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A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels

Posted by jasonstone20 
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A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
November 03, 2019 08:26PM
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The standard consensus about knife steel misses the mark, if you ask me.

If you care about high sharpness, and if you care about ease of sharpening and time sharpening your preferences for a knife steel are going to be different than someone who carries a blade that is sharpened to 20* DPS/40* Inclusive and considers a knife dull once it won't cut printer paper.

20*DPS/40*Inclusive is for axes and chopping blades, not for knives if you ask me. A blade that can no longer shave or slice cigarette paper is dull if you ask me.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 17, 2020 08:52PM
Actually, as Cliff pointed out, 1920 swamp axes were under 15 dps, and chopping knives need even as much or more finesse, as this relieves impact on the hand... furthermore, he also pointed out that thick edged pocket knives trended towards abrasion resistance (high carbides) at the expense of other more knife- relevant qualities.... I think the poor edge stability of cpm steels is a demonstration of this: cpm steels are an assumption that industrial machines have needs similar to knife use: the result is inferior knife steels at lower than 20 dps... in the same vein, outside of Chinese factories, the assumption of custom superiority over factory never seems to materialize in my experience, quite the opposite...

The best edge holding to chopping I have ever seen was from 3 separate $100 united Cutlery Rambo clones in 420j2, wobbly handle and all... a $2000 blackbird by rj Martin, in s30v, was complete crap in comparison, with thin INFI also way inferior to 420j at comparable 0.020” and 15 dps... even old factory 440 stainless tends to be better than new 440 by high end custom makers like Vaughn Neeley: one must put all prejudices aside to see anything objectively, and the trend these days is more expensive, newer and more custom steels are usually worse than old, cheap factory stuff: however bizarre it may seem, that is just the way it is...

G
cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 18, 2020 10:14AM
Quote
Gaston444
The best edge holding to chopping I have ever seen was from 3 separate $100 united Cutlery Rambo clones in 420j2, wobbly handle and all... a $2000 blackbird by rj Martin, in s30v, was complete crap in comparison, with thin INFI also way inferior to 420j at comparable 0.020” and 15 dps... even old factory 440 stainless tends to be better than new 440 by high end custom makers like Vaughn Neeley: one must put all prejudices aside to see anything objectively, and the trend these days is more expensive, newer and more custom steels are usually worse than old, cheap factory stuff: however bizarre it may seem, that is just the way it is...

G

I can see this quote, placed by someone on another forum would cause all sorts of havoc and insensibilities.

I'm curious about some more info on some of your statements though..

440 is a wide range of steels.
is there a possiblity that when 440 was the "top" steel used in production, like at buck, they put a high investment in HT, in the way people might treat s90v, elmax etc ht now..
but today, 440 is treated as "budget" so maybe makers and factories are skimping on the best HT..


its the same how when I started getting back into knives and making them 12 years ago, O1 was lauded as a rubbish steel, good for 57RC and anything more was brittle garbage. people preferred 1080 and 1095 over it.

now this is nonsense as o1 is the precision higher quality grade steel.. but research found the answer very easily. Custom makers in the uk where making very expensive knives using BBQ furnaces etc with no quality or controls and doing terrible HT and tempering, leading to poor steel.. but the 1080 etc done in the same terrible way was more resiliant to those mistakes

the same can be said for any steel on earth.. the person heat-treating it is going to be far more important that what steel it is..
.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 18, 2020 03:38PM
Gaston444,
What was the exact differences again between the UC Rambo knives and the S30V knives? What were you seeing that you didn't like? I am asking because I know you understand that the geometry is mostly responsible for chopping performance, but I do remember you not liking in some knives what was going on with the edge, so for clarification purposes I was wondering if the edge issue you discovered was the problem.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 18, 2020 04:05PM
Quote
Gaston444
I think the poor edge stability of cpm steels is a demonstration of this: cpm steels are an assumption that industrial machines have needs similar to knife use: the result is inferior knife steels at lower than 20 dps...

