New Spyderco-Exclusive Steel CPM SPY27

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Larrin, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    Here’s my take on this.
    First, it looks like a good steel on paper. Right in the zone of all the steels I like and appreciate.

    So some are asking why.

    My guess is from my own perspective. If I own a knife company I would love nothing more than to be able to make my knives with my steel. A usa made knife made on my machines in my factory with my steel.
    Heirphoto likes this.
  2. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    This so far feels to me like a bunch for folks with zero experience with a particular steel (and some who will never buy one of these knives to use) moaning about it not being "super" enough for them.
  3. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 22, 2014
    No, you can do some research on price per lbs for a full sheet, also cost is even higher for small pieces costing up to twice as much as M390 for small bars from suppliers

    Vanax costs even more than the New higher alloyed M398
    Vancron costs even more than Vanax.

    [email protected]
    You can email Andy here for prices on Vanax
    [email protected]
    You can email Melissa here for prices on M390.

    ShannonSteelLabs likes this.
  4. tyyreaun

    tyyreaun Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2017
    You may want to check with Alpha Knife Supply, then - they have Vanax at maybe 25% more than M390, when comparing bars of similar overall size.

    Yes, that's with multiple markups due to distribution and re-distribution, but it also gives you an upper limit on what it would cost Spyderco to source Vanax - I'm sure they could get it for a lot less at volume. I'd say $20 maximum per blade, which isn't a lot.

    Assuming the machining cost on M390 and Vanax is similar, if DLT can sell the the PM2 in M390 at $160, and sell out multiple runs easily, then a $180 PM2 Vanax should be both doable and profitable - assuming they can source enough Vanax to make it worthwhile.

    For machining costs, the custom makers I speak with who work with Vanax haven't said anything bad about it, so I can't imagine the incremental cost in labor and consumables would be an issue.

    Edited to add: note, I'm talking about folders here. If you need to add 5" of steel for a tang, of course the math changes quickly.

    Second edit: also note I'm not suggesting Spyderco should absolutely go out and make a Vanax PM2. I'd love one, but I don't know if Vanax has enough recognition yet for people to understand why it's so awesome. It's one thing to release Maxamet knives marketed as "68 HRC OMG!", but Vanax at a mass-produced 58-60 HRC may be a harder sell, at least outside the BF community.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
    DeadboxHero likes this.
  5. hardheart


    Sep 19, 2001
    I like to consider the scale of production and what steels are actually used by most people.

    Victorinox makes 45,000 knives a day, with 1.4110 steel blades.

    Not sure the alloys used by Dexter Russell, but they hold 400-500,000 lbs of steel in inventory, and not much niobium or cobalt is in that 200 tons, I'd guess.

    I still like having my 15V, Rex 121, and S125V blades, but I recognize the insignificance of my wants (certainly not needs)
    FortyTwoBlades, nsm, Natlek and 3 others like this.
  6. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Assuming. We know what that means.
  7. John Dough

    John Dough

    Mar 22, 2019
    As always it boils down to how good the tempering's gonna be and how they grind it... there are so many spoiled "supersteel" knives out there.

    But hey, it's Spyderco... so there's hope they gonna do it right
  8. superpog

    superpog Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 9, 2019
    Up vote for any new stainless steel! No matter it brings whole new set of properties or just a small improvement. It may or may not impress me personally, but it will broaden our selection and create new potentials.

    Up vote for Spyderco too! They actively trying/creating new steels and put to production, that brings vitality to the community. As long as they keep doing this, I can guarantee I will buy their products every year.

    BITEME Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 14, 2007
    Yeah thats true,but who wants to go to the Daytona 500 to watch a Ford Escort race a Dodge Omni
    tyyreaun and Ben Dover like this.
  10. insta9ves


    Apr 3, 2007
    By that logic Spyderco should use ceramic or tungsten carbide and call it a day.
  11. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    Sir, you definitely have very similar tastes to mine.
    I have two blades made by Farid of CPM Rex 121, and a Spyderco made of Maxamet. I also have a Spyderco made of K390 and several of Cpm S90V

    Those are my pride and joy. As you pointed out, they're not for everyone, but they approach perfection for me and what I use knives for.

    (Now, if I could just convince Benchmade to reintroduce the 610 Rukus, and make the blade of Rex 121, S125V, K390 or maxamet at 68-70 HRC....:thumbsup::):thumbsup:)
  12. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 22, 2014
    I'm just happy to see so much love for high wear resistant steels. :D
    It's certainly more difficult to make thin blades out of so it's nice to see some love for it.

    Don't forget CPM 15v ;)

    ShannonSteelLabs and Ben Dover like this.
  13. Mrs_Esterhouse


    Apr 9, 2019
    The stainless gold standard is S30V and is rapidly moving towards M390. If a new stainless can't outperform either, I just don't get its purpose other than the purpose of cost-cutting or budget knife production.
    patrickguignot likes this.
  14. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 22, 2014
    Use your imagination, the idea is that it can run thinner and less prone to rolling and chipping with thinner edge. Geometry is what cuts after all.

    I'm excited get a Para 3 lw to try it out.

    steff27 and Eli Chaps like this.
  15. patrickguignot


    Sep 10, 2015
    Do you seriously think Spyderco will change the geometry of the Para 2 blade (grind, edge) in order to perfectly exploit the new steel?
    Of course not. They will just sell a standard Para 2 with the new steel, that's all. It will not be thinner.

    And if the geometry does not change then perhaps another stainless steel (M390) is a better choice ?
    marrenmiller and kreole like this.
  16. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 22, 2014
    Well the user is in full control of the edge Geometry, degrees of angle and flat vs Convex. Lower flatter angles cut more, thicker convex edges are more durable.

    On paper M390 seemed to be the top dog for production knives. Yet it didn't add up always.

    Some backstory.

    2019 a group of testers came together to try to and understand why they were all getting low numbers for their cut testing with what should be superior steel. They noticed the edge retention was dismal to S30v etc. They then sought further testing, They were able to get the knives HRC tested and noticed low Rockwell values and caused quite an upset in the community.

    After they were dismissed for being "BroScience" they find raised money to send out production knives for more Scientific testing to CATRA in the UK. Three folders in M390 and a one in S30v for control. All the m390 was from different companies and hardness from 58-62rc

    Well, the CATRA showed that when the HRC was low on the M390 (58rc) it underperformed S30v (61rc) that was slightly harder.

    Even though s30v has a lower total volume of carbide. M390 is mostly chromium carbide (17.5%) and less volume of the more effective Vanadium carbide (2.5%)
    Compared to S30v (10.5%) chromium carbides and (4%) Vanadium Carbides

    When the M390 was at the same hardness as S30V, M390 cut more.

    M390 is not like S90v which can cut longer at slightly lower HRC in controlled wear cut testing since it has more of the harder Vanadium Carbides (9%) and (13%) chromium carbides.

    Yet, folks love M390 and many claim it sharpens better and holds a longer edge for them real world vs S30v. Could be a mix of placebo or the fact that it just gets sharper with THEIR tools and techniques with less Vanadium carbides to cut through to shape the apex. Who knows.

    So I find it silly to dismiss a steel like SPY27. For not having enough carbide volume. How everything works is more complex.

    When you bottom out the hardness on the M390, all that wear resistance on paper didn't add up to edge retention one would expect yet you still get all the detriments of those carbide reducing the edge stability and tougheness. Carbides are tiny hard inclusions in the steel that can promote the edge to be more brittle since they are brittle particles themselves but also serve to act as areas crack initiation. Cracks will connect the dots through the carbides and cause blow out vs lower volume is less prone.

    So high carbide steels under 59rc are the worst of both worlds.

    For example, I wouldn't dare make a custom in Rex 121 at 58 rc to make tougher. At 30% carbide volume toughness is going to suck anyways and the Stability will be bottomed out for impact toughness not edge toughness, matrix is too soft to hold those Carbides so they can resist wear when the matrix that holds them is soft. My point is lower HRC doesn't make something designed for other applications edge tough/stable

    I suppose manufacturers need to stop being scared and bump the hardness and deal with the warranty fall out from those that refuse to use them properly and move those folks to another steel. 3v at 56rc lmao jk but you can see the fundamental problem in the community and it's not just the steel, its the audience too.

    Now some folks can't handle this level of detail and the duality between the different things I'm describing and will think I'm saying Carbides are the devil.


    A steel devoid of Carbides will wear smooth faster even at high 66 HRC and just doesn't have that edge aggression folks like for edge that grab and bite ferociously.

    So in reality, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    If you want the same Edge Retention from high carbide steels you see in controlled testing in real world you need to step your game up, use proper stones and sharpening techniques and use it like a knife, not a toliet wand.

    I've always been one to point out the trade offs involved with carbides and that they are a necessary evil if you want the maximum hardness and cutting retention in a controlled environment. Yet, in the real world, since people are all over the place with sharpening and use, it just doesn't always seem to translate to everyone or everything so it's nice to have options for people.

    Vanax Superclean was supposed to be similar to Elmax in wear resistance on paper. Yet, in real world, it destroys Elmax for people and always tests high in social media cut testing and with users.

    So, there is a lot going here and I'd like if folks could appreciate it.
    Otherwise y'all need to only use s125v and Rex 121 cause In testing nothing out cuts those steels, not even Vanax unless the sharpening isn't good.

    I am okay with that too. I love those steels :D

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  17. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    When reading Larrin's article, I couldn't help but ponder if it was an attempt to get a semi-VG10 like steel from a US maker, but I'm probably over-reading into the cobalt addition. Numerically, it seems like a mashup of S30V and VG10 with added Nb.

    I think it's cool they're trying something like this and I hope it works well for them. I think spyderco is the manufacturer I would trust most with something like this as they seem to be good on HT and try enough different steels to get a good opinion on what works with more than just a literature review and gain their own opinion to go with it.

    Honestly, it doesn't excite me a ton as I enjoy S30V well enough, but I'm all for technological improvements and respect spyderco for getting a proprietary steel designed for them.
  18. Monofletch

    Monofletch Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    It seems to me that the someone at Spyderco is a marketing genius. Now if they can get Nick Shabazz to say how great and wonderful it is they will sell like crazy.
  19. DJC72

    DJC72 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    I like the fact that Spyderco is bringing a new steel to the market. While I’d like to try it out, I’m not sure that I’d pay a premium price for it. Im eager to see how Spyderco utilizes SPY27 in their lineup.
  20. jstn

    jstn Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Well I AM suggesting Spyderco make a Vanax PM2. That would be my grail knife, and I would be willing to pay over $200 for one. I suspect many others would be hppy to as well. Let's make it happen, Sal!
    Seth Green and tyyreaun like this.

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