Spyderco's ATS-55 Blade Sucks...


Jul 19, 2001
For my first post ever on this board I would like to complain about my Spyderco's Delica blade. I find the steel to be very soft. I bought it with a tiny bit of metal on the very tip. The metal was a slight flaw and fell off after a few months of use. It is so soft that I have found a few nicks above the thumb hole, and the tip is squared off. I use it at my part time resturant job and it gets wet alot. The blade always rusts even though it is stainless steel??? I have to clean and oil the blade just to keep it a dull color. The thumb hole gets very rusted. About 50% of its use comes from opening boxes and I dont abuse it.

There are a few good points about the blade. It holds it's very sharp edge very well. I can flick it open by the blade, and it opens smoothly. Other then that I am very unhappy with Spyderco. I am looking for a knife with a strong blade that wont rust easy. I was looking at the COLD STEEL RECON 1, but I have not read any reviews on it. Any help would be nice. Thanx.
Firstoff, welcome to the forums!
I have had an ATS-55 delica for a while now, and I have to say it's my favorite knife. It has cut more things than I can remember, gotten wet more times than I can count, and seen lots of sharpening. I wonder if you got a bad example, something that sliped through quality controll. I would encourage you to post on the Spyderco forum. Sal Glesser is a stand-up guy and will make sure you get taken care of if something is wrong with your knife. It sounds like one of two things:
1) Abuse: Did you use this knife as a prybar? Let is stay wet for long periods of time? Fail to sharpen it regularly?
2) Heat treat. If you did all these things, the blade might have been too soft from the factory, but I've never heard of this happening to a spyderco. Go to the manufacturers area and post this in the spyderco forum, with as much detail as you can.
I hope you give spyderco a chance. I love their knives and have never had one I didn't like. All stainless blades are still subject to rust, but if you cleaned and oiled yours so much, this doesn't sound normal. Boxes do dull edges fast, but edge maintainance can counter this. Good luck, and I hope you get this resolved.
Welcome to the forums. I have never had a problem with a Spyderco blade. You state that the blade is soft, yet it holds a good edge? Nicks in the back of the blade will happen on any knife that sees use. This doesn't mean the blade is soft. As to rusting, any steel blade will rust. Some more than others. If you use it in a wet environment, you will still have to take care of it. Could be you actually got a faulty blade. Try e-mailing Spyderco's customer service or posting in the Spyderco forum, then if you don't get any satisfaction you have just cause to complain.

Thanx for the info folks. I am thinking about giving them a second chance because of how nice the rest of the knife is. I might get a stainless handled Endura. I hear the AUS-6 blade is stronger, and I will get a plain edge to encorage me to sharpen it more often.;)
I also own a Delica, featuring ATS-55 blade steel. You are complaining over the softness and a rounded tip. In connection to this, I would like to ask you; how do you sharpen your Delica? It sounds to me that the tip being rounded is result of a sharpening error.

Strange thing, you claim that the blade is too soft yet holds its edge very well. To me, this is a contradiction. Either it is soft or it is not.

The tiny bit of metal that came off was a flaw and the best thing would have been to send it back to Spyderco. Youd would have noticed that their customer service is top notch!

The fact that a stainless steel knife rusts is nothing strange. In an environement like a restaurant, each and every blade will rust if not cared for!! There is no rust proof steel, only Stainless. My advice would therefore be: Care for it, wipe it dry and use a light oil to keep it in shape.

Opening boxes is one of the toughest chores to expose a knife to. Cardboard is a very coarse material and will dull your knife in a very short time. So, when you say that the knife is not presented to any hard use, then you are wrong ;) A lot of people use cardboard as a stropping surface for their knives! (Other, like me use a leather belt).

So, conclusively I´d say: There is nothing wrong with your Delica!

Take care,
Can you tell if the nicks are rolled edges or chips? Cardboard boxes frequently have staples and grit which can cause little nicks in your edge. But the resultant type of nick is important to identifying what is wrong with the blade.

Typically, the heat treat given by Spyderco to their ATS-55 blades leave it really hard, so chances are you are seeing chips. Which would also explain why later in the post, you mention that it holds an edge well. Soft steel and holding an edge well are mutually exclusive.

With regard to the rounded tip, can you describe your sharpening method in detail?

