What steel do you prefer for hunting knives?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Justin Schmidt, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. Mr.Wizard

    Mr.Wizard

    Feb 28, 2015
    Do you know of anything like that that isn't made in China?
     
  2. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    484
    Jun 15, 2012
    No, can't say I do. At least not with just this single tool in it. The Vic Hunter XS is Swiss made, also an excellent piece of kit. If you don't do any skinning and break down in the field, it is really all you need for gutting. I keep one in my car, and occasionally bring it hunting.
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
  4. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge

    Feb 18, 2016
    Wow I'd say that held up quite well! And it's quite cheap from AKS
     
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  5. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    My 3 year old kitchen knife has a very slight dull grey patina, with daily use. I wouldn’t leave it soak in the sink, but it’s pretty close to being stainless. Very minimal care will keep it looking fresh.
     
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  6. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge

    Feb 18, 2016
    How hard do you run the z-wear for a hunter?
     
  7. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    Rc63/64. It’s tougher at that hardness than 1095 or O1 is at Rc60. The hardness lets you use a fine edge at 0.005” before sharpening. Heat treat at 1975f or 2000f, Cryo for 1h, and temper between 350 and 400f. If you heat treat hotter than 1975, use three tempers just to be sure. Probably not needed, but I do it anyway.
     
  8. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge

    Feb 18, 2016
    Thanks man. How long do you let it soak at 1975 for?
     
  9. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    I don't shop in the woods much anymore, but my hunting knife is a 3"x0.125" piece in A2, and I don't see any reason to update it. A2 is nice and stable in heat-treat, and up around 61 cuts aggressively for a long time. No need for thick spine in a hunting knife - that won't protect the edge. And if you're beating up your edge, better cutting technique is a better investment. A hunting knife should be a precision tool, IMO.
     
  10. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge

    Feb 18, 2016
    I agree. Pretty sure @Horsewright strictly uses A2 also. And his market is for straight up cowboys so that's gotta say something. If I'm not mistaken 3v is an updated version of a2 but @Larrin would have to clarify that
     
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  11. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    1975f is a 30min soak. 20 min at 2000f.
     
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  12. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
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  13. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge

    Feb 18, 2016
    Ok thanks bud. Man I love having an evenheat lol
     
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  14. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge

    Feb 18, 2016
    Well after reading over larrins article again I think I'm gonna go with s45vn cause it has better edge retention than z-wear and its stainless
     
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  15. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    484
    Jun 15, 2012
    Keep us updated!
     
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  16. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Yeah for my hunting; skinning knives I use A2. It works. Have made many for professional guides etc that really use them. They buy more.
     
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  17. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    Horesewright - for your A2, what hardness do you run?
     
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  18. rodriguez7

    rodriguez7 Gila wilderness knife works

    Feb 1, 2009
    Well, considering hunting and outdoors is the main reason I got into knife making. I’ll share my thoughts and experience. I hunt most everything I can, rabbits to elk, waterfowl,and all game birds. We raise and butcher hogs every year too. We cut most of our own meat. I’ve tried several different steels, and I’ve pretty much settled on what I would call a mid grade high alloy tool steel. My favorites being 3v,4v, and ztuff. Ztuff, can skin and quarter about half an elk or more with just a quick hit on a ceramic stone. I’d say that’s dam good, considering you don’t have to worry about rust, or breakage at all with that steel. 3v would be my choice for a good all around tough steel, with excellent toothy skinning ability. It will work about an entire bull without a touch up. Everyone knows that an 800 pound bull elk is a lot of work in the field. One elk is probably equivalent to around 3-4 deer. The hide is insanely tough and thick, and usually full of mud. And I find 3v easy to touch up after, hammering through bone won’t destroy it either. Z-wear and 4v grade is excellent too. With the low temper you don’t have to worry about rust at all. They are a step up from 3v in edge retention for sure. Probably better suited to skinning cattle and moose. I have yet to really use, or need stainless honestly! I’m actually making me a vanadis 4 caper for me and a friend for our bear hunt this year! Hollow ground, trailing point caper!
     
  19. ShannonSteelLabs

    ShannonSteelLabs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 9, 2015
    Both steels are excellent.

    I've found that Zwear takes a patina a little easier than 3V. But it's very easy to take care of. I use EDCI on my blades and havent had any issues. But to be fair I absolutely love Zwear. I found that 63HRC with a low temper....ooooh baby. Good stuff!

    If you are concerned with corrosion try Elmax at 61HRC or so. Great stuff.

    As for S45VN I have yet to try it. But @DeadboxHero and @Willie71 know what they are doing!!
     
  20. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge

    Feb 18, 2016
    Thanks man I really appreciate the insight!!!
     
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