VG-10 steel.

Discussion in 'Spyderco' started by brembo, Dec 8, 2001.

  1. brembo


    Sep 29, 2001
    What is this stuff? I have had a Chinese Lum folder for quite awhile, its my easy duty knife, use it for precision cutting needs, never abuse the thing. The edge lasted for a long time, quite happy with that. I decided to sharpen it the other night, little did I know that VG-10 is not normal. Took me forever to pop a burr, and I matched the angle of the grind well. My medium lansky stone(diamond) was screamin for mercy. After popping a burr on both sides, I switched to my fine stone(ultra-fine really) and polished up the edges. Geezus almighty on a pogo stick, this edge is nuts. It will pop hair thats free standing, never in my life have I been able to form such an edge. The edge makes me uneasy really. Minor pressure and it will cut skin, I tightned the knife to make sure it won't open in my pocket(tip up), the thought of that scalpel opening in my pocket makes me cringe.

    What makes VG-10 so apt for such an edge? I think I might have found my fav steel now.:D
  2. dogboye

    dogboye Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Yep, it's that good. Although I don't recall having that kind of problem putting the edge back on my Moran, or my WH International T07(?... the wharncliffe one). It definitely ranks in my top 3 steels, and one of those three isn't even stainless... :)
  3. Burke

    Burke Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 25, 1999
    I seem to remember reading somewhere that VG-10 was originally used by the horticultural industry, because they needed blades to make grafting cuts, and the blade had to be sharp enough to not fray the vessels of the plant
  4. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Yeah, my Fallkniven F-1 takes and holds a fantastic edge -- best stainless steel I've ever used. It does take a bit more effort to sharpen than high carbon, but the result is worth it. It seems to have more 'bite' than other stainless steels. The composition is similar to other high-end stainless steels, but it differs in that it has a fair bit of cobalt, which is supposed to enhance the effects of the other alloying elements. It also requires special heat treating which involves cryogenic treatment, I believe.
  5. william8


    Apr 1, 2001
    I am always happy when someone finds out how good VG-10 steel is! To me it is my faverite steel more impressed every time I use a knive that is made out of it. :)
  6. Tightwad


    Jul 22, 2001
    Yep, Vg-10 is very good knife steel. In my book Aus-08 is close
    with others falling behind in order of personal preferance. Vg-10
    add a special zip to any blade.
  7. brembo


    Sep 29, 2001
    I'll go out on a limb and guess that VG-10 is not exactly a inexpensive steel then. Is VG-10 the only name that this steel goes by? My uncle has a machine shop, and I'd love to get a chunk of this stuff to monkey around with, see how it performs across the board. With his tools I could really get an idea of the limits of the steel. He has the proper contacts to get the steel I'm sure, I just need to know its proper name to order some.
  8. Mundele


    Aug 5, 2000
    I was under the impression that VG-10 is a japanese steel and is not available in the states. "Unless I am wrong, and I am never wrong..." (sorry "Princess Bride" movie quote)

  9. tortoise


    Jul 1, 2000
    If I recall, VG-10 is only made in one small forge in Japan. I don't want to know too many details, I already have a picture in my head, (total Shogun stuff.)
    I know I'd be disappointed to see the guys drive up, park in the employee lot, walk past the receptionist, etc. at the real place.:D
  10. recondoc1


    Apr 27, 2001
    The Lum Chinese was my first VG-10 knife. I had the same kind of reaction but not the problems with resharpening. I use ceramic hones and it does a great job. I now have a Fallkniven WM-1, a Moran, an Al Mar SERE 2000 , and am currently pricing Calypso Jr'.
    Absolutely my favorite steel.
  11. komondor


    Jul 2, 2001
    The Japanese thing might be true. I know that both my Al Mar SERE 2000 and Fallkniven A-1 are made in Japan. The newer A-1s have that strange convex edge which really doesn't feel too sharp, but they can take a heck of a beating.
  12. Sal Glesser

    Sal Glesser Moderator Moderator

    Dec 27, 1998
    We have found that VG-10 is a very good stainless steel. It ranks high on getting sharp, staying sharp, corrossion resistance and toughness.

    It is fairly expensive. It is called VG-10 by the foundry.