I don’t know if I quite understand what you mean, but why would you think that particle metallurgy makes a steel worse than regular ingot-processed steel at low angles?


Quote
Gaston444
The best edge holding to chopping I have ever seen was from 3 separate $100 united Cutlery Rambo clones in 420j2, wobbly handle and all... a $2000 blackbird by rj Martin, in s30v, was complete crap in comparison, with thin INFI also way inferior to 420j at comparable 0.020” and 15 dps...

None of that makes any sense. I don’t know what you were chopping or how you were checking/measuring edge retention, but random Chinese 420J2 at .020” and 15 DPS, I can’t see how you could possibly use that on anything but extremely soft, large diameter, and clear woods. Especially if the handle is wobbly, as that would increase lateral forces.
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 18, 2020 04:10PM
Quote
Gaston444
the trend these days is more expensive, newer and more custom steels are usually worse than old, cheap factory stuff: however bizarre it may seem, that is just the way it is

Dude, I don’t know who you mean when you’re talking about custom knives, but this is just not correct. There are a lot of competent makers and heat treatment facilities that are putting out products with near-optimal heat treatment on a massive variety of steels.
cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 18, 2020 06:24PM
Quote
Ryan Nafe
Quote
Gaston444
I think the poor edge stability of cpm steels is a demonstration of this: cpm steels are an assumption that industrial machines have needs similar to knife use: the result is inferior knife steels at lower than 20 dps...

I don’t know if I quite understand what you mean, but why would you think that particle metallurgy makes a steel worse than regular ingot-processed steel at low angles?


Quote
Gaston444

Yeah, my interpretation of that, maybe wrong, was "high carbide" CPM steels, because CPM is really only benefitting the high carbide steels. no reason to go to the extreme cost on fine grained steels at all.
I think its a fair generalization to say that all CPM steels are better than their exact equivalent non CPM steels for what they are designed for, but this does not mean that CPM is better or worse than other steels that are non CPM depending on the steel.

so.. CPM D2 nicer than D2, but still wont stand a chance next to rolled AEBL. in a chop test for toughness.

I feel like Gaston44 descriptions are experience based, and can only easily be associated to specific knives, not to the steels themselves easily. i'd like more info

----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 19, 2020 01:06AM
Quote
cKc
I feel like Gaston44 descriptions are experience based, and can only easily be associated to specific knives, not to the steels themselves easily. i'd like more info

He’s got a history of making nonsensical claims about knife performance and either making poor/fallacious arguments to support them or simply not answering the questions posed in response to the claims he makes. And right now he’s back to doing the “make a bunch of claims and answer no questions about them” thing. References here in these threads:

[www.cliffstamp.com]

[www.cliffstamp.com]

[www.cliffstamp.com]

[www.cliffstamp.com]



There’s plenty more references available with a search. I don’t mean to be a knob, but it is what it is.
cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 19, 2020 06:41AM
Well.. with TimeZones etc.. not always easy to get back to things in a timely fashion maybe. I'll give the benefit of the doubt on that one.
But I would say that almost every reviewer on youtube works in this way.

i just bought a knife in steel (x) and it cuts bad.. Steel (x) is sucks. Steel (y) has never failed me, and everyone says steel(y) is good so im not wrong.
years later when the tides change and "people" like steel (x), same reviewer will get another knife in steel(x) and laud its qualities and never go back to compare the old steel(x) which is conveniently sold or missing in action, and update their facts to say (a) i mislead you, (b) i based my premise on a single sample. (c) maybe that brand didn't know how to heat treat (x)


So in the above case, Gaston made a specific claim.. the RJ Martin in S30V was crap compared to the UCR clone in 420.
There is no way for any of us to actually dispute or agree with this claim based on is "1st hand" comparison. In the early days, S30V did get a very bad reputation, because too many makers where heat treating it incorrectly, leading to very substandard steel. Even if RJM makes world leading knives now.. maybe that knife was a DUD.. so here is my question.. why not send the 420J clone, and the $2000 knife back to RJM and tell him to fix the blade, and allow him to examine it. maybe he never tested the knife after HT

or.. the s30v could be perfect, but perfectly bad for a survival knife, where 420j2 is very tough.. could be much better for a survival knife.. depends on the process of evaluation

420j2 rubbish not designed for knives

This above claim would be based on its low carbon content..
however, United Cutlery predominantly makes wall hangers. they are not made for real use (i dont care if people use them for that, they are not, and there are far too many examples of catastropic failures on their stuff when people try them as such) 420J2 is incredibly resistant to corrosion and tough.. perfect for high polish display pieces like Gil Hibbon makes. probably excellent as a dive knife too, where edge retention is a minor concern..

