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

  1. #21
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
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    You can maintain certain steels after they're sharpened fairly easily, therefore it's a confusing question with no perfect answer. If you have the right stones, even super steels can be sharpened quickly, too. The issue with using something like the Sharpmaker is that re-profiling those steels takes a long time...but if you're using something more abrasive to sharpen with, it's not a big deal.

  2. #22
    Spyderco Forum Registered User nccole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvenuto View Post

    I would agree that the greatest "value" per this definition would most certainly be non-stainless, and not a "super steel."
    I would say that there are non-stainless "super steels" out there. K390 is a prime example, 10V/K294 is another. It just so happens that the high alloyed newer super steels today are also SS. ZDP-189 is by some not a SS either, because its Cr is used up in carbide formation (no expert in that info, just repeating what I have heard from what I consider reliable sources) and not enough is left free to make it SS. So those factors blur the line of 13% Cr being the cutoff. I have always considered it a SS and have never had any single issues with it.

  3. #23
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nccole View Post
    I would say that there are non-stainless "super steels" out there. K390 is a prime example, 10V/K294 is another. It just so happens that the high alloyed newer super steels today are also SS. ZDP-189 is by some not a SS either, because its Cr is used up in carbide formation (no expert in that info, just repeating what I have heard from what I consider reliable sources) and not enough is left free to make it SS. So those factors blur the line of 13% Cr being the cutoff. I have always considered it a SS and have never had any single issues with it.
    I may be mis-understanding you, but tvenuto was saying that the steel to fit this definition of "value" would be both non-stainless and not a conventional "super-steel", not saying that there are no "super-steels" that are non-stainless
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  4. #24
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Blerv's Avatar
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    I think people assume super steels are indeed "super" (ie superior in every way) due to the cost and rarity. What makes them expensive and scarce often is...

    * often difficulty to execute
    * higher relative cost to grind

    In other words, they are just flat expensive to make. It's also more difficult and potentially expensive to make souffles than some more conventional deserts. That doesn't mean they are indeed "superior" to other deserts unless your criteria favors puffed chocolate or how French something is.
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  5. #25
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blerv View Post
    I think people assume super steels are indeed "super" (ie superior in every way) due to the cost and rarity. What makes them expensive and scarce often is...

    * often difficulty to execute
    * higher relative cost to grind

    In other words, they are just flat expensive to make. It's also more difficult and potentially expensive to make souffles than some more conventional deserts. That doesn't mean they are indeed "superior" to other deserts unless your criteria favors puffed chocolate or how French something is.
    To assume that they would have to know very little about knives and steels. In my experience, there isn't much of a middle ground when it comes to this. Either someone wouldn't know what M390 is in the first place, or they would know what it is but also know that different steels are better at different things.
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  6. #26
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    Being stainless doesn't inherent mean a steel is hard to sharpen/grind. This came to be accepted because the only stainless steels people had seen were high carbide and thus they were comparing high carbide vs low carbide. It isn't like 14C28N is hard to grind/sharpen compared to A11 (10V).

    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    To assume that they would have to know very little about knives and steels.
    It is extremely common, even here where you would assume people "know" more than average. Look for threads where some asks something like "Hey, just picked up a maxi-max-vanadium steel, is this better than AUS-8"?

    How many replies will note that the AUS-8 has better grindability, higher versatility vs abrasives, higher ductility/toughness, easier maintenance/repair, higher ease of high sharpness taking, etc. etc. .

    This perspective is so dominant that you will commonly find steels being used in applications that make no sense at all, but people do it simply because they think that a "good/great" steel is just some kind of uniform label, hence you see high carbide steels in large machete/sword type blades.

    This would be like making a fishing line out of wool (type of cordage) because it is a "great" cordage (in reference to use making water/cold resistant gloves). In that sense I would hope it would be obvious that isn't a valid logical argument, but just watch how common people make the exact same argument in the knife industry.

    In fact it is being done right in this thread.

