AEB-L Testing For Handmade Kitchen Knives
In a previous article I discussed adding AEB-L Stainless Steel to the product line to give our clients a cost effective solution for home chefs and students. I had heard a lot of positive talk about AEB-L from other knife makers and my steel supplier, but before I made a full commitment I needed to do some testing for myself.
This knife was made pretty much the same as the Pro Series Knives, but AEB-L was substituted for the CPM154, or S35VN that would normally be used. Heat treatment was pretty straight forward at 1975 degrees for 20 minutes, then into dry ice and RV antifreeze. Before tempering, we took a hammer and busted the tip off to inspect the grain. Grain was a bit more than what I see in the other steels I use but well within parameters.
The knife was then tempered at 375 degrees for 2 hours, air cooled, then tempered again for two hours. Every knife I make is tested with a Rockwell Hardness Tester to insure that the heat treat process went correctly. After tempering this knife it registered at 61 on the C scale.
The knife was then sharpened with a convex edge at 17 degrees, the standard for all my hand made custom kitchen and chefs knives. The photo above shows the knife pretty much as is after the tempering cycle and sharpening.
After sharpening, the knife was used to cut through a piece of 1″x6″ pressure treated decking lumber. It took several minutes as the knife is pretty light weight and only has an 8″ blade with a spine thickness of .11 inches. The paper you see behind the knife was cut after the 200 or so cuts that it took to get through the piece of lumber. The knife sliced as easily through the paper as it did before the lumber test.
So for those of you that aren’t hacking apart lumber in the kitchen, I would expect this knife to stay sharp for quite sometime. It will need sharpening at some point and the best way to maintain it is with a 17 degree Ceramic Sharpener. Wet the blade and pull it through a few times and you will be good to go!
We ran out of time today, but tomorrow the knife will be put into a vise and bent over to 90 degrees to see if and when it breaks! Stay tuned!