But the reality is that 420J2 can actually be a very good knife steel if heat treated optimally, and it depends who supplied it.. but at 54Rc it "can" be a knife that can be considered like 1095 at similar hardness, but with extreme corrosion resistance.. so as a chopper, you could prob make an axe out of it.. i wouldn't say that for S30v.

Quote
CliffStamp
In short, the actual material properties of this steel, what it can achieve are fairly different than how it is utilized in the knife industry. The largest problem with it for the user is that 420 is such a broad label it is very difficult to know exactly what to expect.
Reference links

So im pretty sure if i wanted to make an outdoor hard use knife in stainless.. then 420J2 from the right supplier, given a heat treat for a knife rather than a decorative wall hanger, I could make a very good knife..


but people selling a $5 knife with a $0.20c blade may not want to spend $3 on the heat treat vs the $0.30c basic ht

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cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 19, 2020 06:45AM
Example that shows why i'd never use any Cheap Clone style united cultery knife in any real world application.
but it also demonstrates why, before failure this knife can potentially out chop a esse junglas for example. a huge mass of forward weight with a rat tang. == good chopping until failure




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It's not Cliff, its Dr Stamp
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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 19, 2020 08:12AM
Quote
cKc
There is no way for any of us to actually dispute or agree with this claim based on is "1st hand" comparison.

Yes, that’s why I asked for more information about the claim and noted that I may not understand exactly what he’s saying/claiming. It’s not specific enough to immediately disagree or agree with, and I don’t even know if I understand what he’s claiming to begin with.

I asked for more info, and he didn’t respond. He posted in another thread about something entirely different, after my questions had been posted, making no response to my questions and scrutiny. As has happened in the past. He tends to either have poor arguments that simply don’t hold up to logical analysis and current knowledge, or just doesn’t respond to the criticism.




Quote
cKc
But the reality is that 420J2 can actually be a very good knife steel if heat treated optimally, and it depends who supplied it.. but at 54Rc it "can" be a knife that can be considered like 1095 at similar hardness, but with extreme corrosion resistance.. so as a chopper, you could prob make an axe out of it.. i wouldn't say that for S30v.

... 420J2 from the right supplier, given a heat treat for a knife rather than a decorative wall hanger, I could make a very good knife...

I didn’t say anything about 420J2 being a “bad steel”, or anything like that. What I said was this:

Quote
Ryan Nafe
I don’t know what you were chopping or how you were checking/measuring edge retention, but random Chinese 420J2 at .020” and 15 DPS, I can’t see how you could possibly use that on anything but extremely soft, large diameter, and clear woods. Especially if the handle is wobbly, as that would increase lateral forces.

I said that because even a heat treatment that’s near-optimal for edge stability on a very low-carbide steel is not likely to be able to chop wood at that geometry without significant damage, like a collapsed secondary edge or a ripple in the primary grind, unless it’s very soft wood, doesn’t have knots, is large diameter wood, and is being wielded by someone with extreme control over the blade.

So when he’s claiming that random/unknown 420 series stainless, on a display piece knife, and at very thin cross sections for that type of work, and with very low control over the edge is the best he’s seen in “edge retention”, I am asking for more details and information to support his claim. Because to me it sounds like nonsense.

