If you had ever bought a kitchen knife, I’m sure you already heard of the Japnese kitchen knives, with their high-quality steel, one of those steels is the VG-10 steel which considered high quality (close to gold) steel.
If you’re reading this blog right now it means you’re looking for more info about this steel. After much research, I’ll try to answer the different questions you have in your mind (like “What’s is VG-10 steel?” “Is it stainless?” “How hard is it?” “What is its chemical composition?” “Is it hard to sharpen?” And others).
VG10 or VG-10 or VG 10, is a high-end Japanese stainless steel, it’s high in carbon and Vanadium, it’s one of the most popular steels in Japan, its made by Takefu Special Steel Corporation located in Fukui Japan.
VG10 Steel Chemical composition
- 1.05% of Carbon: It improves hardness and wear/corrosion resistance, but a high amount of it decreases strength.
- 15.5% of Chromium: For tensile strength and Edge retention and enhances corrosion resistance and wear resistance.
- 0.5% of Manganese: Increases hardness and brittleness.
- 0.03% of Phosphorus: Increases strength.
- 1.2% of Molybdenum: Increase Machinability and strength.
- 0.3% of Vanadium: Improves wear resistance and hardenability.
- 1.5% Cobalt: boosts the individual effects of other components
High-end steel is a balanced combination of materials, in this case, the VG 10 steel is high in carbon and chromium, which makes it stainless steel with excellent corrosion resistance and with high hardness, and the presence of the cobalt amplifies the effect of all the materials in the steel.
Is VG 10 stainless steel?
Yes, steel is considered stainless steel when it has 12.5% or more of chromium in it. As you can see above, VG 10 has 15.5% of chromium, which makes it stainless steel.
What is the hardness(HRC) of VG 10 stainless steel
According to TakefuSpecialSteel company, the maximum HRC of the VG 10 is 60HRC.
Before you continue reading, If you wish to know more about how the hardness of a steel is measured, check this post!
What are the VG 10 Stainless steel properties
According to the chemical composition and the HRC of the VG10 stainless steel, it offers the following properties:
Edge Retention: With a 60HRC steel, the VG 10 is a hard steel that offers a great edge retention.
Corrosion Resistance: 15.5% of chromium is great evidence of the excellent corrosion resistance of the VG10, that’s why it’s considered one of the best steels for corrosion resistance (But still it doesn’t mean that its immune to corrosion).
Wear Resistance: Being high-end steel with high carbon volume, the VG10 steel offers a great wear ressitance.
Sharpness: Is VG-10 steel easy to sharpen? The combination of the VG 10 steel makes its hard steel and easy to sharpen at the same time, so the sharpening experience won’t be so hard for the VG10.
Machinability: The VG10 is very machinable and easy to grind.
Toughness: The VG10 is a sturdy steel, being stainless steel with a high level of chromium in it, it also has Molybdenum which gives it a high toughness and strength.
Is VG 10 Stainless Steel Good for Knives?
It’s high-end steel with a balanced chemical composition, it offers great edge retention, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, hardness and toughness, so the question is pretty obvious here.
And Yes, it’s good for knives, especially if you’re working in a humid environment, it’s very popular in Japan (It’s one of the best choices on the Japanese Fishermen).
Best VG-10 knives
Spyderco Dragonfly 2
The famous Dragonfly 2 from Spyderco comes with a 2.28″ blade made from the VG-10, it has a plain Edge, and high-quality G-10 Handle, it’s one of my favourites knives why? Because it has it all, sharpness, toughness, corrosion resistance and hardness, it’s efficient and very suitable for an EDC knife, in all its ergonomic, lightweight and high-quality knife I highly recommend it (and yes I’m big Spyderco fan if you didn’t already notice haha), but let me warn you it’s a bit expensive, you can find the same model for a lower price with plastic handle as a replacement for the G-10 handle.
VG 10 Stainless Steel Equivalent
According to the chemical composition of the steel, and being a high-end steel in the same time, I find that the VG 10 is close to the 154CM, but I still believe that the 154CM is better than the VG10, but they are both so great in edge retention, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and toughness, and they ‘re in the same price range (25 to 100 USD).
VG10 VS Steel
In this section, we’re going to compare our steel with other steels, and for this, I use four criteria; Edge Retention, Corrosion resistance, Ease of Sharpness, and Toughness, and I use a scale or note from 1 to 10.
VG10 VS S30V
|EASE OF SHARPNESS||6/10||5/10|
VG10 VS D2
|EASE OF SHARPNESS||6/10||4/10|
VG10 offers better Edge retention, and corrosion sharpness compared to the D2, but for toughness, D2 is better since it’s high carbon steel.
VG10 VS S35VN
|EASE OF SHARPNESS||6/10||6/10|
The S35VN is slightly better than the VG10, they are close in edge retention, corrosion resistance and they’re quite easy to sharpen, but for the toughness, the S35VN takes the lead.
All in all, the VG 10 knives are a must-have, especially if you’re a kitchen Chef. Even if you’re not, it’s always nice to have a good knife in our kitchen. It has what all chefs are looking for: excellent edge retention, corrosion resistance, easy to sharpen and hard in the same time.
So if you’re thinking of buying on of the VG10 knives, don’t forget to buy a good wet rock and oil to keep your knife in shape, yes the steel is excellent, but it’s not immune to corrosion and losing edge.