Have I Become A Knife Snob?


July 6, 2007, 08:04 PM
Am I a knife snob if I look down at "lesser" steels? Or am I just quality conscious when it comes to the grade of steel I buy? When it comes to steel, I look for something thats going to become VERY sharp and STAY sharp for as long as possible. Blade designs/materials are also a big factor, beyond visual appeasements. Take this for example:
Opinel makes a very nice pocket knife. I, however, would not carry one because I don't care for the basic carbon steel.
Case makes classic knives and have for a long time, but I don't care for the Surgical Stainless.
Buck makes kick butt knives, but I just don't like 420HC.
Don't ask about Gerber.
Perhaps I am spoiled because I prefer Aus 6, Aus 8, N690, VG-10, BG-42, ATS34, etc. I just simply wont buy a knife that has steel that I don't think is very quality. What do you think?

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July 6, 2007, 08:07 PM
I don't think it matters what you buy. It's that attitude where someone feels they have to advertose the superiority of their equipment to everyone else and inform them that what they have is inferior. So no your not a snob if you just prefer high quality stuff. But you are if you go tell everyone else that theirs is inferior to yours and how they should have what you have.

Joe Demko
July 6, 2007, 08:10 PM
Your money. Spend it however you like. Others can do the same. What will make you a snob is when you can't resist telling someone who bought something not to your taste how foolish he was,

July 6, 2007, 08:17 PM
It's not a dumb thing to do, to pick good alloys. After all, the knife is only as good as the steel. That being said, sometimes even alloys that are often regarded as "cheap" or "inferior" by alot of folks have really just earned an unduly deserved bad rep because they are not always heat treated and tempered exactly the way they should be. Example: 1095 or L2 can make a great knife blade if it's done right, but they seem to be considered inferior these days.


July 6, 2007, 08:25 PM
Simple answer to your question is...yes.

July 6, 2007, 08:25 PM
I've never even heard of L2, but I agree about the over-all concern being ATTITUDE.

Note to Built4Comfort: Read what everyone wrote, and then re-read my post. Notice I said nothing about advertising this to people, only personal, private views on materials.

July 6, 2007, 08:35 PM
I've never even heard of L2
Typo, that was supposed to be L6, sorry. It's a saw blade steel. About Rockwell 63 at it's hardest, I think high 50's annealed.


July 6, 2007, 11:56 PM
Actually, L6 is the holy grail of sword makers and 420HC was the finest stuff around before the advent of super steels.

Of course, focusing solely on blade steels is the mistake most neophytes make. A blade is composed of material, heat treat and grind. No one thing supersedes the other. A properly heat treated "humble" 440C will shame expensive badly ground and badly heat treated 154 CM.

July 7, 2007, 12:00 AM
What does Benchmade use in their knives? I am a huge fan as the autos I have dont need sharpening very often at all! If I had a Katana or whatever I'd want it made out of Benchmade type steel :D

There is nothing wrong with being excited about good quality knives as there are too many knife manufacturers out there who are not.

And they STILL want to charge big money for a mediocre product....

July 7, 2007, 12:06 AM
I like all the steels pretty much , heck I still make and use blades from 1095 and 01 , cause it works ! I like S30v , CPM154 , 154CM , ats34 as well ,
however I dont refuse to buy a knife because of a lower cost steel , depends on what the product is selling for $ wise also , how the HT was done , blade geometry , etc.

Snob ? nah , perhaps just consider yourself educated on what you like best :)

me ? certified knife geek , proud of it. :)

July 7, 2007, 01:29 PM
Haha! I noticed that alot of company's, such as Boker, try to sell knives for hundreds of dollars when it's simply 440C. Or, some Buck knives go for big cash (as far as Buck goes) simply because it has an exotic handle and only 420HC. I'd rather take that money and buy something that costs less and has a better steel. HSO, your totally right. These are things I also take into consideration. I have an old Buck Mentor with the camo sheath/handle thats 10 kinds of sharper compared to my CRKT M-16, which is AUS 8 and TiNi coated. Unfortunetly, that Buck cannot touch my SOG Field Pup OR Seal Pup as far as sharpness. This brings me to another good question, I have one of the older sheaths for my Seal Pup which was plastic and caused alot of wear on the coating of my blade. Is there any way I can restore some of the coating or at least color? I have since stored it in an old Case flap sheath. I think SOG's products are way cool and browsing their site yesterday noticed that they applied a cryo-heat treat to the Twitch II Limited Edition that I got. I'd like to call/mail cold steel and see if they would trade my Aus 8 Ti Lite for a VG-1, but I doubt they would trade :o. I've got a CRKT Sawtooth 2000 and Komodo 7 I should post pictures of. They are pretty spiffy and according to CRKT, whom I talked to, are both made out of Aus 6. I think the only other Cold Steel knife that interests me is the Recon 1. I wanted one of those before I got my Ti-Lite and I still want one....:rolleyes:

July 7, 2007, 01:34 PM
Cold Steel has some fanastic selections, albet somewhat pricey, but as a self-proclaimed "knife snob" maybe affordablity isn't a major factor. they have a DVD available free that portrays the rigorous stress testing they put their products through.
they sold me.

