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The Is No Such Thing As A Bad Cutlery Steel

Posted by jasonstone20 
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The Is No Such Thing As A Bad Cutlery Steel
June 23, 2020 03:11AM
Sometimes, when I talk about steels, it might come across that I dislike a certain class of steels. I don't dislike any steel suitable for cutlery. I haven't seen a steel that I didn't find useful. That being said, some steels are more suited for some things, while other steels excel at others. Is 420J2 junk? No, I like it. Is Maxamet garbage? No, I have sharpened it before and it seemed suited to be used to cut things. I actually can't tell that much of a difference in use of what steel is what. I can tell a little what steel is what if I sharpen it, but I am not sure if that is useful. Much like my views on knives, were I find something redeemable and useful from almost any knife I put in my hand (yes dollar store knives cut and can be sharpened), same thing with steels. For years, I carried knives and didn't care what steel it was in. It used to be, for me, a knife was either carbon and stainless. I remember my first stainless steel pocketknife, a Victorinox Tinker, I got in the mid 1980's. It was the first knife I had that would shave arm hair. It also had a mirrored finish on the blades and tools, and didn't rust. I still carry a Victorinox SAK, a Super Tinker. Basically a Tinker with scissors. Even back then, people argued about whether carbon steel was better that stainless, and vice-versa. If it cuts, I like it.

"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: The Is No Such Thing As A Bad Cutlery Steel
June 23, 2020 03:43AM
Funny, I remember having this exact conversation so many times, the first was on BF in the very early 2000's when people started on the supersteel run. At that time I made a simple point :

-if you call 420J2 at 54/56 HRC "junk"

what do you call :

-1084 at 52/54 HRC


That steel at that hardness is what Jerry Fisk has used in his personal work knives.It isn't like that guy could not use any steel he wanted, nor be limited to that hardness because of lack of hardening knowledge or equipment.

This is one of those facts that should give everyone pause for thought about the insanely exaggerated comments about edge retention, with 1-2 HRC points doubling edge retention, and so on. Fisk's knife should go dull as soon as he uses it, he should be sharpening it literally constantly.

Here is the reality :

-steels have properties
-you can't just increase any property uniformly without decreasing something else, usually multiple other things

Steels are not in general "poor" they are just poorly matched to some design. If you take a splitting axe and try to use it for felling the axe doesn't work well, maybe that isn't because it is a poorly made axe.

Now curiously enough, there are actually "better" grades of steel, but a metallurgist doesn't mean it is stronger, or more corrosion resistant, they will mean it is :

-lower in impurities
-smaller composition range
-lower aggregate size

etc. .

Essentially "better" tends to mean more consistent in behavior.
Re: The Is No Such Thing As A Bad Cutlery Steel
June 24, 2020 04:57PM
Yeah, gotta say I agree.... I only really notice the difference in sharpening the wear resistant steels compared to simple carbon steels. Even comparing steels, you are still left with the heat treat/grind question mark... how much of the steel choice am I seeing compared to the heat treat and grind influence. So it's so easy to market these supposed 'super steels' because most people would never even bother to try to test it let alone have the knowledge to go about doing so.

I do however see a benefit in a steel that is much more difficult to break, as that is more than just theoretical...for certain situations. This again, is something that few will actually test to failure just to know where their blade's failure point is. You'd have to buy two, break one... and HOPE that the second one is identical in every way and the first was perfectly representative of the second. I guess with Busse's warranty you could just buy one and break it, then send it back for a replacement... LOL.
Re: The Is No Such Thing As A Bad Cutlery Steel
March 13, 2021 06:46PM
CPM steels always struck me as trying to import into knives steels developped for industrial application (pure hype in other words), and to me they are so bad I actually refuse to own a knife made in them,

Hard to sharpen and poor fine angle stability; The worst of all worlds... CPM 3V is a little better but not much. Worst of them all was always S30V so far, but they all behave the exact same when chopping at 15 dps and even 20 dps, the thicker the edge base the worst they do; A wire edge in less than 5 hits typically, sometimes one. 440 takes 50-100 hits, so I guess acceptable, , and 420j never makes a wire edge because it loses its micro-apex: The best...
Re: The Is No Such Thing As A Bad Cutlery Steel
March 17, 2021 08:32PM
All knife steels are used for industrial applications at least those made in the US.