Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 59

Thread: "Value" of steels: edge holding vs ease of sharpening

  1. #1
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    521

    "Value" of steels: edge holding vs ease of sharpening

    I've been thinking, and I know someone like Cliff will have an answer. I'm fairly certain that all steels do not have a linear relationship between "ease" (time it takes) of sharpening and their edge holding. What I mean is that M4 may take a half hour to sharpen from dull to shaving sharp, and hold that edge for 100 cardboard boxes (time and material are just for example here). But S90V may take 2 hours to sharpen from dull to shaving, and only be able to cut 200 boxes before dulling to the same degree. So with S90V, you are sharpening 4 times as long, but only getting twice as much performance (again, steels, materials, and times are only used for example here). So I guess what I am saying, is which steel has the best "value" in terms of ease of sharpening and edge holding? Or a better way to put it is which steel gets the best edge retention for the time it takes to sharpen it?
    What is the point at which it no longer becomes worth using the latest supersteel to the average user, as the sharpening time is just not worth the edge holding to someone who has stones available to them? Is the steel with the best "value" in this regard not even a supersteel at all? Thanks
    Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers"
    program?

    A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.
    -Letterman

  2. #2
    Spyderco Forum Registered User xceptnl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Moonshine Country, Virginia
    Posts
    5,486
    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    I've been thinking, and I know someone like Cliff will have an answer. I'm fairly certain that all steels do not have a linear relationship between "ease" (time it takes) of sharpening and their edge holding. What I mean is that M4 may take a half hour to sharpen from dull to shaving sharp, and hold that edge for 100 cardboard boxes (time and material are just for example here). But S90V may take 2 hours to sharpen from dull to shaving, and only be able to cut 200 boxes before dulling to the same degree. So with S90V, you are sharpening 4 times as long, but only getting twice as much performance (again, steels, materials, and times are only used for example here). So I guess what I am saying, is which steel has the best "value" in terms of ease of sharpening and edge holding? Or a better way to put it is which steel gets the best edge retention for the time it takes to sharpen it?
    What is the point at which it no longer becomes worth using the latest supersteel to the average user, as the sharpening time is just not worth the edge holding to someone who has stones available to them? Is the steel with the best "value" in this regard not even a supersteel at all? Thanks
    Although you can certainly do your own testing and evaluations, others have already paved a wide path. Perhaps the simplest way to start would be to take a testing database similar to Jim Ankerson's and assign dollar values (based on your research) to the steels as he already has them ranked. This should quite quickly reveal the highest value knives from his long list. Often the relationship between sharpening and edge retention is not linear and you will suffer diminishing returns.
    My 's:
    Native, Manix 2 (BD1,154CM,S30V,M4,XHP,S110V,Cruwear), Delica 4 (White,Red,Brown,Blue,BRG,G-10), Spyderhawk, D'fly (H1,G-10,SB), Police3, Volpe, Military (S30V,XHP,D2,M390,BG42,440V,Cruwear), Superleafs, Forager, D2 Para, Kopas, Kiwis, Caly (JR's,3,3.5), Para2 (XHP,204P), Stretch (SS,FRN's,CF), Rescues, Dyad Jr, Pingos, Southard, AIR, Jess Horns, Forum N5, Lil Matriarch, Barong, Superhawk, Chinook II, ATR, SPY-DK, Captain, Ti UKPK, Mules

    *Landon*

  3. #3
    Spyderco Forum Registered User nccole's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    424
    Seems like a fair question to ask. I would very broadly suggest that a lot of the real high end SS will fall lower in value, and some of the more "value" steels will be non-SS. Take for example ZDP-189 vs Super Blue. They are in the same category on Ankerson's edge retention testing, but most if not all users of SB tout it for being easy to touch up, while ZDP-189 is usually touted as one of the hardest steels to get a good edge on. Now ZDP-189 is harder typically, but SB is pretty hard too.

