Steels

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Would a knowledgable person tell me whether 3v or 10v,are a better edge holder than 52100 and 5160?
 

Don Adelfson

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Whoever has the answer to this question...would you also throw in the meaning of life?!
 
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42 is the meaning of life. As far as the other question, I'll leave that to a deity like Cliff Stamp. :D
 

Cliff Stamp

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Edge holding depends on hardness, wear resistance, toughness and ductility and corrosion resistance. How much importance each element makes depends on the type of cutting. For example if you are mainly chopping wood you are looking at needing a high toughness and decent hardness, wear and corrosion resistance are not significant factors.

CPM-10V can he hardened up to 65 HRC and has the highest wear resistance of the four steels listed, it works best in small utility knives which are not subjected to harsh impacts and will easily stay sharper many times longer than the other steels for those types of applications.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, 5160 is a spring steel which is optomized for repeated flexing, it works best for large chopping knives and holds an edge very well for those blades. It doesn't have anywhere near the wear resistance of CPM-10V however so will not cut abrasive materials nearly as long.

52100 is a step up from 5160 in wear resistance and hardness and gives up some toughness, but it still a fairly tough steel especially with a spring spine. It however works better in smaller knives than 5160 does.

CPM-3V has similar toughness than 5160 and thus is also a quality edge holder in heavy impact situations and makes excellent chopping and other such knives. At the same time it also has a much greater wear resistance than even 52100 (no where near CPM-10V though) so is pretty much directly a better steel.

None of these have significant corrosion resistance.

-Cliff
 

Keyman

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Cliff,
where does Spyderco's VG10, or the equivalent of it, fit in?
:confused:
 

Cliff Stamp

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The stainless steels like VG-10 have high wear resistance due to the high alloy carbides percentage, and have decent hardness, and so they will stay sharp for quite some time for light cutting. The high hardness allows the edge to stay crisp and the alloy carbides keep it from wearing. For this type of work they work much better than 5160 and can even outperform even 52100.

It depends here on the heat treatment, if you have 52100 at 60 HRC vs S60V at 55 HRC, then 52100 will stay sharper longer on a lot of cutting because of the extra hardness, but if you can get them at similar hardness levels the stainless will stay sharper longer generally on light cutting. You generally need a better class of hone to work those high alloy stainless steels though, steels like 52100 have a very high machinability meaning they are easy to grind even with cheap abrasives.

The issue gets complicated though because makers who use 52100 are generally high end geometry wise and thus their knives in general cut *very* well, much better than tactical knives in ATS-34 and the like, so any comparison between the two tends to be dominated by geometry effects. I would put Ray Kirks 52100 knives over almost every stainless knife I have ever seen in regards to cutting ability for example. However you can get similar geometries in stainless steels you just have to look around, Spyderco Temperance for example.

The critical part is the light in light cutting. Those stainless alloys are not very flexible and not overly tough this means the edge can be prone to chipping and tearing. The tool steels like 52100 are much tougher and thus the edge will stay in one piece longer and thus blunt slower as you do more rough work and be much easier to repair. However the stainless steels will take wet work better also as they have a higher corrosion resistance.

CPM-3V will outperform the stainless steels across the board as it also has a high wear resistance due to the ally carbides, and is signifiantly better in applications demanding high toughness. CPM-10V will be vastly superior in cutting sensitive to hardness and wear resistance.

Note if you want to get even more complicated there are some really high performance stainless alloys. S90V is a stainless steel which has a *very* high wear resistance, and high max hardness (~63 HRC), so it will readily outperform most nonstainless cutlery steels for light cutting as it is harder with more wear resistance.

-Cliff
 
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Thanks Cliff. I always learn something from your posts.

As for the meaning of life, there is no meaning or purpose that can be expressed by any number of words. In particular, 42 is too many. One is enough.

Para
 

Keyman

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Thanks Cliff.
Many could learn a from your on-line etiquette
and professionalism, A gentlemen as always.
 

yam

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Alberta Ed is correct. The meaning to life, the universe and everything is 42.

And Cliff answered your other question in his usual excellent way.

Mike
 
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Cliff, thanks for your answer. I was under the impression that 3V and 10V both would outperform 52100 and 5160 in similar geometric blades if all steels were tempered to their optimum hardness. I was wondering if I had been misinformed. I am referring to cutting/slicing only. Not chopping. One thing I find interesting is that I have a handmade in S60V and one in S90V and the Buck/Mayo in S30V. The S30V will hold an edge as long as the S60V and will hold an edge longer than the S90V. As you have always said "it's all in the temper".(Paul Bos did the S30V)
 
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