AUS 8A Steel

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AUS 8 is touted as a premium steel by CRKT and Cold Steel. How good is it in relation to other fairly good steels (440A, 440C, ATS-34, etc.)? How good is its edge retention and ease of sharpening? What are its downsides? Thanks!
 

Harry Callahan

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Spyderco never called it "8A", they always stamped the blade AUS-8. But their use of the steel was always great as far as I know. The original Viele came in this steel, a long run of Enduras and Delicas too. Of course, Spyderco always used AUS steels from the originators, the Auchi foundry in Japan. There's a lot of knockoffs out there that may not stack up. Buyer beware.
 
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8A is definitely a drop down in class in performance from the likes of ATS-34, for a general purpose folder steel. It's weaker and not as wear resistant. On the other hand, I like 8A solidly better than 440A, and am about as happy with 8A as I am with 440C ... which means, I'm perfectly happy buying an 8A knife provided it's priced relative to the steel's performance. Just don't listen to Cold Steel's nonsense about it, to keep your expectations set correctly.

8A may be my favorite "second tier" steel, as it were. What I love best about 8A is how easy it is to sharpen to an incredible edge. It's got a little vanadium in it, and I find that that goes a long way.
 

Cliff Stamp

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Joe Talmadge said:
8A is definitely a drop down in class in performance from the likes of ATS-34, for a general purpose folder steel.

Same way I feel based on the blades I used which were significantly softer than the ATS-34 class steels. Joe have you used Benchmades AUS-8A blades. Awhile back on their forum it was mentioned they were promoted as 60 HRC. I asked and it was confirmed (blades were HRC tested) and this is the actual hardness Benchmade is using, getting the higher hardness by either cold treatments or higher soak temperatures.

-Cliff
 
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Cliff Stamp said:
Same way I feel based on the blades I used which were significantly softer than the ATS-34 class steels. Joe have you used Benchmades AUS-8A blades. Awhile back on their forum it was mentioned they were promoted as 60 HRC. I asked and it was confirmed (blades were HRC tested) and this is the actual hardness Benchmade is using, getting the higher hardness by either cold treatments or higher soak temperatures.

-Cliff

Cliff, does it mean that 60 HRC, the AUS8 from Benchmade is good? I mean, in term of edge holding.

At the same hardness between the two steels (ATS-34 and AUS 8) the edge holding should be similar for normal use, isn't it? Provided that the balde geometry is exactly the same, the two steels should perform similarly in edge holding (says at 20 degree per side).

Of course, we are not talking about the strength, brittleness or wear resistance (for cut abrasive materials). I believe the higher grade material will show higher quality in those sense.

Anyway, I plan to buy a knife, Benchmite II, from benchmade. It is a small knife with Aus 8 steel. I am thinking which version to buy betwen AUS8 and 154-CM (similar to ATS-34). Both of them has 60 HRC. The blade geometry between the two version is slightly different. I think this is because they want to compensate for the lower strength of the steel.

Anyway, can you comment on the edge holding for this case, if they are at the same hardness?
 
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Cliff, I was following that thread about 8A on benchmadeforums with interest, and it had completely slipped my mind. I've had a lot of Benchmades through my hands, but none of the Benchmades currently in my possession are 8A. In fact, I can't remember ever owning a Benchmade in 8A, but I could just be slipping. Have you tested BM's 8A out yourself?
 
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I have two AUS8 knives, an m16/11K and a Benchmite II. The M16 is acceptable....it's definitely my perfect idea of a mid grade steel...the edge retention is so/so....and it suffers minor rolling. Just average all around.

The Benchmite II has noticeably better edge retention and no rolling so far, but it did take me six months to roll a small part of the M16 in all fairness (had the Benchmite II for a month).

I'm reasonably impressed with the Benchmite II...it performs as well as my one Pacific Cutlery 440C knife.
 
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Artfully Martial said:
The Benchmite II has noticeably better edge retention and no rolling so far, but it did take me six months to roll a small part of the M16 in all fairness (had the Benchmite II for a month).

I'm reasonably impressed with the Benchmite II...it performs as well as my one Pacific Cutlery 440C knife.

