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Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose? 5095

Jr. Member Posts: 79
Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« on: July 21, 2014, 05:39:17 PM »
6 months back I made a purchase of two dissimilar rescue knives from two different websites on the same date. The products were dissimilar with different quality of knives. With this post I want to share my real experience with the quality of knives because there has always been a debate on the quality of blades.

Here are the links of two knives which I have…

LINK REMOVED - boker magnum sporting knife

I use it for daily the activities as it provides multi-tool like great features. This is made up of 440 stainless steel.

LINK REMOVED - cold steel survival rescue knife

This is good enough as rescue knife with standard weight and blade length so ideal for tough situations. It is made up of Japanese Aus 8A Stainless Blade.

What I found was within these 6 months the Japanese blade tends to become less sharp than the 440 one. Since I have little less knowledge about types of stainless steel so I want to discuss out of these two which quality is better, at least it will give me an idea if my money was wasted or not and also I will keep that in mind for future. Specifically which quality of stainless is ideal for hunting or camping purpose??
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 01:13:31 PM by zoidberg »



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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 13,727 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2014, 06:21:19 PM »
There's more to blade steels than just how long they stay sharp. How easy are they to sharpen? How tough - are they more likely to bend or snap/chip if overused? More brittle in cold weather? How rust resistant? How impact resistant? How affordable?

For someone new to knives, I'd suggest sticking to the more "normal" blades steels such as 420HC or 440, as these will be fairly easy to maintain in normal daily use. Many people decide they prefer specific high grade steels later, but some (like me) prefer to stick to the simpler steels and find the higher grades more complex than they need to be. I want something that will bend rather than snap or chip, something fairly easy to maintain, and easy to sharpen.

There's no such thing as best ... only what's best for you. Keep it simple to start with. Worry more about developing your sharpening skills than trying to avoid sharpening  :)

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No Life Club Posts: 2,853
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2014, 08:54:15 PM »
Here's a little information to start with: http://zknives.com/knives...10,874&hrn=1&gm=0

(The steel names have links to more info about the steels.)

(When people say 440, they invariably mean 440A. If it's 440C they will be eager to say so, as it's more expensive. That said, a knife in 440A will be tougher than a knife in 440C, so a better choice for a hard use knife.) I would expect AUS8 to have finer carbides, and therefore a finer best case edge, but frankly, a proper heat treat trumps the other variables here anyway. With proper heat treat both steels make fine knives and are very widely used.

tl;dr: 440A and AUS8 aren't the most dissimilar steels.
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 30,128
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2014, 12:27:39 AM »
You can't compare those two knives due to the difference in thickness, edge grinds, types of use etc.

There is so much hype and misinformation regarding steel.

Country of origin is also of little importance.

It is best to try a few out, find what works for you and go from there.

I have plenty of cheap blades that out perform expensive ones.

I went through lots of branded blades before finding one that was worth what I paid.

Even similar blades within a brand using the same steel can be very different.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,406 You're amongst friends.
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 12:32:48 AM »
I'm a complete idiot when it comes to the subject but I can tell you I really dig LM's 420HC for my uses. It's easy to keep sharp if you touch it up every now and then :tu:

SAW

Weilder of the MP600 and many other neat gadgets :tu:
Jr. Member Posts: 79
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2014, 06:56:26 AM »
Here's a little information to start with: http://zknives.com/knives...10,874&hrn=1&gm=0

(The steel names have links to more info about the steels.)

(When people say 440, they invariably mean 440A. If it's 440C they will be eager to say so, as it's more expensive. That said, a knife in 440A will be tougher than a knife in 440C, so a better choice for a hard use knife.) I would expect AUS8 to have finer carbides, and therefore a finer best case edge, but frankly, a proper heat treat trumps the other variables here anyway. With proper heat treat both steels make fine knives and are very widely used.

tl;dr: 440A and AUS8 aren't the most dissimilar steels.


Hi Steinar

Thank you so much for sharing such useful information with me but then I think my knife blade lived shorter life  :D I need to fix it now (better for blade replacement)....

My never ending love for tomahawks
Jr. Member Posts: 79
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2014, 07:01:41 AM »
I'm a complete idiot when it comes to the subject but I can tell you I really dig LM's 420HC for my uses. It's easy to keep sharp if you touch it up every now and then :tu:

Hi Sawman

Although I have not used any quality knife made with 420HC but I have heard its a good one to own. For sure in my next collection I will get the one made with same quality... :)

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No Life Club Posts: 2,011
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 08:08:57 PM »
I'm a complete idiot when it comes to the subject but I can tell you I really dig LM's 420HC for my uses. It's easy to keep sharp if you touch it up every now and then :tu:

I like it too... *but*...

