Is it just me or are these steels the same? I'm trying to figure out because I'm eyeing a knife that is listed as 440c on some sites and n690 co on other sites.
Good to know. Fox Cutlery uses N690Co pretty religiously, even in their OEM work, so my guess would be that the site that listed the steel as 440C was wrong. I'm guessing the knife you're looking at actually uses N690Co, and not 440C. You could try contacting Fox via email for a more definitive answer.
3Guardsmen is right on the money with his comments. Fox loves N690Co as do I.
fox unfortunately uses n690, the karambit is made with N690co, Fox Cutlery and Lion Steel use it very often, unfortunately here in Italythe steel is very fashy also because of the Extrema Ratio thing,unfortunately it's not a great or even good steel,it's just not bad
ER has a great marketing strategy, unfortunately many tests prove that N90co is not a hard use steel not only being stainless and not cabon but because i'ts "good" only for small knives and not for hard use ones.
I've seen too many test of n690 steeled knives fail and have personally and with some italian forumites tested to see how they performed.
I'd like to give a personal suggestions to many US forumites, if you like the design ok, buy them but if you plan to use thembuy a real hard use knife, learned this also here on BF
cheers from Italy
some time back i saw n690 cataloged as separate from n690co. whether a mistake or not reference to steel chart only shows n600 with cobalt. i've found n690 with colbalt to be similar to vg10 & a very decent performer. however with out cobalt i would expect this alloy to be marginal.
n690 is n690co
hard use can be various, no stupid tests but the ER performed very bad even for tasks that are usual for a knife
i'll try to post some pics, i can already tell you the ER performed OK, worse than the USMC but OK, i it costed 1/3rd it would be an ok knife, it's not good for what they cost
Lion Steel made some knives for fox, one being a licensed copy of the NEXUS Caio (some here know the NEXUS knives) made of n690, it broke right after some wood choppind and batoning, first the edge CHIPPED then with little trouble ine of our testers managed to break it, no abuse, just hard use as could occur in a survival situation
oh and I'm italian, MCKF forum member if that's what you were asking
i'm not starting a fight or whatever, spend your money on what you want, just don't be blinded from ER and n690co steel, my 2 cent on this
cheers and stay sharp
Neither 440C nor N690 is a suitable alloy for a chopper. Either would be excellent for a cutter.
... Still looking for a vorpal blade.
(op cit Lewis Carroll)
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Well to put it fairly, who buys a karambit for hard use? Honestly, there are better blades out there with a better blade shape for utility purposes.
This one will reside in my pocket for if and when I run out of bullets if shit hits the fan and a situation (self defense) warrants it (the use of a gun for self defense). For that purpose even 440c would be decent. You don't need super steel for self defense...just a brain and training.
Last edited by harkamus; 02-12-2010 at 12:47 PM.
for self defense it's OK, any steel even 440A would be good, I was talking about n690co for hard use military knives or hard use knvives NOT only meant as fighters
What knarfeng said. Of the two, I'd take N690 over 440C, but just marginally. I, too, feel that 690 takes a finer edge. I have one knife of 690, and it is one of my GO-TO knives for hunting/field-dressing. My other is Fallkniven VG-10. This is over 154CM, S30V, D2, ATS-34, A2, AUS-8, and quite a few others. All these being from well known and respected makers, both factory and custom. N690 is an EXCELLENT user steel, but I would not use either it or 440C for a large chopper-type blade.
Mad Maxx, there are a number of different melting methods used for N690 so you can have the same composition but different melting practices thus different names[N690 vs N690Co] .Offhand I don't remember the details.
I'm carrying a TOPS knife made by Fox .I find the N690 steel to be similar to VG-10 or 154CM. I'm very happy with the knife though it's for EDC not 'hard' use. BTW the Fox folder has lower hardness than the TOPS though the same steel.
N690Co contains Cobalt to retard crack propagation, thus the "Co" at the end. It's good steel, made by Boehler in Austria, and I'm a little surprised to hear about the failures people have experienced. That said, high alloy steels are fairly demanding in their heat treating process so it's possible someone screwed that up on a batch of blades. True, stainless steels are not as tough as many non-stainless steels, but then too they don't lose their edge due to rust as can easily happen with tool steels kept in a wet sheath or used to cut corrosive materials.
To their credit, there are a great many stainless steel blades being used everyday by military personnel in hostile environments and challenging applications and those users are less than tolerant of equipment failure, particularly those in special operations. In fact Spartan Blades which is owned and run by a couple ex-Special Forces guys use S30V in all their blades and supply a great many of them to Special Forces personnel at Ft Bragg. Strider also uses S30V and many of their knives are used in combat operations. Chris Reeves Special Forces knives are S30V as well, so stainless is not synonymous with failure. Poor design and poor heat treating certainly are.
All the Spyderco knives I designed use a heavy convex edge made expressly for chopping. The edge is thick at the top of the convex, ~0.040-0,050", and would take considerable lateral force on a hard object (not wood) to chip or crack, but there's no doubt a person who wants to break a knife, any knife, can do so. Personally, I've not heard of one of the Spyderco knives failing.
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity" Sigmund Freud
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