Anyway, as what the others said. I have always had good experience with Spyderco and would not hesitate to recommend it. Perhaps yours slipped through the cracks of their QC, though that is very rare. I can't comment on customer service yet though, because the blades are just that good.

Finally, welcome to the forums, hope you stay a while. :)
Welcome to Bladeforums and...
you're wrong.

Spyderco's ATS-55 blades do not suck.
Maybe YOURS does, but be careful of generalized statements like the above. They're needlessly negative and damaging to a very good knife company.

As you travel through BFC's forums, you'll notice over time when someone complains about some quality defect in their knife, almost invariably the first question asked is "Did you send it back?"

Mistakes happen.
Car manufacturers make mistakes
Building contractors make mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes.

Very few of them will go to the lengths most knife makers will go to in order to keep their customers happy.
Give it a try and you may well be pleasantly surprised.

One last thought...

There is no such thing as "Stainless" steel. Only "Rust resistant."

Almost any quality knife will rust if subjected to near constant moisture. If you work in a very wet environment, you'll need to clean the knife daily, dry it, and apply a very thin coating of oil to the moving parts of the knife.
Otherwise, it IS going to rust, whether it's a Spyderco or any other knife.

Any knife with a high enough chromium content (such as the cheaper dive knives) will be incredibly rust resistant, but you won't ever be happy with it's edge holding ability.

Once more,
Welcome to the forums!
I love my ATS-55 knives.I am really surprised to see such a topic.One
of the complaint surprised me most is the corroision issue.I have the
impression that the Spyderco Delica might be your first high carbon blade.IMHO,STAINLESS STEELS JUST STAIN LESS.You have to do something
to protect the high carbon blades,even though they are stainless.3 in 1,baby oil,and olive oil work great on my ATS-55/34 blades.
By the way,CS Recon1 sports coated AUS 8A,and it's more corroision resistant,but won't hold the edge as long as ATS-55.I DON'T own one but I own a large voyager which also has AUS 8A blade.It may suit your
need better.ATS-55 might not suit your need,but it doesn't make it suck automatically.
I carry a Delica in that steel as my edc, and I love it. The very day I bought the delica I dropped it tip-first on a very hard wooden floor; the blade stuck but in a very awkward angle - the last 2 millimetres of the tip bent. I could have kicked myself, and I did.

So, I carried the bent delica for a week, and the hardly noticeable flaw became unbearable for the perfectionist in me. So I took a chance and bent it back with my Leatherman pliers. It DIDN'T snap. It is now as good as new.

No other needle-sharp tip that I've handled has survived attempts to bend it back. Furthermore, the edge is still razor sharp, no sharpening needed. Won't drop it again, though.

Great product, great steel.
My Delica is one of my "beater" knives: it takes anything I can give it and it keeps on going.

I was wondering, as others have, about the inherent contradiction in your statement. If it is soft, then it wouldn't hold an edge. If you are cutting cardboard with it and it is still holding an edge, you should be pleased. Cardboard is rough stuff and I've seen it do nasty stuff to blades. Nicks around the hole should not be too indicitave of softness: seems like you might bang it into stuff.

As others have said, any knife blade needs to be cleaned, oiled, and cared for. It sounds in your post as if you think this is a hassle but it is neccessary knife care.

AUS-6 is softer than ATS-55.

Send it in to Spyderco with a note. Say that you are afraid that the heat treat might not be right and you would appreciate feedback. If the knife is bad, they'll replace it. If they decide the knife is fine they will still sharpen it and tune it up for you free of charge. Win-win situation, right?
What Ken said.

There's a reason why the Delica's a classic. I have one of the new blue ones and it's a magical thing.

I know exactly how you feel. I used to get upset with any little scratch or mark or rust spot. After a while, you will become proud of these things because you know that you got good use out of your knife. It just takes a while to be able to handle the fact that your $50 investment is not going to stay perfect when you first start buying knives. Just like everyone else has said, post in the spydie forum.

By the way, Tool is my favorite rock band. The more you listen to their music the more you want to listen, they have the most addictive music I have ever heard.
I have found Spyderco's ATS-55 to be a little "less than great," but I have never had a '55 blade rust. Stain a bit yes, but rust no. My newest Endura has a dark patch on both sides of the blade around the hole from being thumbed and drop opened. I guess my thumb sweat has stained the metal. My trusty 10-year old Endura OTOH, (not ATS -- GIN-1 maybe?) does not stain or rust at all depsite being my main "kitchen knife." More often than not it is just left covered in the juice from the last thing that I cut with it, so go figure.