  4. #4
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Northern KY
    Posts
    9,204
    There can only be one logical answer to this question, and that is whatever steel YOU are best at sharpening, since that is the biggest variable, even more so than steel vs steel. If you suck at sharpening the harder/high wear steels, then that will pose more of a challenge to you, and so the pay off may not be worth it since you could potentially sharpen/use/repeat a softer steel twice with less effort and in return cut the same amount of material. So, in other words, look into why it takes you 2 hours to sharpen S90V (as an example, not saying you meant that literally) and improve your technique and then those higher end steels will really start paying for themselves.

    Me personally, I don't mind sharpening. I actually enjoy it. That said, I also have this deep inner lust for a steel that will hold my best edge for the longest possible time, so the softer steels don't do it for me. I also haven't owned a steel I couldn't sharpen, and I accept that some steels are just more wear resistant and will take more time. Still, I venture to say that aside from removing chips, there probably isn't a steel I couldn't sharpen from not sharp enough to slice printer paper to as sharp as I can make it in under 30 minutes max. For my low grit EDC type edges where I'm not polishing the bevel, 10 minutes is very reasonable even for S90V.

    SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
    ~David

    Official plea to Sal: Can we PLEASE get a DLC Yojimbo 2? PLEASE!!?

  5. #5
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    521
    Quote Originally Posted by xceptnl View Post
    Although you can certainly do your own testing and evaluations, others have already paved a wide path. Perhaps the simplest way to start would be to take a testing database similar to Jim Ankerson's and assign dollar values (based on your research) to the steels as he already has them ranked. This should quite quickly reveal the highest value knives from his long list. Often the relationship between sharpening and edge retention is not linear and you will suffer diminishing returns.
    Is there a place where all of his work is on one page? I've seen some of his work, but does he have a website? Also, I'm assuming other variables like edge finish, angle, and material being cut can be optimized to make the return greater depending on the steel being used
    Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers"
    program?

    A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.
    -Letterman

  6. #6
    Spyderco Forum Registered User senorsquare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Lotta Rock, AR
    Posts
    1,118
    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    Is there a place where all of his work is on one page? I've seen some of his work, but does he have a website? Also, I'm assuming other variables like edge finish, angle, and material being cut can be optimized to make the return greater depending on the steel being used
    There is the thread on BF, currently at 82 pages worth of discussion - http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...-5-8-quot-rope

  7. #7
    Spyderco Forum Registered User nccole's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    424
    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    Is there a place where all of his work is on one page? I've seen some of his work, but does he have a website? Also, I'm assuming other variables like edge finish, angle, and material being cut can be optimized to make the return greater depending on the steel being used
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...-5-8-quot-rope

    You have been missing out!

  8. #8
    Spyderco Forum Registered User senorsquare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Lotta Rock, AR
    Posts
    1,118
    Another thing to consider apart from the time required to sharpen is ease of maintenance. A lot of these steels may require a lot of work on the initial sharpening, but require very little to touch up the edge. I've found that I can bring back the edge of many of these super steels with just a few swipes on the sharpmaker. While S90V for instance may take you a long time to sharpen initially, with some periodic touch ups it will last you a very, very long time.
    Last edited by senorsquare; 04-21-2014 at 12:54 PM.

  9. #9
    Spyderco Forum Registered User xceptnl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Moonshine Country, Virginia
    Posts
    5,486
    Quote Originally Posted by senorsquare View Post
    Another thing to consider apart from the time required to sharpen is ease of maintenance. A lot of these steels may require a lot of work on the initial sharpening, but require very little to touch up the edge. I've found that I can bring back the edge of many of these super steels with just a few swipes on the sharpmaker. While S90V for instance may take you a long time to sharpen initially, with some periodic touch ups it will you a very, very long time.
    This is a good point as well as the obvious carbon vs stainless comparisons. The care of the rest of the steel could honestly be a factor to weigh against just the edge retention.
    My 's:
    Native, Manix 2 (BD1,154CM,S30V,M4,XHP,S110V,Cruwear), Delica 4 (White,Red,Brown,Blue,BRG,G-10), Spyderhawk, D'fly (H1,G-10,SB), Police3, Volpe, Military (S30V,XHP,D2,M390,BG42,440V,Cruwear), Superleafs, Forager, D2 Para, Kopas, Kiwis, Caly (JR's,3,3.5), Para2 (XHP,204P), Stretch (SS,FRN's,CF), Rescues, Dyad Jr, Pingos, Southard, AIR, Jess Horns, Forum N5, Lil Matriarch, Barong, Superhawk, Chinook II, ATR, SPY-DK, Captain, Ti UKPK, Mules

