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Vanax 37/Superclean — who has worked with it?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by OhioApexing, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. OhioApexing

    OhioApexing Sharpener Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 17, 2018
    I’ve got one on the way. Not a ton of info out there on this relatively new steel. The limited conversations I’ve had about it with a few steel guys, coupled with my own research, leads me to believe the following:

    - Vanax (and other nitrogen steels) will generally have a finer grain structure than your traditional carbon steels, thus allowing it to take a (theoretically) finer edge.

    - Seems to top out around 60 HRC.

    I’m certain diamonds/CBN are the way to go here. While blade geometry and sharpening technique undoubtedly play monumental roles in edge performance — for those of you that have worked with it, what was your experience? How was the burr? Where did it seem to shine?

    Other than an almost complete resistance to corrosion (and the aforementioned grain structure) what are its advantages?

    My initial thought is to treat it *similarly* to my preferred edge on CPM-REX 45; take it as far as I can on diamond waterstones (roughly 5 micron) and follow it up with a minimal poly-diamond strop progression wood at 4, 2, and 1 micron — fine edge with a ton of bite.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  2. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    I think you have it.

    I've been using a Vanax SuperClean blade (ground by Josh and heat treated by Peters to 60 Rc) for a few months as an EDC. It's a really nice steel. It's easy to sharpen to a keen edge, largely because of the small grain size and very small, evenly distributed carbides and nitrides.

    Larrin has a series of micrographs of a lot of knife steels on his Knife Steel website. Vanax SuperClean really stands out, even compared to Elmax.

    In addition to the things you mentioned, Vanax is the toughest of the powder steels, so that makes a high-carbide/nitride steel (19 percent by volume) extremely wear resistant and pretty tough.

    I sharpen like I always do, with diamonds. But I use only high grits because my edge is thin (15 thousandths) and the steel is so fine grained. I get really nice, long-lasting edges.

    I think an under-looked property is the corrosion resistance, which is extremely high. That resistance doesn't just protect the blade from rust and patina, but it protects the apex of the edge from degradation by corrosion. I live in a rain forest just a mile from the sea, so that corrosion resistance is useful to me.

    I do a lot of branch chopping along trails with my big EDC, and the edge just doesn't seem to notice. One day I chopped branches encroaching on my road for about a mile. That kind of hard use can and often has hurt other steel edges, but the Vanax just doesn't notice.

    Love this steel.
    OhioApexing likes this.
  3. Ajack60

    Ajack60 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 21, 2013

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