His claim is far enough from what’s known that it’s drawing skepticism and scrutiny from me. Because he’s either making claims he definitely can’t support, or my understanding of this stuff is grossly incorrect and I don’t know nearly as much as I think I do. Right now I’m leaning towards the former of the two, based on interactions I’ve had with him in the past.
cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 19, 2020 11:21AM
Quote
Ryan Nafe


I didn’t say anything about 420J2 being a “bad steel”, or anything like that. What I said was this:

Quote
Ryan Nafe
I don’t know what you were chopping or how you were checking/measuring edge retention, but random Chinese 420J2 at .020” and 15 DPS, I can’t see how you could possibly use that on anything but extremely soft, large diameter, and clear woods. Especially if the handle is wobbly, as that would increase lateral forces.

I said that because even a heat treatment that’s near-optimal for edge stability on a very low-carbide steel is not likely to be able to chop wood at that geometry without significant damage, like a collapsed secondary edge or a ripple in the primary grind, unless it’s very soft wood, doesn’t have knots, is large diameter wood, and is being wielded by someone with extreme control over the blade.

Yep, I was just adding some context on the steel rather than a direct response to your statement. sorry.

Just clarify in case we are cross mixing terms.
as 420J2 has a lot of chrome in it, I'm not sure its a low carbide, it's just that chrome carbides are not as hard as vanadium carbides.
it is low carbon steel potentially, ranging from 0.15 - 0.35 on avg depending on the supplier.
but hardened properly it should be able to attain 54RC and so have the edge stability of a 54rc blade, the difference being that it may roll instead of a chip when pressed too hard.
even subtle geometry changes could stabilize the edges a lot.

I'm also feeling a little skeptical based on some of the findings.. but i have a theory on it..
my theory is this.. Gaston likes hollow handle knives. this is an extreme niche.
I have yet to see much evidence that most people in this niche actually use the knives in real use, Except for Gaston.
because of this, it could be that the makers of these niche knives dont need to focus hard on Heat Treat..
I have serious doubts due to lack of marketing or evidence that the makers of these knives test them, or even test their HT on them..

I can't find the material right now at hand, but I have read plenty of times in the past were knives in these niche areas that
failed (some costing exorbitant money) was in fact not even heat-treated as they didn't expect them to be used and mislead the customer

so in the above cases that is being mentioned. I'd sure like to know who heat-treated the blades, how, and what hardness they are.. before blaming the actual steel for the knifemakers problems.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
It's not Cliff, its Dr Stamp
#kebabstickcut, it's a thing - make it happen
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
April 26, 2020 08:50PM
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"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
May 05, 2020 12:05AM
[www.youtube.com]




"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 12, 2020 03:41AM
[forum.spyderco.com]

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 12, 2020 03:58PM
Quote
jasonstone20
[forum.spyderco.com]

"If this is useful to the community, I will keep the list updated and add more as I can"

I don't see why a series of made-up numbers with no documentation is useful to anyone. It surprises me everytime I see this that anyone pays attention to lists of that nature.

The comments are just as problematic :

"Have you, by any chance, watched either of these two videos on Maxamet brittleness?"

Proceeds to list two videos that don't have anything to do with if Maxamet is or isn't brittle.

(it is one of the most brittle steels used in knives, which means it has a non-existent plastic deformation region which isn't surprising as it is a carbide tooling replacement)
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 03:13AM
Quote
marshmallow
The Para 3 SPY27, the steel is very light. I read around the forum and have read the steel is new and is similar to S30V and VGN, but it is definitely lighter in weight. Very interesting steel. I’m still getting used to the finger flick on the action as since the steel is lighter, it requires more flicking action to catch. I’m sure it’ll get more easier, but these are my first impressions.
[forum.spyderco.com]

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
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cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 04:23AM
Really? he weighed the blade against an exact duplication blade of another steel?

that's keen..

i'd just ask Sal for the specs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
It's not Cliff, its Dr Stamp
#kebabstickcut, it's a thing - make it happen
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 04:27AM
cKc,
The knife itself was a Para 3 LW model, so what he is actually talking about is the whole weight of the knife, and the action was different, so he ended up combining the two descriptions, and saying that SPY 27 was a lighter steels.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
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cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 05:06AM
that makes more sense grinning smiley

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It's not Cliff, its Dr Stamp
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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 08:26AM
Quote
jasonstone20
cKc,
The knife itself was a Para 3 LW model, so what he is actually talking about is the whole weight of the knife, and the action was different, so he ended up combining the two descriptions, and saying that SPY 27 was a lighter steels.

