Resurrecting the thread with a new question:
Blade steels and manufacturers - what are your impressions of the ones you use or have previously used?
I've done some research into the steels used in the various knives I carry and compared it with my observations/experience, with interesting results.
Swiss Army knives
- Spartan, Climber and numerous Classic SDs over the years:
According to Victorinox, courtesy of this site
, they use X55CrMo14 ("...a composition between 420 and 440A...") hardened to 56 HRC and they pay attention to the tempering and hardening process.
describes it as "comparable to 440A Stainless in almost every aspect" and notes that 440A and similar are quite adequate for pocket knives (and other small blades) and that the company
that made the blade is as important as the steel used.
notes that 440A is a "lower mid-range" steel so I guess that makes X55CrMo14 a "lower mid-range" steel as well (420 is rated as "low end" steel).
My observations: very easy to get a very sharp edge on it and holds it reasonably
well. I found I was sharpening my old Victorinox Classic SD quite frequently to keep an edge on it but, to be fair, it was going through a humongous amount of thick plastic packing straps and packing tape at the time.
Victorinox do seem to know what they're doing with their metallurgy to get the best out of their steel.
8Cr13MoV - an "upper mid-range" steel comparable with AUS-8 and Spyderco is reputed
to have mastered the heat treating process to get the best out of it.
My observations: Easy to put a very sharp edge on it but I haven't used it long enough to comment on its edge retention. On the whole I'd agree that Spyderco "know what the fuck they're doing".
- Wave (old model):
420HC - high-carbon version of 420 - a "lower mid-range" steel but apparently good manufacturers such as Buck
can get the best out of it.
My observations: I can't get a very good edge on this at all - I could be doing something wrong but considering the edges I'm getting on all my other knives with my Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker, I rather doubt it - and it "couldn't hold an edge in both hands".
I'm increasingly of the opinion that Leatherman's heat-treating leaves a lot to be desired which, coupled with a lower-grade steel, makes for an inferior knife.
I use the blades a lot as the Leatherman's quick to access (always on my belt) but I'm always having to sharpen it and not getting optimal results no matter how hard I try.
Still seems adequate for cutting duct tape or packing tape or opening a plastic bag when needed. Wouldn't want to rely on it for bushcraft (but up in the bush I'd have my "bush knives" on me).
Richard Herder, Solingen
- HY-style sheath knife
High carbon steel.
My observations: This comes up very sharp and holds the edge pretty well. Hasn't stained/rusted too badly over the many years I've had it and it's been pretty easy to give it a quick clean up with fine sand paper or steel wool when it has.
- Heavy "Bowie"-style sheath knife
"Stainless Steel", unknown composition, more a "stain less
" than "stainless" - in fact, it's more stained than my high carbon blade (probably due to the fact that it's been stuck in a wet leather sheath for protracted periods while the high carbon blade wasn't), I think they merely showed it a picture
of some chromium and left it at that.
Takes a good edge and holds it well, takes a lot of punishment (I use it as an axe substitute on thicker pieces of wood). Wish I hadn't worn off the name cleaning the rust off as I now can't recommend the make to people - and I would if I could.
So, what've you got and how do you find their performance? Are they getting the best out of their steel?
edited 5th Dec '14 6:10:30 PM by Wolf1066