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White #2 - The traditional Japanese knife steel

White #2 is a white paper steel and belongs to the Shirogami knife steels. This steel is very common among Japanese knifemakers and can be seen as one of the most traditional Japanese knife steels. This steel can reach a hardness of 62-65 HRC Rockwell, depending on the processing method. In comparison, European chef's knives have a maximum hardness of 57 HRC, with most Western chef's knives being more in the 50-54 HRC range. Shirogami 2 is used for all Japanese knife types such as the Nakiri knife.

White paper steel and its designations

White paper steel gets its name from the white wrapping paper that is wrapped around the steel by the manufacturer Hitachi. In addition to the names White Paper Steel and Shirogami 2, White #2 is also a common name.

White #2 has less carbon than White #1 knife steel

White #2 (Shirogami 2), like White #1 (Shirogami 1), is a pure carbon steel with no other alloying metals, but has a lower carbon content compared to White #1. The carbon content is largely responsible for the hardness of steels, with a content of 1.05 - 1.15%, Shirogami 2 is one of the hardest knife steels in the world.