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Companies need to start issuing verified third-party HRC tests.

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Comeuppance, Jun 27, 2019.

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  1. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    And I agree. But i ask again, where is the problem?

    Seems to be few and far between. And after some poor testing (not using), reputations have been damaged. Might be something to take note of.
    Lesknife likes this.
  2. Comeuppance

    Comeuppance Fixed Blade EDC Emisssary Gold Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    This is some backwards “caveat emptor” BS. You shouldn’t have to purchase and use the knife / test it yourself just to determine whether the HT is within spec. One doesn’t buy a computer and use it to see if the hard drive is actually a 1TB SSD; if it was stated in the specs by the manufacturer, it should be there and known to the consumer.

    The extent and method of testing is up for debate, sure, but that’s minor compared to the larger point of establishing a reference point for accountability.
    willc and marrenmiller like this.
  3. danbot

    danbot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    If you don't intend to buy the knife and use it, then why do you care if the HT is within spec?
    Why do you think they have no accountability? There are truth in advertising laws. And their customers will keep them accountable if there is something wrong with the product by means of the warranty.
    Do you think all these reputable manufacturers are playing a guessing game when they HT?
    Do they put their QA/QC systems in place so that they can just say "screw it, it's probably fine."?
  4. HappyDaddy

    HappyDaddy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 21, 2013
    Just FYI, none of you are going to get the last word here. I’ve put a note in my calendar to necro this thread in a few months. That might not matter, but thought I’d throw it out there.
  5. ScooterG

    ScooterG You mean Ireland? Yeah, it’s mine. Gold Member

    Mar 15, 2016
    I disagree with everyone!
    JohnWE, willc, colin.p and 2 others like this.
  6. halden.doerge

    halden.doerge I'll Sharpen Your Knife Gold Member

    Aug 17, 2014
    I have still been right all along!
    ScooterG likes this.
  7. Comeuppance

    Comeuppance Fixed Blade EDC Emisssary Gold Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    I think they likely have in-house or external testing, but nothing we are made aware of. Having published figures and data greatly diminishes uncertainty, as the consumer would know that, as far as anyone knows, the batches that have been released were sampled/tested and found to be within spec.

    A notion that underscores why I think this is worth considering is this: the Rockwell scale is exponential, and not linear, the functional difference between, say, HRC 57 and 60 is more notable than the values alone would imply.

    If 60-62 HRC is advertised by a company, but the knives consistently come back testing between 57-59, the company currently does not publish the data, alter production, or modify the advertised values - likely because the people doing the heat treatment found it fell within their acceptable range for that steel and might not have felt it necessary to send that information to the manufacturer.

    That kind of disconnect between the advertised range/value and the typical target range for the steel seems to be common, looking at the spreadsheet. The majority of the knives fell within industry specifications for the steel, but really quite a few of those were below the advertised specs.

    I suppose that, realistically, the net effect of this would just be revised and more accurate advertised ranges.
    AmosPaul likes this.
  8. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    I'll bring up something that seems to have been skipped over in all the discussions. Blade Geometry is more important than blade alloy or hardness when it comes to cutting performance. This is a proven fact. A knife with superior blade geometry will outperform a knife with "better alloy" but lesser geometry.

    A lot of folks say, "bad heat treat! It does not perform well." when what they should be aware of is that the knife may just have a suboptimal blade geometry. This repeatedly gets skipped over.
    Quiet, austonh, willc and 12 others like this.
  9. benchwarmer380

    benchwarmer380 Valyrian Member Platinum Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    I don't think that's the case in what he said. Looking to the post he responded clarifies that IMO.

    Someone not in the know that is just picking up a little pocket knife on the cheap at WallyWorld likely doesn't know 440 stainless from 440C or 3V and wont want to pay the up charge for better steels, they just want an affordable knife. 440 stainless will suit.

    Someone like me, who knows that their is a difference in better and less steels, knows that difference generally comes with a cost, but doesn't really know exactly what they are or what makes them that way will spend a bit more on a knife with those steels. Not because of the steel, but because I like the knife. Hence, I'll buy a Spyderco, CRK, or a handmade knife (trusted makers) from a reliable source because I know that I am more than likely going to get what is advertised. If the HRC happens to be 56 or 57 instead of the advertised 58-60 I probably wont be able to tell and will not really care either way. (Of course physical defects and stainless oxidizing like carbon would be glaring to a middle consumer like me.)

    Now, there are other people here that KNOW the fine point differences in what makes one steel better than another in certain aspects and the composition that makes it better. They will buy the upgraded and up charged steel from makers and sellers they trust because they know that they'll get the performance out of it that they desire. The vast majority of knives that these quality makers and manufacturers put are going to fall in spec, that's why they've earn their reputations for quality. Those that use their knives and can tell if it is not in spec will send it off to be fixed or replaced by warranty. That is what I believe he meant by his post.

    I've read most of the posts in this thread, and I understand the WANT for these type of verifications but I think it would be an added and unneeded step for quality makers the vast majority of the time. I feel like the aim of these request are to quash out every instance of a lemon going out and that is quite frankly an impossible feat. Buy once (and generally) cry once.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
    craytab, danbot and Pàdruig like this.
  10. danbot

    danbot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    I suppose a relatively easy and affordable solution could be for the manufacturers to ad a heat treatment page to their website where they would periodically post their HT inspection results for those who are interested.
    Banter 247 and benchwarmer380 like this.
  11. Banter 247

    Banter 247

    Feb 22, 2019
    One test was off, and Brad confirmed Kurt’s methodology, as well as confirming two other tests, which falls in line with Manly and Tuya previously confirming. It is 100% correct that the outlier should have been third party verified and privately reported, which I have already stated.

    As for use... yep. It has been used. Not sure where the assumption that it hasn’t been used comes from.

    Out of respect for Mike, we’re collectively walking away from discussing specifics of the Dom, other than to acknowledge that Brad/Peters did not match Kurt’s prior hits on that knife.

    Speaking in general terms regarding “where is the problem?”— in my personal use, a poorly done blade can lose an edge in a day’s use. I can’t speak for everyone, but this is how I became interested in diving into performance, in the first place.

    You asked a lot of questions relating to assertions I’ve never made, and would not make.

    The only one relevant to my own position is: I intend to use every knife I buy, which is why I do care.

    I’m not sure if this helps provide context or not, but I didn’t get into this looking for it as an accountability piece. My initial (and primary) interest is in terms of using the data, paired with edge retention testing, and with other exploration, to learn more. I’ve never posted an hrc test result report video on my channel, I’ve never been involved in going at anyone through social media, etc.
    marrenmiller likes this.
  12. Banter 247

    Banter 247

    Feb 22, 2019
    TBH, that is a brilliant suggestion.
  13. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    Uhh, you're still gonna have to buy and use the computer to see if the hard drive is actually 1TB.
    benchwarmer380 likes this.
  14. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Full Disclosure! No More Secrets! What Are They Hiding From US?
    danbot likes this.
  15. Pàdruig

    Pàdruig Live and Let Die Platinum Member

    Dec 1, 2016
    Personally, the added information that is being suggested is only helpful to me if I am running into repeatable performance issues*. Otherwise, if I am buying from a reputable firm, I don't need them to hand me a figurative stack of data with each knife I purchase. Their reputation is good enough for me until it has been proven to be sullied otherwise.

    This is likely the mindset of the typical knife user and collector. Why should a manufacturer go through all the trouble to "prove" themselves beyond what they already do to the rather small, albeit vocal minority? In most cases, a large reputable firm is going to consistently produce a good knife. Anomalies happen but I think it is prudent to recognize that this is par for the course when it comes to large scale manufacturing. If you are getting a firm that is advertising one range and testing** reveals that a different range is being achieved, then obviously we have a problem. But as of yet, I haven't seen that be the case.

    You know what is going to happen to that data sheet with me? I will never look at it, another piece of paper, another digital page that I can do without. Is is pertinent to small group of folks who think it is important? Well, sure. But I am comfortable in saying that they do not represent the majority of knife users/collectors.

    *Performance issues by definition to me is not how many cardboard cuts it can make before a sharpening is needed but real world application like skinning an elk or such.
    **Testing being such that is done by professional commercial outfits that can do statistically relevant sample sizes.
  16. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    There is a LOT of truth in this. Identifying the blade alloy and the blade hardness is a relatively new concept in the history of knife manufacture. With few exceptions, it started in the 80's to 90's realm. Back in the day, knife manufacturers identified the knife steel as "carbon steel" or "stainless" and that was that. You went by the reputation of the knife manufacturer. Buck was an exception. They touted the 110 and their standard knives as having 440C blade steel, but even they did not state the hardness. And nobody cared.
  17. AmosPaul


    Dec 17, 2014
    I know I have willingly paid more for an M390 blade because of the steel's reputation.

    No longer.

    Sure, Lionsteel's hardness is not as low as it was originally thought, but their heat treatment is still not optimal.

    I'm surprised at the number of people who don't care how their blade is heat treated. I'm guessing most are just W&C dwellers trying to provide drama for their entertainment.

    I like to be able to process a deer without stopping to re-sharpen, so edge holding is important to me.
  18. benchwarmer380

    benchwarmer380 Valyrian Member Platinum Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    Edit to rephrase: I don't recall seeing anyone hold that position in this thread.
  19. Planterz

    Planterz Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    So, if there's third party by-the-piece HRC testing blah blah blah, how long before scumbag flippers start charging 50% more for their basic S30V Paramilitary 2 because it tested 59.3Rc instead of merely 59.2?

    Think about what you think you want and need before demanding this unnecessary crap.
    palonej, craytab, colin.p and 3 others like this.
  20. Banter 247

    Banter 247

    Feb 22, 2019
    It seems like the conclusion is that some favor more data, some do not, and others are indifferent. Fortunately, the testing is still being done, now with better steps for verification and reporting in place, so people will remain free to observe or ignore it as they prefer.

    High five?
    willc and cwsmith17 like this.
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