Graduating to better steels

Joined
Jun 17, 2001
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43
I have been a knife user for the last 8 years or so, ever increasingly so in the last 3 and have bought, sold, traded, etc so many brands and styles it's nuts. But after thinking about it for a while mostly everything I have used was a "bread and butter" steel, like 420J, 420HC 440a, and some of the cousins...AUS6A?

Anyways, I have used for short period (very short) a Boa and I like the cpm440v steel. Since then and it's been a long time, I have been wanting to get a better steeled knife, something better than average in performance. I have been a Kershaw man for a while but since I got my SE Calypso Jr. I have been bitten by the syderco bug! I now also own an endura in ats-55 and a blue salsa in AUS-8.

I pretty much since playing with these for a while now have a good understanding of what these steels can do, how long they hold and edge, ease of sharpening, stainless properties, etc. I went for the gusto and got the knife I have been wanting for a while, the Native in CPMS30V. I want feedback help from you guys, wether it be your opinions or plain facts.

How strong is this steel, is it brittle? can I use it like I have used the other steels? how is ease of sharpening. On a stainless scale of 1-10 (10 being best) how does it rate....etc. Right now I am babying this thing afraid of what it can and cannot handle :) Well....this is what you guys are good at, go ahead and gimme what you got.
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2001
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453
I'm new to S30V also but I find it's a great all around steel. I've had no problem sharpening it, in fact I was surprised that it seemed so soft when it's time to sharpen but then so hard when it comes time to use. I've not had any problems with mine being brittle, but I've only come up against bone with mine, nothing harder than that. I have had my S30V Manix stain a bit while butchering a deer. It was just a slight brown stain and it came out fine with a little polish.

I'd also like to hear any tips/info/whatever from everyone else.
 

Ken Cox

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Dec 11, 1998
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I have one of the original Natives in GIN-1.
It holds an edge OK, but its real strength comes from the fact that it will pop right back to razor sharp with a few passes on a sharpening steel; and, it seems totally corrosion resistant.

My experience with S30V comes from my Chinook II.
I don't use this knife for very much.
However, I do carry it inside my waistband while bicycling, as a self defense knife, and it gets very wet.
Surprisingly, I have gotten a few little spots on it, always in the same places.
I suspect the steel had some inclusions in it, which also surprises me, given the particle-process of manufacturing S30V.

S30V looks very good on paper, and I compare it to BG-42.
I think people can make BG-42 harder than S30V, without losing any toughness, but I don't have any real numbers with which to back that up.

I hope Sal will comment on my impressions regarding these two steels.
He studies these things for a living, and has the most sophisticated testing equipment in the industry.
I wonder what his scientific and professional examination of these two steels has revealed to him, that he could share with us.

That said, I think we put too much importance on the steel.
I know I do.
For some reason, though, it really matters to me and I pay premium prices for what the latest hype calls premium steels.
I'd like to see some real numbers.
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2001
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453
Ken Cox said:
That said, I think we put too much importance on the steel.
I know I do.
For some reason, though, it really matters to me and I pay premium prices for what the latest hype calls premium steels.
I'd like to see some real numbers.

Ditto. I imagine I'm guilty of making too many uninformed judgements about steels when I was really judging blade geometry or heat treatment. I have a BM 550 that's given me a real re-education about 440C.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2003
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395
Crucible makes S30V, S60V(440V), and S90V(420V). S30V is the toughest when it comes to the charpy impact tests, by a factor. S30V is a Nitrided Steel therefore very tough. Nitriding was developed for armour plating by Krupp Steel. Powder metallurgy lends itself to this expensive process...Ed
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
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359
nitriding was not developed by krupp first. it is said in the old norse tale of wayland the smith that he forged a sword which was pretty good, but filed the blade and fed the filings to geese. then he reforged the blade from the goose droppings and it was better than the first one. he then repeated this process once more to make an outstanding sword for himself.
there you go, crude nitriding without any sophistication, but well nitriding after all.

