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A Question About Custom Stainless

Discussion in 'Fiddleback Forge Knives' started by knifewing, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. knifewing

    knifewing Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 16, 2006
    I know that Fiddleback Forge has made custom knives with CPM 154 blades in the past. I was lucky enough to snag a Hiking Buddy with that steel as my first FF blade, and I'm still kicking myself for not buying the CPM 154 Ladyfinger that was offered here a number of weeks ago. I've been watching the Friday sales for a few months and have yet to see any CPM 154 blades offered. Maybe I've just missed them, or they're a thing of the past and only show up on the Flea Market/Exchange, etc. So I'm wondering: Does Fiddleback still make CPM 154 blades at all? If they are, in fact, made, how often are they produced? Thanks for any info you can provide.
  2. VANCE

    VANCE Allen, I have an axe to grind with you. Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 13, 2006
    someone asked me about this via PM or Conversation recently and this was my response

    They are not made in CPM often because that's not our primary steel. The extra steps that are involved to use CPM does not work with our workflow. The additional time required for those steps per knife would lower our production down severely.
    Just the texturing of the flats would probably add 10 minutes per knife, extrapolate that over the 35 knives we are making per week. We would have to find a guy that could squeeze in almost 6hrs to their already hectic pace we keep to maintain our production level.

    Then you have the CPM heat treat process. In order to heat treat it correctly, you must wrap each blade in a special foil. You also must include a small piece of scrap paper inside the wrapped blade. This is to insure the paper will catch fire & burn all the oxygen inside the wrap. If you dont want to do all that, you can buy a uber expensive (like $600 for 5 gallons iirc) product called Turco. With it you just have to coat each blade and allow it do dry completely (several hours)"
  3. knifewing

    knifewing Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 16, 2006

    Thanks, Phillip, for the response and the info. I figured it was something technical as well as a matter of demand. I have new respect for CPM 154 blades (done well). I'll keep watching the skies...and the exchange.
  4. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    One more factor is the thickness. When they sell the particle steels they sell "mill thickness" which is thicker so that a company can surface grind it to thickness. We don't have a good enough surface grinder to do this, soooooo, we use the steel as is. If we buy 1/8" thick CPM 154, it comes to us very close to 5/32. We have been asking about thinner stuff, but have had no luck. We would likely do a lot more stainless if folks would just love 440C as much as I do.
    Nbrackett likes this.
  5. Nbrackett

    Nbrackett Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 19, 2015
    I have no problem with 440C as long as it has a proper heat treat. It was the standard for many years. Now everyone thinks they need a super steel.
  6. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Personally, 440C is my favorite SS.
  7. knifewing

    knifewing Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 16, 2006
    Dear Phillip and Andy,
    I certainly have gained an instant insight into and appreciation of the decisions and factors involved in choosing steels for custom knifemaking. Thank you! So, for those of us in humid, salt air, or moist environments, would you ever consider making custom-handled Fiddleback knives in exceptional models, such as Ladyfingers or KE Bushies, in 440C instead of CPM 154? Or in the same S35VN you use for the mid tech production blades? In other words, think of this as a humble request for more Fiddleback SS blades.
    RobbieB likes this.
  8. TLA

    TLA Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 25, 2002

    I would love to see any of your knives any 440C and I'm sure the performance from any knife you guys would be fantastic. Maybe someday you could test the waters with 440C by making one or two knives in 440C for Fiddleback Friday to see how they would sell. Andy you could always make a knife in 440C and do a pass around to a limited number of testers to see what they think and go from there. I think 440C is a great steel and I believe it still has a place in the custom knife world.
  9. Silas

    Silas Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 22, 2004
    How well does 440C take the Spalting?
  10. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Stainless steels, by their nature do not spalt. BUT, we generally texture them with a hammer.
  11. Odaon

    Odaon Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 13, 2009
    Big fan of the hammer texture, but I also like the tumble finished ones. :thumbsup:

    I feel pretty lucky to own a stainless Fiddleback. I'd love to add a stainless OS Lady (in OD canvas) to my collection one day... ;)

  12. spiritedwolflove

    spiritedwolflove Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 27, 2014
    Being in muggy Louisiana, I too, would totally dig a custom handle SS blade. The extra peace of mind would leave me no choice but to make a solid user out of it. Great inquiry.
    Wurrwulf likes this.
  13. natchezz

    natchezz Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    Why not offer some Custom Shop handled prod models each week?
    adequacy and Kal-El like this.
  14. RobbieB

    RobbieB Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 13, 2017
    Andy, are there any limitations you'd impose on a 440C blade compared to the A2 you normally use? For instance, would you make a 3/32" blade in 440C?
  15. madcap_magician

    madcap_magician Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    Any thoughts on experimenting with CTS-40CP, @Fiddleback ?
  16. ShanghaiJer

    ShanghaiJer Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 3, 2014
    Especially if they had a custom regrind!
  17. wildmanh

    wildmanh Part time Leather Bender/Sheath maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 9, 2000
    440C would be awesome! I own and have used some Buck knives in 440C and really like it. Heck, back in the day it was the Super Steel. 1/8" Hiking Buddy or 1/8" LadyFinger in 440C would be perfect for me. :D
    Nbrackett likes this.

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