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Knife Steels

TomD

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#1
Was looking for a current listing of blade steel types and came across this well done article:

Guide to the Best Knife Steel | Knife Informer

I can confirm one part of the article, I have a blade in M390 and it takes WORK to raise a "burr" on this knife but when finished, the knife is good for months of regular EDC duty with a razor sharp edge.
 

chrisflhtc

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#2
D2 is pretty good holds a good edge and is relatively easy to sharpen. My favorite now is Elmax I have had a knife with it for almost two yearsand have only had to strop it a few times to keep it hair poppin sharp and I cut open boxes ,cut cardboard, have done some whittling and used it as a camp knife cutting rope canvas, stripped wire, and many other things still hair poppin sharp.jmho
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#3
I have a knife with zdp-189. It’s been regular carry for a year now and it’s time to sharpen. I want to send it back to the factory because I don’t want to foul it up. Only the front curve is what I’d consider not sharp now, but I can’t see a reflective edge or anything, just not scary sharp like it was.

Funny about your “Sob, knife loss“ thread, because I’d gone to order a spare of this one since I like it so much. Sticker shock $750 replacement! A William Henry B12 sable. It was a gift from a brother who found a shop discontinuing the brand so he got them 50% off and took their last eight. This one was the most utilitarian.
 

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#4
What kind is a recycled file?
 

hardmoney

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#6
I was told by an old knife maker that the old circle saw blades made the best knives, but he put no heat into the steel in the process.
 

Son of Gloin

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#7
M390 is a wonderful blade steel. I also like S30V, but I’m also perfectly happy with AUS8. That stuff takes a very nice edge and keeps it for a decent amount of time, if you don’t abuse it. Easy to sharpen, too. Way back when Spyderco used AUS8 and GIN1/G2 on their knives, it was great blade steel. In my opinion, the crazy rush to better and better blade steels has only made the price of knives go ballistic and made it harder to resharpen your blade. But, that’s the demand that’s been created.
 

TomD

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#8
M390 is a wonderful blade steel. I also like S30V, but I’m also perfectly happy with AUS8. That stuff takes a very nice edge and keeps it for a decent amount of time, if you don’t abuse it. Easy to sharpen, too. Way back when Spyderco used AUS8 and GIN1/G2 on their knives, it was great blade steel. In my opinion, the crazy rush to better and better blade steels has only made the price of knives go ballistic and made it harder to resharpen your blade. But, that’s the demand that’s been created.
I've got several Japanese knives with VG 10 blades that are an excellent combination of ease to sharpen and edge retention.

I wonder what is cause and what is effect for blade steel vs knife cost. Admittedly, you won't find M390 of 20CV on any $50 folders but if a premium maker is putting together what they intend to be a premium knife with a premium price, they can't/won't put AUS8 on it. Put that way, I don't see the blade steel as being the principle driver of the premium price.

Sebenza knives, which sell in the $500 and way up range, have a mid-range CPM S35 blade steel.

A good Damascus blade though does administer a solid price kick.
 
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hardmoney

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#10
An old man who was a knife maker in the Columbia river gorge area talking about the large circular saw blades that were used in saw mills back in the day.
 

stAGgering

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#11
Exactly my assumption.
Here in northern new england they still exist, just laying about.
Contractor I sub to had one powder coated white, name & number etc and hung on road.
Looks awesome.
Hope he won't mind if I borrow a full tang or two.
 

Son of Gloin

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#12
I've got several Japanese knives with VG 10 blades that are an excellent combination of ease to sharpen and edge retention.

I wonder what is cause and what is effect for blade steel vs knife cost. Admittedly, you won't find M390 of 20CV on any $50 folders but if a premium maker is putting together what they intend to be a premium knife with a premium price, they can't/won't put AUS8 on it. Put that way, I don't see the blade steel as being the principle driver of the premium price.

Sebenza knives, which sell in the $500 and way up range, have a mid-range CPM S35 blade steel.