    *Landon*

  10. #10
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    419
    Agreed with Evil and Nccole. There are factors such as rust resistance that play into which blade may be the right choice for a person, thus its "value." Also, there may be a reason to go longer between sharpenings that may make even that 2 hours (again, just per your example) worthwhile. If I have to cut 150 boxes in a day, I would first look for another job, but whilst I was doing that I would certainly prefer the knife that held an edge for 200 boxes even if it took longer to sharpen. With knives, use case is king.

    None of this changes your original question though, merely stating that if this comparison were to be done, it wouldn't be the end-all reason to choose a knife steel (which you never said anyway). What makes discussing knives so interesting is that the use case greatly affects the choices you might make, if you consider such things. I think that's why many of us like Spyderco so much: we get a variety of steels in proven designs, so we can make our own judgement on how this particular steel works for our use cases.

    I would agree that the greatest "value" per this definition would most certainly be non-stainless, and not a "super steel."

  11. #11
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Cameron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Colorado & New Zealand
    Posts
    216
    It must be my ADD but I get bored ****less sitting there trying to sharpen S110V, in the end I gave up in disgust, sharpened a Manix in S30V and put the S110V away. Having just bought CTS XHP, 204P and CPM M4, S110V recently I might just have to take a trip to the factory store and have them sharpen them for me.... Kirsti will probably read this and run out the back next time she sees me coming.
    Assist VG-10 Dodo CPM S30V Endura4 VG-10 Manix2 CTS-XHP, CPM-Cruwear, CPM-M4, CPM-S110V, CPM-S30V, CTS-BD1, 154CM Manix2 XL CPM-S30V
    Native CPM-S30V Para-Military2 CTS-204P, CPM-S30V Sage3 CPM-S30V Tasman Salt H1 Temperance2 VG-10 Yojimbo CPM-S30V Yojimbo2 CPM-S30V

  12. #12
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    521
    Quote Originally Posted by senorsquare View Post
    There is the thread on BF, currently at 82 pages worth of discussion - http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...-5-8-quot-rope
    I don't know how I missed this, but later today I'll certainly sit down for this long read.
    Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers"
    program?

    A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.
    -Letterman

  13. #13
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    521
    Quote Originally Posted by tvenuto View Post
    Agreed with Evil and Nccole. There are factors such as rust resistance that play into which blade may be the right choice for a person, thus its "value." Also, there may be a reason to go longer between sharpenings that may make even that 2 hours (again, just per your example) worthwhile. If I have to cut 150 boxes in a day, I would first look for another job, but whilst I was doing that I would certainly prefer the knife that held an edge for 200 boxes even if it took longer to sharpen. With knives, use case is king.

    None of this changes your original question though, merely stating that if this comparison were to be done, it wouldn't be the end-all reason to choose a knife steel (which you never said anyway). What makes discussing knives so interesting is that the use case greatly affects the choices you might make, if you consider such things. I think that's why many of us like Spyderco so much: we get a variety of steels in proven designs, so we can make our own judgement on how this particular steel works for our use cases.

    I would agree that the greatest "value" per this definition would most certainly be non-stainless, and not a "super steel."
    That is what I was thinking as well, but I don't have near the experience or knowledge as some of the people here to say that with any certainty behind it.
    Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers"
    program?

    A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.
    -Letterman

  14. #14
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    521
    I do think it would be very interesting if someone could definitively say that blank steel at blank hardness with a blank grit finished edge will give you the most edge holding for your time sharpening. It would probably change what some knife companies use on their knives
    Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers"
    program?