I had 3-4 chips on my Wave blade, I've got a chip out of my Crater blade and I noticed today the tip's come off. Just 1mm or so, but it's annoying.
Jr. Member Posts: 56
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2014, 09:04:24 PM »
Hello, I'm new here but I just thought I would give my 2 cents. IMO stainless steel shouldn't be bothered with for a blade. A2 tool steel is much better. It is hardened all of the way through the blade, has edge retention only rivaled by spring steel, which is what I make most of my knives out of, and I have never had a problem with corrosion on an A2 blade when they are properly blued
Sr. Member Posts: 369 Follow your dreams they would lead you to happines
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2014, 11:45:15 PM »
I'm not a pro but IMO there are to many things involved on a Knife performance, the steel is one of course, but even with the same steel two knives could have a very different performance becouse the thickness, the form, the use, the heat treatment, etc.

Here there is a useful link about the steel properties on blades: http://www2.knifecenter.c...nfo/knife-blade-materials

No Life Club Posts: 2,167
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2014, 10:05:08 PM »
Specifically which quality of stainless is ideal for hunting or camping purpose??

I think some of the previous replies might have already brought this subject home, even with the same steel and same use, if the blade grind/bevel angle/shape/thickness/hardness/heat treat is different, the outcome might be different.

For more modern 'super' steel, I do like CPM 3V on longer outdoor blade I use(5"+), which I do have the tendency to baton wood with it if I need to.  CPM 3V has very high impact resistance (twice as much as A2 and 3 times more than D2 on paper), and it also has some corrosion resistance although not at the level of stainless.

http://www.crucible.com/e...byapp/tooldie/cpm3vt.html



Other than that, my requirement for 3-4" blade, so as long the steel has good durability, not too difficult to sharpen, good corrosion resistance and can be used to scrap with ferro rod.  For example, Bushcraft survival is a Mora knife with coated carbon steel, and it really did serve me well.
No Life Club Posts: 2,853
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2014, 03:22:42 PM »
For very extreme use, CPM 3V has too much carbides. (Look at what steel is used in an axe...) This makes the blade less tough. D2 has rather horrible impact resistance, and how it got its reputation as a tough steel is totally beyond me. A tribute to marketing departments, perhaps. For a hard use knife you basically need 0.6-0.8% C to make it properly hardenable and some extra elements to make the blade easier to process and you're pretty much good to go. 3V may look good, but if you look at a micrograph, you see the extreme amount of carbides in it. I can post some micrographs I have laying around if you want. What makes CPM 3V a very much better choice here than D2 is the "CPM" part, as a powder steel, you avoid large carbides in the material, thus increasing ductility.

Low carbon stainless will have practically no carbides, but it will have less than optimal edge retention and is tricky to harden correctly.

"Super steels" are very often metals designed for high speed applications (i.e. they retain strength at high temperatures) or extreme edge retention. As a tool steel, D2 is a primitive example of the latter, it can hold a blunt edge very well for a long time. There really aren't a lot of steels designed for knives, and those that are, are often not well suited if you what value is toughness and impact resistance over the ability to slice fine slivers of sushi. If you can baby the blade and want it to stay sharp "forever" ZDP-189 is excellent, but if you're going into the woods, it's a waste of time (and a lot of money). S30V is bound to be mentioned, but while I'm certain many fine knives are made from it, it is still a high-alloy, high-carbide steel.

That said, focus on what works for you. If price matters, buy a Mora. For the money, the classic Mora is probably the best knife in the world. If you can spare a little more, there are certainly better knives (however you define "better"), but they are still very good knives.

Some steels you can read up on that can be used to make good hard working knives (here I'm thinking batoning with a rock, prying with the weight of your body, and stuff like that): INFI (Busse... if you like them big, heavy, and you're not on a budget), A8-MOD (for instance http://xxxknives.blogspot...earch/label/Survivalknife , yes, these are also expensive (on cause of the work put into them) and very strong), you could take a look at Chipper, or perhaps 5160 (a simple spring steel, thus pretty good toughness)... Common to all of these is the "low" amount of carbon to increase toughness, and none of them are stainless as such.

But frankly, there are so many variables here, to me, stuff like 12C27 (Mora, pretty much all Scandinavian and a lot of French factory knives) and DIN 1.4110 (Victorinox and many others) is good stuff as well, simply because I have many very good knives made from them. 12C27 is not that dissimilar from AUS8 and 440A.

For hunting and camping you need a steel which makes compromises. It's handy if it's stainless, it should be cheap enough that you don't end up babying it, it has to have the correct blade shape for the sort of game you need to dress, etc. All the while, you have the general rule of thumb that edge retention is the enemy of toughness. That's what people are talking about when they say it's hard to talk about "better" steels, all materials are a set of compromises. You just have to do your research, avoid the snake oil salesmen, and simply experiment a little and figure out what works for you. I don't know what will, but I'm pretty sure it won't be the fantastic end-all, be-all super-duper knife with the "perfect" geometry made from the "best" steel. It will be the knife which works well for your parameters: Economically, physically, ergonomically, hygienically, etc, etc.

Personally, I think a knife should make me smile as well, but that's just me.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 03:24:42 PM by Steinar »
No Life Club Posts: 2,853
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2014, 06:33:01 PM »
Here is a micrograph of different steels which I hope illustrates what I'm trying to explain. The light areas are carbides, the dark steel. Do note the nice, homogeneous structure and small carbides of the powder steels. A8-mod is too low in chromium to be stainless, but this also avoids carbides. (INFI and A8-mod has about the same amounts of carbon and chromium.) I think this is a very striking illustration of why CPM 3V has superior impact resistance to D2, but at the same time it illustrates why the extreme use guys choose alloys much lower in chromium and carbon.