July 7, 2007, 01:38 PM
I was only referring to designs. :D.

July 7, 2007, 03:11 PM
Kydex is known for rubbing on the knife, not much you can do about it. That's also why I don't like it! :) You may be able to send it back to be recoated but that's about it and the Kydex will rub it off again.

July 7, 2007, 03:32 PM
Thanks valkman, I might do that some time. I could almost swear the kydex sheath wears directly on the edge of my ODA If I do not pull it in and out just right. I like leather sheaths 90% of the time. The other 10 is when I am fishing. Then and only then do I prefer plastics. I think I will replace the sheath with one of the newer ones and get a new sheath for the Field Pup where the guy put it in the sheath backwards and made a hole :rolleyes:. I'll probably have one made or make one myself for my ODA. Oddly enough both of my CRKT field knives have really nice leather sheaths...kudos to them...

July 7, 2007, 04:14 PM
Alloy snobbery is a slippery slope. At what point do you stop? Every alloy has its advantages and drawbacks. You have to weigh the options and choose according to your planned usage. I love ATS-34 in pocket knives but don't care for it in a large fixed blade. D2 makes for an excellent general purpose fixed blade but is sub-optimal for a large chopper. 5160 has great shock strength and toughness but is prone to corrosion.

Try them all and decide for yourself what best suits you. Don't buy the hype of the alloy-of-the-month club.


July 7, 2007, 06:30 PM
If I had a Katana or whatever I'd want it made out of Benchmade type steel

Not a good idea. A steel that works well in one application won't always work well in all applications. Swords have to handle impact without breaking while a switchblade doesn't. A great knife blade "blown up" to a katana would probably snap on first impact. That's why you see stainless steel "katanas" snap when banged against something. Too brittle for the application. A sword blade "blown down" to a swichblade would be tough, but it probably wouldn't sharpen terribly well or hold an edge as well as a good knife steel.

The application should dictate the steel, heat treat, bevel for the blade since a knife/kukri/sword all have different requirements.

July 7, 2007, 08:14 PM
I guess I am a real aloof type of knife-steel snob! My last two knives, bought in the last month or so, are of S30V. The fixed blade is a drop point 4.125" with Ti-Al-N coating, a rosewood handle, and a brass fingerguard and butt. It included a very nice leather holster. The lockback plain blade folder is well made, with an FRN handle.

I am also a cheapskate. The fixed blade is an 'Alaskan Guide Series' Buck Vanguard special at Cabela's - # 25-51-6493 - NRA Special $59.99. The folder is a Spyderco C41PBK 'Native' in S30V from Wally World - $39.48! Yep, I became a member of the hi-tech knife steel fixed and folder snob patrol for ~$110 total, S&H and S/T inc. And... did I mention that they were both made in the USA?

I've had a regular SS Buck Vanguard for some time - it'll still be my user... that new one is too pretty... That folder was inexpensive enough - it may replace my dull Kershaw Blur or Scallion as my EDC...


July 7, 2007, 09:15 PM
I see it as a mark of common sense, and of attempting to achieve a point of rationality...the most (best) for the least. Darned respectable. So, now, please do me a favor.

I would like to purchase a high quality pocket knife. I think max legal in MI is 3.5", and I would like to keep it less than $100.00, unless you can convince me that it will last for like 200 years. :) What pocket knife do you suggest. Oh yes, and I prefer American-made if possible. If not possible, import will have to do.

Please PM me or post it here. I'll check back.



July 7, 2007, 09:51 PM
It's Ok...we're likely all snobs about something.

I myself am a beer snob, and wish to be a fly rod/shotgun/1911 snob, I just don't have the cash to be snobbish about those items.

Snob all you want about items you're passionate about, you're among friends here.


