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Top 3 Steels

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by AlphaDog86, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. AlphaDog86


    Mar 30, 2015
    I’ve found that blade steel has become a very important deciding factor in my recent knife purchases (along with a lot of other preferences:)). It was never really as important to me as I feel it is now. But I’ve gotten really picky over time. So for all you steel snobs out there:D what are your top 3? Mine are:

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
    MacLaren1 and Tommy-Chi like this.
  2. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    Oooo I can do this one!

    Babboonbobo and cricketdave like this.
  3. Ron Wang

    Ron Wang

    Aug 10, 2018
    Okk. From my perspective:

    YXR 7 DLC from Rockstead
    S35VN / S30V
  4. Justin Partridge

    Justin Partridge

    Mar 19, 2017
    M4 is tops for sure.
    I'm really digging cts-xhp right now.
    S35vn/s30v. Something about how easy it comes back to hair popping after stropping that makes class higher for me.
    Lapedog and Tommy-Chi like this.
  5. McFeeli


    Feb 13, 2017
    CPM CruWear
    Elmax(edit - or 3V don't judge)

    I could survive on those three steels until the end of time. M390 is my favorite folder steel, low maintance and just all around great. CruWear would be best suited to some larger fixed blades, ones that I'd beat on. Plus it's wildly versatile. If you want it super hard with superior edge retention you can have it, or you can have it a bit softer and tough as nails(tougher, actually).

    I could honestly live without Elmax or swap it for 3V or CTS-XHP but I really like the toughness it has, especially for a stainless. Ah.. Now I'm secondguessing myself by leaving XHP and 3V out, damn it! 3V has really blown me away, I never thought a steel could be as tough as it is.
    Tommy-Chi and Mingecutter like this.
  6. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    It really depends on usage and what kind of knife it is.

    If I'm cutting abrasive material K390 is king for me.

    For general EDC use I actually really like steels like 14c28n and such, that take a nice edge very quickly and easily and hold it for plenty long enough.

    For fixed blades 3V is just incredibly versatile, depending on the heat treat.

    That said, I wouldn't want a boat or dive knife made out of any of the above, and for truck knives or loaners something budget friendly like 8cr13mov for folders or 1095 or 1075 is a great choice.

    The more I learn about steel the more satisfaction I take from matching the right steel to the job, rather than spending the cash to get the latest and greatest. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
    pinnah, Chariotz4, jstn and 4 others like this.
  7. NapalmCheese


    Aug 24, 2006
    1. 1095
    2. 420hc
    3. ??? S30V is cool, I have a new knife in 154CM that might be cool. Time will tell I guess.
    In general I'd rather spend a little bit of time sharpening a little more often with a cheap/simple system over spending a potentially lot of time sharpening once in a blue moon on some 'specialized' system because I'm using some super hard, super abrasion resistent cru-max 390pmsv wonder steel.
    115Italian and Prester John like this.
  8. b00n

    b00n Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 15, 2016
    Depends on the application.
    Tommy-Chi likes this.
  9. ScooterG

    ScooterG You mean Ireland? Yeah, it’s mine. Platinum Member

    Mar 15, 2016

    Honorable mention:

    REX 45
    ShannonSteelLabs likes this.
  10. 4mer_FMF

    4mer_FMF Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016

    S35VN is a close runner up, as it’s a respectable all-arounder.
    My dirty secret is I like AUS-8 on thrasher knives because it’s stupid easy to restore & maintain.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
    RBid and ScooterG like this.
  11. Tommy-Chi


    May 25, 2017
    I can cover all of my needs with the following steels depending on the application(unless we are making a sword, then I might exchange the 3V for Cru Wear(up to 3ft in length)):

    3V (up to 12 inches in length)
    M390/20CV/204P (up to 6 inches in length)
    1095 (up to 6 inches in length)
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
    bambam99 likes this.
  12. mwhich50

    mwhich50 Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 18, 2011
    I'm not a steel expert. I'm not a big user/abuser either. Cost is definitely a factor. When you say top 3 steels, to me those are the ones that I'll buy without hesitation. My top 3: VG-10 (or VG-1), S30V, 154cm. Honorable mention: 14c28n, AUS8.
    115Italian and 4mer_FMF like this.
  13. seabil


    Apr 8, 2015
    I am becoming a steel snob. I still buy 1095 traditionals, but I am more and more finding normal steel will cause me to skip otherwise interesting knives. Put ebony and m390 together then you have my attention!

    Just 3 ...


    But as Insipid said fitting the steel to the use is were it’s really at.
  14. Babboonbobo


    May 20, 2017
  15. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Triple B Handmade Knives, Big Brown Bear

    Mar 22, 2014
    CPM Cruwear
    ShannonSteelLabs likes this.
  16. Makael

    Makael KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    Any high carbons,. They hold a decent edge and easy to sharpen, some of the steels out are great until it becomes dull.

  17. Ajack60

    Ajack60 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 21, 2013
    Ranked on the number of knives I own with different steels.Folders:

    Fixed blades:
  18. XtianAus

    XtianAus Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2016
    Toughness and or stainless are my priorities so:
  19. GermanyChris

    GermanyChris Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2015
    In small knives which is what I assume we're talking about

    154cm or the powdered version

    I don't want to be wowed by a blade I want to be able to shapen it and/or strop it quickly.
  20. Lapedog

    Lapedog Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2016
    Depends on use but;

    M390 family

    Cpm 154 (love 153cm too)


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