CPM 3V vs. A2

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Grego, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. Grego


    Apr 22, 2007
    I have no real experience with either steel...so please educate me. In a blade 71/2" to 10" which steel would display the best overall characteristics?
  2. trailside22


    Sep 8, 2005
    I have knives with 7 1/2 inch blade in both CPM-3V (Fehrman) and in A2 (Reeves). In my useage and testing I have been very impressed with the CPM-3V. It holds an edge for a long, long time. They A2 is a great steel and is a little easier to resharpen than the 3V. With diamond the 3V is not bad and it holds an edge so long that is does not need sharpening much, just stropping every now and then. You are going to get someone to tell you that 3V rusts easily, I have not found that to be the case and I have 4 Fehrman knives in CPM-3V. It does not rust anymore than A2. Both are very good steels and would not hesitate to use either. I have chopped and batoned with both steels and never had a problem with either one. However, given the choice I really like 3V. I also have a smaller knife in CPM-3V and A2 and tested them skinning a Russian wild boars. The CPM-3V held an edge long than a Dozier in D2 or a Bark River in A2. Good luck both are good steels.
  3. HoB


    May 12, 2004
    That is an interesting question. Neither is corrosion resistant. In principle 3V should be superior, because it should have higher toughness and higher abrasion resistance, but some people that have experiement with 3V have experienced some problems (not braking but gross deformation on impact, IIRC). A2 on the other hand is a well know bladesteel with no surprises. At the moment I would want to be very sure who is heattreating the 3V. Just my $0.02.
  4. Unsub


    Nov 23, 2006
    Hob nailed it , if I was shopping for a steel to make a knife from I would go for A2 but if it was a custom with a first rate heat treat then what the hey go exotic.
  5. Cobalt

    Cobalt Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 1998
    My personal preference is A2 from personal experience I have found it's edge to be tougher even though the numbers on 3V say that 3V is tougher. This is from comparing a custom 3V blade Ht'd by Paul Bos versus a Chriss Reeves A2 knife. The reeves edge outlasted the 3V edge in my case before and after sharpening. Also took less damage. The 3V chipped while the A2 rolled which is not what I expected. I had two identical 3V knives. only tested one. I also knew someone who tested a Mission knives A2 blade and it did not perform as well as the reeves knife.

    But I think that either would make a fine user knife steel.
  6. Grego


    Apr 22, 2007
    I am thinking about purchasing a Ferhman First Strike...their 71/2" model, they use a proprietary heat treat and tempering method that gives birth to F3V...good bad??
  7. Grego


    Apr 22, 2007
    Cobalt, have you ever tested a Ferhman, and what is your personal opinion on this maker? I follow you reveiws over at the Busse forum, and we are both proud owners of the Battle Mistress. :thumbup:
  8. Cobalt

    Cobalt Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 1998

    I have never owned a Fehrman, but I really like the design. I think done right 3V can be a good steel. I know that cliff tested one and it had issues, but that is about the only negative I ever heard. At their price point with 3V they are worth a look. Honestly, however, I have never bought one because it was 3V. If he had made it of A2 or A8 I might have been more inclined to buy one. However, that is more of a personal taste. I have only heard of one negative comment about Fehrmans so some day when Busse is taking a break from taking my money, I might buy one.
  9. nozh2002

    nozh2002 Banned BANNED

    Jun 9, 2003
    This is Crucible data:


    Fehrman claim that they have found special HT fro CPM 3V and this is only steel they use, so probably they know how to get best of CPM 3V. Same as Bark River are experts in A2 and Dozier in D2.

    Thanks, Vassili
  10. spyken

    spyken Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 29, 2002
    look at Phil Hartsfield's A2. I think if you can do the heat treat like him, you've got a winner in A2.
  11. SilverFoxKnows


    Sep 25, 2002
    According to that chart D2 compares to 440C. But it seems that people love D2 and 440C is looked down on as old hat. What I've read on the forums led me to believe that D2 was an all around much better steel. Would you compare D2 to 440C or is Crucible all wet? And where do 1095 and 5150 fit on that chart?