  7. #27
    Spyderco Forum Registered User michaelm466's Avatar
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    IME, edge thickness/grind makes a larger difference than steel type when it comes to sharpening and reprofiling, the longest I've ever spend sharpening a knife was a Saber grind ZDP-189 blade with an obtuse factory angle, reprofiling took about an hour because I had to remove so much steel, on the other hand I've reprofiled K390 and S90V (both thinner FFG) in around 20 min using the same sharpening set up.
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  8. #28
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Stamp View Post
    Being stainless doesn't inherent mean a steel is hard to sharpen/grind. This came to be accepted because the only stainless steels people had seen were high carbide and thus they were comparing high carbide vs low carbide. It isn't like 14C28N is hard to grind/sharpen compared to A11 (10V).



    It is extremely common, even here where you would assume people "know" more than average. Look for threads where some asks something like "Hey, just picked up a maxi-max-vanadium steel, is this better than AUS-8"?

    How many replies will note that the AUS-8 has better grindability, higher versatility vs abrasives, higher ductility/toughness, easier maintenance/repair, higher ease of high sharpness taking, etc. etc. .

    This perspective is so dominant that you will commonly find steels being used in applications that make no sense at all, but people do it simply because they think that a "good/great" steel is just some kind of uniform label, hence you see high carbide steels in large machete/sword type blades.

    This would be like making a fishing line out of wool (type of cordage) because it is a "great" cordage (in reference to use making water/cold resistant gloves). In that sense I would hope it would be obvious that isn't a valid logical argument, but just watch how common people make the exact same argument in the knife industry.

    In fact it is being done right in this thread.
    Hold on. You quoted me, but then went on to refute something I never said in the first place. I didn't comment on how common this was, or how dominant the perspective was. I just said that to believe that about supersteels, you would have to know little about them. I also gave my experience, which is just that, my experience. Your experience may be different, probably even more valid than mine.
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    I may be mis-understanding you, but tvenuto was saying that the steel to fit this definition of "value" would be both non-stainless and not a conventional "super-steel", not saying that there are no "super-steels" that are non-stainless
    Yes, that is what I meant, but my sentence was a little ambiguous on that point. My reasoning was that stainless steels are often giving up something with regard to the qualities you're referring to, and "super steels" are likely to suffer from the phenomenon of diminishing returns. I do think, though, that this would be a hard thing to quantify reliably. Sharp vs dull and the path from one to the other and the sharpening method etc. Someone should give it a go, though!

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    Hold on. You quoted me, but then went on to refute something I never said in the first place.
    I was continuing a conversation which started with Blerv who noted :

    "I think people assume super steels are indeed "super" (ie superior in every way) due to the cost and rarity. "

    Your response of :

    "Either someone wouldn't know what M390 is in the first place, or they would know what it is but also know that different steels are better at different things."

    My reply was that this tends not to be the case, what Blerv noted is very accurate, people tend to believe and even argue adamantly that a "super" steel is in fact superior as a kind of base assertion. In fact that isn't even an actual label, it is just a made up marketing label, it is like asking for "surgical stainless".

  11. #31
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvenuto View Post
    Yes, that is what I meant, but my sentence was a little ambiguous on that point. My reasoning was that stainless steels are often giving up something with regard to the qualities you're referring to, and "super steels" are likely to suffer from the phenomenon of diminishing returns. I do think, though, that this would be a hard thing to quantify reliably. Sharp vs dull and the path from one to the other and the sharpening method etc. Someone should give it a go, though!
    I see that there are tons of variables and this would be extremely hard to quantify, but I still think that certain steels could be quantified as "better" by this definition than others. For example, perhaps it would be possible to show that while O1 at 61 HRC maybe not be the "best" by this definition, it does in fact have better sharpening time to edge holding value than say A2 at 61 HRC (steels are for example) in most people's EDC uses.
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  12. #32
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Stamp View Post
    I was continuing a conversation which started with Blerv who noted :

    "I think people assume super steels are indeed "super" (ie superior in every way) due to the cost and rarity. "

    Your response of :

    "Either someone wouldn't know what M390 is in the first place, or they would know what it is but also know that different steels are better at different things."

