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Why so many makers use AUS-8 instead of 440C?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by doublebarrel, Apr 8, 2006.

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  1. doublebarrel

    doublebarrel Member

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    From what I read, 440C is the best value right now, for hardness, toughness, and antirust capability, on a per dollar basis. It should be used by all those value-oriented makers widely as I expected. AUS-8, on the other hand, is equivalent to 440B on the hardness. For blade steel, hardness seems to be the most important criterion. The knife would hold the edge better, at some expense of brittleness. So why would people like CRKT, Cold Steel, SOG, etc., got so many folders made with AUS-8, but none(I couldn't find one) using 440C?...
     
  2. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    It's probably cheaper. I've had the same issues with Case knives as their ATS-34 Seahorse is expensive but I buy ATS-34 pretty cheap. I'm told they have to buy it in big chunks or bars or something and they actually shear pieces off. I don't know man, 440C and ATS-34 are fine steels and great deals for the money and I have both in the shop. :)
     
  3. Rupestris

    Rupestris Member

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    Looks like you'll be getting a Benchmade, huh? :p
     
  4. owenbright

    owenbright Member

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    It's cheaper and I don't think the market they're aiming at would
    "care" too much if they used AUS 8 over 440C... even AUS 6 or lower.
     
  5. AJ Dual

    AJ Dual member

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    I have a simpler explanation.

    People who aren't knife knutz or metalurgists, (the target consumer for many of these knives) have probably heard of "440" steel, and "know" it's a "common steel". Or perhaps they've seen the "440" stamped on the tangs of junk mass-market cutlery. They don't understand the "C" designation means it's a pretty darn good steel, and a very different animal than "plain 440".

    AUS-8 sounds exotic, even if it's actualy a cheaper steel than 440C.
     
  6. Boats

    Boats member

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    BINGO!

    Most knife buyers in the ~$50.00 and below mass market won't even know what their knife blade's steel alloy is, and care only that it is stainless and the knife looks cool and does what they want at their price point.

    440C or AUS-8? In my world, that is a who cares dilemma because I am going to buy something better anyways. Those steels are generally too common and "too stainless" to draw or hold my interest unless the blade design itself merits the attention.

    For around or below $50.00--

    Spyderco makes the Atlantic and Pacific Salt out of H-1 Steel, which no one seems to be able to get to rust, a claim that 440C or AUS-8 could never make. H-1 still holds a decent edge, is relatively easy to sharpen, and work hardens the edge up, which was an unexpected edge holding bonus.

    Spyderco also makes a version of its Native in S30V that it sells through Wal-Mart for about $40.00. That is a tough combo to beat.

    Now I understand that Spydercos are not everyone's cup of tea, but with some judicious shopping, one can do much better than 440C or AUS-8 and have a really good knife.

    Heck, I'd buy a Buck 110 and send it away to the factory for an upgrade to BG-42 stainless before settling for a knife with a lesser stainless steel.

    A base Buck 110 is about 30.00 almost anywhere if you look around. Round trip shipping and $19.00 gets you a blade upgrade to BG-42 inside of a month that will outperform just about every off-shore produced piece currently made.

    It is not necessary to be a steel snob to wind up with a great knife, but it certainly helps, especially when you find you might not have to pay much, if any, more dollars for the performance benefits if you know what you are getting for your money.
     
  7. doublebarrel

    doublebarrel Member

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    Hmm..., maybe. But I thought bargain hunters, like me, are all looking for most bang for the buck kinda things. Couple days ago I didn't know anything about knives, only heard of Buck brand. Now I've learned S30V, BG-42, ATS-34/154CM, and VG-10 are good, premium steels, so whoever sellings knives with these steels for cheap(like Boats mentioning the Spyderco Native) is an eye-opener for me...

    I went to Spyderco's site, and found that they sell an AUS-10 version(the Native Stainless Steel model), which is equivalent to 440C I think, for more money than the other S30V models. No clue how their pricing structure was set up...
     
