Define "super steel"...

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Ok, so time and time again I see someone use the word "super steel", but it is always use in a very vague way. Is it due to wear resistance, how long it holds an edge, corrosion resistance etc..?

Where is this line drawn?:confused:

For example, I hear of people refer to cpm-m4 as a "super steel" because how tough it supposedly is, but then I hear that it's not the best at corrosion resistance. Well, what about H1? H1 has amazing corrosion resistance but won't hold an edge like something like s35vn, so is that a super steel? Wouldn't something that's considered "super" be good in all aspects; or is the term "super steel" subjective?

I find it odd that people use the word "super steel" when there isn't really an agreed upon definition. I even looked on crucibles website and they don't even use the word "super steel".

So where do we draw the line?
How do we determines what steels are considered "super" or "not-so-super"?

I don't want to hear what you consider a super-steel, I wanna hear what defines a super steel and what steels can we knife nuts all agree are super?


Bender
 
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Well, super steels are normally steels that have capes and super powers :D

All kidding aside, I would have to say that the word super steel is used to describe a steel that can take a razor edge and hold that edge longer then most other steels. What some people will define as a super steel will very person to person but it is mostly known to be a steel that will hold an edge thru heavy use and not chip or acquire much damage
 
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You answered your own question, it's super because someone considers it super, it's not real it's fairy dust.
 
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I guess that's true, but someone should really draw a line...

would crucible call their steels super?:rolleyes:

Lines can't be drawn, because they change.
A super steel is anything that somebody thinks is better than last years super steel.
Airy fairy as the fashion industry, not worthy of a line.
 
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Super Steels are the steels that perform stupidly good at some category that we value as knife enthusiasts that it leaves most knives in the dust. And people generally refer to them as "super" because of it. Most of the time the knives being referred to as being a super steel have the ability to take and edge and never want to dull.
 
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Interesting that you brought up H1. I have often thought that given its toughness, hardness, edge retention and complete corrosion resistance, Spyderco's serrated H1 remains one of the most "super" steels out there.
 

The Mastiff

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In my mind, yes subjectively, I can't but help categorizing steels into groupings in order to help me keep track of the steels performance, rarity, cost,etc. There are literally hundreds of steels which can be used by cutlers and this helps me. I use three categories personally.

Base line steels. Ie: 8C, 440A, 6A, 8A, 420HC

next are Premium steels: 154cm, s30V, 3V, BG42, etc: on up to about the Elmax/M390 level. Most seem to disagree here and count M390 and cousins as " Super", but with me, super steels begin with:

"super"premium: 440V/S60, 420V/S90V, S110V, 11V ( including 10V, K390, K294, etc), on up. I have had two knives in S125V , including one at rc 65 and find it a Super premium steel, but not to my preference. I find the wear goes up, and the steel gets weaker/chippy-er enough to lose my desire to own steels much above the 10V range personally.

Some steels can be in two categories of mine. CPM M4 is an example. At rc 58-59 it's a premium steel, but it doesn't come into it's own until run hotter, harder, and thinner. Try it at Rc 59 then again at Rc 63 or above and you see how it can act like a different steel entirely.

There again, to make it short it's subjective and a made up class. Call up a steel supplier and ask for a list of their super steels and see how they react. :)

Note there are no "junk" steels, or "better" or "worse" unless it's just talking about an attribute of a steel, such as "Which steel has better corrosion resistance, 440c or 1095?" Steels are designed to do jobs and are typically good at what they do. To call a Die steel junk because it doesn't have the shock resistance of a tool or shock steel, or red hardness of a HSS steel is a disservice. It's like asking if a truck or a car is better. At times, either one might be. My groupings are mine and for cutlery use only which itself has definitions as well due to my idea of what a knife should be expected to do, or not have to do.

Typically here people weigh heavily on abrasive wear resistance in deciding if a steel is "super" in their opinion That is only one attribute of steels.
 
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Lines can't be drawn, because they change.
A super steel is anything that somebody thinks is better than last years super steel.
Airy fairy as the fashion industry, not worthy of a line.

Precisely. There's no line. Look. When 440C was new, it was a super steel. You have been here since February, BluesBender. Hang around a while and soon enough all the steels that are "super" today won't be. Its pure marketing, newness,and sexiness. New hotness.
 

Ankerson

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In my mind, yes subjectively, I can't but help categorizing steels into groupings in order to help me keep track of the steels performance, rarity, cost,etc. There are literally hundreds of steels which can be used by cutlers and this helps me. I use three categories personally.

Base line steels. Ie: 8C, 440A, 6A, 8A, 420HC

next are Premium steels: 154cm, s30V, 3V, BG42, etc: on up to about the Elmax/M390 level. Most seem to disagree here and count M390 and cousins as " Super", but with me, super steels begin with:

"super"premium: 440V/S60, 420V/S90V, S110V, 11V ( including 10V, K390, K294, etc), on up. I have had two knives in S125V , including one at rc 65 and find it a Super premium steel, but not to my preference. I find the wear goes up, and the steel gets weaker/chippy-er enough to lose my desire to own steels much above the 10V range personally.

Some steels can be in two categories of mine. CPM M4 is an example. At rc 58-59 it's a premium steel, but it doesn't come into it's own until run hotter, harder, and thinner. Try it at Rc 59 then again at Rc 63 or above and you see how it can act like a different steel entirely.

