New Spyderco-Exclusive Steel CPM SPY27

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


    BITEME Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 14, 2007
    I love 14c28n,bdz1,13c26,and even 12c27-but if we are talking making your own variation why do something that is so close to cpm154 ?from the info I am reading anyhow-in the end I will probably pick up this variant just to satisfy my curiosity,btw have you seen the other offerings for 2020 very nice!!

    BITEME Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 14, 2007
    I always love your contribution to the Forums and YT ,its easy to be critical if your not the one doing the nuts and bolts of things Spyderco has and is doing great things so you have to give them props for sure.
    DeadboxHero and abbazaba like this.
  3. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    A question for DeadboxHero, Larrin, or whomsoever else can answer.

    A few years ago, K390 was billed as the steel that was as far superior to S90V as S90 was to S30v.

    Then it seemed to disappear.

    Any thoughts????
  4. Larrin

    Larrin KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 17, 2004
    K390 is in the same class as 10V, it's not really an alternative to S90V. Bohler says that K390 has superior toughness to 10V. Uddeholm says the same about their Vanadis 8. It hasn't shown up much because Bohler doesn't push it in knives, so only when companies take the initiative to get it do you see it.
    Ben Dover and marrenmiller like this.
  5. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    Thanks, Larrin.

    I remember Phil Wilson was making fixed blades from K390 a few years ago, but I do not recall anyone else using it, other than a few mules from Spyderco.

    I bought a Spyderco Mule and was a bit disappointed. It has edge retention similar to S90V. I expected a quantum leap over S90V. I must wonder if Spyderdo's heat treatment was less than optimal for the steel.
  6. Larrin

    Larrin KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 17, 2004
    In terms of edge retention I would expect similar performance between S90V, K390, and 10V. A Phil Wilson custom would be better due to thinner geometry and probably higher hardness.
  7. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    VG10 used to be super. Now it's common. Chasing an "ultimate" super steel in a production knife is a fool's errand.

    There will always be something more super coming soon. Finding a good working steel on a production knife that suits you is a realistic goal. For me that's been M4 in a tool or carbon steel and LC200N in stainless.

    If you must have a bleeding edge super steel blade for bragging rights then a custom blade is the smartest choice.
    MarkN86 likes this.
  8. MarkN86


    Sep 3, 2012
    Based on my experiences I feel like balance is the way to go for a general use every day knife, that's why I gravitate to VG10, 154CM, or S30V. It's not bad news to me at all that this new steel falls somewhere in that range. Obviously you want it to hold an edge, but no matter what it's made of if you hit something of sufficient hardness concealed in the material you are cutting it's going to dull. If you can resharpen on a flat rock you'll have an edge no matter what, but that becomes difficult on some of these higher carbide steels. I think there's a place for steels on both ends of the spectrum, just depends on what you are doing with it. I've stopped trying to scratch the itch for better, you can spend a lot of money for a 1% improvement.
  9. Larrin

    Larrin KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 17, 2004
    I don't think anyone has called the SPY27 the ultimate super steel.
    Ben Dover likes this.
  10. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    No their issue is that the maker isn't using K390 as a regular production steel because it's so hot right now.

    But then overnight K390 will be cold product and it'll some other latest and greatest thing.
  11. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Triple B Handmade, Custom Knives

    Mar 22, 2014
    Thats totally fine, there are hundreds of really cool steels not being used because they are not known or available.

    Variety is the spice of life after all.

    Perhaps it will help folks get a better understanding of how these steels work for knives and what they like best.

    tyyreaun and Ben Dover like this.
  12. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Yeah maybe but it all feels a bit Facebook to me. You know the groups of let's say "less seasoned' users who focus on flipping knives and taking pictures of EDC gear and like to have measuring contests of the best 3V knife out there chasing the latest trend on Instagram. Folks who like to boast about the number of vouches they have.

    They're not trying to learn anything. They're trying to use the social media pulpit and mob mentality to get what they want. But what they want is either unrealistic or just plain dumb.
    DeadboxHero likes this.
  13. skyhorse

    skyhorse Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    As I've explored many of these new super steels 154 in both flavors is still one of my very favorites.
    matt009au and DeadboxHero like this.
  14. tyyreaun

    tyyreaun Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2017
    Not sure how many people here would be familiar with the concept of the Production Possibilities Frontier. Basically speaking, with a specified set of technologies, there's a certain curve that represents the state of the art you can achieve, given tradeoffs between two or more factors. E.g., you can make a cheaper car by removing horsepower, or you can make a more powerful car that's more expensive, but you can't improve one factor without a tradeoff in the other, unless you invent a new technology that shifts the entire curve (for example: more efficient engine, or electric vehicles).

    I like to use that concept when thinking of steels. Within the state of the art, we can get a highly wear resistant steel at the cost of toughness, or a very tough steel at the cost of wear resistance - or something that balances the two. You can make it a three-dimensional curve by adding an axis for corrosion resistance.

    Something like Vanax represents a fundamental technological shift in the curve - Vanax lets you get similar or better wear resistance, and similar or better toughness, and better corrosion resistance, than the previous state of the art (say, M390). It fundamentally lets us do something we couldn't before.

    SPY-27... isn't that. It occupies a position on the existing Production Possibilities Frontier that was empty before, offering a new mix of wear resistance, toughness, and corrosion resistance. However, as has been said, it's not strictly better than any existing steel - it's just a slight tweak to the existing possibilities. To your point, variety is the spice of life, but do we really need a new blend of Italian seasoning, with slightly less black pepper and slightly more oregano?

    More power to Spyderco - I'm sure this is both a good cost-management approach (if I'm right on the costs), as well as a good marketing move (exclusive steel blend!). But, it doesn't fundamentally improve things for knife users. That, I think, is why a lot of people on here can't get excited about it, myself included.
    Twindog likes this.
  15. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Triple B Handmade, Custom Knives

    Mar 22, 2014
    It's ironic you can see the adavantage to Vanax but not SPY27.

    Now Vanax does have the highest corrison resistance for a martensitic stainless but because of all that chromium in solution and lower hardness of the nitrogen martensite mixed in the carbon martensite in the matrix hardness was straight up capped limiting the strength potential, LC200N has a similar issue, it's the nature of these kinds of materials.

    Vanax is not the more wear resistant than M390 on paper.

    Hardness is stuck at 60-61rc and production heat treatment probably ain't hitting those numbers due to nitrogen loss in vacuum, oversoaking in big batches, slower quench rates and some skipping erroneously skipping cryo to save money.

    The toughness on charpy impact wasn't life changing either.

    Yet, in real world it was badass because the matrix was crazy fine for the volume and doesn't have any chromium carbides mucking it up which is unique since all other stainless steels do. Just 13% Vanadium Nitrides. Which are softer than Vanadium carbides but harder than chromium carbides.

    So, in real world, the finer Nitrides jacked up the edge stability. It straight up sharpened better for a wider audience and was less prone to microchipping compared to technically more wear resistant steels.
    I was pleasantly surprised to see the reaction and is a great example of things on paper not always translating to real world users.

    The end user is the BIGGEST variable.

    If it wasn't so expensive it would be a great steel for both steel/edge geeks and regular people.

    But in reality it's not the best its just incredibly balanced. There is always a bigger fish so not sure I understand the rhetoric.

    Also,I'm not just an aficionado, I'm speaking about Vanax from first hand experience as a knife maker and sharpener.

    Don't get me twisted, I love Vanax. I have some done with HT ready to grind as we speak at 61rc that folks will really enjoy.

    As fun as it's is to speculate about SPY27 we should wait till it's released to build our impression before making up our minds about it, but knowing what I know I can't help to see the potential for finer carbides at higher capable working hardness with less retained austinite for high edge stability.
    To be continued how it turns out.

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  16. Larrin

    Larrin KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 17, 2004
    I do think Vanax is relatively interesting from a metallurgy and design perspective. Maybe the most recent example of a steel company innovating on something new and different.
  17. tyyreaun

    tyyreaun Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2017
    So SPY-27 has an advantage over S30V etc., because of less carbides improving the edge stability. CPM-154 has less carbide-forming alloying elements than SPY-27. If you want a tough steel with a fine structure, wouldn't that already fill the need?

    Looking at the recipe Larrin posted, SPY-27 is kinda halfway between CPM-154 and CPM-S30V:
    • Halfway between the two in terms of each carbon and nitrogen
    • Halfway between the two in terms of vanadium
    Do you expect it to just be an average of the performance of the two?
  18. hardheart


    Sep 19, 2001
    Very interesting the level of speculation on a steel in a thread started by a PhD in metallurgy. I'm not sure what is meant to be questioned, or what surprises are anticipated. Perhaps I am personally too faithful in the OP, and also Spyderco's knowledge of what higher volume frn handled production models require from their steel properties to satisfy the majority of their customers.
  19. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Triple B Handmade, Custom Knives

    Mar 22, 2014
    You seem to want to educate me.
    Forums are designed for discussion so I don't mind at all :D

    Take the lead and share with us.

    What makes the Carbides small?

    What is Edge Stability? And how is it different from toughness?

    Why are the Carbides in AEB-L smaller than any of the pm stainless steels.

    Why does S30v have smaller Carbides than CPM 154 and CPM D2?

    Why does Vanax not have any Chromium Nitrides?

    What makes the nitrides so fine in Vanax?

    Good stuff man.

    FortyTwoBlades and Eli Chaps like this.
  20. tyyreaun

    tyyreaun Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2017

    I'm asking what benefits you expect to get from SPY-27 that CPM-154 doesn't already provide? The formula appears to be a mix of the two - is a blend of the two really that big a deal that you're excited about it?

    Edit: sorry, this was meant to be a question to you, not a statement:

    So SPY-27 has an advantage over S30V etc., because of less carbides improving the edge stability?

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