Now, although the discoloration issue is a bit of a bummer, I find that I can get these ATS-55 blades very sharp, and that they stay that way longer that say AUS-6, 440a or other semi-good steels. I just got through using my plain edge Cricket to slice up a dozen cardboard boxes and cannot feel any loss of sharpness. It is on my keys so I basically cut with it every day and have not yet had to take the Sharpmaker to it. I would prefer AUS-8 due to better stain resistance and equal ease of honing, but the '55 seems to be a half-decent using steel that allows Spyderco to produce knives like the Delica, Endura and Cricket at sane prices.

My daily carry....a Spyderco Police G-10 ATS-55 blade....

I have never had a problem with the ATS-55 blade being soft. The Police holds a great edge. I agree about checking you sharpening skills, because you may be ruining your Delica.
Thank you all.

First of all I am sorry if I made to broad of a statment saying that Spyderco sucks. I had no idea that people cared so much. If you guys like them so much I will prob. buy a new one. I did not no much about knives before comming here so I never sharpened or cleaned my knive to much. I thought for $50 they should sharpen themselves. So I will give Spyderco and ATS-55 a second chance, and maybe buy one of their sharpeners to.;)
I don´t really know; is this a joke or are you pulling our legs?? The thing is; nobody really cares if it is Spyderco, Benchmade, CRKT or another manufacturer. The thing is, we only want the best knife available for our money, regardless if it is a production or custom knife.

You should not buy a Spyderco knife just because we say so. Maybe you should learn more about knives in general. After doing that, you may try several other brands and make your own decision.

This is what most of us (knife knuts) have done. And the conclusion is the same (I beleive I can speak for most of us Spydie fans): Spyderco knives are the best bang for our bucks. It´s that simple. Do you want something "better"? Then go for the customs! However, I am not sure that the knife you´ll receive will be that much better...

Take care, wishes Paul

BTW, Get that Spyderco 204 sharpener, you will not regret it (IMHO)!
Hi Toolin! Nope, no knives sharpen themselves, no matter how expensive they are.

I have an old, old abused Endura that can attest to that. "Anyday now, Karl, anyday now..." it's been saying to me since I got my 204 Sharpmaker. But that Endura, made out of G-2 (GIN-1) stainless, has not corroded to any visible extent, save for some darkening on the interior. It withstands pool swimming, too. All I do now is rinse it off afterwards in tap water.

A GIN-1 or AUS 8A knife might be better for your workplace if you don't want to keep it oiled, etc. very often.

Toolin, welcome to Bladeforums. I agree with what has already been said about Spyderco knives - good stuff. One question. Are you sure you have a genuine Spyderco knife and not some knock off? Some of the knock offs I've seen match the description and characteristics of your knife?
Hi Toolin,

Have you yet contacted Spyderco? That might be a great option for you. There are ways for the factory to know if it were a bad heat treatment. Give Spyderco the opportunity to find out what might be wrong and have the chance to make it right.

You will be hard-pressed to find a finer production knife manufacturer. Their products are great and their customer service is outstanding.

BTW, welcome to the forums. :)
Toolin -- welcome to the forums. You've received a better welcome than many "newbies" whose first post is a rant. I'm really happy to see that.

Without meaning to insult you, I think you have a great learning curve ahead of you. There is a tremendous amount of information to be learned here, starting with the FAQs. A couple by Joe Talmadge ought to be near the head of the list. His FAQ on sharpening is considered one of the best articles on the subject anywhere. Believe he also has one on steel, which you might find informative. Please try to use the search feature, not just on current stuff, but on the archives as well. Hardly any such thing as a "new topic."

Also, it appears that you are in for some real sticker shock as you learn more about knives. To the unitiated, $50 is a lot to pay for a knife. I was at that stage when I joined in February. Now, I know a lot more about knives and prices.

Spyderco has their own forum on their site, in addition to the one mentioned here. Sal monitors both, which most of us think is really great. He doesn't sell a single bad product, so far as I know.

One more thing, you might try Sentry Solutions TufGlide/TufCloth on your blade. This stuff dries quickly, and bonds with the blade surface. It is both a lubricant and a rust preventer. More than one wipe is likely to be necessary. Decent stainless blades protected with TufGlide usually do a good job of avoiding rust and stain.

Have a good time here!