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How good is Benchmade's S30V compared to their harder-rated D2 and 154CM?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by cotdt, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    Benchmade's S30V has HRC 58 which seems a bit soft to me. I'm used to using VG-10 at HRC 62 and SGPS (very similar to S30V) also at HRC 62, with acute angles and no chipping problems.

    I was wondering if I re-heat treat Benchmade's S30V to something like HRC 62, would the blade still be relatively tough and chip-resistant?

    How would you guys rate Benchmade's S30V? What is the optimal hardness for S30V for cutting (no chopping)?
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  2. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    What is the hardest S30V blade that people have used?
  3. ar0maticdecay


    Jun 1, 2009
  4. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    Good point, but there is a huge performance difference between 58 and 61. Benchmade's S30V is 58 HRC, which seems soft to me, though I've never used it. Thinking of buying it, but there is also the D2 version which is harder.

    All my knives are at least 62 HRC, except for a couple of 154CM at 60. For example, Fallkniven's SGPS is extremely similar to S30V in composition yet it is hardened to 62. These knives have amazing edge retention, get wonderfully sharp, and never chipped in my use. S30V is more or less the same steel as SGPS, yet it is typically only hardened to 58? Why?

    Would S30V at 58 outperform 154CM/VG10/D2 at 60 (2 points higher)?
  5. Josh K

    Josh K Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    Because it works better at 58 then SGPS at 62.

    What knives do you own that are all at least 62 Rc?
  6. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    Considering that S30V has nearly the same composition as SGPS, both being powder steels, with SGPS having finer grain structure and higher edge stability, I find it hard to beleive that S30V beats out the SGPS for cutting purposes. I never used Benchmade's S30V but I remain skeptical based on my past experience with soft knives.

    My new ZDP-189 (Spyderco Mule) is HRC 65, I have CPM-M4 at around 63-64, a 1095 at HRC 65, A2 at 63, VG-10 at 62, SGPS at 62. All of them have acute angles on them, there have not been any chipping problems despite the high hardness. High hardness makes sharpening easier on my particular sharpening equipment, allows more acute blade angles, and 30% better edge retention with each point increase in hardness.
  7. Josh K

    Josh K Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    S30V has double the Vanadium of SGPS.
  8. ar0maticdecay


    Jun 1, 2009
    hardness doesn't always tell the story of how a steel will perform. are u cutting on soft or hard surfaces? toughness, edge retention, strength will vary when the blade gets harder. some stats for the better some get worse as the blade gets harder. look at a steel like infi. that's around 58-59 i think and it can take a beating. go cut something harder with zdp 189 at a high hardness and u will prob gets chips. there is always a take off.

    now if i had my choice of steels it would be Adamantium.
  9. DennisStrickland

    DennisStrickland Banned BANNED

    Jun 24, 2009
    wear resistance at a lower rockwell sometime will give longer edge holding.van.carbides in the right alloy will rate the highest on r.r. hardness than any other element.all things being equal;i've never seen a s.s. steel that will outcut high carbon.the custom makers i've met recentally rate cpm m4 the top dog.they said you can grind it so thin and it won't chip.cutting contestants in the majority use carbon c.p.m. m4.
  10. Josh K

    Josh K Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    All good steels are "high carbon." There is a difference between simple carbon (10XX) simple alloy carbon (52XXX), high alloy (varies), and stainless. Some stainless steels (ZDP-189) contain little else besides chromium and carbon, they could be classified as simple stainless.

    I believe what you're trying to say is that very few stainless steels will outcut nonstainless steels. I think that S90V is a good match up for M4. Quite stainless too.
  11. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    The ZDP-189 does have a lot of alloys, like molybdenum and tungsten, but how much is kept secret. It's a high alloy steel in any case. The Japs don't believe in vanadium though, because they make knives difficult to acheive high hardness.

    The CPM-M4 is my favorite steel so far, but there are so many blades that I want to get, which all still use the "standard" steels like S30V at 58 HRC.
  12. Josh K

    Josh K Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    ZDP has at least two other alloys, but in minute amounts.

    Spyderco's S30V work is in a tight 59-60 range IIRC.
  13. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    I'm looking at Hitachi's chart:


    Mathematically, I don't see how they can put so much carbon in a steel and only have 20% chromium, as all the chromium would be used up as carbides and then some, so it wouldn't be stainless at all. I'm thinking that the amounts of Mo and W would be pretty significant.

    I wish other companies would use as high a hardness as Spyderco does. I love my Mules.
  14. Josh K

    Josh K Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    Again, IIRC Sal said that because the Mule team knives were very specialized (afi's only mostly) they could run them up very hard. Like you mentioned the ZDP Mule is about 65 Rc.
  15. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    I find my SGPS better than my S30V [Sebenza].
  16. Josh K

    Josh K Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    If the U2 (I'm assuming that's what it is) is hardened up to 62 and the Sebenza is around 56 (55-57) then I wouldn't be surprised.
  17. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    I found my Dozier D2 to be tougher and cut longer than my S30V as well. I decided to go with D2 but then I realized that Benchmade only made the knife in S30V. Maybe I will wait for the S35VN version instead.

    My U2 scratches so easily I somehow doubt it's 62 rc.
  18. Skimo


    Mar 28, 2009
    I can only tell you what I know about BM s30v, it feels "greasy" while being sharpened and take an edge very well at ~13 degrees per side.

    an example would be me making curly cues of coke cans after finishing it at 1000 grit on my edge pro, it'll damage the blade, harder ma have made it chip or it may have made the edge take less damage.

    My question is do you plan on going lower than 26 degrees inclusive and if you do do you plan on abusing it? Are you looking for longer edge retention?
  19. J_Curd

    J_Curd Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    For a specific answer, it is tougher. Also, its impossible to evaluate those steels at identical RC levels...not all are made for that range.

    I really love the 154CM from Benchmade. It is a fine balance of structure, hardness, and toughness, while being flexible enough to prevent failure. You can get the CPM154 from Kershaw sharper, but it its a bit hard and tougher but less flexible.

    S30V over 58 RC is prone to chipping and breakage in my use. However not all S30V is "soft"...Buck Bos treated S30V is A MAZE ING. From Buck, super hard, super tough, and a bit brittle.

    Hardness is irrelevent unless you consider toughness AND flexibility.

    Before anyone takes RC seriously, get the ability to test it yourself. Advertising means nothing without checks and balances.

    I personally have never seen two steels, of similar composition, have "finer edge grain structure and higher edge stability" at the same hardness. You lose something to gain more in other areas.

    I found the Sebenza to much harder than 56RC..actually in the 59 range, and on the borderline of rock hard vs. brittle.

    Scratching on steel isnt relevant to hardness. You must consider toughness/flexability.

    That "greasiness" is fine grain structure and fine composition, coupled with a consistent heat treat, and a balance of toughness during temper.
  20. The Mastiff

    The Mastiff

    Apr 21, 2006
    The scratching on the U2 comes from the soft 420J cladding ( VG2 on the other SG blades they make, which is why it's called 3G instead of "SGPS" like on the U2). VG2+ SG1 = 3G ( maybe SG2, they are close. Falkniven doesn't say which super gold they use do they? They call it SPGS=Super Gold Powder Steel) Takefu steel catalog: http://www.e-tokko.com/eng_original_list.htm

    Kershaw is the one that uses and calls it SG2 if I'm not mistaken. Recall there is a Super gold 1 and 2.

    Example, TK4 from Falkniven website:
    Note: thay have changed it. They used to say it was laminated with 420J
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009

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