut.  When you polish steels with very large vanadium carbides (such as S30V) you reach a point where carbides will either fall or you can abrade the "concrete" but you can't cut the carbide.  Note that the individual carbides are often much higher RC than the overall hardness of the steel.  In general terms, large carbides make a toothier edge that can't get quite as sharp.  The super sharp "fresh off the stones" edge of such steels is usually fleeting but they stay usably sharp for a long time.  A high carbon edge, when used for kitchen use, usually loses its edge a more linear rate.

 

Choosing a blade steel is balancing act, and there are many variables.  Some are based on materials science and others are based on economics.  How much does the steel cost?  Is it easy to work with?  Is it easy to HT?  Can I get the steel at all?  It's very hard to you hands on M390 for example.  And the stuff from Takefu Special Steels (notably VG-10) generally comes with conditions.  In most cases they won't allow HT to be done outside of Japan.

 

Never heard of Warther, so I'm afraid I can't help you there.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #7 of 17

agrees about metal choice is because of availability, and because of special properties such as corrosion. Also because of tradition, marketability and the cost of production and working the material. I really like the points Phaedrus brought up

I went to a wood working store and the CPM knife blanks were not too much less than warther is charging for the whole knife. (of course it was retail, not wholesale, but even when I checked wholesale prices, I think the warters are still very good even with the cheap manufacturing and horrible handles). I was even thinking about buying one of the warthers, taking off the handle and adding something halfway decent. CPM is very expensive for the manufacturer. After they add the cost of the handle, cost of fabrication (A tougher material is going to be more expensive to fabricate)., labor they are going to have to charge a lot just to make up for the expense. And the general public doesn't know enough about powdered metal to be willing to spend that much.

I disagree that carbides in powdered metal are large, even at the molecular level. In the attatched article, you can see the grain of CPM35. In the pic, they're talking about seperability, but the pic speaks to other issues too.
There are other articles that you can google, but this one is easy to read, not too scientific for most people to read.

http://www.newwestknifeworks.com/content/information/about-chef-knives/cpm-s35vn


Edited by harrisonh - 7/19/15 at 9:00am
post #8 of 17

Yeah, powders kind of sidestep some of those issues but I can only cram so much into one post.;)  Most PM steels are a bit more expensive, and ultimately there's no free lunch.  There are always tradeoffs.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #9 of 17

At this time I am not sure if HIP'ing is all that much superior to conventional pressing, sintering and post-process forging to get to 100% density in PM materials, which is a main feature of HIP'ing.  Hipping has been around for a very long time now so is nothing new.  But I am familiar with it only as a means to efficiently produce PM parts of irregular shape, and very limited experience at that.  I have no personal experiences of it as a process to refine PM alloys so that is completely outside my wheelhouse.

 

Information on the actual carbide size CPM (an abbreviation used to indicate a HIP'ed product I'm guessing) alloys is sketchy.  I've heard it said that s110V and perhaps by extension S10V, have carbide size 1/3 that of white#1.  Whether this is true or not what is well known is that these 2 alloys in particular have such high carbide content that their edge stability suffers and it is recommended tat be sharpened at angles greater than 15deg/side.

 

I have not heard it suggested that the carbides of S35VN where in this category, the truth being my comment above on S35VN is more extrapolation than solid fact, but reasonable extrapolation I think given comments I have heard on other forums.

 

Anyways the ideal CPM alloy for the kitchen would have the really fine carbides, and a matrix balance that gave a good balance between wear resistance and edge stability.  I have to believe better alloys are on the way.  Things just get better all the time.  :-)

 

 

Rick

post #10 of 17

.


Edited by Rick Alan - 7/19/15 at 5:24pm
post #11 of 17

yeah, I think there are more choices and there will be more now that the technology is no longer SOTA. It becoming broadly accepted. This will also drive down prices and further increase competition.

That's why I was so happy at the referrals from Rick Allen.

I'm very happy with the current 35SN knives I have and look forward to trying some of the other powder metal ones.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the informative responses. I appreciate you all taking the time to chime in--this has been very helpful. After lurking here for a few weeks, I've decided against throwing $900 at a 9-piece Shun Premier set and have instead put together a mix-n-match set from a bunch of different manufacturers. Below are my initial thoughts, but I'll likely be making some changes before pulling the trigger in early August. You'll notice I have two 240mm Gyutos--haven't made up my mind if I wanna go big money (for me) on this one or not. Notice that I stayed away from carbon knives--I am afraid that my lovely wife will ruin them if I go that route. Comments are welcome and appreciated:

Gyuto:
Super nice 240mm:
($550) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/suzddagy24.html
($246) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/machkn27.html

210mm:
($200) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohagy21.html

Petty:
($125) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/takamura2.html

Sujihiki:
($229) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/masamoto-sashimi-knife.html

Santoku:
($140) (Gekko GEK-2) http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/SPECIALS.html#Specials