  8. Rupestris

    Rupestris Member

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    I'm obviously not a steel snob but theres more to an EDC than the steel. A Buck 110 is a dang nice knife but there are other features that make a folder appealing.

    While 440C is my bottom line I have no problem with it or AUS-8 (Spydey DragonFly).

    Thats all I'm getting at. I've yet to find a EDC as user friendly as the Mini Griptilian and will have one in D2 one day. For now the 440C is performing very well. Rust has never been an issue and it gets put in the pocket wet often.
     
  9. Headless Thompson Gunner

    Headless Thompson Gunner Member

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    I've never seen any practical difference between a knife made of AUS-8 and one made of 440C. Both are good good enough (generally), and neither is spectacular. If AUS-8 isn't good enough for some particular task, then 440C won't be good enough for that task either. You need to step up to something like VG-10 or S30V to see an improvement.
    Not true. Blade shape and heat-treatment are both far more important than the final hardness of the steel. It's also somewhat common for manufacturers to make a blade too hard, which makes the edges prone to chipping and the tips prone to snapping off. Better to have a softer blade, properly made, using a mediocre steel.
     
  10. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member

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    Are you sure about that? I thought I read on one of the knife forums that they were using a cheaper steel for the Wal-Mart Natives.

    doublebarrel
    You sound like me. I'm alway looking for the sleeper product. They one very few people know about, that is made very well, and doesn't require you to pay for the name.

    I would suggest you check out the Browning Ice Storm. CDNN sell them for $40 and they use VG10 steel. The one I got was wicked sharp, and a couple of drops of Pro-lube and it opened as fast as my assisted opening knife.

    http://cdnninvestments.com/bricestlilok5.html
     
  11. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    I only own Swiss Victornox made of anything except 0-1,0-2, or D-2. Even DIVE knives! Rust has never been a problem with Martensite steels, wax or oil them! These knifes have teeth and are easy to sharpen and hold their edge!:)
     
  12. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge Member

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    Another very important reason for the use of one steel or the other -- probably more important than any performance disparity between the two steels -- is that a knife manufactured in (say) Japan has a big economic advantage in using Japanese-made 8A versus American-made 440C.
     
  13. doublebarrel

    doublebarrel Member

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    I'm honored to have Joe Talmadge reply to my thread. I learned most of my knife knowledge from your articles, in the last couple of months. Steel FAQ, Blade Geometry FAQ, Sharpening FAQ, I got a copy of each saved on my hard drive. The only thing is, I got them from three different places. Sharping FAQ from the sticky post here; Steel FAQ from Blade forum; and Blade Geometry FAQ from A.G. Russell. I wish there were a central repository where I can find all the latest version of these basic learning stuff. Thanks for the reply, and for the free lessons...:)
     
  14. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge Member

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    Glad you found them useful!
     
  15. MKultra

    MKultra Member

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    440 makes a good dive knife because its hard, but its a bad land knife because it's too hard and is difficult to sharpen
     
  16. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Sorry to digress...
    I got one too, just to check it out. No complaints about the blade, but the lock on mine can be easily overcome. I've never had a locking blade knife that would unintentionally unlock anywhere near as easily as this one.

    I was concerned because the liner lock was just barely engaging the blade so I turned it over, held it so my fingers were clear of the blade and tapped the back edge against the workbench. It unlocked. Thought that might be related to the vibration from being struck, but I found was able to unlock it by applying steady pressure to the back of the blade.

    Could be that mine's defective but in case it's not, be careful and keep your fingers out of the way of the blade if you're doing anything that could cause it to fold up. It's still a nice knife if you pretend it's just a regular folder without a lock.

    The only other gripe I had with the knife is that a strongly sprung pocket clip combined with a non-skid knife handle means that the clip is pretty hard to use and that if you do use it, it tears up your pocket in a hurry.
     
  17. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Hardness depends on the heat treatment it gets. They can make a "softer" blade.
     