July 7, 2007, 10:38 PM
I buy a little of everything. Heck, I even have some cheap chinese Frost Cutlery blades and I have some pretty pricey things too. I have my favorites which I commonly mention here. Buy what meets the intended use. Try one of each and put them through their paces. It's fun and then you can become an expert after you have a few hundred. I'm no expert or snob. I just buy what I like. Have been buying a lot of SOG blades in the last year or so.

July 7, 2007, 10:53 PM
In that case Smoke, I'm a computer snob, knife snob, gun snob, guitar snob, cigar snob, pipe tobacco snob, cigarette snob, uh...:D woman snob :what:. Yes I said it...

Oh AND music snob due to my snotty views on underground Black/Death/Viking Metal.

We, The Soldiers Of Wotan, We Spread Terror And Spill Blood, By Mijolnir We Will Crush Weakness, Thus Beginning Our Reign. Soldiers Of Wotan, Give Us Your Power And Knowledge! Call From Asgard And Live Once Again, In Our Spirits You Dwell, And You Will Forever Reign!! - Ad Hominem - Planet Zog/The End

July 7, 2007, 11:06 PM
Doc2005: Your request is pretty vague for a "good" pocket knife for under $100. I'm going to take a chance and suggest a folder. Check out the Schatt & Morgan line at http://www.cumberlandknifeworks.com/

They are excellent pocket knives; any of them. You pick the design and size.

For something less expensive, the Spyderco Native model that is available at many Walmarts are a pretty darn good knife for $40.

July 7, 2007, 11:18 PM
Yeah man I really, NO REALLY REALLY want to snag one of those Natives at wally world. Might do it with my first paycheck if its not spent on uniforms and dates or cigars :rolleyes:.

July 8, 2007, 03:52 PM
I really enjoyed my Spyderco Native, until I lost it last week. I'm still sick over that.

July 8, 2007, 04:08 PM
What a bummer man. Jeeze people, keep track of your stuff! You're as bad as my 70 y/o grandparents....:neener:

July 8, 2007, 08:15 PM
I you want to talk about knife snobbery I'm the poster boy for it. I started like everyone else with good production knives and it was down the slippery slope after that. :eek:

I have customs, prototypes, no-longer-made and no-longer-in-business blades. Almost every exotic blade material available from 154CM to VG10 to Beta Ti to ceramic. I have an antique keris that is over 100 years old made with meteorite damascus and a hand made nodachi that the maker cut the tree to make the charcoal to smelt the ore he had dug into tamahagane that he forged by hand into this perfect sword blade. After all that, I'm still looking for more knives.:rolleyes:

July 8, 2007, 10:23 PM
Haha HSO I guess I know what kind of cutlery treasures I have to look forward to if I keep collecting "knives I don't need". I love how everyone that tells me I don't need another knife/gun/box of ammo is constantly buying something that completely wastes space.

July 8, 2007, 10:43 PM
If you're gonna be knife snob AND a pipe tobacco snob I guess we're just gonna' have to arm wrestle or or maybe face off with Dunhills at ten paces or something. Loser has to cut the end off the winner's ceegar with the latest unobtainium uber tech semi-folding fixed blade multi tool and then we can relax and drink adult beverages and tell all sorts of lies. :D

July 8, 2007, 11:22 PM
HAHAHA sounds like a deal. Your ON! hahahaha. If you lose, you have to fill my pipe, pack it, then scrape it when im done. Better yet, lets do a duel with paint ball pistols, only get ones that look like the old cap and ball pistols. I got dibs on an eye patch! Areeeeeee ;)

July 8, 2007, 11:29 PM
I'm curious though about your nom de plume my friend. It wouldn't have anything to do with a pipe tobacco of the same name would it?

July 8, 2007, 11:43 PM
Nah, a Black Metal band. No, I stick to the Sir Walter Raleigh Aeromatic, distilled in european spirits. mmmmm mmmmm, way better than the Prince Albert cherry vanilla and soft vanilla...

July 9, 2007, 12:00 AM
I guess I'm the ONLY pipe tobacco snob on this thread - :D But I have to admit the idea of flintlock paintball guns at ten paces sounds interesting:scrutiny: Do we go to throwing knives for the tiebreaker?

July 9, 2007, 12:08 AM
Yeah why not!

July 9, 2007, 10:23 AM
I guess I know what kind of cutlery treasures I have to look forward to if I keep collecting "knives I don't need".

It's more of an addiction (and that's not just hyperbole). I've found myself trying to bend family vacations around knife shows, hammer-ins or visits to knifemakers/manufacturers. I've skipped making purchases on reasonable things in favor of putting the money into, yet again, another blade. I've rationalized the price on a knife/sword/tomahawk by saying, "What a deal! If I'd gotten this from (insert name of big name nose bleed prices custom maker) it would have cost twice this!".

Addiction, yep.:rolleyes:

Joe Demko
July 9, 2007, 10:40 AM
Precisely why I liquidated almost my whole collection last year and am doing my best not to start accumulating a new one. The amount of money I had tied up in knives was frightful. I turned a very nice profit and took my family on vacation_twice_with the proceeds, but you have to know your limitations. I admit that I used to spend way too much on knives.

July 9, 2007, 11:39 AM
I used my Stars & Stripes Graham Bros. Razel (CPM154CM) to trim the cap off my cigar (Ashton ESG), and to cut the seal off my bottle of port this weekend. Does that count as snobby? :evil:

July 9, 2007, 11:50 AM
Yep. Your in the club. Welcome aboard!

July 9, 2007, 12:57 PM
You sound more like an educated consumer rather than a snob.

I believe that you should research any product that costs more than $50 before purchasing it. I learned the hard way a long time ago that if you don't fully understand the product and how it works before making the purchase then you have a high risk of getting something that will not perform to your wishes. Many people make purchases based on what the item costs or the packaging looks better but know very little about the actual product.

It sounds like you have done a lot of research on knives and now have a good understanding of the materials they are made with. That's a good thing in my opinion.

July 9, 2007, 01:13 PM
Thanks, Dodge. Always know what you are getting. The world is full of deceit.

July 9, 2007, 01:31 PM
Size will definitely make a difference in "ideal" steel types and hardness. Longer blades have a lot more leverage exerted than smaller ones, so basically, the smaller the blade, the harder it can be treated. Like everything else, perfect hardness is open to debate.

July 9, 2007, 01:44 PM
Not on a wedding night :neener:

July 9, 2007, 01:48 PM
Even then, and tread carefully.

July 9, 2007, 03:26 PM
CPM154? :evil: Yep, you're there. ;) That is if, and only iff, you won't have any other knives around with other, notice I wouldn't say "lesser", steel. If that's the case please send all that old fashioned damascus to me.:D

July 9, 2007, 03:46 PM
S30V and Talonite also. I must be truly evil!

July 9, 2007, 04:18 PM
Whatcha got in Talonite?

July 9, 2007, 04:27 PM
Gorgoroth and others:

What do you all know about the Marttini knives from Finland? I bought one when I was last in Santiago, Chile. I have never seen them here in the USA, although they probably do exist here. The steel appears to be laminated, or folded...can tell for sure. It has one of the best edges I have ever seen. When I used it for the last boar that I hunted, the blade seemed to curt even through thhat thoough hide like soft butter. Oddly enough, the handle is wood! Even with the US - Chile exchange, it still cost very nearly $100.00 US. Anyone know anything about them? I would take a pic, but my camera is out of town for the week.

Home page:

This is the closest to what I have, but mine has no ornation on the blade:

Here is a nice pic of their collection of styles:


July 9, 2007, 04:37 PM

Manufacture site
All I can tell you is that they are nice Nordic/Scandinavian blades, high carbon content. Might look at Helle knives and ragweedforge.com

Scandinavian grinds are very flat, producing a thin, razor sharp edge. Some of them are Laminated, like Helle and Frosts Moro of sweden.

July 9, 2007, 04:48 PM
"1. The B l a d e

The sharpness (razor sharp) of Marttiini® Knives is world-famous. The good reputation comes from the special Marttiini®-Steel and the high quality manufacturing process.

The blades are made from a special stainless chrome steel. Many tests and developing work have been done until the right combination of chrome and the other materials have been founded. The tempering at just the right temperature - determined from Janne Marttiini’s developing work - ensures the durable and strong blade. The composition of the materials (containing 13% of chrome) tempered to 54-56 on the Rockwell hardness scale (HRC) is the best combination for knife blade. The 13% of chrome assures the steel to be durable, absolutely stainless and saltwater resistance (even acid resistance). The hardness under 54 HRC is too low for knife blade, a softer blade is definitely easier to sharpen, but the sharpness will be not a long-lasting and the edge of the blade is too flexible for harder use. If the hardness is over 56 HRC, the blade is certainly hard and retain an edge, but will break more easily. The sharpening is then even impossible without the sharpening wheel.

Nowadays Marttiini orders the special Marttiini®-Steel from the steel factories in Germany and France. In manufacturing process the sketches of blades are put through the rollers, which change the design of molecules from round to ellipse shape. This processing makes the metal composition more density and therefore makes blades more durable and flexible and the edge remains sharpness notable longer.

