Ken Avery Knives gets a lot of requests for a cost effective stainless blade steel that can be used for a quality chefs knife or steak knives. My normal stainless steels for the Pro Series Custom Knives are CPM 154, CPM 35VN, and XHP. These steels make superior kitchen knives but are a bit pricey for a lot of people. They can also be more difficult to sharpen than a lot of other knives.
I have done a bit of research and found a fairly good stainless steel that will fit the bill. It isn’t anything new or fancy, just a good, solid performer – AEB-L stainless. It has been used for decades to make quality cutlery and razor blades. AEB-L fell out of favor for knives when some of the super stainless steels hit the market. Is it as good as our super steels? No, but close. I feel comfortable putting my name on it, so we established a new series of knives called our Basic Series.
Our Basic Series Chefs Knives are the perfect solution for a home chef, steak knives, and paring knives. I am able to provide most of the options available for my Pro Series handmade kitchen knives. Choice of handle material, trim, and finishes through the “Design Menu” to build your perfect knife.
So is AEB-L really a quality steel? Answer: Yes! It is high carbon, like any of our other steels, relatively easy to sharpen, and has about the best corrosion resistance of any of the stainless steels commonly used for knife blades. Usable hardness is a point or two lower than our premium stainless steels, but still several points above most of the premium production knives. High hardness means a super sharp edge that won’t need to be sharpened constantly.
So why isn’t AEB-L used more often by knife makers? In my opinion, it has to do with cost. Many of the big knife makers use steels that are much less expensive than AEB-L. When you make thousands of cheap knives every year, the small amount of additional cost for AEB-L make a big difference to the bottom line. The smaller knife makers like me tend to want to provide the best knives possible, so we stick with some of the super stainless steels.
I plan to offer a few of these as “Ready Mades.” The plan is to keep it simple. Simple wood handles, brass or copper trim, and a hand-rubbed finish. This will insure that these can be sold at a reasonable cost. For example, a Basic 8″ Chefs knife will be around $295. In other words you can get a quality Handmade AEB-L Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife for around the same price as a quality production knife – you just can’t beat it!
First run of 15 knives should be available in late summer of 2019. Sign Up to be the first notified when these knives are available – they will go fast! I have orders for 7 right now and more coming in!
Of course, you can Design Your Own as well!