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Forever Titanium Hybride knife GHT-16 (Cera-Titan)

kwackster Jan 24, 2015

  1. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    When writing my review of the Forever SC-16WB ceramic knife (also in this forum) i found that the same company also produces titanium hybrid knives.
    According to their website these blades consist of sintered titanium mixed with ceramic particles for increased wear resistance, as well as some silver for it's anti-bacteriologic properties.
    Of course i had to buy one, in this case also from a Japan based E-Bay dealer for 49.99 US dollars including shipping from Japan to the Netherlands.
    For testing purposes i chose one with the same dimensions as the ceramic knife i already have.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

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    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

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    Now about 10 years ago the German manufacturer Böker seems to have used the same material in knives, only then it was called Cera-Titan, and it was sold in Europe under their own name.
    Here is a picture of the Böker version with ziricote wood handle and & blade that looks very much the same like my Forever Titanium Hybrid knife:

    [​IMG]

    I remember that back in the day i could not improve on the factory sharpness of the Cera-Titan material.
    Never did it become sharp enough to shave armhair; slicing standard copy paper was about the best i could do with a Tormek 2000 fitted with an SG-250 stone as well as a belt sharpener with probably aluminum oxide belts (can't remember for sure).

    Now the Forever website claims that their Titanium Hybrid / Cera-Titan knife performed 5 x better than a 63 HRC carbon steel knife and 42 x better than a 57 HRC stainless steel knife, and the testing to prove this was done according to international standard BN EN ISO 8442-5 (better known as the Catra test), where synthetic cards containing 5 % quartz are cut with a special machine, like in this YouTube clip:

    [video=youtube;WpIRLMdWsiE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-ts=1421914688&x-yt-cl=84503534&v=WpIRLMdWsiE[/video]

    While good Catra results are certainly nice to know, in real day-to-day use of a knife however many other variables play a significant role in how well and how long an edge performs, so i intend to find out how this titanium hybrid material will do in my own use.

    The first problem encountered is the factory edge on my knife, which just as the earlier mentioned Böker example is only able to slice copy paper.
    In no way is it able to shave my arm hair.
    Since i don't feel like using the knife with this edge i will first try to sharpen it with my current sharpening equipment.
    I will post my findings in this topic and put the knife to use in my kitchen, and my experiences there will also be posted here.

    Specs:

    Titanium Hybrid knife for right hand use (non-logo side is flat, while the logo side has 4 recessed area's, a wide saber grind and a 70/30 edge)
    Overall length: 10.9 inch (27,6 cm)
    Blade length: 6.2 inch (15,7 cm)
    Blade material: Titanium Hybrid (Cera-Titan)
    Blade thickness: max. 1.52 mm
    Thickness behind the edge: 0.5 mm
    Factory edge angle: 25/26 degrees inclusive
    Edge finish: rather coarse
    Sharpness: can slice copy paper
    Edge irregularities can be felt on a finger nail and seen through a loupe.
    Handle material: black polypropylene (heat resistant up to 248 degrees Fahrenheit)
    Weight: 71 grams
     
  2. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    Today i tried my hand at sharpening the knife, and that did take me some time as the material is both hard & very wear resistant.

    First i removed the "factory edge" by cutting a few times in the side of my Tormek Black Silicon stone, after which i ground a completely new edge on an experimental rubber wheel coated with 230 grit diamond powder.
    Afterwards i refined it with 2 Paper Wheels, one with 15 micron diamond compound and one with 6 micron diamond compound, and then i removed the tiny (but extremely stubborn) burr with a third Paper Wheel with 1 micron diamond compound.

    On every kind of steel i know of this procedure would have resulted in a semi-polished edge in which text can be read, but on this metal the edge at best just took somewhat of a satin finish:

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The darker line in the edge on picture 2 is just the light playing tricks, as the whole edge looks like the wider grey area in real life.
    Sharpness wise the edge can now shave the hair on the back of my hand in two directions, as well as slice single-ply toilet paper, also because the edge is still quite toothy.
    Soon to be used in our kitchen.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2015
  3. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    Just used this Forever knife for the first time for cutting a few ingredients for a pasta meal on a well oiled endgrain beechwood board:

    1 chorizo sausage in thin slices
    2 onions
    6 garlic cloves
    1 lime

    [​IMG]

    Plus: the knife cuts very nicely due to it's very low weight & the quite thin blade geometry.
    Minus: the sharpness of the edge has already decreased to a point where it will no longer shave arm hair.
    It now reflects light along almost the entire length, but this can only be seen through my Victorinox loupe, not with the naked eye.
    I must say that during cutting those few ingredients mentioned i did not notice this decrease in sharpness.

    Now i had reprofiled the factory edge to 25 degrees inclusive and refined it up to 6 micron diamond compound, while the manufacturer recommends on the box that the knife came in to sharpen the edge when necessary to 30 degrees inclusive, first on a grit 1000 stone and then on a grit 3000 stone (= just a bit finer than 6 micron)
    (since the Forever knives are manufactured in Japan i assume that the JIS rating applies)

    Sadly i can't read the rest of the Japanese text on the box, but my guess is that those stones would have to contain CBN or diamond, since the commonly used aluminum oxide isn't hard enough to cut the ceramic material in knives like this.

    Anyway: i have to go back to my sharpening cave.
    To be continued.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2015
  4. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    Just before putting on a whole new edge i wondered if the blunting of the edge could be the result of a tenacious burr remnant which i hadn't removed completely, also because the light reflection caused by the damage was only visible through my Victorinox loupe.
    To find that out (and to save myself some work) i first tried if i could get the edge sharp again with just a Paper Wheel with 1 micron diamond compound.

    And this worked: the light reflection is completely gone, the edge is again able to shave the hair on my leg in two directions & it can slice single-ply toiletpaper.
    I also tested this edge by cutting several times into the edge of a piece of wood underlayment (deeper than the bevel width), and the sharpness remained unchanged.
    Normally i do this test with every steel knife i sharpen, but i hadn't done it with this knife earlier for fear of fracturing the ceramic particles in the edge, which would have taken me back to square one.

    The entire edge still measures 25 degrees inclusive, and one of these days i'm going to try the knife again in our kitchen to find out how this edge will fare.
     
  5. Mr.LaBella

    Mr.LaBella ←The № 1 Devil→ Administrator

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    I love reading these threads of yours! Amazing my friend! More pictures :poke: :D
     
  6. norcal13

    norcal13 rated "e" for evil Brigade Member

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    no doubt.... fascinating shit!
     
  7. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    Yesterday evening i used the knife once more in the kitchen to cut a few ingrediënts (2 onions, a small box of mushrooms and 6 garlic cloves), and after this the edge was again reflecting light.
    The line was again only visible through my loupe, but it was there.
    The edge could no longer shave arm hair, but it still sliced a few cherry tomatoes just fine.

    Now i'm not 100 % sure yet, but at this moment i no longer think the edge suffered from burr remnants, just as it didn't a few days ago.
    Forever Cera-Titan seems specifically designed to have it's titanium matrix wear away relatively quickly, thereby exposing the hard particles in the apex and have them form a row of semi-sharp "microteeth".
    In other words: immediately after sharpening the edge can be armhair shaving sharp, but that sharpness disappears quite fast into something you could call a toothy working edge.

    Before i sharpen the knife again (this time just a little more coarse) and just because it's fun i did another cutting test, this time on cardboard.
    As we all know this material comes in many forms, varying from very clean to heavily filled with clay and sometimes even metal shavings.
    The box i cut up was something of an intermediate example: no Chinese firecracker cardboard, but still more than able to blunt edges on knives made from quality steel.
    I cut the whole box into thin strips and then measured the total distance cut, which turned out to be 58 meters.

    [​IMG]

    Now this was done with an edge that already reflected some light, but it kept neatly slicing to the end without tearing.
    Under a bright light the light reflection on the edge is now just visible with the naked eye (but still very minimal), and seen through my loupe the bevels are riddled with small diagonal scratches on top of the sharpening scratches.
    Yet the knife is still able to slice those same cherry tomatoes, not as neatly as for instance a freshly sharpened VG10 Tojiro DP Gyuto, but good enough.

