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Thread: knife steel

  1. #1
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    Default knife steel

    I know this has probably been asked several times, but what steel should I look for in a knife? Is there certain steels that I should avoid? I want something that will keep a pretty good edge, but won't be too much of a pain to sharpen in the bush.


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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    It depends on the application and environment it will be used in. For example - boating/wet/salt water - I would recommend a good quality stainless.

    A lot of people (me included) like a high carbon steel like 1095.

    Personally I prefer a combination of the two in D2. It is sometimes referred to as a semi-stainless, has a fairly high carbon content and great wear resistance. One drawback to D2 is that it is not great at absorbing shock, so a proper heat treat is a must.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I'll add - there are a lot of higher end steels, but for me - not particularly worth the added expense. There are other, affordable options as well.
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    You also have to take into consideration that Crash can make a knife out of an old saw blade and it will take an edge and hold it about forever.
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    You guys left out the rarest of all steels, Crashmaskus! It gets so sharp that it will chop a floating tu*d in half and never make a ripple!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildthang View Post
    You guys left out the rarest of all steels, Crashmaskus! It gets so sharp that it will chop a floating tu*d in half and never make a ripple!!
    Now THAT is sharp.....
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    Steel is a science all unto itself. There are so many types, and many new modern steels that have excellent performance. Not only are there different types, but different heat treatments that change the characteristics of the same type. Knife steel is a tricky endeavor. It has to do 2 things that are opposites. It has to be hard to maintain the edge, and pliable to not shatter. The harder it is, the less pliable. The more pliable, the less hard. Crash gave you the most accepted steel, and probably the standard for many decades. 1095 in the HRC 58 range is hard to beat. For me, I try to stay away from something that says 440 stainless, or stainless china.
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Lots of good blades coming out of China if you buy from a reputable firm that maintains QC.

    I have a couple of good Bucks, Gerbers and such that hold a good edge. I also have a couple of Pumas that I suspect are forged in China and assembled in Germany that maintain their quality.
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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    Much of a muchness in terms of steels..
    Carbon steels are great;
    01 tool steel
    d2
    1055
    1095
    5160 etc all good.
    If you living in an area that has a lot of humidity, like near the sea side you might want to consider a stainless steel;
    cheap to mid-range price range
    8cr13mov(stainless steel out of china, scharde uses this as do some spiderco's and some kershaws)
    440c
    Aus-8(newer cold steel uses this)
    Sandivic(14c28n)
    N690
    High end
    you can even go for things like 154 CM,cpm3v, cpm4v, vg10,etc,or other high end super steels

    In the end of the day what makes the knife good is the heat treat on them, the steels just either make it hold an edge longer, or harder to sharpen and less resistant to rust.
    Last edited by Antonyraison; 03-24-2017 at 05:47 AM.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Many of my best knives are also made from "Crashmaskus"......says so on the blade....
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    Lots of good blades coming out of China if you buy from a reputable firm that maintains QC.
    Yes, but do they have the words "Stainless China" stamped on the blade? I agree, China can copy us really well, even our quality. But, if the blade has the words "Stainless China" stamped on the blade, I try to stay away.
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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    I would saty away from a knife that says stainless steel and china on it, its likely to be a cheap low quality.
    Better blades out of china would actually indicated something cr13mov or whatever metal (maybe even aus8) or whatever its made from.

  13. #13

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    Steel from China? Maybe if you live there. Lol.
    Hello folks, RevR from Oregon here, it's raining (as usual), can't work in the garden so I decided to share my not-so-small amount of wit and wisdom with you. 1st of all, How to tell good steel from bad. Grind it. Slap it on your grinding wheel and look at the sparks. Good high carbon will have bright white sparks that have multiple "feathers" coming off the end of the spark flight path. Poor low carbon will be orange with single spark path. Don't use this unless you wanna forge it up with some carbon material like horse hooves or something waaayyy old school like that. Wanna make a great knife fairly quickly? Use English or German files. Nicholson is ok too.
    Take 3 or 4 files, wrap in aluminum foil. Lay file on edge of foil, wrap once, set another file on it and wrap...repeat till all files are stacked together. Bake in your oven at 450F for 4to5 hours. Turn off and let cool overnight. You've just annealed a very hard tempered chunk of steel. It should have a purple-ish tan color. That'll put you in the 59-61Rockwell range. If it's dark blue you'll be a little soft and needs to be "baked" a bit longer.
    Anyway, you shape it "cold", just a pass or 2 then set it in the air blowing out your motor to cool as you make a pass on another piece. I've made many blades this way. Pic's to be posted later.
    Have fun and quit even thinking about "Steel from China"

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