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I hate "exotic" steels

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

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  1. mole

    mole Member

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    I too am rather fond of 8Cr13MoV. It might not hold it's edge as long, but it gives me no trouble sharping it and performs well enough for everyday tasks.
     
  2. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    Nicks from normal use?
    That spells bad heat treatment to me.
    Bottom line? Heat Treatment rules!
    Exotic steels ?
    Merely a sales gimmick as the tool steels of old ( D-2, O-1) are truly surperb.
    In my mind, the tool steels that have been around for quite awhile present plenty of knife for most users.
    I offered knives 20 years ago in O-1 and D-2.
    I sold around 150 knives and I have NEVER had a complaint !
    D-2 is a SUPER knife steel, BUT once again, Heat Treating rules.
     
  3. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Don't disagree, D2 is an excellent steel. I have a number of Queen knives with D2 blades and the stuff sharpens up and slices great. Bob Levine, a 77 year old knife maker, and a member of my Gun Club, prefers D2. http://www.arizonacustomknives.com/Bob-Levine.aspx He created his own D2 heat treatment, a process that adds carbon to the edge by diffusion in a carbon rich atmosphere. He claims some ungodly Rockwell hardness for his D2 knives. He has tried just about every steel, a couple of weeks ago we were talking about his bad experience with a lot of Swedish knife steels. I don't know what type, but the first lot he had, it was perfect. The second lot (like 1,000 pound lot), the steel curled under grinding. The Swedish manufacture told him to pound sand, and he is now using it in gun club repairs! Drills a hole and uses the stuff in brackets.

    Bob refuses to have a web site, he gets all the orders he needs through the mail and the phone.

    This is Bob next to the skeet machine. That knife on his label, he made it, and it has mammoth ivory handles. Not only is Bob a knifemaker, but he shoots and supports the youth trap and skeet program!

    DSCF0067%20Bob%20Levine%20and%20Skeet%20Machine_zpsne14xlpr.jpg
     
  4. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    O-1 and D-2 have not been shown to be objectively superior to modern alloys such as S30V, S35VN, S90V, S110V, 20CP/204P/M390, XHP, or even the powder metallurgy versions of carbon tool steels such as CPM M4. Therefor, O-1 and D-2 cannot be objectively considered superb.
     
  5. CZ9shooter

    CZ9shooter Member

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    The old school tool steels are generally are not very corrosion resistant either. Not everybody wipes their knives down on a regular basis.

    I think many people are drawn to some of the new metals because they can offer performance similar to, or better than, the tried and true carbon steels while also holding up very well to the elements. Best of both worlds. Then there is the advertising hype too...
     
  6. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    Sorry Pal,
    D-2 ,because of it's high Cromium content is right up there with the 400 series stainless knife steels as far as corrosion resistance.
     
  7. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    That's demonstrably false. D2's 12% chromium content does not meet the AISI minimum of 13% chromium content to be considered a stainless steel. The 440 series steels at 18% chromium content combined with lower carbon content which leaves more chromium free in the solution are much more corrosion resistant. D2's vanadium content does help it keep some chromium free in the solution by absorbing some of the carbon to form vanadium carbides rather than chromium carbides, but it's not enough to make up for the 440 series steels 50% greater chromium content.
     
  8. CZ9shooter

    CZ9shooter Member

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    I disagree. Yes, D2 has fair corrosion resistance, but nothing like XHP, m390, SxxV or other new age stainless steels, which are what I was referring to.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  9. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Even milder stainless and carbon steel chips out on the edge. Even when cutting relatively soft materials. Even with a good heat treat. You just need a good enough microscope to see it. :)

    Part of the problem with some of the super steels is lack of understanding. A steel that is formulated for machining other hard metals is usually going to cut those metals with a really thick/obtuse edge by removing very thin curls/shavings at a time. (A thin edge would not only chip; it would also allow too much vibration/chatter, causing the bit to alternatively skip and then to cut too deep.) Some folks might be inclined to "test" their super sharpen-every-5-years knife blade by putting on a delicate razor edge and crying foul when it chips out. That's not the right application. Put a more obtuse angle on it, and it will be that knife that stays sharp and keeps cutting forever and a day.