  18. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    The steel, the geometry, and the heat treament of any knife lead to discusions I find fascinating.
    I to have studied all Joe's work, good stuff, and thank you
     
  19. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

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    Actually, when you get right down to it, most people won't know the difference. In fact, most people, who are not knife knuts and obsess over their cult worship item, don't care. All the averige Joe wants to do is cut something. He does not care if it's 440a, 440b, 440c, or AUS-8. This is why companies like Schrade, Camillis, and now maybe Case, went out of business. Most people buy a knife on price, not quality and steel. Companies know this and use lower price steel to make a proffit and stay in business. Most people see a knife like a screwdriver, or can opener. They may need one, but its a disposable tool to them. Most people will not spend over a few dollars on a knife.

    Look at the millions of knives used world wide by working people. Most of the time its plain old carbon steel. Sometimes its Chinese stainless. People on knife forums are the only ones to really care what the knife is made out of. The guys I worked with had cheap lockblades from 'other' countries, and used them hard, to the point of abuse. If it broke, they went out that night and bought another 4.99 special. When it got dull, they put a saw toothed working edge on it with a mill file or rough cororundum stone. In one case, I saw a guy go over to a cement curb and strop it. It cut open the bag of mulch just fine. I saw a guy in Spain butchering a goat, and his knife was a little dull. He went over to the stone steps of a cafe, and sharpened his nife in a few minutes and finished butchering the goat while smiling and muttering in Spanish, Ah, that's better."

    Any of the modern steels are better than what our grandfathers had to work with. Just some are a bit better, and have different qualities. Some will have better edge holding, but some will be harder to sharpen. Some of the chealer steels that knife steel snobs look down thier nose at will take abuse that will will chip or even break a "better" knife.

    It's all in what you want.
     
  20. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Bingo!

    The facts are that a company that wants to offer high quality products must also offer mass market bottom price products as well. You can't survive any more just making knives that perform beyond 80% of what your customers will put them through. Without a nearly disposable product line to go along with your top product line you can't survive.

    As to the resurrected thread question, AUS steels are Asian products that are cheaper in Asian markets. That means that knives manufactured in Japan or Taiwan use what is most readily available at the best price for the performance they want. That means AUS-6 and AUS-8. In China it is the 9Cr13CoMoV produced there.
     
  21. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

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    AUS-8 is more like 440B. The Japanese equivalent of 440C is AUS-10.
     
  22. The Highlander

    The Highlander Member

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    I've been carrying an 8Cr13MoV steel blade for a couple months now and it has been able to take a real fine edge. I'm pretty sure it slots in around AUS-6/8, but is Chinese rather than Japanese.
     
  23. KenWP

    KenWP member

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    I personally hate SS on a lot of knives. I rather have carbon and look after it then SS and try and sharpen it. CourseIi am alwasy in a hurry to sharpen a knife it seems. I have one knife that looks good and all that good stuff but you need a angle grinder to sharpen it. Course its made in China.
     
  24. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    I don't carry my Native as much as I thought I would on account of carrying a different Spyderco and Benchmade, but it is a darn fine knife and I think one of the best values going.

    I agree with this. I have developed into something of a knife knut, and for the most part my buddies don't understand my willingness to buy a $100.00 knife. I really don't know the different steels that well, but a knife to me is more than just a implement, although it is that as well. At the same time, I appreciate the cheaper product lines. I am doing better now than I ever have in my life financially, but even just a year ago it was a major sacrifice to plop down money for a good, quality knife. In fact, I had to save to get the $40.00 for the Native. I am glad I did, because I enjoy a well-made product (and, for that matter, a Colorado made product). I personally would rather put my trust in a knife like that, but I know enough about knives to desire that extra quality. Believe me, when I first was in the USMC, I went through a passle of crappy knives before I discovered Spyderco. It was more money, but in the long run it was a much better deal and it taught me to look for quality AND value.

    I would also add that for a long time, "good knife" simply meant "Buck Knife", and steel be damned. If you build a good product at a fair price, people will buy it. It's brand recognition, dudes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  25. Hans Esker

    Hans Esker Member

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    Also keep in mind that AUS 8 is easier on tooling and grinder wheels than 440C.
     
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