- Dec 15, 2013
**Hey Gang, I posted this little review/ramble over on the Spyderco forum but I know a lot of folks on here aren't members over there so I thought I would add it over here too. Just my thoughts on one of Spyderco's great new steels.
I first started using lc200n when the Tusk was released and have worked with two other folders and a custom fixed blade since then. I have worked the steel really hard in my kayak over the last year and have formed what I think are some halfway educated opinions about its performance. I doubt it comes as a surprise that I like this steel for my saltwater work. It has proven itself to be 100% corrosion proof like H1 but shows much better edge retention in plain edge. What has surprised me a bit though is how much I have come to enjoy it as a regular "edc" steel.
I thought I would start a thread about how this steel has made it onto my favorites list and share a little bit about the "why". We all have different tasks, different ways of using our knives, different sharpening routines and all of those things affect what we like in a steel. For my use and sharpening, I've found this steel to work quite well.
Lets start with sharpening because I think this gets overlooked a lot when we talk about what kinds of steels we like. If it does get included we often only look at how hard a steel is to grind and leave it at that. For me, other characteristics are important, including what type of edge a steel will take (with my sharpening protocol) and the idea of how often I sharpen. I really like the edge I get out of lc200n. I find that not only is it easy to grind and profile, but the steel will get very sharp, almost effortlessly, and takes a VERY toothy microbevel...notably more aggressive than some of the other steels that are popular these days. That's a biggie for me since I finish most of my edges in the 1000-1200 range.
Another reason that I like this steel is because I sharpen early and often. That means that extreme wear resistance is not a big deal to me and I will trade ease of sharpening for lower sharpness edge retention in most knives. Now, that works for me because I don't find myself in situations where I HAVE to use my knife for extended periods of time without access to a sharpener. If I did then I might favor some of the higher Vanadium steels but for my use and sharpening a steel like lc200n works very well.
Edge retention on this steel (sorry Bodog, that's as specific as I'm going to get ) has proven to be more than adequate given the way I use and sharpen. I have a knife I keep on my kayak that will often clean 20-30 fish between sharpenings and will still shave arm hair when its time for a touchup. That's good enough for me. The steel does have some weaknesses though. I find a lack of strength compared to some other modern steels one of them. The result is that sometimes I will get very fast dulling due to microscopic apex deformation. This usually happens when I am cutting into an irregularly shaped or very hard surface that is putting lateral stresses on the edge. This can cause very quick dulling of ANY steel but I find lc200n lags a bit behind the more common stainless steels used today. I would note though that is is still WAY ahead of H1 in this area.
So there ya go. Spyderco is using a steel that is a very capable performer with good toughness that takes an amazing edge (both coarse and polished) with very little effort. As if that weren't enough, it is fully rust proof. I know a lot of folks love the high carbide steels that will cut and cut and some folks really need that kind of steel for the work they do. But if you are anything like me and like to touch your edge up often and keep your knife at very high levels of sharpness then you might find yourself really enjoying this steel. I certainly am, whether it be in the kayak or just normal everyday use.