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Thread: Good steel for knives.

  1. #31
    "My words are of iron..."
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosperryan View Post
    One thing nobody has said is how do you know if the steel has a good heat treat. I mean I have never seen any mention of this when looking for knives. The closest thing I have seen is a hardness rating. ...
    Education. Learn something about heat treatment processes for the type of steel you are most interested in using. Study the market. Who is using this steel? Seek them out and ask questions about their experience with it. The more you know about the HT process, the more sensitive your BS detector will be. When you receive credible information that matches known evidence about steel performance, you might have found a maker who not only makes a good blade but educates the customer to be a better customer whether it's their blades or not. This kind of education is not hype-addled nor does it smell of marketing. It will be balanced and reasonable and referenced.

    What do the makers do to test their results? Some makers simply follow a recipe they got from the Heat Treater's Guide and call it good enough. They have little sensitivity to whether the blades they produce perform according to the recipe they used. Others will test their blades, both taken from production and tested to destruction, and when a broken blade comes back to them for warranty reasons. These makers are students of their own methods.

    I agree with LX. There are compromises at every level of the process. There are clear market forces that push toward exotics. I guarantee that even the "best" steel will be found to have compromises build into it before it ever reaches a customer's hand.
    ScottGoodman likes this.

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    LX_Emergency (08-28-2014)

  3. #32
    Thread derailment specialist. Wullie's Avatar
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    I guess I need to get into the 20th century.

    I've made a bunch of knives out of L6. Good stuff, easy to work when dead soft. It will get hard as glass, ( and break as easy too) temper it to a straw color and it works great for knives. Holds and edge and won't wear a stone out trying to put one back on it. Easy to treat in a coal fire too.

    All boils down as to what your worst case scenario imaginable is and then picking a knife that will go the distance if you decide to take it that far.

    I carry an old Challenge cutlery spear point, "tear drop" jack in my pocket and big Great Eastern Cutlery trapper on my belt. Both have carbon steel blades. Got a Buck 110 I bought and carried in 'Nam that is a TOUGH SOB. It's 440A and tempered HARD.
    ScottGoodman and Corin like this.
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