- Jan 23, 2013
S35VN and CTS-XHP in "stainless" and CPM-M4 in "tool" steel. Overall, M4.
I have knives in both of these steels and like them...I also am a fan of Vanadis 4E SuperClean...it gets really sticky-sharp...I've come to appreciate tool steels like 3V and M4; they seem to have the best combination of powder steels (toughness and high carbide content), are reasonably rust resistant like stainless grades and easy to sharpen like high carbon steels.
I strongly prefer stainless for EDC. Summers are very humid where I live and I tend to sweat. Even with regular maintenance, I've gotten the occasional summer spot on D2. So I just don't do it anymore.
I mostly carry budget knives. I'm pretty happy with 14C28N or N690. I've spent plenty of time using 12C27 and VG-10. I've actually carried a lot of 9Cr18Mov over the last few years. It's already an underrated budget steel but with Civivi's heat treatment, it's a solid performer.
For me my overall favorite is Zwear for tool steel. I've used it the most. Super tough. Excellent edge holding for its class. 63HRC is awesome. 4V also fits in here. Same reasons just more edge holding.
Another favorite is K390/CPM 10V class steels. High hardness thin edges are amazing. The edge holding is spectacular while being as tough or slightly tougher than D2. They sharpen up well and the burr is easy to break off.
LC200N/Zfinit- highly stainless. Good edge holding and super tough. Very easy to sharpen. Makes a great kitchen knife and a great chopper.
Vanax- essentially stain proof. Great edge holding. Also very tough with improved edge stability. Basically a LC200N with 3x the nitrogen and added vanadium. Can go thinner than LC200N BTE.