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    Username Post: Best Steel / edge holding        (Topic#134575)
    hicarbon
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    01-02-02 18:15.53 - Post#134575    



    I've been collecting custom knives for many years and use some of them in the field for big game. This might sound crazy...but, the expensive customs don't hold the edge as good as some less expensive knives I own. I always thought that 440C with a 58RC was about as good as it gets. After working on a bull moose with a $350 custom of 440C and having the blade dull on me, I decided to try a Randall #4 carbon 6". All I can say is WOW !! what a difference. That carbon blade stayed SHARP for the whole job on a bigger bull moose yet. I realize that blade design and the edge grind is an important factor in a working blade. I also hear that 440C is harder to sharpen than carbon, so to me.. that would mean 440C should stay sharper for a longer time. This is not the case. At any rate after all these years of knife collecting I don't get it. So, can somebody out there... tell me what is the best steel for edge holding. All blades beening the same grind, and mainly used for big game like moose and bear,[flesh,tendon,some hide and some bone, etc. For example 154CM, A2, D1, 440C, 440V [new] and so on. Thanks. Remember...a sharp knife is a safe knife.
     


    turkeyman
    Member
    *
    01-03-02 02:49.19 - Post#134594    


        In response to hicarbon

    I have had the same thing happen to me many years ago with a custom 154-cm, it wouldn't clean a deer without having to steel it several times. I switched to forged steel and have never looked back. Some guys say their stainless knives are ok, but for me it's carbon that has been forged.
    I don't think that there is one steel that is the "best"....I just think that any carbon steel is better than any stainless for a user, at least IMO. I'm sure that will get replies, but that is just my opinion. I hope I have helped some.
     
    Bull
    Member
    *
    01-03-02 11:03.52 - Post#134670    


        In response to turkeyman

    Ahh, a question that has been, and will be, asked forever. Well, I started with D2 and A2 and still think they are the best. I have never been an ATS fan, but my buddy swears by his. Randall uses O1 in his knives and it is a good steel with rust problems. I think A2 is the "meanest" edge on a knife and I have used D2 on several moose. The question continues...
     
    turkeyman
    Member
    *
    01-04-02 11:01.02 - Post#134850    


        In response to hicarbon

    Bull, I agree with A-2, it takes one heck of an edge. How hard to you get your A-2. BTW, do you have a web-site? Thanks!
     
    hicarbon
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    01-04-02 12:01.32 - Post#134863    


        In response to hicarbon

    Back to my original reason for needing help. If a 440C stainless blade gets a hardness of 58 RC that should mean... it will keep a sharper edge longer than other steels like A2 or D1 when they're only hardened to a 56 RC .[all blade grinds and cutting being the same] All I know is my Randall #4 carbon stays sharper WAY LONGER than my expensive custom made knives. Why get a $500 custom knife made if it won't stay as sharp as a Blackjack thats costs only $125???
     
    bassproguy
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    01-06-02 08:03.57 - Post#135183    


        In response to hicarbon

    Here's what I've learned about tempering and heat treating metals. Each steel type has a tempering, heat treating and quenching method that is unique to that family of steel and at a certain temperature and duration as far as tempering / quenching goes that allows that particular steel type to reach a hardness level measured by the rockwell C scale. So I don't believe that one metal rated at 58 RC means it's any better than one that has been tempered and treated to 56 RC. This process or formual being different to each steel type allows the metal to reach a usable state of hardness with out becoming to brittle. A good explaination of this is in Wayne Goddard's "$50 Knife Shop" book. ISBN 0-87341-993-6 for $19.95. There are numerous other books and web sites that explain this much better than me.

    Here's some web links for additional information.

    http://www.ameritech.net/users/knives/edge.htm
    http://www.bladeforums.com/features/faqsteel.shtml
    http://www.akti.org/steel.html

    The best I've found of what type of steel to be used for knives is by the late "Bob Engnanth" at this URL http://www.ameritech.net/users/knives/steels.htm

    Mr Enganth words on 440C is Quote "440C was the first generally accepted knife makers' stainless and remains quite popular, particularly since the sub-zero process was developed to add toughness. On the grinder, it's gummy and gets hot fast,
    but it cuts a lot faster and easier than any of the carbon steels. Your belts will cut about 2 to 3 times as much 440-C than 0-1. Using hand hacksaws on it will wear out a lot of blades in a hurry. But with the proper care, good heat treating and finishing,
    440C produces an excellent, serviceable and durable knife, even for the new knife maker. Anneals at very low temperature. Please note that 440A
    and 440B are similar alloys, often confused with 440C, but not worth a damn for knife making use. Commercial knife companies often mark blades 440 when they're one of the less desirable versions, giving the real stuff a bad name. 440C is also
    available in more sizes and in more places than just about any stainless alloy suitable for knives. It is also essential to remember that collectors hate to see
    one of their prizes turn brown in the sheath, and 440C handles corrosion resistance very well. While the variation, 440-V doesn't seem to get quite as hard, but holds an edge for much longer and is much more difficult to grind."

