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Thread: Steel that holds the best edge?

  1. #1

    Steel that holds the best edge?


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    Wanted to know what people thought was the best steel for edge holding? I'm not talking best steel in all categories, but can it make cut, after cut, after cut, and still have the same edge?

    I have heard 1095 is pretty decent at keeping its edge, but then again i have never gotten my hands on a piece of infi either.

  2. #2
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    Wow. Great thread idea. No one's ever thought of this before.

    In my humble opinion, it would be one of the carbon steels. U.S. Schrade's carbon (1095, IIRC) is very good, Camillus' 0170-6 (Carbon V) is very good, and Case's CV is great stuff too. One of the best values on the market today is the carbon steel Mora's.

    There's Canal Street's D2, and GEC's carbon steels, neither of which I've used much.

    The same old adage applies: it depends on what you'll be using the knife for, how hard you'll be using it, etc. For me, cost and edge holding have to have a happy medium. An expensive knife that won't hold an edge isn't worth anything, and a cheap knife that keeps it's edge but is too difficult to sharpen . . . isn't worth much either.

    There are a number of 'super steels' out there that will hold an edge for what seems to be forever, but they are can be a cast iron b!tch to sharpen. ZDP-189 is one example. (I know from experience with that one.)

    ~Chris
    To my friends here on bladeforums: I'm taking a hiatus from forums participation for the foreseeable future. I can still be contacted through my profile.
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  3. #3
    1095 is a great steel, and will serve 99% of the knife using population well. Edge holding is pretty good and it sharpens easily. It's not stainless, but that's really not an issue if you take care of it.

  4. #4
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    S125V / 15V would be my guess. For pure edge holding you would push the hardness as high as you can.

    Are you talking about making a knife or just curious?

  5. #5
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    Probably zdp-189 or the friction forged d2 from diamond blades. Hardness is definitly key.

  6. #6
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    In my experience ZDP-189 holds a great edge. I also love 154cm and 01.

  7. #7
    I am leaving the forum because of the bad treatment from Blues the mod.who refused to help me after I was slandered on here.
    Last edited by kitkat52; 10-21-2010 at 08:23 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitkat52 View Post
    Do the home work on the maker.You can have great steel that has not been treated right and end up with a problem knife.
    I agree. I've had the same steel from two different makes and theres a HUGE difference. I can both see it when using it, and feel it when sharpening.

  9. #9
    good 1095 like greateasterns is a real pleasure to work with. zdp will hold longer but i love the feel of 1095 on the diamonds & the way the edge grabs the skin on the fingertips. any hunting knife of mine has to be carbon steel since a shiny blade w/o patina in the boonies is embarrassing.
    dennis

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by built to last View Post
    Wanted to know what people thought was the best steel for edge holding? I'm not talking best steel in all categories, but can it make cut, after cut, after cut, and still have the same edge?

    I have heard 1095 is pretty decent at keeping its edge, but then again i have never gotten my hands on a piece of infi either.
    INFI doesn't hold an edge as long as many other steels. It has a good combination of toughness and edge holding however.

    Although not steel, Talonite cuts forever. It's not particularly tough or strong though. The soft cobalt matrix constantly exposes the harder carbides which seems to keep the edge fresh. I can dress 2 large moose without even touching up the blade.
    Last edited by bearcut; 09-17-2010 at 08:18 AM.

  11. #11
    Zdp-189

  12. #12
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    Any steel is worthless if the heat treat is not proper. Do some internet searches on steel alloys and search BF. You will find more then enough info. Each steel has its pro's and con's.

    Blade grind also affects edge retention as does edge angle. There are many other factors to consider.

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  14. #14
    Bearcut: I must admit that my Talonite blade stays sharp a VERY long time. When I got the knife on a trade, the former owner suggested that I baby it in the field. I have taken care not to twist or pry with the little Cuda. So far, no bad, untoward experiences have wrapped themselves around my hunting excursions.

    Also, the INFI blend seems to NOT stay as sharp as my 154CM or 1095 blades. What INFI does do is provide a solid balance of strength and toughness. Since most of my Busse collection consists of larger (thick) choppers, I believe that I am becoming a bit biased towards thinner blades now that my machetes are fully profiled and seem to have laser like quality in the bush. Thinner equates to better slicing and cutting in most of the material that is to be cut.

    That being said, I have an ancient Buck 119 that holds a good edge for what seems like an eternity!

  15. #15
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    I know, I know, its one of the top three steels!!

    and we all know what those are
    BeckerHead #13

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearcut View Post
    Although not steel, Talonite cuts forever. It's not particularly tough or strong though.
    Talonite can only hold thick edge. It is way too soft to have thin one on it, RC is 50 at best...

  17. #17
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    I think the high carbide steels like S125V, S110V, 15V, and 10V will do what you're talking about. I find that my CPM-M4 blade also exhibits that behavior. S30V should also be like that, but I find that most knife manufacturers heat treat the steel too soft for any hard use, which would roll the edge even at a 40 degree inclusive angle. ZDP-189 is also a good choice, but I find it chips a little too often on tougher mediums.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh K View Post
    Are you talking about making a knife or just curious?
    Funny you should ask. I have a crazy idea I am toying with.

    I have an issue with my box cutter at work. It is a nice model, but the blades we get are crap. They are reversible, but the edge wears out in three to four nights max. We are running through blades like crazy, and I hate wasting so much metal. So I was going to talk to some of the custom knife makers on here to see if I could have one made. The best case scenario would be that I could take it home and resharpen it.

    I am just gathering info right now. What do you think of my crazy idea?

    The metal would go under minimal stress and almost never come in contact with water and would be cutting cardboard boxes (lots of them) and some thin plastic. So it doesn't need to be amazing in all aspects, just holding an edge.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by RevDevil View Post
    Cpm m4 & zdp 189
    ya beat me to it - but of the 2 my vote is for the M4 - now appears the preferred bladesteel for BSI competition

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gator97 View Post
    Talonite can only hold thick edge. It is way too soft to have thin one on it, RC is 50 at best...
    Gator,
    Do you own any Talonite Knives?
    My Talonite blade has a spine thickness of .11, it’s pretty hard to put a “Thick” edge on such a thin knife. The edge angle is not obtuse at all.
    Yes, Talonite is rather ‘Soft’. That is why I said that Talonite is not particularly “Strong”
    I’m surprised you didn’t know that.
    Here’s a quick refresher course from Joe Talmadge’s Steel FAQ:
    Strength: The ability to take a load without permanently
    deforming. For many types of jobs, strength is extremely important.
    Any time something hard is being cut, or there's lateral stress put on
    the edge, strength becomes a critical factor. In steels, strength is
    directly correlated with hardness -- the harder the steel, the
    stronger it is. Note that with the Rockwell test used to measure
    hardness in a steel, it is the hardness of the steel matrix being
    measured, not the carbides. This, it's possible for a softer, weaker
    steel (measuring low on the Rockwell scale) to have more wear
    resistance than a harder steel. S60V, even at 56 Rc, still has more
    and harder carbides than ATS-34 at 60 Rc, and thus the S60V is more
    wear resistant, while the ATS-34 would be stronger.

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