people's favorite steels for applications

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Rsq, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    I know what you mean and you obviously know more than I . . .
    . . . still . . . in the right hands . . . check it out :
    Above M4 (whaaaaaa? ? ? ?)
    Right in there between two examples of S110V
    Above several steel alloys I would MUCH rather have (I don't even like S30V and here I am defending it).

    anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programing.
  2. Larrin

    Larrin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    I like S30V, it was a misunderstood failure at humor.
  3. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    If I could get it I would ONLY own M4.
    Failing that I would say if it doesn't tarnish or rust I'm not interested in owning it.
    The only reason I have these funny stainless jobs is that was all that I could get in a knife that I otherwise wanted.

    Here is an example : I just bought a Case Tribal Lock. Great knife; I like it. The handle could be fatter more like their two blade Trapper or a Buck 110 to give two examples (but I want that in all my knives).
    It came with a funny slightly rolled coarse ground edge from the factory.
    The angles were nice though; no complaint there.

    I sharpened it up on the Edge Pro to polished and stupid sharp.
    I used it VERY carefully and lightly. I opened some bubble shipping envelops, slit some plastic bags, cut some string hang tags off.

    Last night I was looking at it and the whole front section of the edge 3/4" from the tip back is just as dull as _______ ! The rest of the edge is still super sharp. I have NO idea how it got that dull ! ! !

    I do know that if it had been 3V, ZDP-189 or M4 it would still be sharp enough to use no matter WHAT I cut with it or what had happened to it.

    That squishy stuff (SS) that they insist on putting in otherwise great traditionals just pisses me off.
    I mean I carried it what ? three days with pampering and pride in use and . . .
    ________ !
    Don W likes this.
  4. dirc


    Jan 31, 2018
    since some people mentioned they really love their Wusthof knives in the kitchen, they use 4116 steel, which is fairly close to Buck's 420hc (on their website they list X50CrMoV15 but historically it's been 4116, which is also used by many German brands),420hc

    it's very simple old generation stainless that is fairly tough, easy to sharpen, and just shows how important good geometry and heat treatment can be
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
    BigWillie and marchone like this.
  5. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    It takes a basic understanding of steels to appreciate your humor...
  6. dirc


    Jan 31, 2018
    s30v suffers from having a big brother, s35vn... which offers better toughness, while maintaining (or surpassing) edge retention and stain resistance

    I bet 90% of people on bf will take s35vn over s30v given the choice, so the joke has some basis in fact
  7. tony281sc2


    Feb 13, 2017
    I completely understand . Elmax/s30/S35VN are some of my favorite steels (along with 154) CPM-154 or 154cm)
    cwsmith17 likes this.
  8. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    All it takes is a smiley face at the end of the “joke”. :)

    I’d still like to see this list of all the super duper steels and the ones that aren’t. Anybody have one? :)
    Daddyo16 and DocJD like this.
  9. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    You can't label all of stainless based on experience with possibly one of the worst of them all. Case Tru-Sharp surgical steel is very very soft and rolls if you breathe on it. Try a traditional in CPM 154 (last years forum knife or Case/Bose calibration). I would have recommended the Lionsteel slipjoints in M390 but due to another current thread, I've finally realised why mine held a fine edge for less time than a Victorinox. :D
    cwsmith17 likes this.
  10. Larrin

    Larrin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2004
  11. marchone

    marchone Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 13, 2013
    Great piece, Larrin. Thanks for posting.
    Larrin likes this.
  12. GatorFlash1

    GatorFlash1 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 28, 2012

    Too nerdy a response I'm thinking.
    Larrin likes this.
  13. arty


    Oct 18, 2003
    I like stainless for an edc or light work in the yard, with a folder in VG10 for the yard and anything over VG10 in edge holding for an edc. I have a knife with ZDP189 in my pocket right now.

    For a fishing knife, I prefer S35V. The edge holds up better than VG10 in the knives that I have.

    For a kitchen knife, I have blades in S35V, XHP, VG10, 440C, Sabatiers in X75, 12C27, and a few stainless blades in low carbon German steel. I prefer stainless in kitchen knives.

    My preference is for kitchen knives in VG10 (Tojiro), S35V, and XHP. Frankly, I don’t see much difference between edge holding in the kitchen knives in VG10, S35V and XHP - but they are used for different purposes. VG10 will hold an edge at least 3X as long as the older 440C Gerber paring knives that I have. The old Sabatier carbon steel blades had edge holding in the kitchen that was similar to 440C, in my use. I wouldn’t buy a Shun in VG10. I have a Tojiro Deba in VG10 that holds an edge for a long time, even after going through lots of lobster shells or breaking down raw chicken.