    Mr Enganth words on a couple of high carbon steels Quote " 5160 is a common spring steel, basically 1060 with one per-cent of chromium added to make it deep
    hardening. (It may still be selectively drawn with a softer back, if desired.) An excellent steel for swords, or any other blade that will have to take some battering. The choice of Jim Hrisoulas who makes some of the finest working swords in the business. Long blades are best around the mid 50's on the Rockwell scale, while small, working blades can be put into service at a full 60 RC. Forged blades with a well
    packed edge seem to cut forever! Rough on grinding belts. Jokingly called O-C-S, old chevy spring.

    52100 is a ball bearing steel, generally not found in useful grinding sizes, but terrific in edge holding and toughness. 52100 is 5160 with an attitude, more alloy and more carbon that makes it harder and tougher. Like 5160, throws a brilliant yellow spark. Ed Fowler has developed a superior heat treating technique for this steel." End Quotes.

    I've worked with most of the knife metals in the field available now and totally agree with the above words. High Carbon is the way to go and 52-100 is by far the best knife metal I've ever ran across. It needs some extra maintance but is well worth it in the field elimnating the need to constantly be sharping your knife. Marbles Knives are the only mass knife production company I know of using 52-100 and are damn cheap compared to the $500.00 custom you talked about. I've taken a expert II model and chop a 2x4 clear through then shaved hair from my arm. Bad ass metal...
    bassproguy Be cheap, easy, and hard to offend!


     
    hicarbon
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    01-06-02 11:23.22 - Post#135232    


        In response to hicarbon

    Thanks for all that information..sounds like you really know steels. One last question, how do you rate D1 Puma knife steel, A2 Blackjack steel, 01 Randall steel. PLease put in order for best steel for keeping the edge. Same cutting ..flesh,hide,some bone.[ all on big game] Thanks again!!
     
    bassproguy
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    01-07-02 03:39.05 - Post#135360    


        In response to hicarbon

    I'm by no means an expert and some of the guys over in the Newbies forum could more than likey give better opinions than me. But here goes, if the end of the world was coming and I had to grab only one of your choices, heres the order I would pick:

    1) Randall's 01 edge holding is exceptional, makes a very tough blade
    2) A-2 is a greatl steel, with fine wear-resisting ability
    3) Puma list their steel as D1.4 (what the hell is this stuff, never found a table showing what the make up is, mystery metal, like the stuff cold steel uses no one's ever heard of) Puma knives are pretty with their stag handles and work ok, but I never use them any more.

    The key to edge holding is the amount of carbon in the steel, the more carbon the harder the blade, better edge retention, but a bitch in most cases to sharpen in the field. So I carry a hard stone and a steel and some rust free.

    The only two knife brands I carry any more for field use are Marbles and my Randall model 25 and model 4 in .01.

    Hope this helps you out.
    bassproguy Be cheap, easy, and hard to offend!


     
    hicarbon
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    01-07-02 18:19.41 - Post#135489    


        In response to hicarbon

    I agree with you all the way. Thanks for time and help. I always say... < A SHARP KNIFE IS A SAFE KNIFE >
     
    llhytrek
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    *
    01-15-02 11:59.05 - Post#137093    


        In response to hicarbon

    These are all good comments. I make knives only out of stainless but may be doing some carbon in the near future. 440C has never been considered a superior edge holding steel but resists rusting very well and polishes nicely. During this past year I have made knives out of BG-42, 440V(S60V) and 420V(S90V) and have been very impressed with the edge they take. Tested a BG-42 blade on my elk this year and was not disappointed, after gutting, skinning & quartering it would still cut hair. I have not been able to test the 440V or 420V yet but the edge they take is impressive. I do not think all stainless steel blades heat treat the same. Years ago I made some knives out of 440C and a friend took one to Alaska. That knife did a couple of moose and caribo and did a great job. I told him that knife was good and not to lose it but he gave it to the guide as a gift and ordered another. The next knife made from the same steel and the same heat treater was no where near as good.

    There are some articles in Blade (see April 2001 Extreme Steels) that are pretty good. Try 440V or 420V before you give up, I think you can have both. The larger the knife the more I would stick with the carbon blades, stainless will flex but only to a certain point then they will break. In addition, I find some steels don't like a super fine edge but will hold a rougher edge for a very long time. I don't have as much experience as most of these guys but this my 2 cents worth. Good luck.
     


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