When I first began collecting knives, I paid little attention to the type of steel I was getting. I was more interested in the different designs and functions of these knives. As I collected more and more knives though, I began to realize that there is a lot to learn about the steel of these blades.
One type of steel you need to know more about it VG-10. You might not realize this, but if you have a lot of cooking knives, you probably have a VG-10 blade in your collection. This is because VG-10 blades are one of the best and most common around. But what makes this type of steel so popular for knives? Let’s dive in and find out more about VG-10 blades.
What is VG-10 Steel?
If you’re looking for a good knife, getting anything with VG-10 steel will be a good choice. VG-10 is considered to be one of the highest-quality steel for knives today. With a knife like this, you can enjoy a sharp and durable edge. You also don’t have to worry about rust with this blade, because it is highly rust-resistant.
Japan has a long history of producing some of the best swords and knives. It’s no surprise then that VG-10 was invented in the Land of the Rising Sun. Taking a look at Japanese cutlery, you’ll find that a lot of them are made using VG-10 steel.
The G’ in VG-10 stands for Gold’. Not that the blade is made from gold, but that it is gold-standard. What makes it gold standard? Most knives are either one of two things: carbon or stainless. Carbon knives are hard but get rusted fast. Stainless knives are rust-resistant, but not as hard or sharp as carbon knives. But somehow, the Japanese found a way to get the best of both worlds. VG-10 steel has the carbon and stainless components combined into one.
The secret quality of this steel lies in its components. At 1%, there is a lot of carbon on this steel. That may seem little, but compared to other stainless steels, that is more than most. This extra carbon makes the VG-10 a very sharp and hard knife. But not too hard that it’s brittle. The other components in this steel also make it flexible. So you have a knife that is both hard and flexible, the perfect combination.
Another component of VG-10 that stands out is the chromium. At 15%, this chromium is what gives the VG-10 its stainless steel capabilities. You don’t ever have to worry about your knife getting rusted because of this.
As a bonus, VG-10 is made in such a way that allows a lot of designs. One thing that I love are blades that have intricate carvings on their sides. These make the knife so much more beautiful. It’s one of the reasons why I love collecting VG-10 steel blades.
Now that we know what VG-10 steel is and its benefits, let’s take a look at some of its characteristics.
Is VG-10 Easy to Sharpen?
With all its qualities, you may believe that VG-10 is difficult to sharpen. It is, after all, very high-quality steel. But when it comes to sharpening, there is no difference between this gold-standard steel and others. So yes, VG-10 steel is very easy to sharpen; just sharpen it like you would any other knife.
Chances are you’ve already sharpened a VG-10 steel knife without knowing it. You won’t know it because the procedure is exactly the same. Take a good sharpening stone, and set it down on an even surface. Then take your VG-10 steel knife and lay that flat on the stone. With two hands, tilt the blade until the bevel is flat on the stone. Then stroke slowly and gently against the stone.
After a few strokes, make sure to check for a burr. Once you feel that, you know that your knife is already sharp. VG-10 steel can get very sharp as well, so be careful. You want to handle them with utmost care. If not, it’s wise to use safety gloves to avoid cuts. These knives can cut you without you realizing it.
Once you’re done, your VG-10 is going to be razor-sharp. The best part about sharpening a knife with this blade is how long it lasts. VG-10 is not only very hard and sharp, it is also known to keep its edge for a long, long time.
After you finish the sharpening process don’t forget to clean your sharpening stone, you can check our 3 simple steps to clean your Sharpening stone.
Is VG-10 Steel Magnetic?
One thing that I love is the magnetic knife rack in my kitchen. If you don’t have one of these, they make the perfect place to keep your knives. That said, magnetic knife racks often run into problems with stainless steel knives. Most common stainless steel knives today are non-magnetic. This has to do with their high chromium content, and also the nickel that is sometimes added. They are non-magnetic therefor they won’t stick on your magnetic knife rack.
But as we already saw, VG-10 isn’t the same as other stainless steel knives. And if you have a magnetic knife rack around, you may be wondering whether or not VG-10 steel is magnetic or not.
Based on my experience, VG-10 steel is a little magnetic, but not as much as other knives. My VG-10 steel knives stuck to my magnetic knife rack, but it was quite weak. It doesn’t stick as hard as other metals do. At times I felt like it might fall off on its own.
If you want to keep your VG-10 steel knives on a magnetic knife rack, it’s a good idea to get a second magnet. It’s not that VG-10 can’t stick to magnets, it’s just that it needs a strong magnet. That’s why if your magnet is weak, you can always add another one to strengthen it. And when you do, your VG-10 steel knives will stick to it like a rock.
By the way, here our recommended VG-10 Knive that I personally use.
VG-10 vs VG-1 Steel
Now that you know what VG-10 steel is, it’s important not to confuse it with VG-1. These two look alike, and they have very similar names. But there is a difference between the two, and you don’t want to mess this up.
VG-1 is the predecessor of the VG-10. It’s no surprise then, that VG-10 steel is a lot better. The VG-10 is basically an improvement on the already good VG-1. Not only is VG-1 hard and sharp, but it can keep its edge for a long, long time. This is because of the high carbon content on this steel. Blades using VG-1 steel can keep their edges even longer than blades using VG-10 steel!
Compared with the VG-10, the VG-1 is a lot tougher. It is harder, but this also makes it more brittle. Finding a balance between hardness and flexibility has always been a huge challenge. The VG-1 tends to lean towards the hardness side of the scale. This is why when using this steel for knives, chipping is a common occurrence. It’s very hard, push it too hard it will snap right away. That’s one of the main improvements that came with the VG-10.
VG-1 steel is also not as stainless. One of the reasons why it can get so hard is because it doesn’t have as much chromium. And this chromium is what protects the knife from rust and stains. This is why VG-1 knives are always in danger of getting rusted. If you have one of these, you need to take good care of it to prevent this from happening.
Somewhat surprisingly, VG-1 steel blades are also more expensive. They don’t perform as well as VG-10, and you have to pay more for them! This is why practically, there’s no reason to choose VG-1 over VG-10. VG-10 is an improvement of the VG-1 anyway. But there are still some knife manufacturers who use VG-1.
This is why you should be careful when you are buying a new knife. You should know the difference between these two types of steel. This way, you can be sure that the knife you are getting has the best steel for you.
Knives use so many different types of steel. If you’re unaware of these, I really recommend you get into it. It’s all very exciting, just as exciting as learning about different types of knives. I was a non-believer at first, but once I started looking into it, I was hooked. Every type of steel has its own wonderful characteristics. And it’s so fulfilling to know what makes them different and what makes them special.
Now you know about VG-10 steel. It’s so common, but it’s so sad how little people know about it. If you already have a set of knives, go over them and see which ones use VG-10 steel. You may be surprised to find that you already have some of them.
If you don’t have any, you should get one. VG-10 steel is strong, high-quality, rust-resistant, and extra sharp. And if ever you are looking for a good blade, going for something that uses VG-10 steel is