repeatedly we have been talking here about the advantages of both these great steels, Fällkniven is offering.
Some models are offering a preset steel range only(here the decision is made by the model)
and some leave a choice for the customer.
Like H1, WM1 and in 2009 as limited production run again the F1.
What are now real differences between the steels in practical use and the consequences for the related knifeuser?
I want to compare by my own experiences with my favourite knifemodel: the H1.
I am sure this is indeed a fair comparison as there is no difference in blade geometry causing different knife capabilities.
A H1 is a H1, no matter whether VG10 or 3G steel is inside.
So this is not about pro and contra certain geometry/steel combination, but which steel fits which purpose best.
concerning my personal experience with a H1, here´s the frame data:
1st bought in solid VG10 in 2001.
2nd bought two years later in lam VG10.
3rd and 4th are in 3G steel from Peter´s 1st production run early 2007.
one 3G and the lam VG10 model still today sit unused in their white factory box, only sharpened to a max, like I am used to do with any new knife.
Especially the oldest in solid VG10 and one in 3G have seen intensive field use being carried as almost sole fixed blade knife during hunting and outdoors activities in Germany, Denmark and England.
They have been used during all seasons for general campchores like whittling fuzzy sticks, cutting notches into limbs for easier breaking into campfire-size logs, trimming branches and saplings,
cutting bread and sausage at picknicks,
cutting meat and veggies in the kitchen
and of course opening, skinning and butchering various species of game:
hare, muntjack, roe, fallow and wild boar as well as a couple of ducks and the X-mas turkey.
After all this business I can state 1st of all that VG10 is a steel which performs everything extraordinarily well.
You can skin and butcher a 80 kg (opened+cleaned) wild boar with a VG10 blade perfectly, and then it still will be sharper than the average hunter´s knife is anyway.
Sure it will not shave anymore but using a good emery cloth on a mousepad will fix the issue again within fifteen minutes back to a scary sharpness, popping the hair off your arm in an amazing way!
So what is the difference to 3G steel composite blades?
3G steel is simply harder and offers HRC 61 instead of HRC 59 for VG10 edges. All other capabilities are similar and this results in a 3G-edge standing longer.
Noticeably longer. About 3 times, depending on the particular use.
Cleaning an 80++ kg boar, skinning and butchering it freezer-ready requires a single man, no butchering-pro but good with a knife, about three hours.
I did it several times with my H1/3G and after cleaning the knife from the fat and blood I still could shave hair off my arm! Sure I had been carefully avoiding bone contact and cut through joints only. Bones can be a brutal edge killer with any
But finally the results were interesting.
What now about sharpening:
If inspected closely, a 3G edge after such a business surely was slightly damaged and imperfect, too. No wonder after 3 hours real labor. Sharpening it again to the limit took me - the same way as described in the turorial - noticeably longer, say around 25-35 mins.
Sure, admitted, I am a perfectionist and don´t simply get a diamond and rub the edge across it. I want a perfect
edge. that´s why I use such knives and no butchering knives for ten dollars only.
Perfect means no nicks and dings and shining in a good even polish after the maintenance procedure.
And here comes a real difference between 3G and VG10 steel:
You will re-achieve a perfect grind within about twice the time compared to a "standard" VG10. And as the 3G steel is so hard, you should be wise and use a table or bench standing even and steady and being illuminated well.
If you have this opportunity, perfect, I recommend you get a 3G blade,
use it during day-trips to mother nature and do the maintenance when back home. While outdoors you will have a hell of a knife. And using the knife brains-engaged will ensure you have sharpness lasting well during a day or a weekend before you get home and can do some knife-maintenance.
Maintenance will be the essential point. Never let 3G steel become dull. It will hold it´s dullness in the same perfection it has held an edge before!
What´s the advantage of the "old" traditional VG10 Fällkniven still uses?
It resharpens noticeably easier and you don´t loose much of an edgeholding compared to 3G.
So if you are the guy wishing an easy and quick sharpening procedure anyway, the decision is done.
As well VG10 offers a real benefit if you don´t have access to perfect sharpening conditions. Say: no solid bench with good light available to put your abrasive on. This is usually the fact during longer outdoors stays.
Sharpening after a day´s exhausting hunt besides the campfire in the rain:
You are by yourself not in a perfect condition, sweaty, dirty and have to prepare and maintain equipment for the day to come. Light will go quick and night falls. And finally after all the camp business is done, there´s still the knife to resharpen.
I am sure the last thing most of us may want now is a careful long strop of a powdersteel blade crying for a service besides the flickering light of the campfire.
This is the time for a necessary quick restorage of a relatively easily maintaining lam VG10 blade!
Concluding in short:
is the best choice for
short trips and
enough of time to maintain the edge in between!
is the recommendation for
longer outdoors stays and
expected need of field sharpening or
requirement of less time spent for knife maintenance!
If you are now torn in your decision, as your wallet actually permits just one fixed blade:
there´s absolutely nothing wrong with VG10.
If you are willing to spend some extra money so add a U2 to your VG10 fixed blade. It features the most reasonably priced powdersteel blade of the entire Fällkniven line and this small folder makes a great backup just anywhere!
Re-thinking this experience and related memories has made me activating the lam VG10 H1 these days. It will surely be put considerably more into action during the future.
I am sure it has been underestimated (bought as backup anyway) all the time I mainly used 3G.
But there´s a clear justification for both steels and for harder and extended missions I am tending nowadays back to the traditional "softer" VG10.
the sharper your knife - the easier your life!
see you at the Fällkniven forum