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I hate "exotic" steels

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Vonderek, Feb 14, 2016.

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  1. Vonderek

    Vonderek Member

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    I have determined that when it comes to knife steels, simple is better. I would rather touch up carbon steel blades and 440C, 154CM, etc. after use than try to get a hair splitting edge with the newer exotic steels. It's just too frustrating for a dumb video guy with a few stones and diamond hones like me.
     
  2. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you're over-simplifying things. 154CM is a fairly exotic steel that was originally developed for making turbine blades for use in the high heat and high pressure environment of the compressor section of jet engines.

    S30V was found to wear on grinding belts and be time consuming to sharpen, so S35VN was developed to be more a more machinable version with the same external performance characteristics. S30V isn't bad to sharpen if you leave it at a toothy edge, but it does take skill (or time on an angle guided system) to get to a polished edge. Even then most sharpening pros assert that S30V can't be taken to the same level of polished edge as VG-10 or even 154CM. S35VN can be polished up a fair bit more than S30V.

    Elmax is a time consuming affair to sharpen, and you almost need a guided angle sharpening system or a mini grinder (like a worksharp) to put reprofile it or repair a very dull edge. What you get in return is that Elmax is one of the toughest stainless steels available, its highly corrosion resistant, and it has edge holding only slightly behind M390. It's a great hard use knife steel if you're willing to spend more time at less frequent intervals maintaining it.

    In contrast, M390 (AKA CPM-20CV and CTS-204P) is somewhere in between S30V and S35VN in time needed to sharpen, but it can also be taken to a quite highly polished edge.

    VG-10 is a semi-exotic steel that's very easy to sharpen. N690Co is a bumped up version of VG-10 with even tighter alloying element tolerances. Both are very easy to take to extremely sharp and highly polished edges though.

    So, it really depends on which exotic steel you have, and what the metallurgy goals were which lead to that alloy being made.
     
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    440C was an "exotic" steel at one time. D2 was in blades. 154CM certainly was an exotic blade steel. Next folks will be yelling "Get off my lawn you whipper snappers!" at S30 V!!!:neener:
     
  4. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Anything but O1 is the devil's work! LOL
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I never gave it much thought, until I got a Buck 110 in 1968.
    Once it got dull, sharpening and re-beveling it again with my oil stones of the time proved nearly impossible.

    Finely bought a Norton Crystalon bench stone and that worked.
    After 4 hours of hard work.


    No other problem in 50 years with any of the old steels, and AST-34.

    Then, I bought a Kershaw Leek D2 combo edge a couple of years ago.
    It says sharp forever.

    But you better have diamond hones when it comes time to finally sharpen it!!!

    I'm in the old steel 'you can sharpen on a flat rock in a wet tent if you have too' School myself.

    rc
     
  6. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I like 5160 a lot. <shrug> Takes a good working edge fairly easy, tough, inexpensive. More rust resistant than its low chromium content would lead you to believe.

    S30 is fine, VG-10 is great, H-1 is okay. BD-1 doesn't hold an edge as long as some steels, but resharpens in just a few seconds, and it's fairly tough and quite rust resistant. Good 52100 is tough and sharp, but rusts if you look at it.

    Maybe I'll try S110V eventually.
     
  7. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    Buck knives SUCK!!
     
  8. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    It depends on the tool to some extent.

    For a thicker scraping/shaving (not hairs) edge, I like harder/abrasive steels ok. Hard is good, to prevent the edge from bending/folding when you are scraping with it. For a thinner hair-splitting edge, I usually like a mild stainless or carbon steel. A thin edge takes a long time to grind down, initially, but as long as you don't chip the steel, it is pretty easy to maintain on a milder steel. But that kind of thin edge is not good for scraping.

    In general, I am very ok with cheap steels on my knives.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  9. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    Buck knives sucks! Really? and that is why they make different flavors of Ice Cream. I have no trouble sharping buck knives using conventional bench tools.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  10. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    I think he was woofing us Ron. :D
     
  11. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    Woofing? Don't know ,BUT in my opinion, Buck knives are over rated.
    The average guy can't sharpen one and the edge holding ability STINKS!
    Merely my opinion and I don't wish to start a negative controversy.
     
  12. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I now have to use diamond stones to get an edge on my modern knives. I can still create a good edge on any carbon steel knife with an India stone or Crystolon, but not with the modern stainless steels. Still, I love them all.

    Norton%20India%20Coarse-Fine%20Combination%20Stone_zpsyietlgqb.jpg


    Norton%20Crystolon%20coarse-fine%20combination%20stone_zpsfmcplmtl.jpg
     
  13. futurerider103

    futurerider103 Member

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    Where does N690Co fall in line? My TOPS MIL SPIE 3.5 takes a razor sharp edge and holds it nicely
     
  14. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps if you'd provide an example of the model or models you're having trouble with, tell us what blade steel they have, and tell us what you're using for sharpening we can help you out. Since the 1990s Buck has mostly used 420HC steel, which has fair edge holding ability, but is easily sharpened by most folks.