    BTW: earlier i found this description below on a Japanese website that sells these Forever Cera-Titan knives.
    If the statement about the CBN and Vanadium Carbide particles holds any truth then i understand why refining the edge is so difficult,

    :D

    SUPERIOR CUTTING EDGE RETENTION
    The Cera-Titan stays sharper for a longer period than stainless or carbon steel knives.
    CBN and VC particles in the blade provide the cutting edge and provide the Cera-Titan with superior resistance to wear.
    LIGHTWEIGHT
    The idea that a knife must be heavy to cut properly has been turned on its head by the Cera-Titan.
    Weighs just half that of a steel knife of the same size.
    RUST RESISTANT
    Aggressive substances such as fruit acids and salt water that cause carbon and stainless steel knife to rust will never corrode the Cera-Titan.
    NON-ALLERGENIC
    Titanium is the safest of all metals and won''t cause allergic reactions.
    ANTIBACTERIAL
    The Cera Titan contains silver, which has been used for centuries in cutlery to prevent the spread of bacteria.
     
  8. Antonio_Luiz

    Antonio_Luiz Huge member

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    The only titanium-hybrid knives I found to live up to their marketing hype are the self-sharpening fish filleting knives by George Lambert.

    No they will not get hair-popping sharp but they will fillet fish (Western style) and yes they do self-sharpen during use. Just don't expect to get translucent thin sashimi using one

    What I like about them is that they are non-rust, are more than adequately sharp for those who don't know how to sharpen knives, and aren't too pricey. What I dislike are the clunky handles and basic sheath
     
  9. XamaX

    XamaX Huge member

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    Thanks for the thorough testing and write up. I was secretly hoping that this would end up being some wonder Knife-It certainly looks the part!
    Reassuring to know! :devilcorn:
     
  10. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    For the last month and a half i've used the Forever Titanium Hybrid knife in our kitchen almost exclusively (coupled with a reground Spyderco paring knife), and i must say i'm quite pleased with it.
    The model & size are very handy for what i use a kitchen knife for, it cuts very well because of the thin blade geometry & 25 degrees inclusive edge, and the blade material keeps a slicing edge for a long time.
    Today i resharpened it for testing purposes, even though the old edge was still sharp enough to cut tomatoes.
    As far as i could see through my Victorinox loupe the blunting mechanism seems to be microchipping, but this happens only very slowly and on a very small scale.
    The chips aren't visible with my naked eye and are actually helping to prolong the aggressive slicing edge this material naturally seems to like.

    Since i wanted to find out how silicon carbide would do with this blade material i took it to my trusted Tormek T7 fitted with the SB-250 Black Silicon stone, and to keep it short: the stone ate the Cera-Titan for breakfast.
    My stone is graded to about a 1000 grit, and in only a few slow passes per side i had a nice burr.
    Removing that burr took noticeably more time (the titanium matrix is very resilient), but with some 1 micron diamond compound on the leather wheel i managed to slowly abrade it away.
    The resulting edge could just shave the hair on the back of my hand on skin level, which differs from the same sharpening procedure done on a good VG10 kitchen knife, as that almost always produces a treetopping sharpness.
    Now i haven't tested this edge in our kitchen, just cut some triple, double, and single layer toilet paper, which it all did just fine.

    I then proceeded to refine the edge with 15, 6, 3, and 1 micron diamond compound, all on dedicated Paper Wheels, and the edge can now whittle one of my chest hairs in the direction of the root, not towards the hair point.
    It also slices single layer toilet paper very well.
    Maybe the material can get even sharper with more refinement and/or different methods, i don't know, but i'm also not sure if that would even be useful, knowing how this material tends to behave.
    My guess is that the current sharpness will also vanish quickly again to settle for a long lasting working edge, but i want to find out if the extra refinement steps make any difference in that degrading process.
    My plan is to use the knife with this edge until i can no longer slice a tomato well, which to me is a good test method for a kitchen knife.
    Later i also plan to lend the knife for a while to a professional Chef to see what he thinks of it, with a fresh edge of course.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2015
  11. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    A guy over on British Blades had this to say about the material, and for the most part i tend to agree with him:

    "Cera Titan
    Now this is a weird material, its a Titanium composite with large quantities of carbides.
    As the Ti wears away during use the knife loses its shaving hair edge about as quickly as 440a/6a grade steel, thus not at all impressive.
    However, the edge left is a carbide chainsaw of cutting power !
    This knife looks and feels dull after a good work out at some cardboard boxes, yet still cuts like the Devil himself !
    I note the grind almost rounds the tip, suggesting that while this is much more flexible and tough than the ceramic models this is not a blade for cutting nails or dropping...
    In my opinion the better choice over ceramic blades.
    Much like Talonite, Dendrite cobalt alloys, only less expensive and probably a little tougher.
    I like this material and it will not rust, ever."


