ATS-55 weight and performance

Jun 22, 1999
I bought one a Spyderco Delica recently which sports a zytel handle and ATS-55 blade, and remember thinking at the time that the BM Ascent w/zytel seemed quite "blade-heavy" compared to the Delica.

Even with a good blade thickness, the ATS-55 knife seems quite light.

Is ATS-55 lighter than ATS-34? Has there been any comparisons on how well it holds up yet (sorry, search engine's down)?
I know that my Eclipse(ascent) was harder to sharpen than my Endura 98. but the ATS-55 holds and edge longer and cut better than the eclipse, but thats based more on design and opinion, than steel specs. I'm not sure that an element can increase wieght or not(it might)...

Civilian "Military" fans unite!!!

Well, all steels are a mixture of elements and I know ATS-55 is like ATS-34 but leaves out the Molydbdenum which is heavier than iron. So whether the resulting steel ends up heavier or not probably depends on what they use in its place.

I think I remember reading that Molydbdenum is a component of high-speed steel and that its omission lessened the expense of the steel without sacrificing anything in terms of knife use (I guess unless you chop REALLY fast
The Ascent series is blade-heavy because they are a poor design, not because of the steel used. I had high hopes for these knives and they have disappointed me at every turn. Poor balance, uncomfortable ergonomics, locks that have substantial play and/or fail, and a steel that chips easily.

You did well to pick up a Delica. I don't think Spyderco has much to worry about in the Zytel knife market.

That's my opinion.

-Drew Gleason
Little Bear Knives
There is no significant difference in weight per volume between different steels -- not enough to notice. If you were comparing two steels with a significant difference in strength and toughness you could make a thinner knife with the stronger steel, of course.

ATS-55 is advertised as being similar to ATS-34 at a lower price. Some of our members have tested ATS-55 knives and disagreed with that claim. No one has ever claimed it's better than ATS-34 in any way except price.

-Cougar Allen :{)
I agree with Corduroy on this one. The Ascent series is a good idea but executed poorly. I bought an Ascent 830 at a local knife shop and returned it the next day. One of the reasons is that the knife was so blade heavy. The biggest reason though was the lock - it just did not feel solid. I also thought that one advantage of a lockback folder was that if the knife were for some reason to be opened slightly (in a pocket or wherever) that the lock would spring the knife back shut. However, on the 830 I had I could open the knife any amount and the lock wouldn't do anything. In my opinion the Delica/Endura combination are the best Zytel handle knives you can buy.
In reference to the steel weight question though - if you had a fixed volume of ATS-34 and ATS-55 there would be a slight difference in weight but not enough to really be perceived. I think it was more of a difference in feel than in weight. Anybody who's ever been backpacking can probably relate. If you pack correctly the pack feels a whole lot lighter than if you pack in a hurry and just sling things in your pack.


[This message has been edited by tek (edited 10 July 1999).]