Some other manufacturers choose to lower their hardness on AUS8 to 57 - 58 HRC, that might be the main reason. So that is great to know that Benchmade is doing great with their AUS8! Because, if they can bring the most use of the mid tier steel, that is definitely their expertise in the knife business.;)

On top of that, if someone have handle and use the 2 versions of Benchmite, which has AUS8 and 154CM, would be great comparision. Since we know that both of the version has about 60 HRC, then we can see the effect of diifferent steels at the same hardness.
 

Cliff Stamp

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surawut said:
At the same hardness between the two steels (ATS-34 and AUS 8) the edge holding should be similar for normal use, isn't it?

For a lot of cutting hardness can be very critical as it strongly is correlated to resistance to deformation. It is especially critical for push cutting sharpness and the ability of the steel to take low angles. You also gain some wear resistance at high hardness levels, how much depends on how the hardness is gained. To get specific for example, I would bet on both to be similar carving woods, push cutting cardboard, and cutting plastics, however slicing cardboard and poly ropes I would suspect ATS-34 would have an advantage due to the greater wear resistance.

Joe, no I have not used it yet, but it looks interesting especially considering comments by Landes and Verhoeven in regards to the ability of the lower C% stainless to reduce primary carbide content and allow for a higher ability to form and hold a finer edge.

-Cliff
 
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So depending on who manufactures and treats the AUS-8, the HRC can vary between 58-60? What is the reputation of run of the mill blades from CRKT and Cold Steel? For fairly heavy duty cutting, would the serrations have a tendancy to wear down faster than other, higher quality steels or would it be best to go with plain edge with this type of steel?
 

HoB

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AUS-8 repeatedly comes up as a steel that takes a very fine edge. In particular the AUS-8W which I believe was only used by Spyderco for their Sashimi/Kitchen knife that isn't made anymore (tried to scoop up one, but missed it).
 
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Yes, but where does AUS 8 rate as a folder steel? Midway? Top third? Is it a good steel to use with serrations or are they likely to wear down quickly?
 
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I sure have liked the (3, 4 if my first Delica had this steel) Spyderco folders that I've owned with AUS 8. At least as usable as my minigrip in SV30 (a bit of a disappointment), though not as good as VG-10 or ZDP189.

I wouldn't hesitate at all to buy a knife in AUS-8 if it had a good design.
 
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Your AUS8 performs as well as your ritter grip? I would send that Ritter back then. Are you sure you're not talking about a 440C normal Griptillian?

My S30Vs completely destroys my AUS8s in edge holding.
 
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The minigrip is a 558 Ritter. And yes, I find the edge holding disappointing by comparison to Spyderco's VG-10. Maybe my 558 got a subpar HT?
 

Cliff Stamp

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Confederate said:
So depending on who manufactures and treats the AUS-8, the HRC can vary between 58-60?

Yes, and possibly more, with a custom hardening, oil+cold you could likely get it harder and some production tends to be underhardened.

For fairly heavy duty cutting, would the serrations have a tendancy to wear down faster than other, higher quality steels or would it be best to go with plain edge with this type of steel?

Yes the serrations will wear down faster, however the rate of wear with serrations is so slow this usually isn't a factor, even with really soft materials like Beta-Ti. The problem with Cold Steel's serrations is usually fracture.

Artfully Martial said:
My S30Vs completely destroys my AUS8s in edge holding.

Which knives, what profiles, what media and what type of cutting. Try taking the edge angles down really low.

-Cliff
 
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I've got the AUS8 M16 and AUS8 Benchmite, and the S30V Para and S30V Dodo.

VG10 is really good, and I actually seem to find it cuts better than S30V, but not quite up there in edge holding to my S30V. But it and D2 are my favorite steels for the dollar.
 

Pete1977

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I like vg-10, s30v, and d2 for edge retention.

My brother has a benchmade ambush and you would never know that it was aus-8. it takes a razor edge, and holds it much longer than expected for this steel, but I assume that this is due to its higher HRC that cliff and joe mentioned.

I have a delica in 8A and I've found that it does not have the edge retention of the ambush, both are CE, but the delica is much older (1995 with FRN clip)
 
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I am suprised to read some equating AUS 8 with 440C. Shouldn't 440C have better edge-holding, since it has more carbon?
 
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