Even “better” blade steels?

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In terms of blade steels, do you think we’ve peaked or will we see better steels 50, 100 years down the road? I.e., more toughness, wear resistance, corrosion resistance (although LC200N is already pretty impressive). If I had to guess right now, I think we’ll see incremental improvements rather than drastic upgrades, although we might be surprised.
 

MyLegsAreOk

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New steels will come out every couple of years or so. There's demand for steels in the manufacturing industry that would highly benefit of new steels, as are blades for the food industry. It will always get better and better, but costlier and costlier. Eventually will move to ceramic blades though, it's getting crazy what ceramics do.

I wouldn't worry about that though, we're coming to grim grim biblical times soon with Great Reset and China Rising.
 

EngrSorenson

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I think we’re going to reach a point where you can’t improve anymore- just trade off attributes. We’re kind of there already. There are generally better and lesser steels, but there are some we go to for toughness, and others for edge retention- it all depends on what you need it for. For instance, Victorinox makes a great knife with inexpensive steel that takes a great edge fast... and loses it fast. In the case of SAKs: affordable stainless that takes a keen edge.

There will be improvements, I’m sure, but I suspect we’ve discovered the 90% answer and the rest of our lives people will be trying to squeeze out that remaining 10%.
 
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In terms of blade steels, do you think we’ve peaked or will we see better steels 50, 100 years down the road?

I don't know about 100 years down the road...but if you are a knifesteelnerds.com patron you can read the articles about the new secret steel from Larrin. And it's impressive.
A 4V like steel but stainless.
 
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I bought his book, shouldn't that count as being a patron? ;D

I'm looking forward to hearing more
 

barleywino

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not2sharp

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“Better” in what way?

I am not convinced that we have a straight line progression. Steels are developed for very specific applications, and whatever new balance is struck usually involves a real compromise. The crucible steels of the last century were often excellent cutlery steels, the production methods change in order to change the magnitude of manufacture, not the quality.

To a large extent steel is steel, we can shift it around, but we are not likely to see a major paradigm shift.

n2s
 
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“Better” in what way?

I am not convinced that we have a straight line progression. Steels are developed for very specific applications, and whatever new balance is struck usually involves a real compromise. The crucible steels of the last century were often excellent cutlery steels, the production methods change in order to change the magnitude of manufacture, not the quality.

To a large extent steel is steel, we can shift it around, but we are not likely to see a major paradigm shift.

n2s
Well said. I don’t think a great sea change will happen as well, but who knows. Perhaps future knife nuts won’t even need to touch a sharpener in their lifetime. :D
 

Larrin

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Powder metallurgy (gas atomized and HIPed) technology was the last big breakthrough in tool steels used for knives. That is a technology designed for performance not mass production. That was connected with design breakthroughs over the following 20-30 years utilizing microstructures of only vanadium carbide, which didn’t work all that well with conventional steels but hit new levels of toughness-wear resistance balance for PM.

There are avenues to explore for new levels of corrosion resistance and hardness combined together, Vanax and LC200N are limited to about 60-61 Rc even with cryo heat treating, and even if some specialized heat treatment were used to get a point higher that wouldn’t be mainstream. And PM stainless steels can be designed to match the properties of non-stainless through designs that eliminate chromium carbides and only have vanadium carbides. Frankly the steel companies don’t seem that interested in pushing the boundaries of stainless tool steels that much, not enough money there.

As for tungsten carbide knives, that is just trading toughness for wear resistance.
 
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jstn

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Where I see improvements coming is in personal sharpening equipment. Something computerized that you just input your desired edge and insert the knife and and you retrieve it it has the desired edge. That would be awesome for guys like me who kind of suck at sharpening.
 

soc_monki

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Well that's a very broad swath of time, are we referring to a particular era referenced in the Bible?

Please don't feed the troll! Haha

As for knife steel, of course we'll continue to see new steels developed. S45 was just made, and while it's not brand new (just a refinement of the s30/s35 line) I'm sure new formulations and further modifications of existing steels will happen.

Humans usually aren't content with good enough. Someone is always trying to improve what we have.
 
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I think the primary areas that we are likely to see improvements over the next several years will be user servicability. We have some truly impressive steels at our disposal right now, but the trade off that we suffer with many of these steels is that they are often a pain to sharpen. M4, S90V, S110V and others can be incredible for edge retention for everyday cutting chores and only really require a single sharpening job every few months even with moderately hard use. The problem is: that one sharpening job is going to need to get done with expensive diamond or CBN stones that are often not in house for the average knife owner.

We are seeing this happen at the edges. S30V has since given way to S35VN which is a far easier steel to sharpen with very little compromise in edge retention. Then there is the more recent SPY27 that has gotten only rudimentary testing to my knowledge at the writing of this post but it has been billed as a steel that sharpens like a budget steel but performs like a PM steel in cutting and edge retention. If that is anywhere close to true it is going to sell like hot cakes and that will be the direction that we see pocket knife steels go in the future.
 

Glenn Goodlett

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I'm still waiting on my flying car that I was promised by the year 2000 when I was in elementary school. The future is a difficult thing to predict. Metallurgy is a science thought to be well understood, but, we undoubtedly don't know everything.

Dr. Thomas' book is a great place to learn more.
 
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