Your steel sweet spot

Snacktime

Basic Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2019
Messages
120
I have learned I like stainless and 440c is about my favorite for daily use. I really enjoy the ease of 1-2 swipes on sharpener then into the pocket.

I do like super steels, notice a huge difference during prolonged cutting. Big thing that puts me off super steel is corrosion when pocketing a dirty knife. Also I use my knife a lot as a scrapper I actually end up chipping the edges (rex 45, s30v, Toku v).
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
569
1095cv for fixed blade daily carry

Serrated H1 for EDC on-body folders

Sandvik stainless for Moras and opinels. 4116 also works for camping / travel food prep chores

I have an S90v slipjoint "travel knife", so I wont have to worry about sharpening it when I'm away from my sharpening equipment.
 

Korean Hog

Gold Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2017
Messages
1,241
For me CTS 204P and Elmax from Microtech have been the best overall for EDC tasks
Spyderco's VG10 is what got me into steels with better edge retention than AUS 8
and better rust resistance than traditional carbon steel, I still use my VG 10 Dragonfly regularly
 

Chronovore

Basic Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
930
How would you compare D2 and 9Cr18Mov?

The heat treatment makes a big difference on edge retention. Both of these steels vary from company to company. I feel like Chinese D2 has a bigger range of variation but I've also had more knives in it and from a larger variety of companies. As far as corrosion resistance, 9Cr18Mov is very stainless while D2 is only semi-stainless.

The best Chinese D2 in my experience has been from Petrified Fish. Bestech, Civivi, and CJRB are okay but really nothing to write home about. On average, Chinese D2 is just sort of okay. Edge retention is universally better than 8Cr13Mov but that's not saying much. It's often not better or not much better than 12C27, 14C28N, or 9Cr18Mov. That's the problem. Personally, for the drop in corrosion resistance to be a worthy trade-off, the edge retention would need to be a lot better than it is. Given comparisons to those other steels in similarly priced knives, I don't think I'll ever buy another knife in Chinese D2.

The best 9Cr18Mov in my experience has been from Civivi. The difference between Civivi's 9Cr18Mov and the average 9Cr18Mov feels like the difference between 420HC and Buck's 420HC with the Bos heat treatment. (Of course, 9Cr18Mov is a better starting point.) The average is okay for this steel. The worst I've had was from either Schrade or CRKT, though I never got past the factory edge on those to really find out. Real Steel's 9Cr18Mov is okay. I've used and carried it quite a bit. Civivi's is definitely better. If you like any of the Civivi designs in 9Cr18Mov, definitely don't hesitate to give it a try.
 

not2sharp

Gold Member
Joined
Jun 29, 1999
Messages
18,252
For me it’s not about the steel, it’s about the knife and maker. Over the last 50 years I have seen about 100 different formulas positioned as super steels and I have grown tired of the gimmick. All of the components that make up the knife will determine the usefulness of the whole. And, that’s the only thing that counts; whether you find the finish product to be a useful tool. I don’t need the latest Demon Slayer/Excalibur blade, but I do need a good tool that I can use and maintain every day. If something worked a 100 years ago it’s performance is not diminished because someone came out with the latest fad steel. Ignore the endless steel hype and go with whatever works for you.

n2s
 
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BD_01

Basic Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2016
Messages
3,072
Speaking to EDC/utility folder use:

I’m a huge XHP fan, though I’ve only tried it via Spyderco.
It’s just right for me on the sharpen-ability\edge retention curve.
 

whp

Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
3,293
For me it’s not about the steel, it’s about the knife and maker. Over the last 50 years I have seen about 100 different formulas positioned as super steels and I have grown tired of the gimmick. All of the components that make up the knife will determine the usefulness of the whole. And, that’s the only thing that counts; whether you find the finish product to be a useful tool. I don’t need the latest Demon Slayer/Excalibur blade, but I do need a good tool that I can use and maintain every day. If something worked a 100 years ago it’s performance is not diminished because someone came out with the latest fad steel. Ignore the endless steel hype and go with whatever works for you.

n2s

Completely agree.
There is a lot of hype about blade steels. In moderately heavy use of work knives, I m starting to realize that the trade off in edge holding for ease of sharpening may not be worth the effort in maintenance. I got caught up in the marketing and thought for a while that m390 and its similar steels were my favorite. Now I use cts xhp , s35vn and s30v. I still like d2. And Spyderco s zdp 189 has always been a favorite. I never had a problem with sharpening until I got a folder in s110v. The sharpening effort for that steel wasn't t worth the benefit in edge retention for me.
 

Black Oak Bladeworks

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
496
I prefer mid grade steels so far. CPM3V is my current all around favorite, its not that difficult to resharpen and find it seems to retain its edge longer than some of the other carbon steels as well has its been pretty corrosion resistant for me so far. I have been very happy with 5160 as well.
 

