New steel coming!

Stuart Davenport Knives

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So there is a new steel hitting the market soon, to be distributed by GFS called "Sheffcut". It is a kitchen knife steel made by Sheffield and is basically 26c3 with a 0.1% niobium addition. This will give a finer grain structure, better toughness, and better wear resistance over 26c3. Pretty cool! Can't wait to try the new Apex Ultra as well!
 
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So there is a new steel hitting the market soon, to be distributed by GFS called "Sheffcut". It is a kitchen knife steel made by Sheffield and is basically 26c3 with a 0.1% niobium addition. This will give a finer grain structure, better toughness, and better wear resistance over 26c3. Pretty cool! Can't wait to try the new Apex Ultra as well!
That sounds like a great addition. Hopefully we will see something on knifesteelnerds.com about it eventually. I've really liked reading about niobium steels and I'm impressed with what it does for them. I certainly like 26c3.
 

Larrin

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That sounds like a great addition. Hopefully we will see something on knifesteelnerds.com about it eventually. I've really liked reading about niobium steels and I'm impressed with what it does for them. I certainly like 26c3.
At 0.1% the niobium is only for grain refining. The question will be whether that makes a difference with 26C3 since the steel has a significant amount of iron carbide (cementite) that helps with grain size in the normal heat treating range: normalizing, annealing, austenitizing, etc. So the main time where the niobium can help is at forging temperatures.
 

Stuart Davenport Knives

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I was under the impression that a good soak at ~1700°F for a normalizing treatment would dissolve just about all the cementite. But I don't have a PhD in metallurgy!
 

Larrin

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I was under the impression that a good soak at ~1700°F for a normalizing treatment would dissolve just about all the cementite. But I don't have a PhD in metallurgy!
According to the phase diagram, yes. In practical terms it needs significantly more temperature than that. For very high carbon steels or high chromium steels (52100) all of the carbide isn’t dissolved when using normally recommended temperatures. Presumably this is a balance with keeping the grain size reasonable but I’ve never seen a source that gave a reason for this. Perhaps they were unaware all of the carbide wasn’t being dissolved and by the time it was experimentally determined things were already standardized. It could be an interesting area to explore to see if an excessively high normalize followed by a lower grain refining cycle would be superior. You’d have to intentionally form grain boundary carbide first before comparing the different thermal cycles.
 
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One thing that is also nice, beside the Niobium addition, is that it does have a slightly different base composition from 26c3, namely a wee bit more carbon on average and slightly lower Cr and Mn. This might make it quite lovely for hamons, maybe even better than 26c3 in that regard. If only it was available in thicker stock than 3mm I'd be all over it
 

Stuart Davenport Knives

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Funny how I am always looking for stuff that is 3mm and under! Preferably 1mm-2mm. Especially kitchen knives, which this steel and others like it are just seemingly tailored made for.
 
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Funny how I am always looking for stuff that is 3mm and under! Preferably 1mm-2mm. Especially kitchen knives, which this steel and others like it are just seemingly tailored made for.
If you are doing stock removal then indeed that is some well tailored stuff in that thickness, can't blame you for favoring thin stuff straight out of the box! And I can understand GFS for putting the emphasis for thinner stuff, their market is probably mostly for craftsmen like you and smiths with power hammers like myself must account for a smaller percentage of their sales, can't blame them that is a smart move on their part. Thing is as a smith I tend to favor thicker stock so I can hammer it down thinner if I want, forge the taper on a blade instead of grinding it to keep a lovely kurouchi finish, or make my own san mai with big chunks of steel and then draw out a billet efficiently under my anyang 33lbs, 6mm and over is very lovely for that. This being said I once did a 3 layer stack of 3mm 26c3 to get a good chunk of coresteel for a stainless san mai and it did work well, so I can't complain too much I am just nitpicking, that will probably the way I'll deal with sheffcut, I will order some soon
 

Blankblank

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According to the phase diagram, yes. In practical terms it needs significantly more temperature than that. For very high carbon steels or high chromium steels (52100) all of the carbide isn’t dissolved when using normally recommended temperatures. Presumably this is a balance with keeping the grain size reasonable but I’ve never seen a source that gave a reason for this. Perhaps they were unaware all of the carbide wasn’t being dissolved and by the time it was experimentally determined things were already standardized. It could be an interesting area to explore to see if an excessively high normalize followed by a lower grain refining cycle would be superior. You’d have to intentionally form grain boundary carbide first before comparing the different thermal cycles.
What temperatures would you speculate for the "excessively high" normalization? Do you think 1800 would be high enough? Or something higher?
 
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