Honesuki/Boning:
($70) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riarho16.html

Serrated:
($60) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpbrkn21.html


-Cal
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BootBuckle View Post

Thanks all for the informative responses. I appreciate you all taking the time to chime in--this has been very helpful. After lurking here for a few weeks, I've decided against throwing $900 at a 9-piece Shun Premier set and have instead put together a mix-n-match set from a bunch of different manufacturers. Below are my initial thoughts, but I'll likely be making some changes before pulling the trigger in early August. You'll notice I have two 240mm Gyutos--haven't made up my mind if I wanna go big money (for me) on this one or not. Notice that I stayed away from carbon knives--I am afraid that my lovely wife will ruin them if I go that route. Comments are welcome and appreciated:

Gyuto:
Super nice 240mm:
($550) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/suzddagy24.html
($246) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/machkn27.html

210mm:
($200) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kohagy21.html

Petty:
($125) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/takamura2.html

Sujihiki:
($229) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/masamoto-sashimi-knife.html

Santoku:
($140) (Gekko GEK-2) http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/SPECIALS.html#Specials

Honesuki/Boning:
($70) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riarho16.html

Serrated:
($60) http://www.chefknivestogo.com/todpbrkn21.html


-Cal

Masamoto knives are very nice.  I don't know anything about Sukenari but I'm not crazy about ZDP.  In my experience it does tend to be a bit chippy (ie prone to microchipping).  It does hold an edge forever, though, and if you're careful with it it's a great steel.

 

The Kohetsu HAP40 is astonishing.  I know a guy that had one and edge retention is spectacular, even better than my M390 gyuto.  Great profile/shape, too.  IMO.

 

A coworker of mine has a Takamura and it's fantastic.  The R2 edge is like the Energizer Bunny, it keeps going and going. Fit and finish is pretty good but not incredible.  The blade is great though.

 

That Masamoto suji would be fine but I'd prefer a carbon from that company.

 

The Artifex is a great knife.  Fit and finish is solid but not spectacular and the grinds have been pretty consistent in my experience (I've seen six of 'em so far).  AEB-L is a great stainless IMO; it takes a very keen edge and holds it pretty well.  I've been eyeballing that same one.

 

The serrated Tojiro is pretty good.  I don't have a lot of use for serrated knives but if for some reason you want one that would be a pretty good choice.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post
 

At this time I am not sure if HIP'ing is all that much superior to conventional pressing, sintering and post-process forging to get to 100% density in PM materials, which is a main feature of HIP'ing.  Hipping has been around for a very long time now so is nothing new.  But I am familiar with it only as a means to efficiently produce PM parts of irregular shape, and very limited experience at that.  I have no personal experiences of it as a process to refine PM alloys so that is completely outside my wheelhouse.

 

Information on the actual carbide size CPM (an abbreviation used to indicate a HIP'ed product I'm guessing) alloys is sketchy.  I've heard it said that s110V and perhaps by extension S10V, have carbide size 1/3 that of white#1.  Whether this is true or not what is well known is that these 2 alloys in particular have such high carbide content that their edge stability suffers and it is recommended tat be sharpened at angles greater than 15deg/side.

 

I have not heard it suggested that the carbides of S35VN where in this category, the truth being my comment above on S35VN is more extrapolation than solid fact, but reasonable extrapolation I think given comments I have heard on other forums.

 

Anyways the ideal CPM alloy for the kitchen would have the really fine carbides, and a matrix balance that gave a good balance between wear resistance and edge stability.  I have to believe better alloys are on the way.  Things just get better all the time.  :-)

 

 

Rick


I think I'm in agreement with most of this.  I don't know a lot about S35VN.  It has a good reputation but I'm a little behind the SOTA right now; finishing up my Bachelor's degree program has eaten into my knife-geeking-out time.  So far I have never used nor sharpened s110V.  So I'll concede that some of the latest and greatest are unknown to me.  However, I will say though that despite some of the gee-wiz, uber-steels I find myself really admiring White #1 and AoKo more and more.  They're the original supersteels IMOHO.

 

It's easy to fixate on the nerdy parts to the omission of cutting and sharpening skills.  As time goes on I spend less and less on new exotic steels and more and more on old Japanese natural stones.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #15 of 17

Hey Phaedrus, have you sharpened HAP40 and if so how would you compare its edge taking in terms of keenness?

 

 

Rick

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post
 

Hey Phaedrus, have you sharpened HAP40 and if so how would you compare its edge taking in terms of keenness?

 

 

Rick


No, I haven't had a chance.  A chef I used to work with has one and I tried it out but I haven't sharpened it.  He moved a few hundred miles away and while we keep in touch I haven't done any sharpening for him since right after he moved a couple years ago.  It does seem to take as good an edge as most other higher end stainless steels.  But I haven't personally checked to see how sharp I can get it. 

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've refined my list of potential buys, and will be posting it up on another thread. Please feel free to drop in and give your opinions. Thanks!

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