Thoughts on 1095 Cro-van steel?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by dudethatlikesblades, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. dudethatlikesblades


    Nov 6, 2014
    What are your thoughts in regards to 1095 cro-van steel, specifically when it's done by kabar for the becker line of knives. I'm interested in it's edge holding capability and ease of re-sharpening. Would you consider 1095 to be budget steel or somewhere in the middle of the road (again I'm referencing to the 1095 worked upon by kabar). I'm very interested in the becker line of blades and want to learn more about the steel used before making a purchase. Thanks in advance.
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  2. Therom


    Nov 13, 2013
    As far as I know the cro-van is only used by Kabar/Becker
    It is supposed to be a slight improvement over standard 1095
    From what I have seen it seems to be good but nothing such as a revolution compared to 1095... it is still 1095

    IMHO 1095 is a good non stainless steel
    I have it for my hiking/camp knife
    I prefer to have coated blade with 1095 to limit rust, but is you take care to avoid salted water and dry your blade I cannot complain about it

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  3. Therom


    Nov 13, 2013
    By the way I was considering the BK16 and I think it is a good blade
    I finally got an ESEE 4 but it was mainly due to the sheath and micarta scales rather than blade steel or quality

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  4. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    It all depends on what you're doing with it and what you're comparing it to. Most of my knife use is cutting cardboard which is quite abrasive. 1095CV has pretty crap edge retention for that kind of stuff. For outdoor applications, especially those where you might see edge degradation due to impact damage more than abrasive cutting, it's quite capable. It's also very easy to resharpen.
  5. Cobalt

    Cobalt Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 1998
    Well, you likely got a better HT, which is more important than the difference in the steel and a better handle as well.
  6. Therom


    Nov 13, 2013
    These were some of the reasons I have chosen the ESEE

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  7. Steve6387


    Jul 1, 2013
    Given my budget and uses, I am a fan. Many consider it pedestrian but I think it is a decent steel at a great price point. Well suited to outdoor use as it's reasonably tough and easy to resharpen. That said: you will certainly lose your edge quicker than with some other higher end steels.

    I have knives in both 1095 crovan and standard 1095. While the crovan is supposed to add a bit more corrosion resistance as was pointed out, I don't notice any functional difference. But I also will tend to wipe off and dry my blades after use and I don't leave them sitting in puddles and exposed for extended lengths of time.
  8. The Zieg

    The Zieg

    Jan 31, 2002
    My BK-15 is one of my sharpest and easily sharpened fixed blades. It easily breaks down cardboard and comes back to shaving sharp on a ceramic and strop (arm shaving, that is; it would still be hell on my face). It handled fish and small game this year, does decent kitchen prep (though still a bit thick for onions and such), and does fire and kindling prep perfectly. All this and no rust (with perfunctory wipe-downs) even without the coating, which I removed shortly after arrival.

    But there must be something in the heat treatment Ka Bar performs that makes the blade just a tad softer than another 1095 in my bin. I understand the old Carbon V made by Camillus for Cold Steel is 1095. I have an SRK which I just can't sharpen. Now I'm no ace at sharpening, but I've been able to get a working edge on almost any blade. Not this SRK. So I attribute it to the harder heat treatment Camillus must have employed. Speculation on my part, of course.

    So yes, I do like the 1095 on the Becker.

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  9. dudethatlikesblades


    Nov 6, 2014
    Thanks for the replies everyone, I appreciate the input.
  10. TravisH

    TravisH Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 22, 2014
  11. bt93


    May 12, 2015
    Case knives uses Cro Van on some of their models and limited editions. 1095 could be the best knife steel except for the fact it likes to rust. Rust sucks. I really like Bucks 420hc and whatever it is that Victorinox uses. Stainless can be great, it can rust too but it takes effort to make stainless rust.
    Ultimately if you're looking for a bushwhacking blade and don't mind maintaining your knife, 1095 is hard to top. If you're looking for a pocket knife that you might use once or a dozen times a day, go with a decent stainless and don't worry about rust. If you just want something that you can get a patina on, you're deluded. You don't want a patina, you just don't want to maintain your knife and want to be part of a deluded cadre that carries 1095 and lets a patina on their knife to develop to give themselves some self congratulatory flatulations that that they have 1095.
  12. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    I don't yet have any experience with KA-BAR , but my late 60's western f48a uses a chrome vanadium 1095 and it's an excellent steel.
    It holds and takes an edge extremely well and while it does patina ( coatings suck as they prevent patina ) it's a bit more rust resistant . I use a swap cooler in my house so everything rusts easily, but my western was never rusted except for the tang for some reason.
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  13. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    I love my Becker 15. It's a beautiful and sturdy blade but still an excellent slicer. Quite the perfect "do it all" EDC in the upper size range. If kept clean and dry, the blade doesn't rust. If any sign of oxydation should appear, the rustical finish allows a quick rub with a ScotchBrite pad and you're back to shiny again (to add : I stripped the ugly black coating and polished the whole knife. The beautifully designed blade deserves it !). Sharpening is a bit harder than AUS8 or 1075 but still easier than 440C. Edge holding is excellent (I use mine mainly to downsize carboard boxes). And... pics !


    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
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  14. Woodcraft


    Nov 7, 2016
    Its just 1095 as far as i can tell. It is inferior to esee in edge holding in my experience. Looking at all the available steels that could be used I would say 1095 is budget steel. Its not junk, but it is budget. As far as sharpening it sharpens easily for me. I am not impressed with its ability to hold an edge.
    Edit, I think from steel to handle choices the becker line is all about manufacturing at the lowest price. Throw in the fact Becker cuts big holes out the tang and that is the final straw for me. The Esee line is far superior and not that much more expensive. Just my opinion.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
  15. Agith


    Nov 29, 2010
    I've put some of my kabar knives through some pretty nasty abuse, upending carpet and chopping through nails. Used to use a kabar when I was in my early teens and that thing just got throw all over the place, held up to this day minus the edge damage I could probably fix pretty easily. It does seem to have a tendency to chip, but that could just be me. Haven't used any of their crovan in recent years however.

    Croan is pretty easy to sharpen. But it's no supersteel in terms of edge retention. Just a good tough high carbon steel. I prefer the fit and finish of Esee as well. Can't stand Becker handles, they always seem to come loose on me and I have to retighten them.
  16. PatrickKnight


    Jan 24, 2012
    I have a broken BK16 that has been sitting in a closet for over a year. Last knife I will own in CroVan.
  17. Woodcraft


    Nov 7, 2016
    Not trying to hijack here......
    Where did it break?
  18. TravisH

    TravisH Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 22, 2014
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  19. JD Mandrell

    JD Mandrell Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 20, 2001
    Knives rarely break because of the steel they're made from..................
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  20. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    Well, quality blades from reputable makers rarely break because of the steel they're made from.

    I like 1095CV from KA-BAR.

    Easy to sharpen, takes a good edge and holds it long enough for my purposes, affordable, from a good company...

    Guess I need to pick me up some more. I do like the look of the BK15.

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