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"Stainless" vs "Carbon" steel

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by JohnKSa, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I'd think the 5160 is at least a little tougher, but I'm certain the latter is true.
     
  2. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    I really liked 40CP as well. 440C was good steel, and applying powder metallurgy manufacturing to it really did make it shine even more. You're definitely right though, virtually all steels are tradeoffs.
     
  3. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Now I'm reading about carbides, different types of carbides (chemical composition), different forms of carbides with the same chemical composition, carbide sizes and the effects of all those things on toughness.

    I'm not sure I'm any closer to answering the original question.
     
  4. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    I've been seriously into knives as a hobby for 14 years, and I can't answer your question. If you're interested in the toughness question mostly, there is an interesting Bladeforums experiment going on right now. People are sending heat-treated Charpy testing samples of different cutlery steels in to a member who has access to a testing unit. We're hoping to collate toughness data against steel type, hardness, and heat treat protocols.
     
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  5. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Toughness seems to be the parameter most closely aligned with what most folks would call "strength". And it also seems to be the hard question.

    Hardness seems more straightforward and there's lots of hardness data out there. Edgeholding/wear seem to also be easier understood and explained and also seem to relate fairly closely to composition and carbide content.

    Toughness should be easy to test, but the data doesn't seem to be there. Until someone with the time and money gets interested enough to do the huge amount of testing required to provide answers AND then publicize them I think we're going to remain in the dark.

    Maybe the bladeforums experiment will be the start!

    Edit:
    That site has sort of a confusing setup. Fortunately a search with the term "charpy" turned up what I believe to be the thread you mentioned. Even after finding the thread and knowing where it was, it took me a few tries to manually navigate to it from the top forum level. :(
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
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  6. kamagong

    kamagong Member

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    Nope. No stainless I've seen comes close to the beauty that is possible with a carbon steel blade. For example -

    38472620284_562d2b3cae_c.jpg

    This is a "plain" example.
     
  7. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    For whatever it's worth there is at least one knifemaker who claims to have made a stainless steel knife with a hamon line. Anyway, I suppose if we include differential hardening lines but exclude Damascus steels, then I would concede that the relatively small percentage of carbon steel knives with differential hardening have an aesthetic edge over both plain carbon steel and stainless steel as long as the hamon remains visible.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  8. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    I think Damasteel's DS93X powder metallurgy stainless damascus is the best-looking production damascus short of Bernie Rietveld. Very bright contrast. That's some high-performance stuff made from RWL34 and PMC27, roughly equivalent to CPM154.
     
  9. Ranald

    Ranald Member

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    Word... Im following this one myself. I have experienced various knife steels over the years of my life. while I generally prefer high carbon steels, some of the modern stainless blades seem to have good reputations- including a not-cheap Chinese knife I own- one of my few stainless blades. Blade metallurgy has come a long way since my youth and Buck knives.
     
  10. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    That a Reate? Several of the new Chinese brands are really knocking it out of the park. Some small businesses with owners who are really passionate about knives. Glad to see that emerging there. I won a Reate K-1 in a post-pass around giveaway on Bladeforums, and it's really a fantastic knife.
     
  11. Ranald

    Ranald Member

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    The brand name of the knife in question is a Hanwei "Rock Creek" with a HWS-1K forged blade, with a hardness of 58 HRc – 60 HRc and has a sambar stag grip. It takes a very nice edge and seems to hold up well. I paid something close to $100 for it as I recall.
     

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