In Rovaniemi the tempered sketches of blades go through the 7 different production stages until the blade is ready for the final hand polishing. The blades are always sharpened to the final shape by machine. This machine adjusting requires ultimate carefulness and all time adjusting, which presumes a very high knowledge of blade sharpening. The edge of each individual blade is finished by hand polishing with grinding wax and polishing wheel.

The specialty in sharpening of Marttiini® filleting knife is the very elastic grinding stone. This elasticity makes the sides of the edge round. This round shape of the blade is well know feature for Marttiini® filleting knives. Even the blade is razor sharp, it doesn’t cut or injure the fish bone. The knife slides easily through the fish and the result is fine.

These procedures guarantee the blade to be Marttiini® razor sharp." - From manufactures website.

July 9, 2007, 05:28 PM
I prefer good blades with good steel for every day carry and for field blades...I know they can take abuse and will hold up much better than a cheap knife. I still carry an old benchmade-emerson cqc I bought at a gunshow for $70 when I was a little kid....I haven't been able to destroy the knife, and it still performs well provided I sharpen it every couple of months. I still carry it because it has held up through things that trashed other knives. At one point I had to use it to split wood, using it as a wedge I pounded on it as a club and it worked like a champ. When other peoples expensive auto knives wouldn't open because they were too clogged with sand and mud, mine still would...though it was a bit gritty. I have broken the tip off of it probably a half dozen times, but never the whole blade and a little time with a stone has always made it as good as new. I have shucked clams and oysters with it, opened beer bottles, cut barbed wire, opened many cans, dug holes, etc. That knife has really made me appreciate what a well made tool can do.

I don't think it is snobbish at all to purchase a high-end tool if it can perform better than something less expensive. Especially if you need that extra performance.

Besides, most men wear nearly no jewelry...If you can afford it having a nice watch and a nice pocket knife are just part of a gentlemans attire (I'm still working on the watch).

July 9, 2007, 07:18 PM
Whatcha got in Talonite?

Simonich Mid-Tech Bitterroot. It's a neat little thing!

July 9, 2007, 07:48 PM
Bought a pile of blade blanks from Bob Engnath at shows in the 80's = stoll hand polishing them and putting handles & embellishments on the last of the stack, also have Nordic blades from from Helle, Frost & Marttini = love the laminate steel...:D they come sharp,they STAY sharp, & they 'resharp' when necessary:cool:

July 9, 2007, 07:52 PM
Nah, OP's not a knife snob - might be working on being a steel snob, but I'm not one to comment.

Most of my knives, by weight, I believe were forged from leaf spring stock from junked buses and trucks - but I think some might have been Mercedes buses and trucks. Then again, maybe not.

There's something about believing "kothimoda" translates into "more money than brains" that just sucks all the shine out.

Spyderco seems to delight in using every steel known to man so I've gotten so confused about the only thing I know I like has "cpm" in the name 'cause I used to live close to Crucible.

I donated my last 2 Randalls - the only stuff I've got left (trying to focus) is HI and Spyderco. There's a SpeedTech and a Sebenza in there somewhere but they're "workers".

If you think anything less than 2,500.00 for a Japanese fish knife is "going cheap", you might be a snob.

July 9, 2007, 09:53 PM
I didn't see mine at their website. Some looked similar. The edge is unreal! It's nearly 3 years old, has cut I have no idea how much, and I have not had to resharpen it. The steel does look laminated...the sharpened edge is wild...I wish I had my camera with me. I'll try to post it next week.

What really shocked me is that this knife has held as good and perhaps a better edge than my Cold Steel. In fairness to the CS, I have really used it rough and tough. One week when I didn't have my axe, it served the purpose quite well!

July 9, 2007, 10:00 PM
They are a hell of a knife. I heard that 9/10 pro's say that if they got lost in the woods and could only have 1 single knife, it would be a Frosts Mora from Sweden with the laminated blade. I got one. The edge on it is the sharpest I have. Sharper than my Marttinii fillet knife.

July 9, 2007, 11:30 PM
Most of my knives, by weight, I believe were forged from leaf spring stock from junked buses and trucks - but I think some might have been Mercedes buses and trucks.

Mine goes (from highest to lowest) INFI, 5160, D2, and 1084. There's a smattering of other stuff (A2, S30V, RWL34, and N690), but those are the biggest contributors by weight. In pocket knives, most of them are ATS-34, with some D2 and S30V for variety.

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