RWL 34 vs. S30V

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Apr 22, 2004
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Obviously the higher alloy content of S30V, esp. the vanadium, should give S30V better edge holding. How do they compare for toughness?
 
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Yes, at least that's what Crucible says, but they don't show other makers powder steels in their charts. The comparitively low alloy content of rwl 34 would suggest higher toughness in powder steel... but I can't find hard data.
 
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Mar 7, 2003
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RWL 34 was the first powder metal formulation of ATS 34/154 CM except that Uddeholm added a small amount (0.5 %?) of Vanadium to the mix. It does not have nearly as much V as S30V. It is easier to work and polishes better, much like CPM 154 which does not have the V added.

It is only marketed through Damasteel dealers-one approved per country-and is not price competitive. Otherwise many more people would probably use it.
 
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You can consider RWL-34 and CPM154 equivalent. The small amount of vanadium in RWL-34 is probably for finer grain. I would assume the toughness of the three to be close.
 

Larrin

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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Crucible says that S30V is tougher and more wear resistant than CPM-154 (as others said CPM-154 and RWL-34 are the basically the same). CPM-154 has higher carbide volume and has larger carbides, leading to lower toughness (though the difference is fairly small), while S30V has some of the harder vanadium carbide for greater wear resistance. CPM-154 just has a complex M7C3 carbide with the M being chromium and molybdenum, which is considerably softer than the vanadium carbide. Different carbides are about equal as far as being detrimental to toughness, so the size and volume are most important for wear resistance, while harder carbides do contribute more to wear resistance. Because of this S30V is a little more balanced as far as toughness and wear resistance, while CPM-154 is easier to sharpen and finish.
 
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For kitchen knives I recently use RWL34. Compared to my D2 stock it really holds edge like D2 but takes better and meaner edge. As for finishing and shaping, I spend almost half of the time I spend for a D2 knife. I guess S30V would take somewhat same amount of time to finish as D2. So RWL is a little bit high in price but it is cost efficient, less belts spent with less time. Takes a beautiful mirror finish at my low speed/low power buff in no time. The down side is, you can ruin a RWL blank on the grinder in no time, it grinds like butter even at hardened state...
 
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Crucible swears that there is no Vanadium deliberately added to CPM154 - but ask for a cert. Mine says about 0.2% Vanadium. Strange that it doesn't "accidentally" get added to 154CM...

CPM 154 essentially equals RWL 34. The toughness is double that of regular 154CM for the same hardness.

S30V would be the cat's meow if you could mirror finish it.

Both are incredible blade steels!

Rob!
 
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Me personaly I just about won't use S30V. Tried a few knives out of it and while it holds an edge forever it's a pain to sharpen and I don't realy like the edge it takes compared to other steels. Also it's a pain to finish. I've been carying a folder I made a while back with CPM 154 and love it. Takes a good edge and hold it a long time. Still not as nice as my favorite 52100, but it doesn't rust as easy and when it's in my pocket and I may be soaking it with sweat for 12 hours that's a consideration, especialy in a folder.

For me the added edge holding of S30V just isn't worth it. Especialy if your in the field, you'd better be carying a good diamond stone, and it wouldn't hurt to carry a good fine ceramic while your at it. You'd die of old age trying to sharpen with a river stone on something.
 
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We have felt that RWL does stand for RW Loveless for a long time , however Bob doesn't use it. He sticks with 154-CM and ATS-34. I've tried to get him to try 154-CPM. With no luck.

Mike
 
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Me personaly I just about won't use S30V. Tried a few knives out of it and while it holds an edge forever it's a pain to sharpen and I don't realy like the edge it takes compared to other steels. Also it's a pain to finish. I've been carying a folder I made a while back with CPM 154 and love it.

You like CPM154 but dislike S30V? I can't notice the difference between the two. They both take fine edges and I don't find S30V that much worse to sharpen. S30V is in theory tougher of the two though, because of the fewer and smaller carbides.

I'm playing with S35VN now and it polishes more easily than S30V (though S30V takes a nice polish as well), and is supposed to be even tougher.
 
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Jul 23, 2009
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I have heard possibly very complaint ever about S30v at some point or other and I still absolutely LOVE it. I will conceed that it's a bitch and a half to polish, but I prefer satin or stonewashed finishes on my knives so it hasn't been a problem for me. The compliants about a high amount of blade chipping I personally have found to be unwarranted when the blade is properly heat treated (although I have seen a bit, it was not enoughto convince me that the steel was more prone to chipping than most others of it's general characterictics). I consider sharpening it to be an investment of my time beacause while it is tougher to sharpen, it holds an edge better than most steels I have used. 154cm is definitely a good steel, but IMHO it doesn't hold a candle to S30v.
 
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The compliants about a high amount of blade chipping I personally have found to be unwarranted when the blade is properly heat treated (although I have seen a bit, it was not enoughto convince me that the steel was more prone to chipping than most others of it's general characterictics). I consider sharpening it to be an investment of my time beacause while it is tougher to sharpen, it holds an edge better than most steels I have used. 154cm is definitely a good steel, but IMHO it doesn't hold a candle to S30v.

I agree, S30V is noticeably superior to 154CM, and less likely to chip if you hit a staple while cutting cardboard or something of that nature. The chippy S30V have been sent to Crucible and their investigation showed that all of them contained untempered marsenite. Apparently some heat treaters were single-tempering it, which worked for other steels but not S30V. It's not difficult to heat treat, it just needs to be tempered properly (500F for max toughness or 975F for max hardness).
 
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