A good Damascus blade though does administer a solid price kick.
I know what you mean about blade steels on premium knives. I think it’s a matter of expectation. The market seems to have created a demand for premium blade steel. Spyderco has a new folding knife out this year called the Parata. It’s very unique in design and the locking mechanism is innovative and very functional. They use high quality materials, overall: Textured G10 handles, a nice wire clip, phosphor/bronze washers in the pivot, the new Top-Lock mechanism and so on, well built in Seki-City, Japan. But, guys are bitching up a storm because the blade is “only” VG10. What!? Almost $200 for VG10 Blade steel? What the heck is wrong with VG10?
4542C29A-8EE0-4979-BC76-E67CD9A85207.jpeg
 

TomD

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#13
I know what you mean about blade steels on premium knives. I think it’s a matter of expectation. The market seems to have created a demand for premium blade steel. Spyderco has a new folding knife out this year called the Parata. It’s very unique in design and the locking mechanism is innovative and very functional. They use high quality materials, overall: Textured G10 handles, a nice wire clip, phosphor/bronze washers in the pivot, the new Top-Lock mechanism and so on, well built in Seki-City, Japan. But, guys are bitching up a storm because the blade is “only” VG10. What!? Almost $200 for VG10 Blade steel? What the heck is wrong with VG10?
I like that knife and I like VG10 and have more knives in that steel than any other.

Hummm, VG 10, Seki City, I'll bet Spyderco's getting Mcusta to build this new model for them.

Here's one of my Mcustas

Mcusta Knife 37C
by Tom, on Flickr
 

Son of Gloin

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#14
I like that knife and I like VG10 and have more knives in that steel than any other.

Hummm, VG 10, Seki City, I'll bet Spyderco's getting Mcusta to build this new model for them.

Here's one of my Mcustas

Mcusta Knife 37C
by Tom, on Flickr
Beauty! I really like the lines.
 

ttazzman

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#15
I like that knife and I like VG10 and have more knives in that steel than any other.

Hummm, VG 10, Seki City, I'll bet Spyderco's getting Mcusta to build this new model for them.

Here's one of my Mcustas

Mcusta Knife 37C
by Tom, on Flickr
i am a admitted knife dummy....i have to ask.....i see that blade has a pattern on the edge that implies the partial clay hardening process...my question is did they actually use the clay on each individual blades on those knives when they made them ??? or it it just a visual thing?? or possibly a laminated blade?
 

arminius

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#16

TomD

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#17
i am a admitted knife dummy....i have to ask.....i see that blade has a pattern on the edge that implies the partial clay hardening process...my question is did they actually use the clay on each individual blades on those knives when they made them ??? or it it just a visual thing?? or possibly a laminated blade?
Not sure what partial clay hardening process means. Do you mean like the damascus blade below? (not my image BTW)

If so, that's a layered blade, usually done by folding it back on itself many times. The patterns created are almost infinitely varied and a lot of the best are beautiful.

damascus blade.jpg
 

ttazzman

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#18
Not sure what partial clay hardening process means. Do you mean like the damascus blade below? (not my image BTW)

If so, that's a layered blade, usually done by folding it back on itself many times. The patterns created are almost infinitely varied and a lot of the best are beautiful.

View attachment 193319
by clay...i am refering to videos i have seen of samuri swords that during edge hardening they would put clay on the back of the back of the blade and leave the edge exposed ....so edge got harder...back stayed soft and flexible.......the clay leaves a line on the blade like what your knife shows..................a laminated blade similar to damacus is where they put high carbon steel in middle and put softer steel on outside so when you sharpen it the edge is the hard steel........again i am probably not useing the right terms....but your knife shows that wavey line on it so i was curious............both of the processes would be very expensive for a knife

i found a link on "clay" hardening for reference....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_heat_treatment
 

arminius

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#19
I'm cheap so I buy cheaper knives that IMHO are 90 to 95% as functional over time as the expensive blades. IMHO Rough Ryder is on of the best for the money. Here's a couple that I carry these days.

1608155719528.png

This one runs T10 steel, and has a ball bearing pivot, for 17 bucks.

1608156174866.png


420A steel, which by RR is pretty dam good. $13
 

TomD

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#20
Here's the definition of "Safe Queen". I bought this around 15 years ago and it's been in the safe for almost every second of that time. I don't think it had even been touched in 10 years.

This is a Black Sable by Cold Steel. The call the blade steel San Mai, it's the same process described by arminus above, pretty sure I remember the steel is VG-10. I originally ordered it thinking it would be an EDC but it's way too big for that. A highly polished blade like this one isn't suited anyway.
 

