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Types of Steel Used in Xinzuo Kitchen Knives

Types of Steel Used in Xinzuo Kitchen Knives: Japanese ZDP-189, German 1.4116 & 10Cr15CoMoV Chinese VG10 Steel

Purchasing kitchen knives can be difficult when you need to make decisions about knife types, styles, and materials. The type of knife you choose depends on what you’re planning on using it for, your budget, how often you cook, personal preference, and several other factors.

But one of the most important things to consider is the type of steel from which your knife is made, because this will influence what it can be used for, its effectiveness, the price, and its longevity, among other things.

In our opinion, finding the right knives that suit your purposes is of the utmost importance, and we want to be part of helping you find exactly what you’re looking for. Of course, the crux of getting this right is finding an excellent brand that you can trust to produce high-quality, reliable knives, and after much searching and a lot of deliberation, we’ve found a brand that we love.

Xinzuo is a Chinese knife producer that has managed to find a way to use top quality materials and manufacturing methods while still keeping the prices low, something that it is incredibly uncommon in the industry. Indeed, the general trend that we find includes knives manufactured in Japan that boast high quality but are incredibly expensive, and knives manufactured in China with inferior quality but offering lower prices. However, Xinzuo has shown us that this is a false dichotomy.

Xinzuo utilizes excellent quality steels and the best production methods to produce top-notch knives that rival even Japanese knives – and best of all, they’re far more cost effective.

So, how does Xinzuo do what virtually no other brand has managed to achieve?

Well, it comes to a few key factors – the materials used and the methods of manufacturing.

First, Xinzuo isn’t about bringing price down by just skimping on the quality of their materials. Rather, they’ve found alternative materials to the most obvious expensive options that are imported from afar, on the one hand, and the cheap replicas, on the other hand. They’ve found relatively new types of steel that don’t compromise quality for price.

Second, Xinzuo is focused on the way in which the knives are forged and produced. They don’t take any shortcuts, and they’re all about doing things the right way, especially when it comes to heat treatment methods.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the different types of steel that Xinzuo uses to create their top-quality knives. We’ll explore the different types of steel that they use and give you a quick overview of their composition and properties. The main types of steel we’ll be covering include 10Cr15CoMoV Chinese VG10 Steel, ZDP-189 Steel, 1.4116 steel and

So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the different types of steel used in Xinzuo kitchen knives.

10Cr15CoMoV Chinese VG10 Steel

10Cr15CoMoV Chinese VG10 Steel certainly sounds like a mouthful straight off the bat, but what exactly is it and what does it have to offer?

Well, first off, the complicated name is a reference to the main chemical compounds found in this steel, so immediately, we know that it contains Chromium, Carbon, and Cobalt, among other things, and this serves as a pretty good starting point with regards to what this type of steel may be like.

We know that Chromium contributes to hardness and toughness, and it’s also what allows the steel to be called “stainless”. Carbon is well known for making materials extra hard, and it contributes to good edge retention. Ad finally, Cobalt is great with resistance to rust.

But, of course, these are only the main chemical compounds found in 10Cr15CoMoV Chinese VG10 Steel. We’re going to give you a quick and basic breakdown of the compounds that contribute to this steel (from the highest to the lowest density) and what their presence contributes to the steel overall.

  • Chromium: Makes it “stainless steel” and adds toughness and hardness. 
  • Carbon: Contributes hardness, most significantly, but also helps with edge retention. Furthermore, carbon makes the blade resistant to pressure and wear, adding to longevity.
  • Cobalt: Adds considerable strength to the steel and contributes excellent resistance to rust.
  • Molybdenum: Helps make the steel easy to work with during manufacturing and it contributes to the hardening process.
  • Manganese: Just a small, very specific, amount helps to harden the blade.
  • Vanadium: Helps make the blade tough, resistant to corrosion and resistant to general wear.
  • Phosphorus: Adds strength and helps make the steel easier to work with during the heat retention treatments.

So, these are the main chemical compounds that make up 10Cr15CoMoV Chinese VG10 Steel, but creating a high-quality steel is about more than just which compounds are used – it’s also very much about getting the balance of these compounds right.

That is, they’re only effective when used in specific quantities, so too much or too little is added, then the compound is likely to either completely ineffective or even have a negative effect on the overall steel that is created. Essentially, that means that you could have a whole different type of steel that consists of exactly the same chemical compounds but in different quantities, leading to a very different result.

Now that we know what this steel is made of, let’s have a look at the most important properties that you can expect from 10Cr15CoMoV Chinese VG10 Steel.

  • Toughness: A blade that is hard enough to be strong, but not excessively hard that it’s at risk of chipping. It can withstand a fair amount of resistance, making it suitable for tough jobs.
  • Easy to Sharpen: Easy to hone and sharpen.
  • Hardness: Fairly hard as a result of precise heat treatment.
  • Great Edge Retention: Stays sharp for longer – doesn’t require regular sharpening.
  • Resistant to Wear: Elements of the alloy are delicately blended, resulting in a steel that is able to withstand a fair bit of wear and tear.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Fairly resistant to corrosion.

There you have it – 10Cr15CoMoV Chinese VG10 Steel is appropriately tough; it’s ideal for hard jobs; it’s easy to sharpen and stays sharp for long; and it boasts longevity.

Note: For a more indepth review on 10Cr15CoMoV Chinese VG10 Steel click here.

ZDP-189 Steel

ZDP-189 Steel is regarded as a high-performance stainless steel, and part of what sets it apart from other types of steel is the process by which it’s made called Powdered Metalurgy (PM). This, in conjunction with its chemical composition results in a material that is known for its strength, hardness, precision, and edge retention.

As with all types of alloys, what makes ZDP-189 Steel a high-performance material is a combination of the process of Powdered Metallurgy, as well as not only the presence of specific chemical compounds but the exact balance of these chemical compounds too.

