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How true is this?


Well I got into some heavy duty cutting. I am restoring a house which has a lot of dry rot in the eves. Without thinking I took out S&W SWAT folder and went at it. I was shocked
at how effective it was, since I had been sawing and chiseling.

After dulling the blade, I went to my knife collection and got the other knives I own. I have a Buck, Gerber LMF, and a 150 OT.

Back to the wood work. I quickly found the plane steel 150 OT, it appears to be just carbon steel, flat ground cheapo blade out cut the others by a wide margin. The edge
lasted longer, the SST knives seemed really too soft to hold up long under sustained cutting.

So there is something to better steel makes better knives, but is carbon steel that much superior to the low end stainless steels?

Or is it just for wood that the difference is so great?

It really is that simple ... stainless steel sucks! I have alot of stainless steel knives because that's the only way they come. But, after noticing things like you've noticed many times, I generally prefer regular carbon steel blades. It's sad that the blade of a $20 carbon steel Schrade will outperform the blade on many $100 knives but, it's true.

Yeah, I know "there are many other considerations" blah, blah, blah ...


[This message has been edited by Bernie (edited 10 February 1999).]
Yeah, carbon steel does outlast stainless when it comes to edge holding. Cold Steel has some good comments on the difference between carbon and stainless on its website (www.coldsteel.com, I think). All my wood carving chisels are carbon steel. I understand that some of the Swedes and Norwegian knifemakers (see ragweedforge.com and chaicutlery.com) think that their laminated stainless blades as well as some of the other stainless steels are superior to carbon, but I've never tried one.

It ain't quite that simple.
There are some pretty good stainless steels around....ATS34 isn't too bad. BG42 is very good.
And, until a few months ago, 440C was ok. But something that I do not understand happened and it became rat droppings, overnight.(editted for the sake of decency)

And some carbon steels are not all that good, either.

Anyway.....sweeping statements will, generally, get you in trouble.

Brian W E
ICQ #21525343

[This message has been edited by brian w edginton (edited 11 February 1999).]
More info...

When you are a newbie, broad is all you know.

OK, so if it isn't this simple, I ran another test with rope. The result was the same, the 150 OT Schrade outdid the others again.

Mow I had always carried around a Buck folder because it didn't rust. But now I am finding, much by accident, it doesn't cut as well. Maybe this is why I carried the old boker for so long when I was a younger one.

Since I don't know anything about knives, this may be a non-starter issue. But I can tell you from woodworking use, nothing beats a Sheffield steel chisel for edge-holding and cutting ability ... for the money you spend. Looks to me you have to pay a whole lot more to get a stainless knife(made out of bg42 or some such) which may be as good as what you get in a $20 Walmart knife when it comes to edge holding and cutting.

Is m2 the end all carbon steel that I have heard it is? Where does O1 live in the world of knives from practical experiences?

Might be old hat to some, but it is new to me. Just never paid it much attention before coming over to this forum.

Bill, there are some stainless steels that can take a very fine edge and hold it for a long time, for example the CPM steels. But in general, if you buy a cheap high carbon steel knife (I think James Mattis sells some dirt cheap fixed blades) you will find it can out cut many much more expensive stainless blades.

You can get combinations though, for example D2 is a tool steel which has a high amount of carbon, but is also fairly stainless as it contains a good deal of chromium. It takes a good edge and holds it for a long time.

I, too, have a S&W SWAT. I ended up completely reprofling the edge with an EZLap diamond hone.
After ending up (quite by accident, as my hand held sharpening talents are not to precise) with a rolled edge, it now kicks some serious booty cutting wise.
(By rolled edge I mean that when you look down the edge, instead of conventional angles, the blade just kind of "rolls" from the flat to the edge. That is the correct term, isn't it? But I digress- after the suprising job the S&W did after this hand job [get your minds outta the gutter
] I did this to a couple of other kitchen knives and the mainblade of my Gerber multi-pliers- WOW!)
I think that edge geometry/ grind and type of edge "finish" mean a lot. The factory edge on the S&W was very polished (shaved hair *really* good, but wouldn't cut cardbord for crap) but is now a little toothier. BTW, it now cuts like a fiend- tried to shave some arm hair, and cut myself a couple of times. Wife laughed her posterior off....

There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved
through a suitable application of high explosives.

[This message has been edited by Christian (edited 11 February 1999).]
The heat treatment meens much more than the kind of steel used. Even a good tool steel will suck with a bad heat treat.

For edge holding the Schrade Old Timers are a real bargain. They can hold their own with the best of them.
At my favorite Sushi bar (Pink Godzilla), the son (Yoshi) of the head dude -itame?- (Mistu)
drives him crazy by using a $20 carbon steel knife that he bought at a local Safeway, instead of one of his "inherited" Japanese sushi knives.

Yoshi says it cuts just as well, holds its edge almost as long, is just as easy to sharpen, and he doesn't "worry" about it, like he would one of the "inherited" knives. I say more power to him, but his Dad still shakes his head.
amen to db's comment....steel type, heat treat, blade grind, edge grind, degree of edge polish. all of these are factored into the cutting ability of a knife...granted some steels work wwwwwwwwwaaaayyyyyy bettter than others...i am using bg 42 and 440v exclusively...want to try some 420v but phil wilson charges $40 PER BLADE for heat treat, you get what you pay for...in hawaii simple steels may cut well but the humidity and salt air make them a no go...d2 is great, but it rusts easily here......