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GOLDBRIX

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#21
I know what you mean about blade steels on premium knives. I think it’s a matter of expectation. The market seems to have created a demand for premium blade steel. Spyderco has a new folding knife out this year called the Parata. It’s very unique in design and the locking mechanism is innovative and very functional. They use high quality materials, overall: Textured G10 handles, a nice wire clip, phosphor/bronze washers in the pivot, the new Top-Lock mechanism and so on, well built in Seki-City, Japan. But, guys are bitching up a storm because the blade is “only” VG10. What!? Almost $200 for VG10 Blade steel? What the heck is wrong with VG10?
View attachment 193303
That is a skinning blade or at least shaped as one. The big arch is a time saver once you know how to efficently make your hand/arm movement separating the hide from a carcass with minimum slice-throughs.
 

TomD

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#22
by clay...i am refering to videos i have seen of samuri swords that during edge hardening they would put clay on the back of the back of the blade and leave the edge exposed ....so edge got harder...back stayed soft and flexible.......the clay leaves a line on the blade like what your knife shows..................a laminated blade similar to damacus is where they put high carbon steel in middle and put softer steel on outside so when you sharpen it the edge is the hard steel........again i am probably not useing the right terms....but your knife shows that wavey line on it so i was curious............both of the processes would be very expensive for a knife

i found a link on "clay" hardening for reference....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_heat_treatment
Looks like you know more about it than I do. I really didn't know how they achieved that particular effect.
 

ttazzman

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#23
Looks like you know more about it than I do. I really didn't know how they achieved that particular effect.
that effect on your knife unless it is just cosmetic(which i doubt) i would think is very expensive to produce and probably adds a lot to the value ..........i dont know much just watch stuff like that on TV when its on ....
 

Sampson

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#24
by clay...i am refering to videos i have seen of samuri swords that during edge hardening they would put clay on the back of the back of the blade and leave the edge exposed ....so edge got harder...back stayed soft and flexible.......the clay leaves a line on the blade like what your knife shows..................a laminated blade similar to damacus is where they put high carbon steel in middle and put softer steel on outside so when you sharpen it the edge is the hard steel........again i am probably not useing the right terms....but your knife shows that wavey line on it so i was curious............both of the processes would be very expensive for a knife

i found a link on "clay" hardening for reference....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_heat_treatment

Yea Taz, I think you are referencing the hamon on the pic of the Mcusta above. And you are right, traditionally they were formed by packing clay on the spine of blades so that the quench would leave the spine springy while still allowing the edge to harden up well.

Modern manufacturing techniques can now produce this differential hardening in various different ways. I have heard of them heating just the edge with a very hot and well controlled torch flame as the edge is carefully fed past the fire and directly into the quench fluid. Also, the carefully targeted heat can be achieved with a controlled electromagnetic field that heats only a specific part of the blade.

They also use techniques like this on high quality saw blades where they use electromagnetic fields to heat just the saw blade teeth before they are dunked into liquid nitrogen for a cryo treatment. Brands like Silky use this to make some really sweet saws.

I am a bit of a knife steel junkie as well and have numerous blades in a wide variety of steels. I still really like a good S30V blade as I find they are a good combination of performance. Hardness, toughness, and ease of sharpening combined to make an overall good edc blade. I do like some of the harder new steels out there but the harder they are also usually makes them harder to sharpen and often not as tough as well.

I have a couple mules in the mail right now from Spyderco in their new SPY27 steel. One is going to get a wood handle as a new hunting blade and the other is going to get a nephrite jade handle and a scout carry sheath for day to day carry. This new steel is very similar to S30V bit the Para3 I have in it feels like it sharpens even more easily and holds a scary sharp edge just a little bit better.
 

GOLDBRIX

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#25
I know what you mean about blade steels on premium knives. I think it’s a matter of expectation. The market seems to have created a demand for premium blade steel. Spyderco has a new folding knife out this year called the Parata. It’s very unique in design and the locking mechanism is innovative and very functional. They use high quality materials, overall: Textured G10 handles, a nice wire clip, phosphor/bronze washers in the pivot, the new Top-Lock mechanism and so on, well built in Seki-City, Japan. But, guys are bitching up a storm because the blade is “only” VG10. What!? Almost $200 for VG10 Blade steel? What the heck is wrong with VG10?
View attachment 193303
Excellent blade design for skinning. Short blade length but long cutting edge.