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What is The Best Steel for A Fillet Knife?
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What is The Best Steel for A Fillet Knife?

Fillet knife steels can be made from a wide range of materials. The two most common steels that you will hear marketed in the fillet knife world are “stainless steel” and “carbon steel,” which also includes “marine-grade stainless steel.” In this article, we will break down all we know about fillet knife steels, including why SORD chose carbon steel for our fillet knife.

The first thing we want to talk about is what happens on the cutting edge of your fillet knife when you are going through the bones of the fish. If you looked at your fish cleaning knife on a microscopic level when it first comes out of the packaging, you should see what is a mirror-like finish on the two angles of your blade coming to a sharp point. This blade edge is what will be taking the brunt of the abuse when cleaning through a pile of fish. In a softer steel such as marine-grade stainless steel, when you run the edge over something hard such as scales or bones in a fish, this edge will “roll” to one side or the other due to its softness. When you have a harder steel like carbon steel, you will find that the edge will stay sharper longer because it will not roll to one side of the blade.

When this edge rolls to one side of a stainless fish cleaning knife’s blade, you will find that you could put it through a Walmart fixed sharpener, or hone it with a honing rod to immediately get your edge back. This kind of edge will straighten back up more easily than a carbon steel blade, but you will have to constantly sharpen it, even after just one fish. When the carbon steel edge gets dull, you will need to use a higher-quality sharpener to put an edge back on it because it is not a rolled edge that just needs straightening but a dull edge that needs sharpening. We recommend using a Warthog V-Sharp for all of your fillet knife blade sharpening needs because this kind of sharpener will hold a fixed degree and allow you to actually put an edge back onto your knife.

One thing that we want to mention in this article is that there is no such thing as a fully stainless fillet knife blade because the knife must have some carbon in it to remain sharp enough to cut through fish. The term marine-grade stainless steel refers to steel that has a small amount of carbon in it, and it was a made-up term by marketers to try and market a steel to fishermen who were wary of rust.

We believe that carbon steel blades are the best blades that you can have for a fillet knife because they hold their edge much longer than a stainless steel blade. We understand that this comes with the possibility that the blade might rust, but what we have done to combat that is to add a coat of Teflon and a coat of titanium to the blade to keep the rust off. We also recommend that you completely dry off the sheath and the knife before storing the knife in the sheath for extended periods of time. This will ensure that your carbon steel fillet knife will stay completely rust-free for the life of the product.

If you want to check out our carbon steel fish cleaning knives, you can find them below. They hold one ripping sharp edge and are backed with a lifetime warranty.

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