Lesknife

Platinum Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2018
Messages
1,340
For me it depends on what I’m doing and where.

Right now for my weekend carry and off duty it’s S35vn bos heat treatment. I have a few and they are really nice cutting and easy to keep sharp. When I need a precise and smooth cut or slicer it excels and exceeds my expectations.

For work I like 20cv bos ht. Mostly because I’m around corrosive stuff and I’ve had a few unintended exposures with lesser steel and that didn’t go well for the blade. The 20cv is more corrosion resistant and it performs very well in my work tasks that are tough and dirty. It takes a bit longer to sharpen but not objectionable and it goes a long time before it really needs a touch up.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2013
Messages
94
For me it’s not about the steel, it’s about the knife and maker. Over the last 50 years I have seen about 100 different formulas positioned as super steels and I have grown tired of the gimmick. All of the components that make up the knife will determine the usefulness of the whole. And, that’s the only thing that counts; whether you find the finish product to be a useful tool. I don’t need the latest Demon Slayer/Excalibur blade, but I do need a good tool that I can use and maintain every day. If something worked a 100 years ago it’s performance is not diminished because someone came out with the latest fad steel. Ignore the endless steel hype and go with whatever works for you.

n2s
If knives were just tools you'd use them like a butcher, cheap knives that get the job done. Nothing wrong with that, but you yourself have over 18k posts on one knife forum... Are they really just a useful tool to those posting daily on a knife forum?
 

Lesknife

Platinum Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2018
Messages
1,340
Does everyone need a super steel? No, not everyone but for those of us that do it’s a good thing we have a choice.
Do you work around chemicals or corrosive materials? Do you have tough dirty materials to cut? Not everyone works or plays in the same types of environments or has to cut the same types of materials. So if you don’t need a super steel that’s good but if you do don’t settle for what someone who uses their knife in a less harsh manner as that’s all that’s needed. There’s a reason why super steels were developed and produced just the same as ordinary carbon steel was made. I can remember my grandpa talking about how stainless steel was a cheap gimmick and carbon steel was better and all anyone would ever need. I don’t agree with that sentiment for the reason man went from using rocks and sharp sticks to using copper or iron for cutting stuff and as weapons. I’m sure when carbon steel came along there were doubters then saying rocks have always worked and you can find them anywhere.
 

not2sharp

Gold Member
Joined
Jun 29, 1999
Messages
18,252
If knives were just tools you'd use them like a butcher, cheap knives that get the job done. Nothing wrong with that, but you yourself have over 18k posts on one knife forum... Are they really just a useful tool to those posting daily on a knife forum?

Ordinary tools can be very interesting subjects. They can have elegance of design, good materials and functionality; and, unlike many one off techno gizmos many also have very rich associations with well know historical events, periods and persons. It doesn’t take Miracle steels to make a knife memorable, nor does the presence of such necessarily make a knife noteworthy.

n2s
 

Dergyll

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2021
Messages
289
Convince the wife to stop buying designer bags and I'll stop buying super steel knives :p

That being said, I have to admit some designer bags are nicely made and very functional.

Glad to see 3V getting some love, it's a great all-rounder!
 

ShannonSteelLabs

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
3,430
As a knifemaker who has presumably worked with vanax, how hard is vanax to sharpen compared to z-finit?
I would say a little more difficult.
Its actually pretty easy to sharpen.
But to be fair I always sharpen vanax on diamond plates.
50/40 micron
Then
20/14 micron plate.
Coarse strop compound to pop off burr.
Then white and green compound.
Followed with 1 micron diamond emulsion on ultra fine strop.

Absolute laser beam.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2016
Messages
24
I am far from any kind of knife steel authority, and this is an honest question. I realize that blade shape/grind angles etc. can influence a knifes cutting potential, but what steel do you find, generally, to be your preferred optimum of price, ease of sharpening, edge retention etc. There must be a steel that overall meets most of your personal parameters, most often. I have a lot of stuff like AUS8, 1095, D-2, SK-5, 5160 etc. Nothing fancy. I have moderate level sharpening skills and I tend to use my knives for wood processing. I think that I avoid higher end steels because of cost, and my often cruder use preferences. I simply accept that I have to touch up AUS8 a little more often, but I don't care because it is easy to sharpen for my skill level. What steel is your primary preference ?

Bark River's A2 is my favorite. Very close second is 1095. Sharpens easily and keeps an edge for as long as I need it for most jobs (I don't hunt, so I am not dressing deer or anything else).
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2020
Messages
15
For me personally, I find S30V and S35VN to be perfect for my daily needs. I love all the premium steels out there, but S30V and S35VN sharpen up without too much hassle, keep a working edge for a very long time and are stainless.

CPM-154 and 154CM are fine steels as well.
 
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