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Katz XT80 Stainless Steel

May 20, 1999
I saw a Katz knife with remarkable scrimshaw work on the handle. I saw this knife on the cover of "Knives Illustrated". Unfortunately I did not buy and can not find that issue. I wrote the Katz folks. They kindly sent me their catalog and brochure. Katz uses XT80 and XT70 stainless steel for their blades. There is no explanation as to the origin or composition of this steel. I
e-mailed the U.S. distributor with no luck.
I've searched the web and my own reference book shelf. Does anybody know the origin and composition of XT80 or XT70?

I like the looks of the Katz knives photographs. Katz has a custom shop that does beautiful work judging by the "Knives Illustrated" cover. Their non-custom knife prices are comparable with other premium factory made knives. I'd like to know more before parting with my money. I have not seen them at the local knife shows or dealers. What's the group wisdom?

Thanks for your input!
Katz knives are sleepers of sorts, because their line has relatively few designs (though they make the same designs in many sizes), their prices are a tad high, and I understand their distributorship conditions are very difficult (you have to place a HUGE initial order compared to other companies). The knives themselves are absolutely top-notch, though. I and my friends have owned several and I've handled nearly all of them.

I'd take a Kraton-handled Katz fixed-blade over any other Kraton-handled knife I've used, even Cold Steel. Their more upscale knives that have steel guards and pommels with Kraton handles are really fantastic. They have excellent fit-and-finish, and all have some of the nicest blade grinding I've seen in production, courtesy of the Japanese.

I don't know what XT-70 and XT-80 are exactly (though I bet they are just other steels with specialized rolling and / or heat-treatment), but from sharpening and using both I'd guess either AUS-8 and AUS-10, or possibly AUS-6 and AUS-8 respectively (though if it's the latter then they are really doing something good to the performance of these steels). On a 1-10 scale I'd rate them in edge holding / ease of sharpening versus other stainless types (though I haven't played with particle steels much) -
XT-70: 6 / 9
XT-80: 7.5 / 7

That's my own experience with them, anyhow. I currently own an 8" Alley Kat and my girlfriend has the 6" model. It's been a while since I saw any of the others, but I used to play with some of them quite a bit.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)

[This message has been edited by Corduroy (edited 06 June 1999).]