Japanese versus Swedish steel

Discussion in 'General Straight Razor Talk' started by imatabor, Jun 14, 2016.

    I know that Japanese steel is hard and I know that Swedish steel is hard. I'm wondering how would you compare these two national razors?
  1. or.... a Japanese blade of Swedish steel...
  2. According to Mastro LIvi; the heat treatment of a razor during production is essential to the quality of the shaves it will later provide; the question of where the quality (note the word "quality", I am not referring to substandard steels that are unsuitable for razors) steel comes from is by comparison of secondary importance.

    Personally, I could not care less whether the steel comes from Sweden, Germany or Japan.

  3. All in the heat treatment. Both have the potential to be way above average hardness wise. Think like 65+ on the rockwell.
  4. There is also a certain savoir-faire that is differs in each razor producing nations that gives the razor the properties that distinguish a Sheffield from a Eskilstuna.
  5. Polarbeard

    Polarbeard Contributor Ambassador

    I've been asking myself the very same question. I have some experience of Swedish razors but none whatsoever of Japanese razors.
  6. Steve56

    Steve56 Contributor

    It depends on the Japanese razor. Some are normal, most are on the hard side, and some are quite hard. But I have found few or no Japanese razors as hard as the old French steel. I do not have experience with Swedish brands.

    Cheers, Steve
  7. Remember that much of these characterizations refers only to the national origin of the FORMULATION of the steel, and NOT the point where forged (which, honestly, is rather irrelevant once the formulation's known)... when German razors say "Swedish Steel" this does not usually mean it was forged in Sweden but always means it uses the popular Swedish formula.
  8. Steel is steel.
  9. Funny I was under the impression that Swedish and Japanese were the hardest with the German, Spanish and French in the mid range and the English being the softest.

    I thought that it meant that the steel was imported from Sweden not just the formula.
  10. A common belief, but I can assure you a 100% incorrect one, at least when it comes to the modern Solingen makes.

    It probably was all imported from Sweden when this formula was conceived, but nowadays the larger players put a bid out to any EU forgers willing with their specifications (Swedish) and whomever bids lowest wins (usually, but not always, from German forgeries...it is another common incorrect belief that all the blanks come from within Germany).

    Similarly, Pakistani personal use cutlery bearing "Japanese 440 steel" is not using steel from Japan, just a recipe from Japan.
  11. It all has a role to play. The best ingredients in the world will make a lousy meal if the recipe is screwed up and a great recipe is worthless if the ingredients suck. Think about beer. Barley, hops, water and a touch of yeast, but the variations are endless depending on how the ingredients are handled.
  12. True, but not all steel is created equally.
  13. True, hop on a bmx forum, you'll see a lot of, "spend a bit more and get something made from chomoly, hi-tensile is garbage" steel is a very broad term for all alloys comprised of iron and carbon, but they can incorporate so many more elements to achieve the desired weight to strength ratio, rigidity or springyness, edge holding ability, hardness or maleability, corrosion resistance. There are different methods of production that can yield different results, even with the same formula, then there's heat treating. There is so much more than just the blanket statement. That's like saying shaving cream is shaving cream. Water is water, air is air.
  14. Luc

    Luc Moderator Emeritus

    If you ask me, I would pick a Japanese razor over a Swedish razor. But that's a personal preference. I have both type of steel and use them both. I love them both.
  15. Polarbeard

    Polarbeard Contributor Ambassador

    You're both right. Today Swedish steel is a formula. Back then it meant that it originated from the mines of Bergslagen Sweden, the purest iron ore in the world.
  16. Tough,tough, choice but I will say minimalist vintage Sweden
  17. True but we're not talking forged vs cast razor blades here. In this case, we're talking about blades that are stamped from a roll of steel and then have an edge put on them. There is little to no different from one steel to another, be it German, Japanese, American, Israeli, Sweedish or Chinese.
  18. I hear you. Go on a golf forum sometime and youll see a ton of threads of people arguing over stainless vs carbon steel and cast vs forged. In this case, I wouldnt get too hung up on what country its made in, unless youre going to buy something made where you live to support jobs in your country.
  19. The MMPDS first edition is available for public download. It only deals with aerospace alloys, but reading through it can give one a good idea of what goes into alloys and how small changes in alloying elements, heat treat types and processes and even storage will cause vast differences in metal qualities.

    Might be good to have a look at it.

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