    Vonderek, I'd also ask you to tell us which specific knives and steels you're having trouble with. The reason I ask about both is that the blade thickness and grind can have just as much effect on cutting performance as the blade steel (assuming the blade has been properly heat treated).

    futurerider, N690co is an interesting steel. It has only a small trace of vanadium spec'd in the alloy, but it lacks the super hard carbide formers tungsten and niobium which are commonly seen in the current super steels. With 1.07% carbon it's well within the ASTM A304 requirement of 0.7%-2.5% carbon content needed to be considered a high carbon steel. That's a similar amount of carbon to 440C and 154CM. However, unlike those other steels N690Co - as the name implies - has a pretty high content of cobalt, which is supposed to increase attainable hardness and intensify the effects of the other elements. Overall it's a less complex alloy than most of the powder metallurgy super steels, but it works well. I find it to have a very good balance of ease of sharpening, ease of taking a very fine edge, and very good edge retention. N690Co won't slice manilla rope all day like Elmax or M390, but it does take a much more razor like edge with just a little effort.
     
  15. BLB68

    BLB68 Member

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    I have two newer Buck folders. Both are excellent.

    Buck's customer service is amazing. When I moved to Washington some years back, the guards on my older (25+) 119 somehow managed to get bent in transit. I called them up to see if they could do a repair on my dime, but they said it wasn't possible to do so. Instead, they offered to replace the knife with a new one. They owed me exactly nothing there, but happily offered. (I didn't take them up on it for two reasons: I carried the knife most of the time I was in the Army, so sentimental value of most of the dings, and if I wanted another 119, I'd as soon support them by buying one.)
     
  16. MaterDei

    MaterDei Member

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    If this is true

    Perhaps in the future you avoid post like this

    Certain to start a negative controversy and, frankly, not high road.
     
  17. Mp7

    Mp7 Member

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    Interesting Thread.



    Nothing wrong with exotic steels. But in the end i tend to fall back to 12c27.
    And recently i am positively surprised by 8Cr13MoV.

    Hey ... even the good old 440C is awesome, if the blade geometry and hardening is nice.
     
  18. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    Sorry about my negative Buck comments as I came on really hard.
    I really like the site and I'll do what I can to preserve it.
     
  19. CaliCoastie

    CaliCoastie Member

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    Im one that doesn't care for buck knives. I had an unfortunate incident growing up with a buck 110. Took me a week on a wet stone to get it sharp enough to shave with. Less than a week later it was dull. Only knife I have ever destroyed(the it into the ocean).
    Fast forward 20-25 years I ended up with a small skinning knife when I bought a turkey call(for 15$) send to hold a decent edge. Still won't pay the money though for one, that one incident poisoned me. I do have 4 fillet knives by buck. On is a70s model, other three were cheap, use then a bait/throw away knives on the boat.
    I know I could sharpen any of them up now, but.... Rather spend my money on a brand I like. Sog, koa, cold steel, or a custom knife maker.
    I have an edge pro sharpener, running mostly shapton stones, finishing with a 10k chosera.
     
  20. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    When "hate" is in a post title, things usually go downhill quickly. I own many Buck knives including some from the 1950s that I inherited from my father. I do not find them difficult to sharpen with oil stones and they seem to hold a decent edge in use. If I were limited to one folding and one fixed blade, I would choose a Buck 110 and a 119.
     
  21. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    I purchased a Guidesman Uproar at Menards for $8.99, and the blade is 8Cr13MoV.

    [​IMG]

    I go out of my way to try to use it instead of my Gerber 200 for any cutting tasks that might come up. I've also used it to cut up vegetables and dice cilantro instead of my regular kitchen knives and its still sharp. Its a folder and I'm using it for stuff that it wasn't specifically designed for and its held up well.
     
  22. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Me too. Don't get me wrong, I like the S30V blade on my Leatherman, but good 'ol 1050 is fine by me.
     
  23. Vonderek

    Vonderek Member

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    My post was semi-tongue in cheek. I just don't have the patience any more to free-hand sharpen knives that don't want to be sharpened.
    Carbon%20steel.gif
     
  24. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Vonderek, there's no need to be obtuse. If you won't provide examples we can't give you solutions to the problems you're having. Why are you so resistant to accepting help?
     
  25. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

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    I can tell you I'm never buying a blade in N680 ever again. Multiple nicks from normal use, not abuse, and it won't hold an edge long. I will stick w/ 154CM and D2 from now on. I don't live by the ocean so I'm not sure why I thought I needed the corrosion resistance of N680 to begin w/ :laugh:
     
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