  12. Troop


    Oct 26, 2006
    Held an edge longer than a Dozier? Wow....now that is impressive! :thumbup:
  13. trailside22


    Sep 8, 2005
    Yes it did hold an edge longer than my Dozier. I have a K4 Straight Hunter and a Fehrman Peacemaker. When I was skinning a couple of Russian Wild Boar I used both of them along with a Knives of Alaska Camp Knife and a Bark River Fox River. The Fehrman held an edge longer than the others. The KOA Camp knife dulled in two min. The Bark River did well. The Dozier did very well, but the Fehrman did the best. The two boars were muddy and dirty. I was suprised myself, I love my Doziers as well, but the Fehrman did better.
  14. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    Everytime I see that chart I wonder why we don't see more knives in 9V, which looks to be the best if you need both wear resistance and toughness.
  15. nozh2002

    nozh2002 Banned BANNED

    Jun 9, 2003
    Becaue it require more effort for knifemakers! See they did not go with steel which wear resistance higher then CPM 3V and CPM S30V. I guess after CPM 440V (S60V) they have some agreement or something not to go higher and it is only Microtech delivers CPM S90V in limiter run.

    Sal directly admitted that they refuse CPM S125V because it is wearing out their belts. So it is actually because steel is too good. I hope Crucible start making laminated blanks with this steel in core ond soft CPM S30V on the sides. So our manufacturers will be able to deliver to as really the best cutting solution.

    CPM 10V outperform everything in tests known to me - in times.

    Thanks, Vassili.
  16. Daniel Koster

    Daniel Koster www.kosterknives.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 18, 2001
    I don't mind using "new" steels like 9V...the problem is can the customer sharpen it? 9V is going to be very difficult to reprofile on a stone (need diamond hones). Very high wear resistance.

    Back to the OP's question: 3V is on paper and in real life a tougher, better wear-resistant steel. A2 is comparable to O1 - a great steel indeed. But 3V has more carbon and is truly an amazing steel.

    I question your results, cobalt. Not because of you personally...but only because you didn't tell us anything about edge-thickness, geometry, grind and so on...things that make a huge difference when testing different steels.

    Just about any knife steel can chip/deform if applied to an inappropriate task for its grind.

    Not rejecting your results...just looking for clarification.

    Personally, my results have shown both to be an excellent steel...with the edge (pun intended) going to 3V...better wear-resistance, more toughness. The charts don't lie. And "HT by Paul Bos" isn't always a guarantee. Paul will set the hardness at just about whatever you tell him to....so if I send in a 3V knife and tell him to set it at 61 HRC...then grind it thin and use it to chop...I'm probably going to have problems. Compare that to an A2 blade HT to 59 HRC with a little "extra" behind the edge...and it'll chop all day. So, the results can easily be skewed.

    I'm curious to see what Tom Krein has to say.
  17. nozh2002

    nozh2002 Banned BANNED

    Jun 9, 2003
    Do you have any 9V or 10V knives available, so I can fail sharpening them?

    Common, this scary story about average customer not being able to sharpen knife all the time and it was told about CPM S30V etc... Depends on what steel manufacturer do not want to deal with.

    Now when diamond sharpeners widely available and is standard sharpening solution - check for example WoodWork store there are more diamond sharpeners there then all others all together. So this is not something unavailable.

    Plus for 9V and 10V average customers will be someone like me, but no one really doing this steels. Only Phil Willson I am aware about.

    Thanks, Vassili.
  18. hardheart


    Sep 19, 2001
  19. Halfneck


    Jun 30, 2005
    I'm sure if you ponied up the cash to Mr. Koster, he'd make you 1 of his knives in those steels. Then you could dull it & tell us how you were able to resharpen it.

    I'm getting to be an old guy, but I've yet to need a knife that could field dress 3 elk without needing to be resharpened. I've done just fine using old 440C, 154CM and 1095 blades. They might go dull faster, but a small amount of time with a ceramic stone and they were back to work.

    That said, I am debating between A2 & 3V for my next knife from Tom Krein.
  20. nozh2002

    nozh2002 Banned BANNED

    Jun 9, 2003
    I should restart my CPM 10V grinding... I will make blade myself and see how it is. So far here results of cutting tests by ASI for CPM 10V:
    Thanks, Vassili.

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