    A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.
    -Letterman

  15. #15
    Spyderco Forum Registered User xceptnl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Moonshine Country, Virginia
    Posts
    5,486
    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    I do think it would be very interesting if someone could definitively say that blank steel at blank hardness with a blank grit finished edge will give you the most edge holding for your time sharpening. It would probably change what some knife companies use on their knives
    Even narrowing it down that much leaves variables like sharpening tool used and sharpener (human) proficiency.
    My 's:
    Native, Manix 2 (BD1,154CM,S30V,M4,XHP,S110V,Cruwear), Delica 4 (White,Red,Brown,Blue,BRG,G-10), Spyderhawk, D'fly (H1,G-10,SB), Police3, Volpe, Military (S30V,XHP,D2,M390,BG42,440V,Cruwear), Superleafs, Forager, D2 Para, Kopas, Kiwis, Caly (JR's,3,3.5), Para2 (XHP,204P), Stretch (SS,FRN's,CF), Rescues, Dyad Jr, Pingos, Southard, AIR, Jess Horns, Forum N5, Lil Matriarch, Barong, Superhawk, Chinook II, ATR, SPY-DK, Captain, Ti UKPK, Mules

    *Landon*

  16. #16
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    521
    Quote Originally Posted by xceptnl View Post
    Even narrowing it down that much leaves variables like sharpening tool used and sharpener (human) proficiency.
    True, but lets say the only variables nailed down were the steel, its hardness, its edge angle, and the edge finish. As long as those things were the same (not that hard these days with systems like the EP and WE), I think it could be narrowed down to one steel. Lets use O1 as an example. For a variety of cutting tasks (EDC), maybe O1 at 61 HRC with an 18 degree edge taken up to 1,000 grit will have the best "value" in this regard. Maybe a microbevel will give it even better "value" as now the time for subsequent sharpenings are reduced. Now obviously if someone is just cutting cardboard all day (or any other very abrasive material) this wouldn't hold true, but for EDC uses I think with the time and effort it could be narrowed down. There will always be unknown variables, but we could still have a pretty good idea
    Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers"
    program?

    A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.
    -Letterman

  17. #17
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Northern KY
    Posts
    9,204
    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    I do think it would be very interesting if someone could definitively say that blank steel at blank hardness with a blank grit finished edge will give you the most edge holding for your time sharpening. It would probably change what some knife companies use on their knives
    This is an impossible answer to give you. God couldn't give you this answer. Nobody can tell YOU how good or how efficient you are at sharpening one steel from the next. Hypothetically speaking, yeah it's an interesting idea and it would be cool if something like that could exist, but no two people sharpen the same, people use different sharpening tools, with different techniques, and then go on to use their knives for different reasons. The only way something like this would be possible is if you had a machine sharpen the steel, so that the sharpening is done 100% controlled and repeatable for each different type of steel, and then those types of steel were all on the same grind blade (like the mule knives) and at the same angle and edge finish, and then you would only know what the most "value" is for the machine, unless your own sharpening skills were very closely matched to it. Then there's all those other variables like edge angle, edge finish, blade grind, and even how you use the knife that will all have an enormous impact on what has the most "value" for your uses. It's a question with near infinite answers.

    Besides, I really don't think it would change what knife companies use on their knives one bit. Do you think Sal doesn't know what steels are easy to sharpen by his customers? Aside from their willingness to make knives in higher end steels, it's the consumer who dictates what steel finds it's way into what knives, and it's dictated through sales. If the harder to sharpen steels didn't sell, you wouldn't see them. If it was as simple as ease of sharpening equals X amount of use, we would probably all be using Victorinox knives with their steel.

    If I had to take a wild guess....and I mean wild, since this is going to be different probably for every person alive, I'd say something like VG10 or even AUS8 would be a safe middle ground steel that is very easy to sharpen but will hold a decent working edge for a reasonable amount of time. Again though, the problem is that I can sharpen S90V just as easily as I can VG10 because of the stones I'm using...there are just so many things that either add or change the variables, you'd never be able to get a definitive list together without someone disagreeing with you because of what they use or how they use it.