    I misplaced an old Gerber Pixie in chrome plated M2 that would hold an edge forever.

    For a large heavy blade used for cutting out brush or small trees, I like 5160 or properly heat treated 1080 or 1095.
    cwsmith17 likes this.
  14. David Richardson

    David Richardson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 30, 2018
    I got it, and very clever. For those who don't know the reference, there are comments on the Spyderco forum (and perhaps others) of people saying they're not going to buy a knife because it "only has S30V," implying they would buy if they had "better" steel. Larrin is joking about S30V somehow being passe for some users.

    I have more steels than I need. I like to check them out, sharpen, do testing ala Cedric & Ada and some other tests. For me, 90% of what's out there is very good. It's more a matter of preferences and intended usage than what's "better". Do you want/need edge retention, toughness, or a combo of both? My opinion (so likely wrong for most others) is that people seem to overvalue toughness in a folder. What the heck are people doing with their folders that requires 3V steel?

    For what I do with a folder most of the steels out there are fine. I prefer a lot of edge retention. I carry K390 and Maxamet often. I have no need for these, but they're cool to have and easy to sharpen with the right tools. My most used knife is a Sage 1 (S30V). Never had any chipping or rolling. The latest steel to impress me is Spyderco's 4V. Edge retention almost on par with K390 and I believe it's tougher.

    I fish. LC200N for that because why wouldn't I?
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
    colin.p, cwsmith17 and Larrin like this.
  15. Larrin

    Larrin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    I prefer fine slicing knives where high toughness could be utilized to offer high "edge stability" through a high hardness heat treatment. That is the best use of high toughness to me. However, there is the whole market of "hard use" folders and even though I'm not interested in them that doesn't mean someone else doesn't want them.
    colin.p likes this.
  16. David Richardson

    David Richardson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 30, 2018
    What's the issue with Shun VG-10? Not arguing - just trying to understand. I have an 8" (guessing) chef's knife that seems durable and holds and edge well. It's thinner than German knives and has better edge retention. I reprofiled it to 15 degrees. The handle feels cheap and isn't particularly good. I can keep it sharp easily on a King stone. I'm not arguing that it's great and I prefer better knives. But for ~$40 or so it's a more than adequate kitchen knife and would be a big upgrade for the average home kitchen.
  17. David Richardson

    David Richardson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 30, 2018
    Get it and agree. I prefer the best edge retention I can get on a blade that cuts well. I didn't mean to insult those who like or want toughness in a folder. I'll take more toughness too. But my first priorities are good cutting and edge retention.
    cwsmith17 and Larrin like this.
  18. tomhosang


    Feb 17, 2017
    Really? What about ZDP 189 and HAP-40? Aogami Super? Even BD1N for a lower end option?
  19. NapalmCheese

    NapalmCheese Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    I'm not a kitchen pro, though I am a 'kitchen hobbiest'. I enjoy making great food that is nicely presented. I cook pretty much every day and base my menu on trying to recreate things I liked at various restaurants. I bake my own bread, make my own deserts, hunt, butcher, and prep nearly all the meat my wife and I consume. I end up butching a few animals a year ranging from big deer to ducks, squirrels, and doves; and prep untold amounts of onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, and so many other vegetables.

    In the kitchen (and this has translated to pretty much every other area*) I prefer knives that are relatively soft and tough. I absolutely will not stand chipping (no one wants to eat a piece of knife steel) and prefer a knife that I can easily bring back to razor sharp with a few swipes on a steel. When it comes time to sharpen (no where near as often as most people think with such 'low end' steels if you do a good job of maintaining your edge) I prefer knives that I can easily and quickly sharpen on my waterstones instead of knives that require more time and require that I buy a different set of diamond stones. I would rather spend a few minutes sharpening my kitchen knives a few time a year than 'more than a few minutes' sharpening my kitchen knives a couple of times a year.

    That being said, I don't care what the steel is for the most part as long as I can easily get it sharp, easily keep it sharp with a regular steeling, and it doesn't chip. Not rusting is nice, but not necessary, and I find carbon steels seem like they get sharper (at least to me).

    *edit to add: This is in general true for my pocket knives as well. I stopped looking at more wear resistant steels after S30V, and in general prefer stuff that's even easier to sharpen than that.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  20. Banter 247

    Banter 247

    Feb 22, 2019
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