    So if cutting pieces of paper like a laser beam and cleaving hairs is your criteria for a sharp knife, mild steels will be fine and many of the exotic steels will be disappointing. Or maybe they will be excellent... as long as you are only cutting paper and cleaving hairs for 5 years between sharpenings. Try to use it for anything much else, and you will spend more time repairing the edge than using your ever-sharp knife.

    That saying about D2 that "it takes a mediocre edge and holds it forever," applies somewhat to many of the really high carbide and/or high RC steel. And "mediocre" is only relative. For many tasks, a more obtuse edge is superior, regardless if the steel is really so tough and hard that it could take a keener edge without rolling or chipping. The thinner edge will still be subject to more flex/vibration, which would make it suboptimal for many uses such as controlled shaving of wood or scraping off labels or otherwise doing chiselly things.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  10. Noxx

    Noxx Member

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    I use my knives pretty frequently at work, and just within my experience, XHP has held up with much less attention than my older D2 knives. Maybe the gimmick's on me, but I'm happy with it.
     
  11. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    It's no gimmick. Carpenter's own description of CTS-XHP states: "Air hardening, high carbon, high chromium, corrosion resistant alloy which can be described as either a high hardness Type 440C stainless steel or a corrosion resistant D2 tool steel. Possesses corrosion resistance equivalent to Type 440C stainless but can attain a maximum hardness of 64 HRC, approaching that of D2 tool steel." - https://www.cartech.com/ssalloysprod.aspx?id=3710.
     
  12. Noxx

    Noxx Member

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    Well it's handily the best working knife I've owned. It goes back and forth with an Umnumzaan, but I favor the Calavera. Really maintenance friendly.
    41e2cc1b4ba7c5556f9ed1a262e18ac3.jpg
     
  13. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    IMHO, the " super " alloys are merely an addition of a smidge of this and a dash of that to an existing steel that's been around for awhile.
    The BIGGEST ploy is the " Secret German Steel" employed I guess, to make folks believe that they are getting a really super knife.
    This is especially true in the kitchen cutlery syndrome whereby folks are hoodwinked into the belief that they really need a $300.00 knife set in the kitchen when IN FACT a $50.00 knife set from Walmart would fill the bill in most cases!
     
  14. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    True enough. That said, the miracle of alloying is that a smidge of this and a dash of that to an existing alloy can make a huge difference in the properties of the new alloy.

    One classic example is the addition of a tiny bit scandium to aluminum alloy. Just 0.2% to 0.6% of scandium by weight (a smidge/dash by anyone's definition), DOUBLES the strength of the resulting alloy.

    Admittedly that's not a steel alloy, but the general principle still applies. It's part of why metallurgy was often such a mystery in times past. Tiny "impurities" could result in one product being tremendously more sturdy than another apparently identical one.
     
  15. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    That's almost true in the case of CTS-XHP. Once has to pur in perspective a an increase from 12% chromium content to 16% in the alloy is a 33% increase.

    That also ignores that S30V was developed by Crucible from the ground up as a cutlery steel.

    We've discussed this here in other threads. In this thread the OP was addressing the difficulty some have with sharpening advanced modern steels. The steels used in most German kitchen knives are low carbon and easy to sharpen.

    Your attempt to change the subject and confuse the issue isn't going to fly.
     
  16. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    I agree! Metallurgy IS a constantly changing Science but do you have to have a constantly changing set of kitchen knives or drastically change your daily carry?
    Kitchen Knives are a favorite of mine and I hate to see folks spend BIG BUCKS ($ 300.00 plus on a set of knives when the average kitchen could get a lifetime functional set of knives at Walmart for right around $50.00!
     
  17. CZ9shooter

    CZ9shooter Member

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    My kitchen knives average about 50 bucks a piece. Why? Because I like nice knives and refuse to buy Chinese junk at Walmart. I guess I spend my money foolishly??

    However, I just have a 3 knife set, plus a bread knife. I am no pro chef, I just need the basics. So I really dont't have a ton of money invested in them.

