In your experience, which steel holds its edge the best?
I have a Cold Steel LTC Kukri in Carbon V steel that stays sharp longer than any others that I have tried.
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December 28, 2007, 05:46 PM
I like ATS-34, D2, and O-1, depending on the application.
I also have a Cold Steel SRK made of Carbon V and have no complaints with edge holding ability.
December 28, 2007, 08:52 PM
The steel that's being hammered by a really good smith, that's what.
December 28, 2007, 09:59 PM
December 28, 2007, 11:08 PM
Actually, My friend said that he's having great success with quenching a steel that is usually air quenched.
I think it's 5160 or something similar.
December 28, 2007, 11:17 PM
I've been using a Cris Reeve Sebenza with s30V for a while now and it is one of the best I've used. I don't know what they are made of but our family has been using power hacksaw blades to make knives for years and they hold an edge REALLY well. You have to get the ones that are not bimetal though, which are hard to find.
December 28, 2007, 11:28 PM
I use 5160 when I want toughness; edgeholding is good but secondary.
I dont claim to speak for the rest of the "heat and beat" crowd. :)
December 28, 2007, 11:49 PM
There are so many factors that go into edge holding besides the steel that it is difficult to come up with an answer.
Even "lowly" 440C with the right heat treat, cryo, edge geometry will out perform "super" steels that have neither.
December 29, 2007, 10:48 PM
I don't know what they are made of but our family has been using power hacksaw blades to make knives for years and they hold an edge REALLY well. You have to get the ones that are not bimetal though, which are hard to find.
I've got half of one I'll get around to making a blade from one day.
I made a fair knife from the other half but a friend kept asking me to make one for him so I just decided to give him that one and make another with the remaining half.
I made a pocket skinner sized blade from an old Mill Bastard File blade once years ago. It was short enough that it was unlikely to break from any side forces, which most longer non annealed file blades will sooner or later.
I used the short blade to cut way steel belted tires from some old truck rims, it went through the steel belted tires like butter and could still shave.
I could whittle steel bolts with it.
I once annealed a smaller file, made a dagger blade from it and then reheat treated it with a crankcase oil quench.
That was a beauty. You could set the point on a drink can and just its weight would make it sink right through the can like it wasn't there.
December 29, 2007, 11:02 PM
I made this copy of Tom Brown's "Tracker" from 5160. It was destined to become my primary camp knife, but I have since replaced it with something with a more traditional blade profile.
Blade steels are usually a compromise between three major factors; edge retention, corrosion resistance and hardness, which is not the same as toughness but it affects how difficult it is to put an edge back on the blade.
Corrosion resistance might seem like a waste unless you're a fisherman or diver but if you're field-dressing game that salty blood will eat an edge down quickly too.
440C edges round off quickly and are difficult to put a good edge on again. A plain high-carbon steel can be made shaving-sharp in short order, but is not hard at all and has poor corrosion resistance.
The type of edge makes a big difference too. I don't see much hollow-ground edges any more and most high-end blades are flat ground from the factory. I can keep a blade sharp by stropping but sometimes I'll use a steel. Neither will get you back to factory sharp though. Never grind. The nice knives are heat treated carefully and you'll funk it up if you get it hot, even locally.
The Spiderco knife steels are good, the knives are designed to be used vigorously and the company stands behind their products 100%, even offering to resharpen serrated blades free for life. They just don't click with me. I don't like the hole.
I had a Benchmade 940 Osborne in the 154CM, I'd rate it about the same as the nice Spidercos maybe a little weaker. Held an edge well. Benchmade upgraded many of their knives, including the 940s to S30V though and it's definately a superior steel to anything but Talonite which is approaching the realm of really spendy customs.
D2 is very good, not quite as good as M2 from what I hear about tool steels but I have no direct experience with it. YMMV.
Here's a picture of the blade I just bought. A Benchmade 615 Mini Rukus in S30V. She's a hairsplitter and the axis lock is wonderful. I love it.
December 30, 2007, 07:04 PM
hso nailed it. Edgeholding is judged in the eye of the user. My best friends in that department are usually D2, 154CM, 52100, and plain old 5160 but all depend on being used in a manner consistent with their strengths and weaknesses. That's where your bladesmith comes into his/her own. You can spend a fortune and a lifetime studying metallurgy and still get into a hell of an argument with other metallurgists when you ask certain questions regarding "edgeholding".
January 3, 2008, 01:20 AM
my vote for an affordable steel is D-2.
heres a link to a GREAT knife steel info page i found: