This is a powerful argument. I find it unlikely that Mr Thompson has suddenly lost his mind and decided to trash his company's reputation. So I'm trying to understand the 4034 thing. One approach: The content of 4034 looks just like 420HC. I only have experience with Buck's 420HC, and I will vouch that it is a good knife steel. I suspect Buck uses Latrobe 420HC which has some Vanadium and Mo added. I'm skeptical that just good heat treat makes Buck's 420 work so much better than the other guys. Anyway, maybe this Japanese 4034 he's using has some secret sauce too. If it works like Buck 420HC, it might surprise us. We don't have to speculate though. For $175 + $22, some public-spirited person could buy a Outdoorsman in San Mai and an Outdoorsman Lite in 4034. If I knew how to embed pictures I'd show the search result from Knifecenter. This volunteer should beat hell out of these knives and tell us what happens. I'd do it myself but my wife complains bitterly everytime another knife appears on the doorstep. Wimpy, I know but there it is.