    IMO the knife is however much tougher than it looks & feels, and dropping it will definitely not result in breaking the blade (wife dropped it twice on hard laminate)
    If however it falls edge first on a tile floor i guess it could sustain a damaged edge, but given the relative flexibility of the blade i don't think it will be in the order of magnitude as could be the case with full ceramic blades or full hard Japanese kitchen knives in white or blue paper steels.
    The difference lies in that very resilient titanium matrix.

    Mine is still being used in the kitchen almost every day, and the edge is still sharp enough to slice tomatoes.
    Everyone who uses it here likes it for it's ultra-lightness, the fact that it's totally corrosion proof, and women especially like the fact that it looks harmless because of the short and bluntish santoku-shape.
    Sharpening to armhair shaving on skin level can be done with just silicon carbide, but for refining all those cubic boron nitride particles and vanadium carbides in the titanium you absolutely need fine diamond compounds and/or sprays.
    Doing this will reward you with a thinner apex that makes the knife cut even easier.
     
  12. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    The knife has been used for about a month during our holiday in Germany & Austria for cutting all kinds of food on a simple plastic cutting board.
    It performed perfectly until one of the last days i tried to slice one of those large German breads: very good food, but these have quite hard crusts.
    Parts of the edge rolled a bit, but no chipping as i more or less had expected.

    Back at home i resharpened the edge in 3 steps: Rubber Wheel with 230 grit diamond powder, Paper Wheel with 15 micron diamond compound, Paper Wheel with 1 micron diamond compound (deburring)
    The result was a treetopping sharp edge, and in this condition the knife was then loaned for about a month to a professional chef.
    More to follow.
     
  13. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    The knife was lent to professional sous-chef Patrick for about a month, and below are his findings.
    I translated what he mailed me from Dutch into English as precise as i could:

    Update 1 (after 1 week of use):

    I used the knife for 4 consecutive days straight as my only knife, and then for 2 days for odd jobs in between.
    The edge is still reasonably sharp as long as i keep slicing, but when i use it the way i was taught in chef school (like a locomotive) i notice it is less sharp than in the beginning.

    Here is a list of things i cut with it during those 6 days:

    Day 1:

    6 pineapples
    2 melons
    14 kilo steak
    12 kilo rhubarb

    Day 2:

    3 kilo peaches
    4 kilo salmon
    1 kilo onions

    Day 3:

    1 kilo of salted ham
    1 kilo feta cheese

    Pictures of the knife, taken by Patrick on day 3:

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Day 4:

    10 kilo large carrots
    3 kilo onions
    2 kilo tomatos
    2 kilo cucumber

    The knife cuts well, but what is remarkable is that when i cut like i was learned i can feel that the knife chooses it's own direction, like a knife sometimes does when the tip is bent.
    (an a-symmetric blade can have a tendency to do that in certain situations - kwakster)

    But as you can see i did both rougher & finer work, and the edge remains in very good shape in my opinion.

    **********

    Update 2 (after a month of use):

    I have been using the knife on every single working day (5-6 days in one week), and i think the edge is now come to the point where it doesn't get any more blunt.
    I didn't notice any difference while cutting and i also can't see any changes in the edge with the naked eye.
    It is exactly as you told me: i can still cut tomato's with it !
    But only with a slicing motion, as when i try a different cutting technique i can notice that the edge is less sharp.

    All in all i think it's a very nice knife (which took me a while to get used too)


    BTW: Sous-chef Patrick usual knife is a Sakai Takayuki VG10 Santoku 18cm
     
  14. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    On another forum someone asked if this knife would be practical from a price/performance standpoint.
    I guess everybody has to decide this for him or herself.
    Personally i don't know of any 50 dollar kitchen knife that keeps a tomato slicing edge for as long as this one (even in professional use), is not fragile, and is also totally corrosion proof as well as ultralight.

    Possible audiences for such a knife could be people who don't know how or don't like to sharpen (also in professional settings, outside of sushi restaurants), people who only clean their kitchen knives in washer/dryer units (detergents used in these can be very corrosive on metals in general & edges in particular), people with reduced grip strength, backpackers & campers, people who use a knife in or around seawater and/or other corrosive elements, etc.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2015
  15. kwackster

    kwackster Huge member

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    desmodus likes this.
  16. desmodus

    desmodus Arc Sodium Administrator Lady Devil JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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