Most of the world's top class pocket, hunting and different kinds of speciality knives are manufactured by German companies. Though many German knife manufacturers have subcontracted some of the models to other countries, it's quite difficult to exactly pin down the reasons for which top quality German knives have been fascinating the world since their inception. One thing that every German knife user will probably agree on is the precise, careful craftsmanship of the top German knife manufacturers, resulting in knives which are distinctive and perhaps almost completely flawless. For instance, consider a fixed blade German knife with glimmering stag or perfect wood handle scales seamlessly fitted, without any gap between the tang and scales, or a brass or nickel silver finger guard perfectly shaped and greatly polished with no filing, sanding or grinding marks visible, coupled with a pristine Solingen steel blade for a precise shave that has no accidental score visible anywhere on it. And this is not a deceiving extension of the truth. It's actually what you'll experience when you pick up a top quality German knife in your hands. An elite quality German knife is actually a work of art, manufactured by adept professionals who feel extremely proud of the work they perform and the knives they develop. The famous Solingen city in Germany boasts of the longest history associated with the production of top class knives and cutlery. Choosing knives is perhaps one of the most crucial decisions that an avid chef needs to make. Knives are among the most utilised tools in a kitchen and thus a wrong decision can easily make the life of the buyer quite miserable. Because when it comes to knives, price isn't always synonymous with quality. Here, we've outlined a detailed list of expert tips that would help you to get educated about what sets German knives apart from their counterparts and why they're recommended by renowned chefs across the world.
Stainless steel is a widely preferred material used for knives' blades due to its corrosion resistance ability and easy maintenance. However, it's not impermeable to rust or corrosion. A steel must have a minimum 13% of chromium content to be considered as stainless steel. The key principle of stainless steel remains in the fact that the oxide (chromium, nickel and other metal oxides) has to be stable in an oxidizing chemical environment and in a reducing (lack of oxygen) environment, one metal has to be stable, at the least. Here're the key stainless steels used to manufacture the blades of German knives.
CPM SxxV series: The SxxV series stainless steels are produced by using CPM process. The categories of this series are CPM S30V, CPM S35VN, CPM S60V, CPM S90V, CPM S110V and CPM S125V.
DSR series: This series is used for producing scissors and kitchen knives. The categories include DSR1K6, DSR7F, DSR1K7, DSR1K8, DSR1K9, DSR10UA and DSR1K11.
Carbon steel is another popular choice for knives that are subject to a rough use. This steel is usually much more durable, much tougher and easier to sharpen compared to stainless steel. However, they lack the chromium content available in their stainless steel counterparts, making them prone to corrosion. Though carbon steels contain less amount of carbon than general stainless steels, the alloy element remains much higher. They're more similar to other types of high alloy and stainless steels and consist of carbide in a very small quantity in the iron. Due to more hardness of the bulk material, carbon steels are capable of holding more acute and sharper edge without bending over when coming in contact with tough materials. However, carbon steels are more susceptible to abrasion. Here're the major types of carbon steels used in German knives.
10xx series: This series is very durable and most sought after choice for manufacturing German knives. The categories of the series include 1095, 1084, 1070, 1060 and 1055.
Kigami/Yellow series: This series is used in mid/low class kitchen knives and other high-end tools.
CPM or Crucible Particle Metallurgy steels are specialty steels manufactured by Crucible Industries – an American company that manufactures stainless and tools steels for cutlery, machine tools, automotive and aerospace industries. The company has been producing high-end steels since its inception in 1900 when 13 crucible steel companies merged to form a single company.
Traditional CPM steel making process starts with smelting ore into steel with the help of electric arc furnaces. Then it gets refined by eliminating some amount of carbon and sulphur. Further refining process may include use of argon oxygen decarburization which is an implementation of the powder metallurgy. The conventional process includes distribution and pouring of steel into ingot molds. Then the steel solidifies slowly, allowing the components to isolate into non-uniform structures at microscopic level.
The CPM process pushes molten steel via a tiny nozzle. Then high-pressure gas is applied to atomize the liquid into a spray that quickly cools down the steel, making it a uniform powder. Then the powder goes into high-pressure containers and is heated using forged temperatures to squeeze the powder into ingots – this process is called HIP or hot isostatic pressing, which leads to the production of uniform metal.
Hot or cold rolling processes is used in both methods to toughen the steel and granulate it into the final products.
An alloy is an amalgamation of metals or a merger of metal and another element. It may be a single solution of metal elements or an amalgamation of two or more metallic solutions. Alloys are utilized in a diverse range of applications. In some cases, a merger of metals may lower the overall price of a material while preserving the key properties. In other cases, the merger of metals transmits synergistic characteristics to the constituent elements such as mechanical strength or corrosion resistance. Here's a list of widely used alloying elements.
Meteoric iron: Meteoric iron was the first and a naturally developing alloy of iron and nickel. It was used to manufacture objects such as weapons, tools and nails.
Bronze and brass: This is another alloy of the ancient times that goes back to around 2500 BC. Ancient civilization took the mixture of copper and zinc to develop brass because of its various characteristics like toughness, melting point, among others.
Amalgams: Amalgams, which is an alloy in liquid or soft paste form, were produced by dissolving metals like gold, silver, tin etc with the help of mercury.
Precious-metal alloys: In ancient times, precious-metal alloys were produced solely for aesthetic purposes. One instance could be alloying gold with copper to manufacture red-gold.
Pewter: This term entails a variety of alloys that primarily consist of tin. The resulting metals were usually antimony, lead, copper or bismuth.
Steel and pig iron: Mangalloy or manganese steel, which was one of the first alloy steels, were produced by alloying manganese and steel to provide the resulting element with extreme toughness. Pig iron is an alloy of carbon and iron.
Precipitation-hardening alloys: These are heat-treatable alloys that become softened when cooled quickly and harden over time. Some instances of these alloys include aluminum, copper and titanium.
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