    They are not made of some new fangled super steel. Pretty basic, but quality forged stuff, not flimsy stamped sheet metal.
     
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Changing the subject to distract from facts.

    Small changes in composition and in heat treat make significant changes in steel performance. The ability to use a variety of steels in various heat treats allows for people to pick the specific performance of the tool. If you want ease of sharpening, blade steels are there for you. If you want high corrosion resistance, plenty to choose from. Fine edge capability, sure. Toothy, certainly. High polish, you betcha. Need a material for a big chopper or a sword, plenty. Tough, sharp, abrasion resistance, ... there's something out there for any application.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  19. RaceM

    RaceM Member

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    I'm old school, so I'll stick with 5160 or 1095 depending on the needs of the blade.
     
  20. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    My Kitchen knives are, for the most part, the Carbon steel Old Hickory stuff. If reasonably cared for, they last a lifetime. Not dishwasher safe because of the wooden grips but, made in U.S.A., reasonably priced and easy edge maintenance.
    I like a really sharp knife in the kitchen and my favorite is a knife that my Grandfather made from a saw blade almost 100 years ago.
    I don't like the " Made in China" stuff either BUT the Chicago Cutlery offerings ain't bad!
    Quality Forged? A mere gimmic
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  21. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Steel is only part of the game. Grind, profile, edge angle, handle design, even how the handle is attached. Always something more.

    Super steels? Mostly, my budget keeps me from accumulating those, but I have a few. Mostly I kind of prefer things that perform and sharpen up predictably.

    I've got a 30-year-old EKA Super Swede made of 12c27 Sandvik. It's a fairly ordinary steel, but it loves kitchen work. I have a Spyderco Endura in VG10, one of the "exotics," but the old EKA outperforms it in the kitchen. Why? I got the model with the steeper grind. If I had gotten the full-flat-grind version, I think it would do kitchen work way better. The steel is fine. It's got a great edge. Its steep grind makes it hang up in veggies. Basically, it acts like a wedge.

    So, in general, I'm less about the steel and more about the way the blade is designed and crafted.

     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  22. Noxx

    Noxx Member

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    There is the school of thought that one gets what one pays for. Most of my pocket knives are hand made here in America. They were not cheap but I will have them forever and pass them on to family to friends
     
  23. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    My kitchen knives loosely fit this description. They aren't the super thin sheet metal knives with no weight to them. They are thick, heavy stainless steel, with integral solid steel bolster and came with a nice block. I maybe have paid closer to $100.00. But with my experience with this set, I'm going to add a caveat that along with the $50.00 set of knives, you may also need a $50.00 belt sander to shape the initial edge. It would have taken several hours to turn these into actual knives, using just stones, due to the high chromium content and initial profile.

    I also use some carbon steel knives in the kitchen, and they are just fine. First time they rust, I wash it off with vinegar and leave the patina alone, and they are fine forever after.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016
  24. Captain O

    Captain O member

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    I have knives in D2, 1095, 420HC, Chrome Vanadium (Case), ATS-34, 440C and 440A. They all have their good and not-so-good points.

    I have a Buck Impact (auto, made by Buck) in S30V, and a Buck 110 Auto, converted by an outside outfit. i also have a Queen #H1 swinguard converted to an auto by Ruben's Blades. and a Ruben's Blades Omerta 11" bayonet blade picklock Italian-style made in the USA with a 1095 steel blade. I even have a nice KaBar USN Mark 1 in 1095 Chrome Vanadium steel.

    I have a lot of autos made by Benchmade and Kershaw. These hold razor edges without much work.
     
  25. Cowhide Cliff

    Cowhide Cliff Member

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    Keep in mind many of the new exotic stainless knife steels are just variations/modifications of good old 440C.

    XHP is my favorite steel now, in fact I was one of a handful of knife makers that made some test blades from test pieces sent to me by Carpenter a few years ago before it was even available.

    That said XHP is basically just a cross between 440C and D2 in a powdered steel. Yes Carpenter does take some extra care in their production compared to others but my point is the composition is not so different than what was once the "exotic" steels of the past.
     
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