Ookami

ps sorry, feeling silly today :D
 

HoB

Joined
May 12, 2004
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2,611
Not silly at all! I find this rather interesting.

S30V-S90V is still not very tough in comparison to the non-stainless steels.
 

Ken Cox

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Joined
Dec 11, 1998
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15,923
Hob wrote:

"S30V-S90V is still not very tough in comparison to the non-stainless steels."

Yes.
Doesn't simple old A2 make all the stainless steels look feeble?

I have an A2 knife made by John Greco that will whittle through a hickory axe handle and not lose its edge.
A knife magazine reviewer punched this same knife through a 55 gallon oil drum without damage to the knife.
Amazing.

I have this thing about corrosion, though.
I carry my knives in my waistband, and they sometimes get sweaty.
Pretty corrosive stuff, that sweat.
My GIN-1 Native has never shown even a hint of corrosion, and that with complete lack of lubrication or any other protection.
I tense up even thinking about a folder made of O-1, A2, L6 or the like, in my waistband and not getting wiped and oiled daily.

I must admit I lust after an L6 dagger.
I could also get very excited about the same dagger in S30V, because of the corrosion resistance.
Always, a trade off.

I'd like to see the same knife made in both S30V and in some complex carbon steel having a low percentage of total non-steel content, such as L6 or W-1 (1.5% carbon, 1.85% made up of seven other substances, and the rest, 96.65%, iron).
How about Hitachi Blue Super Steel?
I never heard of it before seeing it on Spyderco's steel chart.
It sounds exotic. :)
 
Joined
Mar 26, 2002
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The rather thin tip of my Dodo has held up much better than expected - especially considering I often use just the tip to score something, or clip articles from the newspaper. Paper's not so tough, but the tip usually takes a beating from whatever I'm cutting on top of :rolleyes: Not a torture test, but definitely outperforms similar tip geometry on my Delica.
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2004
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I certainly agree with "DavidBinVT" about his opinion on ATS-55. I think most knife ( especially Spyderco) aficionados didn't even fully realize just how good their ATS-55 really was. I have 6 knives made with that steel and they are all great. The Spyderco "Dyad" which is one of my top 5 knives of all time has that steel. Also they made the stainless handled "Native" with a steel that has also never gotten much fanfare known as AUS-10. I have used a lot of AUS-8 but the AUS-10 truly has a toughness and edge holding ability all it's own. I have heard that AUS-10 stock is very expensive. That may be the case with ATS-55 but it earns it's keep in my opinion. I personally use blade steel as a major factor when purchasing any knife. :)
 
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Oct 26, 2000
Messages
6,104
DavidBinVT said:
Anyways, I have used for short period (very short) a Boa and I like the cpm440v steel. Since then and it's been a long time, I have been wanting to get a better steeled knife, something better than average in performance. I have been a Kershaw man for a while but since I got my SE Calypso Jr. I have been bitten by the syderco bug! I now also own an endura in ats-55 and a blue salsa in AUS-8.
.......
How strong is this steel, is it brittle? can I use it like I have used the other steels? how is ease of sharpening. On a stainless scale of 1-10 (10 being best) how does it rate....etc. Right now I am babying this thing afraid of what it can and cannot handle :) Well....this is what you guys are good at, go ahead and gimme what you got.
No need to baby it. It is tougher, and will hold an edge longer than the other steels you list. I would say stain resistance is in the ballpark of AUS-8. I've got a bunch of knives in S30V. Had it show some rust after leaving a fixed blade overnight in a kydex sheath after making sure it was soaked with sweat. Did the same with an ATS-34 blade that had a higher polish, and it had more rust than the S30V blade. It was just small spots of surface rust, and wiped off with a rag. Stain resistance shouldn't be a problem with minimal care.


I read what I just typed and thought "I sure do some weird stuff to my knives" :rolleyes:
 
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