There again, to make it short it's subjective and a made up class. Call up a steel supplier and ask for a list of their super steels and see how they react. :)

Note there are no "junk" steels, or "better" or "worse" unless it's just talking about an attribute of a steel, such as "Which steel has better corrosion resistance, 440c or 1095?" Steels are designed to do jobs and are typically good at what they do. To call a Die steel junk because it doesn't have the shock resistance of a tool or shock steel, or red hardness of a HSS steel is a disservice. It's like asking if a truck or a car is better. At times, either one might be. My groupings are mine and for cutlery use only which itself has definitions as well due to my idea of what a knife should be expected to do, or not have to do.

Typically here people weigh heavily on abrasive wear resistance in deciding if a steel is "super" in their opinion That is only one attribute of steels.


I agree.

Personally I think we are as good as it's going to get as far as edge retention goes in steels with the current technology with the A11 Class steels and CPM S110V in stainless.
 
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I believe "super steel" is a phrase used because "cutting edge steel" would be confusing. Might as well say "new hotness".
 

Ankerson

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I believe "super steel" is a phrase used because "cutting edge steel" would be confusing. Might as well say "new hotness".

Most of them have been around for along time, just used in other parts of the industry..
 
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Lines can't be drawn, because they change.
A super steel is anything that somebody thinks is better than last years super steel.
Airy fairy as the fashion industry, not worthy of a line.

This^^^^

Basically, marketing blab.

Think 'Tactical' knife.

It raises the price and sells knives. Yes, there can be benefits, but usually they come with drawbacks, so it's up to you to figure out what you're doing with your knife and not get too caught up in the hype.
Do your homework.

I would say that for 99% of users, CPM154 is as 'super' of a steel that you will ever need if corrosion resistance is a big deal, and that you will be able to put a good edge on when it dulls....

It's too bad that besides D2, steel's like 52100 and 1095 are so under used in production knives. Ya they will patina, but with minimal care, they will be fine. The edge you can put on those steels with minimum effort is worth it.
 

Ankerson

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This^^^^

Basically, marketing blab.

Think 'Tactical' knife.

It raises the price and sells knives. Yes, there can be benefits, but usually they come with drawbacks, so it's up to you to figure out what you're doing with your knife and not get too caught up in the hype.
Do your homework.

I would say that for 99% of users, CPM154 is as 'super' of a steel that you will ever need if corrosion resistance is a big deal, and that you will be able to put a good edge on when it dulls....

It's too bad that besides D2, steel's like 52100 and 1095 are so under used in production knives. Ya they will patina, but with minimal care, they will be fine. The edge you can put on those steels with minimum effort is worth it.


1095 is one of the most used steels in production knives today..... LOL
 

Twindog

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The term "super steel" is a casual term that doesn't have a precise definition; its definition varies with the person using the term, and even then most people who use the term won't have a precise definition of what they mean, just a general sense.

The term is further complicated because knife steels have multiple characteristics -- toughness (resistance to chipping and cracking), strength (resistance to rolling and other deformation), stain resistance and wear resistance being the most common -- with some having an inverse correlation with another.

Nonetheless, super steels are real. They are not just marketing hype. A2 is a very tough traditional steel. CPM 3V is a much tougher powder steel that still has very good wear resistance, which makes it super in my mind.

D2 is an excellent tool steel, traditional, but still popular in better knives. It has a nice balance of toughness and wear resistance. CPM M4 is a powder steel that is better on both toughness and wear resistance than D2, making it in my mind a super steel. And while D2 has excellent wear resistance for a traditional steel, there are a number of modern steels that are much better for wear resistance, such as S110V, S90V, K390, 10V, etc., making them super in my mind.

So just because the term "super steel" is not precise, the concept is valid. We have lots of steels that are super, depending on the characteristics that you are looking for.
 

EChoil

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It raises the price and sells knives. Yes, there can be benefits, but usually they come with drawbacks, so it's up to you to figure out what you're doing with your knife and not get too caught up in the hype.
Do your homework.

I would say that for 99% of users, CPM154 is as 'super' of a steel that you will ever need if corrosion resistance is a big deal, and that you will be able to put a good edge on when it dulls....

Well put and I agree. One of my favorite blades is CPM154 at 60 Rockwell. I'll never want or need anything 'more,' although I do own knives in the more exotic steels. In those cases, however, the exotic steel didn't enter into the purchasing equation. It was other factors that sold me on those knives.

If I like a knife I'll purchase it regardless of steel. I DO try to stay with a minimum of AUS-8 though.
 

SVTFreak

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The fact is, 99% of the world will never know the difference between steels. Throw in hardness and blade geometry factors, almost any decent steel will be good for anyone.


So it comes to personal preference. A lot of people prefer one or the other because it holds an edge longer or is easier to sharpen. Some people don't like to sharpen, some don't mind
 
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It's a steel that I consider super for my uses.
A few Examples:
H1
S110V
3V
How and what you use your knife for defines what steel works best and therefore the definition of super steel is very subjective.
 
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Super Steel just equals what ever the most modern steels the knife industry is using at the moment, give it 10 - 20 years, those then fall into regular steel pile, and so on. That's the most accurate definition I can figure.
 
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