  13. FullerH


    Nov 25, 1998
    An old Spyderco cataslogue that I keep around for just these kinds of questions lists VG-10's make-up as being 0.95%-1.05% carbon, 14.5%-15.5% chromium, 1.30%-1.50% cobalt, 0.50% manganese, 0.90%-1.20% molybdenum, 0.30% phosphorus, 0.60% silicon, and 0.10%-0.30% vanadium. In comparison, ATS-34's make-up is 1.05% carbon, 14.0% chromium, 0.40% manganese, 4.0% molybdenum, 0.03% phosphorus, 0.35% silicon, and 0.02% sulphur The VG-10 has cobalt and vanadium in it, which the ATS-34 lacks and has a slightly higher level of chromium, while it lacks sulphur and has a rather lower level of molybdenum.

    Now, can any of you steel specalists translate that for the rest of us?
  14. Burke

    Burke Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 25, 1999
    Cobalt I'm not too sure about...Vanadium aids in forming fine grain in the metal, while sulfur is present to increase machinability (not an advantage for a knife steel). Molybdenum, according to A.G. Russell's excellent on-line knife encyclopedia, is used to increase the hardness of tool steels.
  15. brembo


    Sep 29, 2001
    Well, being an idiot, I decided to play around with the edge a bit. I polished up the grind(bevel? whats the line that ya actually grind on called?) to a nice mirror. Did this on a 25 degree grind, then finished up with a 30 degree, now I'm actually scared of the edge. It bites into anything, I can cut an arm hair in half, while its standing. I'm used to CPM440V(first run Military), and that steels resistence to sharpening, its just so dang hard. The VG-10, now that I have the angles to my liking is a breeze to tidy up.


    There ever gonna be a nice fixed blade design in VG-10 with a bug ingraved on it? If there is, I'll buy it sight-unseen. :)
  16. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    Vanadium refines the grain, and is a strong carbide former. If you sharpen your VG-10 knife and ATS-34 knife to the exact same angles, and you find the VG-10 knife always feels sharper anyway, that's the vanadium. Some folks claim that I shouldn't be able to feel the difference on such a macro level, but my vg-10 and 8a knives consistently feel obviously sharper than my ATS-34/ATS-55/Gin-1 etc. knives. Vanadium is also a carbide former, and its carbides are harder than chromium or moly carbides, which leads to better wear resistance.

    Moly is a carbide former, and forms harder carbides than chromium (but softer than vanadium). I'd guess moly was added to ATS-34 primarily for heat resistance -- moly helps a steel keep its temper at high heat -- but for cutlery use, moly's carbide-forming is what we're more interested in.

    As long as I"m taking guesses, here's some interesting speculation. ATS-55 is essentially ATS-34 with the moly removed. The theory apparently being that we can remove the very-expensive moly, and end up with a steel that's nearly as good, at a nicely-lowered price point. People have been complaining that ATS-55's edge holding and rust resistance are worse than ATS-34's. So, how would removing the moly account for that? First, once the moly is removed, that means all of ATS-55's carbides are softer chromium carbides instead of having some harder moly carbides, which reduces wear resistance. Second, with the moly gone, more chromium is tied up in carbides means that there's less free chromium to provide rust resistance.

  17. malex


    Nov 16, 1998
    The main cutting blade of Kasumi knives is made of V-Gold N10 (aka VG-10). On both sides on the main cutting blade fine damascus stainless steel pattern is clad. The are great kitchen knives!

    Hattori have used Takefu V-10. I've head that Takefu V-10 is very similar to VG-10. Hi-tech Hattori knives have laminated blades - Cowry-X and 420J1.
  18. dogboye

    dogboye Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    The interesting thing though, Joe, is that my ATS-55 blades seem to have and hold that sharp feeling edge moreso than my Spyderco ATS-34. And I've never had any corrosion problems with those ATS-55 blades. Just another data point, even though it doesn't lie on the preferred curve. ;)
  19. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    The preferred curve can be very fickle :) Actually, I haven't noticed particularly bad wear resistance in ATS-55, but I have noticed it seems to rust pretty easily. This kind of anectodal evidence don't really mean much, but when enough people start saying the same thing, I consider it at least worth looking at.

  20. brembo


    Sep 29, 2001
    Had a delica(endura?), can't remember that was ATS-55. Cut an apple with it while camping. Soon forgot about the apple and returned it to its normal spot on waistband. Next morning, HUGE pits in the blade. I'd say about the size of the head of eyeglass screw, and half as deep. Caves really. Shocked me at first, but then realized that the citric acid had all night too work on the blade. I had an apple remove some blueing from a gun too, so my surprise was short lived. I didn't send the blade back, was my fault and had nothing to do with Spyderco's choice of steel. I know better now. ATS-55 just requires that ya watch what you do.

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