The carbides are hard and brittle, while the steel is tough and (in comparison) soft, and the carbides therefore lowers the strength of the steel, while adding to its wear resistance. The diameter of the carbides also obviously affects how a fine edge will behave and be shaped.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,242
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2014, 06:46:59 PM »
Thanks for the very useful info Steinar. :tu:

-Knívleysur maður er lívleysur maður.
 "A Knifeless man is a lifeless man" old Faroese proverb.
No Life Club Posts: 2,167
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2014, 09:25:15 AM »
Steinar, just read the reply.  Great info!  :D
Jr. Member Posts: 79
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2014, 01:16:35 PM »
Here is a micrograph of different steels which I hope illustrates what I'm trying to explain. The light areas are carbides, the dark steel. Do note the nice, homogeneous structure and small carbides of the powder steels. A8-mod is too low in chromium to be stainless, but this also avoids carbides. (INFI and A8-mod has about the same amounts of carbon and chromium.) I think this is a very striking illustration of why CPM 3V has superior impact resistance to D2, but at the same time it illustrates why the extreme use guys choose alloys much lower in chromium and carbon.

The carbides are hard and brittle, while the steel is tough and (in comparison) soft, and the carbides therefore lowers the strength of the steel, while adding to its wear resistance. The diameter of the carbides also obviously affects how a fine edge will behave and be shaped.


Hi Steinar

Thank you so much for contributing such a valuable post to my thread. This information is so much in detail that now I am curious to know more about the categories of steels with depth knowledge of compounds and mixtures.  :D

My never ending love for tomahawks
Jr. Member Posts: 79
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2014, 01:26:39 PM »
Specifically which quality of stainless is ideal for hunting or camping purpose??

I think some of the previous replies might have already brought this subject home, even with the same steel and same use, if the blade grind/bevel angle/shape/thickness/hardness/heat treat is different, the outcome might be different.

For more modern 'super' steel, I do like CPM 3V on longer outdoor blade I use(5"+), which I do have the tendency to baton wood with it if I need to.  CPM 3V has very high impact resistance (twice as much as A2 and 3 times more than D2 on paper), and it also has some corrosion resistance although not at the level of stainless.

http://www.crucible.com/e...byapp/tooldie/cpm3vt.html



Other than that, my requirement for 3-4" blade, so as long the steel has good durability, not too difficult to sharpen, good corrosion resistance and can be used to scrap with ferro rod.  For example, Bushcraft survival is a Mora knife with coated carbon steel, and it really did serve me well.

Hi Comis


But my steel quality for both the knives were different along with it I used both knives for different purposes ( I have mentioned it in my thread post). Talking about CPM 3V, if the forging is done correctly then forged high carbon steel has some advantages over CPM 3V in terms of sharpness and hardness but for sure CPM 3V has high advantage forged high carbon steel.

My never ending love for tomahawks
No Life Club Posts: 2,853
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2014, 03:35:50 PM »
Hi Steinar

Thank you so much for contributing such a valuable post to my thread. This information is so much in detail that now I am curious to know more about the categories of steels with depth knowledge of compounds and mixtures.  :D

NP. :) A pretty good resource is http://zknives.com/knives/steels/index.shtml . Lots of stuff to read, and some of the site has been vetted by a metallurgist for accuracy.
Newbie Posts: 17
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2014, 06:04:55 PM »
My AUS8 blades stay just as sharp as my 440C blades. There have been some complaints regarding the Secure-Ex sheath that comes with your SRK. Many people have noticed the blade getting noticeably duller each time they remove the knife.

Prepare for the worst and only the best will happen.
Jr. Member Posts: 79
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2014, 01:54:59 PM »
My AUS8 blades stay just as sharp as my 440C blades. There have been some complaints regarding the Secure-Ex sheath that comes with your SRK. Many people have noticed the blade getting noticeably duller each time they remove the knife.

Yes you are right and the same thing happened with me and my 440C blade was much better than Aus 8A.

My never ending love for tomahawks
Full Member Posts: 179
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2014, 06:52:15 AM »
I don't have knives for my everyday carry. But I have heard that 440C stainless steel is the best steel for the knives which have a high average of Carbon in it. I am planning to have the knife of the same material quality.

If I need to pick some good EDC tools.
Then I would take my love leatherman multi tool wave and a flash light. Other are just a waste !!!
No Life Club Posts: 2,853
Re: Which Stainless Steel is Better to Choose?
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2014, 12:01:16 PM »
440C has good rust resistance and will hold an edge a long time  when cutting soft materials. If you want impact resistance and toughness, a better choice would be something with less carbon.

The rule of thumb is more carbon leads to better edge holding, but decreased impact resistance. If you want to cut perfect pieces of sushi all day, buy a Japanese knife with more carbon than a lump of coal, but do take care it doesn't shatter if you drop it. ;)

Steels have different performance characteristics, there is no such thing as the "best" steel.

 

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