    Beyond ALL that, perspective and experience can change all of this. I used to think ZDP was the worst steel on Earth to sharpen...not so much now. If you had asked me to make this list 5 years ago I would have given you a completely different list than I'd give you today.

    SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
    ~David

    Official plea to Sal: Can we PLEASE get a DLC Yojimbo 2? PLEASE!!?

  18. #18
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dbcad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    ga, usa
    Posts
    2,953
    Good replies all Good topic

    It all boils down to knowledge of the materials and preference for the type of sharp you want The varieties of blade materials Spyderco uses seems to be ever increasing

    For the vast majority of users VG-10 works just fine,easy to sharpen, S30V holds a working edge for a very long time,a bit more time consuming to sharpen, ZDP holds it for even longer, again, more time required to sharpen.

    I am finding CTS XHP to be a very nice compromise

    I grant the value of a database as a benchmark However conditions between users vary so widely it becomes an individual preference.

    As long as you can keep 'em sharp and enjoy
    Charlie

    " Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler."

    "Integrity is being good even if no one is watching"

  19. #19
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Blerv's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    10,125
    The answer you are looking for is going to be very evasive. Specifically because the answer will change depending on the edge angle, type of cutting, and type of sharpening (equipment and skill) the user has in mind. If edge retention was was easier to quantify, like wear resistance/grinding, pinpointing needs for a large demographic would be simple.

    It's a personal thing. I think if you can make a knife sharp that's the most important. If you can't, it's a matter of getting better skill, gear, or using a different steel that doesn't vex you as much. If that steel you got sharp is performing well but chipping then it's time to again revisit your parameters and try new something else. Preferably taking the same product and playing with different angles, finishes, microbevels prior to jumping ship to something radically different. At least if you have a normal (ie non-Cliff, Jim, Sal, and all the others) grasp of metallurgy. Us non-super heroes probably should just mess with one variable at a time if we are trying to fine-tune our game. Those folks can bring a whole new set of golf clubs to the next round and just roll with em.

    Lately I've been enjoying Super Blue. It touches up really easy on white stone fine benchstone at the OEM geometry (which is pretty thin for a factory knife). Since my duties are fairly light I don't get chipping and it only takes a couple passes to get that paper-scaring edge back. If my flavor of the month was something like 110v I would probably just do the same thing but invest in a medium benchstone as the 701 crock sticks are fairly slow working. That or work with a diamond stone with super light pressure as they will process it like a knife and soft pasta.
    Blake

    Listing of Blade-Length Laws by State/County (Not My Website)
    http://www.handgunlaw.us/documents/USKnife.pdf

  20. #20
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    1,777
    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    I do think it would be very interesting if someone could definitively say that blank steel at blank hardness with a blank grit finished edge will give you the most edge holding for your time sharpening.
    You can not rank steels in edge holding in that manner, people do it but it is jibberish. In order to rank steels in edge holding you have to know :

    -what is being cut
    -edge angle
    -edge finish
    -how it is being cut

    In order to know how long it takes to sharpen you have to know :

    -what abrasive is being used
    -what method is used to sharpen

    If you can answer those questions then you can do a rank of edge retention vs sharpening time.

    Here are a variety of steels ranked in cutting cardboard : http://www.cliffstamp.com/knives/reviews/cardboard.html . I will be adding the sharpening time on a particular stone shortly. However if I used different stones the values would change, in particular :

    -diamond abrasives would make the differences smaller
    -quartz abrasives would make the differences much larger
    -whole bevel sharpening would make the differences much larger
    -micro-beveling would make the differences much smaller
    -jigging makes the differences much smaller
    -free handing makes the differences much later

    In regards to the edge performance, if the angle/grit finish changes then the performance of the steels will shift and a new maximum point will be created. In general :

    -push cutting
    -high polish
    -high sharpness

    all favor low carbide steels. The opposite tends to favor high carbide steels, but even that has a limit.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •