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Thread: CPM 3V. Is it the perfect steel?

  1. #1
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    CPM 3V. Is it the perfect steel?


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    I am just learning about steel. I have recently come across CPM 3V. If I can believe what I read, this stuff is just about the best steel there is...assuming it is heat treated correctly. Now I know it is hard to work with and hard to heat treat but once done, as a user, there sounds like none better.

    Is this the Holy Grail of Steel? Is there none better? Does it do everything well up to an include hold of rust to some degree (not being a stainless steel technically)?

  2. #2
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    Best steel for what?

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    If you want to call something 'best' in its category, you need a list of criteria for this. Why is CPM-3V the best steel for you? If you want toughness, you might be spot-on.

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    Well that's where I am going. Folks seem to think it is best period...no criteria necessary. That is why I made this post. Maybe I am reading stuff from the chopping folks? The competion cutter types? Hard core bushcrafting?

    Bushcrafting is going to be where I would come in. Koster makes one.

    So let's say bushcrafting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HoosierQ View Post
    Well that's where I am going. Folks seem to think it is best period...no criteria necessary. That is why I made this post. Maybe I am reading stuff from the chopping folks? The competion cutter types? Hard core bushcrafting?

    Bushcrafting is going to be where I would come in. Koster makes one.

    So let's say bushcrafting.
    It's a good steel, but I wouldn't say it's the best in any category, it's up there in some though like for choppers.

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    Ok. I appreciate the input. And I understand the skepticism with which my post was viewed. And that is where I was coming from. Surely, there is no "magic steel"...and this is not it. It does sound like a very tough customer though.

  7. #7
    It also has wear resistance similar to D2 and a decent level of corrosion resistance.

  8. #8
    it's a very good alloy for large blades. even small knives at 59r.r. are better than s30 according to the english catra tests. i'm not sure that some of the old carbon steels tweaked by a good custom maker might not equal it for lots less money. siegle uses 5160 in his for phenmonal results.[this is a very expensive alloy]
    dennis

  9. #9
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    Small knives, you say?





    Specs:

    * Overall Length: 7 Inches
    * Blade Length: 3.250 Inches
    * Blade Steel: CPM3V @ 58rc
    * Blade Thickness: .150 Inch
    * Weight: 3.750 Ounces

    Here's an interesting side note from Mike that speaks to the difficulty in working with CPM 3V: "These knives, because of the highly abrasion resistant steel, are finished with a 320 finish rather than the standard 600 finish on the blade. You WILL notice grinding marks in the blade. We did this intentionally to keep the price of the knife at a reasonable level."

    .
    Last edited by bld522; 11-19-2010 at 09:46 AM.

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    I might say 3V is the best steel for a large blade or something you intend to beat the crap out of. Insane toughness, but the edge holding is relatively low. Thats not to say it can't hold an edge. It takes and holds a great edge, just not on par with some other expensive and difficult steels (think M4, 10V, S90V, 15V).

    But to say its the "best" even in a particular category, no way. What defines the "best" is always going to be up for debate here.

  11. #11
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    CPM-3V: This grade provides some of the best combination of properties. It is very tough providing better toughness than all of the grades listed here with the exception of CPM 1V&reg. It has very good wear resistance, about 50% better than D-2 and can be hardened to RC 56-60. It holds an edge very well, it is fairly easy to fabricate and sharpen due to it's relatively low alloy content. CPM 3V is not very good at corrosion resistance. The cost of CPM 3V is about the same as CPM 1V and is readily available in thin sheet stock.

    Source: http://www.simplytoolsteel.com/knife...roduction.html

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    IMHO, 58HRC for that knife of that size(3.5" lil' Canadian) is a lot of wasted edge holding potential. Obviously that knife is a light cutter, you won't be chopping or prying with it.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by bld522 View Post
    CPM-3V: It has very good wear resistance, about 50% better than D-2 and can be hardened to RC 56-60.
    I wonder why they put that, every Crucible graph I've seen puts them near equal, as does one on their site - http://www.simplytoolsteel.com/Z-Wea...ata-sheet.html

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    Good question. I'm not sure. Nor do I have personal experience using 3V. Everything I've read, however, seems to indicate that 3V has excellent wear resistance, especially for being such a tough alloy.

    I'd say the big kids on the block right now are 3V for tool steel and CPM-154 for stainless. I don't have knives in either one at the moment. But they're both on my wish list.

    Here's more info on 3V for those who may be interested:

    http://www.windsorsteel.com/grades/CPM-3V.htm

    .
    Last edited by bld522; 11-19-2010 at 12:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gator97 View Post
    IMHO, 58HRC for that knife of that size(3.5" lil' Canadian) is a lot of wasted edge holding potential. Obviously that knife is a light cutter, you won't be chopping or prying with it.
    I was wondering that too. Why make a 3.5" knife like that out of 3V?

  16. #16
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    I'd say that's a question for Mike Stewart. You can find him on a couple of the other popular knife forums or here, of course:

    http://www.barkriverknifetool.com/aboutus.asp

    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaymeister99 View Post
    I was wondering that too. Why make a 3.5" knife like that out of 3V?
    CPM 3V can work in small knives just fine, at high hardness it's much better. Because it's so tough, at higher RC its toughness really helps with edge holding. Thin, hard edge doesn't suffer from micro fracturing.
    I too thought of CPM 3V as mainly big knife steel, but at some point I discussed with Phil Wilson possibility of CPM 3V at max hardness, and he made experimental CPM 3V knife for me.
    Can't say it's pretty, but I have myself to blame for the design Anyway, as far as light/medium cutting goes it's a superb performer and I'd put it against D2, 154CM etc any time.

  18. #18
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    3V is awesome stuff... But it excels when you use the right geometry.

    Paper thin blade with a high RC (like 60-62) in a small blade is Simply amazing...

    thickness < 1/4 on a chopper with a zero convex at RC 60... light saber!!

    It's great stuff but you need to find a custom maker who is wiling to work with it and has experience with HTing it...

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by petah View Post
    It's great stuff but you need to find a custom maker who is wiling to work with it and has experience with HTing it...
    Jerry Hossom.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoosierQ View Post
    I am just learning about steel. I have recently come across CPM 3V. If I can believe what I read, this stuff is just about the best steel there is...assuming it is heat treated correctly. Now I know it is hard to work with and hard to heat treat but once done, as a user, there sounds like none better.

    Is this the Holy Grail of Steel? Is there none better? Does it do everything well up to an include hold of rust to some degree (not being a stainless steel technically)?
    As a user I typically imagine something you use at every opportunity and that you carry with you 24/7. In which case, it would normally be a folder and would require some level of stain resistance so that it doesn't rust from the sweat on your legs. In that case, I typically rank whichever steel has the most wear resistance/hardness at the top. So...probably S90V or M390.

    Since I don't get much opportunity to chop things, toughness isn't what I'm looking for. CPM-3V isn't much more than a slightly harder S30V due to my uses(mostly slicing and cutting) and roughly the same level of wear resistance. I find CPM-M4 to be closer to perfection with high hardness and a good volume of small carbides.

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