Here are the chemical compounds found in ZDP-189 Steel, organized from the highest to the lowest concentration.

  • Chromium: Chromium contributes hardness and toughness, and this is also what makes it stainless steel.
  • Carbon: Contributes a significant amount of hardness, strength, and durability.
  • Molybdenum: Allows the alloy to maintain strength while exposed to high temperatures, and also adds strength to the end product.
  • Tungsten: Adds sharpness and edge retention.
  • Manganese: When added precisely and at the right concentration, Manganese contributes strength.
  • Silicon: Enables the steel to be forged at a high temperature without it losing its overall hardness.
  • Vanadium: Alongside Carbon, Vanadium helps keep your blade sharp for longer.
  • Sulfur: Helps make the steel easier to work with and sharpen, and also contributes great edge retention to the final product.

The combination of these chemical compounds, in very specific amounts, allows for the production of ZDP-189 Stainless Steel, a product that is renowned being high performance. However, it’s not only the exact concentration of each chemical compound that’s essential to consider – it’s also the exact process that is used.

Powdered Metallurgy involves blending specific volumes of the chemical elements above in powdered form. Then, the mixture is compacted and sintered at a high temperature, which results in the mixture being processed into a solid material which is the final product – that is, ZDP-189 Steel.

The advantages of utilizing Powdered Metallurgy over other methods of production include:

  • Neat shape manufacturing
  • Consistency and reproducibility in production
  • Ease of integration of complex components
  • Control over the microstructure of the steel
  • Enhancement of the core properties of each component

So, as a result of the presence of the combination of the chemical compounds we spoke about above (in very exact amounts) and the use of the process of Powdered Metallurgy in manufacturing, here are the most important properties of ZDP-189 Stainless Steel, both good and bad:

  • Hardness: Helps make blades hard, ideal for tough jobs.
  • Great Edge Retention: Blades don’t need to be sharpened too often so they last longer.
  • Fine Grain Structure: This fine grain structure makes blades tough, strong, and overall, contributes to high performance.
  • Strong: High tensile strength so it can withstand heavy use.
  • Sharp: It can be incredibly sharp, making it ideal for precision tasks.
  • Moderate Resistance to Corrosion: This steel needs to be well dried and looked after because it’s slightly less resistant to corrosion to some other types of steel.
  • Difficult to Sharpen: Sharpening requires specific tools and techniques.

Essentially, ZDP-189 Steel needs a little more upkeep and looking after, but it offers exceptionally high performance, making it an ideal blade material in some of Xinzuo’s top-of-the-range, specialty knives.

Note: For a more indepth review on Japaneses ZDP-189 click here.

1.4116 Steel

1.4116 steel, also known as German steel or X50CrMoV15 steel, is a high-carbon steel that is known for being incredibly sharp, hard, and resistant to corrosion. It achieves these properties by means of not only what it’s made up of in terms of chemical compounds, but the exact balance of these chemical compounds and the ways in which they’re forged together.

Too much of one compound or too little of another could completely upset efficacy of the metal, taking it from a strong, high-performing stainless steel to a brittle metal with little use. So, while there are variations within the category of 1.4116 steel, they tend to remain within specific restrictions.

Let’s explore the chemical composition of 1.4116 stainless steel

  • Carbon: Carbon contributes hardness and a degree of edge retention by means of a complex chemical reaction. Not only that, but it also enhances the ability of the metal to harden throughout the heat treatment process. The amount of carbon that makes up 1.4116 steel ought to be no more than 0.55%, otherwise it detracts from the metal.
  • Chromium: Chromium ensures that 1.4116 steel is resistant to corrosion, and essentially, its presence allows it to be called stainless steel.
  • Molybdenum: Molybdenum contributes to the fine grain structure of the steel and also enhances strength, hardness, and general wear.
  • Vanadium: By means of chemical reactions, Vanadium adds elements of strength, wear resistance, edge retention, and hardness.
  • Manganese: Adds tensile strength, deoxidization, and hardness to German steel.
  • Silicon: Silicon improves the overall quality and consistency of 1.4116 steel and adds hardness and strength.
  • Phosphorous: A very small amount helps add machinability and improves strength, but too much will have the opposite effect.
  • Sulfur: Similarly to Phosphorous, Sulfur also contributes to machinability but needs to be used in very small amounts.

As we’ve noted, the mere presence of these chemical compounds is one thing, but it’s the exact combination and balance of each element that allows 1.4116 stainless steel to be the material that it is.

Let’s explore the most important properties of 1.4116 steel:

  • Hardness: Although it does contain several elements that contribute directly to hardness, 1.4116 steel isn’t actually considered a very hard metal. This makes it more likely to last a long time without becoming damaged. Essentially, it’s hard enough for general usage, and even some heavy-duty tasks, and won’t break too easily.
  • Toughness: Due to the presence of Vanadium and Chromium, 1.4116 steel is pretty tough. Due, in part, because it’s also not overly hard, it can withstand a fair bit of force without fracturing and becoming damaged.
  • Sharpness: 1.4116 steel is fairly sharp (but not the sharpest), however, it’s easy to sharpen.
  • Wear Resistance: German steel is considered very wear resistant. It doesn’t require specific care (just standard care) to last a long time.
  • Resistance to Corrosion: Since it’s stainless steel, 1.4116 steel is unlikely to be particularly vulnerable to corrosion.
  • Magnetic Ability: This steel is magnetic, so you can store it on a magnetic knife strip.

Overall, 1.4116 steel is considered a very versatile material, so it can be used for a variety of different types of knives (mostly standard), ranging from a chef’s knife to a cleaver.

Note: For a more in-depth review on German 1.4116 stainless steel click here.

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