Shirogami (White Steel)

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      What is White #1, Shirogami 1 or White Paper Steel 1?

      White #1, Shirogami 1, or White Paper Steel 1 are names for one of the most traditional knife steels of Japanese kitchen knives. Various steels are used for forging Japanese chef's knives, white paper steel is very commonly used for the blades of santoku knives and for other types of Japanese knives.

      What are the components of White 1# Steel?

      White #1 knife steel (jap. 白紙 shirogami 1) is a pure carbon steel with no other metals added as alloying components. This steel has high sharpening potential and great edge retention. Knife sharpening from this steel is very uncomplicated and goes easier than compared to blades made of for example VG10 steel.

      White #2 - a very traditional Japanese knife steel

      White #2 is also a white paper steel and belongs to the Shirogami knife steels. This steel is very common among Japanese knifemakers and can be seen as one of the most traditional Japanese knife steels. This steel can reach a hardness of 62-65 HRC Rockwell, depending on the processing method. In comparison, European chef's knives have a maximum hardness of 57 HRC, with most Western chef's knives being more in the 50-54 HRC range. Shirogami 2 is used for all Japanese knife types such as the Nakiri knife.

      Where does the name white paper steel come from?

      The company Hitachi manufactures this knife steel and uses a white paper for packaging the material, so this name has been established. Among knife connoisseurs, the name Shirogami and White #1/#2 is also widely used.

      White #1 and White #2, which knife steel is better?

      Both steels belong to the category of white paper steels. The difference lies in the carbon content. Shirogami 1 (White #1) has a carbon content of 1.25 - 1.35% whereas Shirogami 2 (White #2) has a carbon content of 1.05 - 1.15%. The carbon content is decisive for the hardness of a steel, but the final hardness of the blade steel is ultimately also determined by the hardening process used during forging.

      What is the difference between Aogami and Shirogami steel?

      The difference between White steel (Shirogami) and Blue steel (Aogami) lies in the composition. Aogami contains additional chromium and tungsten and can be tougher and more robust than Shirogami knife steel depending on the processing technique. White steel is often less expensive than Blue steel.