This shocked me enough.. I dont even know what to say on this..
Its like when a girl is approaching you with spark in eyes and vomits
on your feet 10seconds later...

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cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 10:42AM
Quote
JSCT
Quote
jasonstone20
cKc,
The knife itself was a Para 3 LW model, so what he is actually talking about is the whole weight of the knife, and the action was different, so he ended up combining the two descriptions, and saying that SPY 27 was a lighter steels.

This shocked me enough.. I dont even know what to say on this..
Its like when a girl is approaching you with spark in eyes and vomits
on your feet 10seconds later...
Sadly, been there..

----------------------------------------------------------------------
It's not Cliff, its Dr Stamp
#kebabstickcut, it's a thing - make it happen
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 04:26PM
That’s a new one.

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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 05:05PM
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I am really finding these steel rankings absurd. The comments to the video are bad also. I really can't understand how these guys are evaluating things and coming up with these conclusions.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
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cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 05:12PM
i dont think i've seen a single knife in any of his videos that looks like it even had the factory edge removed, so his opinions as he said, are his opinions and valuable to him and him alone.

its perfectly valid for me to say "in my opinion, DUPER45 is the best steel out there, because its called duper"

valid, but worthless.

his opinion is just his.

at the end of the day. the best steel is the one that works for you, not what works for someone else. so only experience and use will dictate what is good

----------------------------------------------------------------------
It's not Cliff, its Dr Stamp
#kebabstickcut, it's a thing - make it happen
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 05:18PM
cKc,

Quote
cKc,
i dont think i've seen a single knife in any of his videos that looks like it even had the factory edge removed.

That was what I was going to say also, the knives don't look like they have been used or sharpened.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
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cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 05:35PM
Quote
jasonstone20
cKc,

Quote
cKc,
i dont think i've seen a single knife in any of his videos that looks like it even had the factory edge removed.

That was what I was going to say also, the knives don't look like they have been used or sharpened.

he made a point of saying even though some of these don't look used, he has many others that are used etc..

well.. if you are doing a video talking about your best steels, wouldn't it be far more pertinent to demonstrate with knives you actually have used, and sharpened for a time period long enough to form an opinion and show those knives.

but hey. not everyone uses their knives do dig in dirt, or dirty materials etc, or reprofile in a way that makes a blade look hard used..
but if you are showing a knife in your top 10 where most still have the factory edge.. it plays wrong. show the ones you used. discuss the use.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
It's not Cliff, its Dr Stamp
#kebabstickcut, it's a thing - make it happen
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 05:39PM
cKc,
That is the thing. Most of these knife reviews talk about everything BUT the knife in use. That is fine of gearheads and those that want pocket jewelry, but it tells me absolutely nothing as far as being a knife goes. It might as well be a flashlight.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
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cKc
Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 05:51PM
Quote
jasonstone20
Most of these knife reviews talk about everything BUT the knife in use. That is fine of gearheads and those that want pocket jewelry, but it tells me absolutely nothing as far as being a knife goes. It might as well be a flashlight.

there is a simple solution to this. buy the knives and do the reviews yourself grinning smiley grinning smiley grinning smiley become and influencer

----------------------------------------------------------------------
It's not Cliff, its Dr Stamp
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Re: A True Documentation And Explanation Of Knife Steels
June 14, 2020 07:02PM
Quote
cKc
Quote
jasonstone20
Most of these knife reviews talk about everything BUT the knife in use. That is fine of gearheads and those that want pocket jewelry, but it tells me absolutely nothing as far as being a knife goes. It might as well be a flashlight.

there is a simple solution to this. buy the knives and do the reviews yourself grinning smiley grinning smiley grinning smiley become and influencer

What an idea smileys with beer

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