    My reply was that this tends not to be the case, what Blerv noted is very accurate, people tend to believe and even argue adamantly that a "super" steel is in fact superior as a kind of base assertion. In fact that isn't even an actual label, it is just a made up marketing label, it is like asking for "surgical stainless".
    I prefaced that by saying "In my experience." Perhaps my experience is off base, but I don't think someone's experience can be wrong. I was not just referring to the forum, but to my personal life. In "real life", I know maybe one person who fits what you are saying. Everyone else either is relatively knowledgable about supersteels, or knows next to nothing about knives in the first place.
    Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers"
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  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    In "real life", I know maybe one person who fits what you are saying.
    Do some internet scans for just keyword searches on popular high pushed steels, look at the commentary and see how often people who actually recommend the steels have that kind of knowledge, let alone the people who discuss them.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvenuto View Post
    Someone should give it a go, though!
    Hemp cutting with sharpening required : http://www.cliffstamp.com/knives/reviews/hemp.html .

    This is underway, in a year or so it will be decently filled out. The stone being used there now is a Bester 700, once I get enough information with that stabilized I will use other stones in the same sort of comparison.

  15. #35
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    I have not read any of the replies. I think I know what you are asking and some of the replies I'm sure have some technical steel info including words like carbides. Since I don't know much about that I'll say this. There is only one blade steel that Spyderco uses that has given me problems when sharpening it. And the same steel still takes more time and effort to get sharp. That is ZDP-189. I think M4 and S30V both sharpen easily. I think M4 will hold the edge longer but how much longer I don't know. CTS-XHP is right there, maybe a little better at holding an edge than S30V but not enough to worry about. VG-10 sharpens easily and holds an edge very well but IMO not as long as S30V, XHP, M4 or ZDP. These are the only steels that come to mind that I've used enough to have an opinion (accurate or inaccurate) about. Of all of them ZDP is the only one that drove me crazy when I got my first one. I absolutely COULD NOT get it sharp as easily as the others. In fact the only thing that saved me is sharpening ZDP was encorperating a micro-bevel. Trying to bring wider bevels to a nice sharp apex was impossible for me. Now I always use a micro bevel on ZDP so I haven't tried to apex wide bevels in 3 years. And even now, it seems I need to pay a little more attention on the last refining strokes of the apex.

    All the steels I mentioned I like. ZDP is the only one that seems to require extra effort (time and/or angle accuracy) to get shaving sharp. My feelings, accurate or inaccurate.

    Jack

    My EDC for a while. Stretch with carbon fiber handle, Chaparral 2, Dragonfly 2 with kirinite MOP handle, Manbug with bolster/red bone handle. Super blue/420J1 blades on all three (except Chaparral).

  16. #36
    Spyderco Forum Registered User yablanowitz's Avatar
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    As near as I can tell, the OP is looking for an objective answer to a subjective question, seeking an absolute in a relative world. Good luck. What is "the best" to me probably won't be "the best" to you.
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  17. #37
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yablanowitz View Post
    As near as I can tell, the OP is looking for an objective answer to a subjective question, seeking an absolute in a relative world. Good luck. What is "the best" to me probably won't be "the best" to you.
    No. I outlined exactly what I meant by "value" so people wouldn't take it subjectively. Because the relationship between time to sharpen and edge holding is not linear, there can be and has to be one specific steel (or at least a group of steels can be narrowed down) that shines above the rest as per the given definition of "value" described in my original post (assuming all variables are the same).
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  18. #38
    Spyderco Forum Registered User nccole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    I may be mis-understanding you, but tvenuto was saying that the steel to fit this definition of "value" would be both non-stainless and not a conventional "super-steel", not saying that there are no "super-steels" that are non-stainless
    Yeah, I can read it that way now too

  19. #39
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Blerv's Avatar
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    Yea. If wear resistance and edge retention were the same. Unfortunately, they aren't.
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  20. #40
    Spyderco Forum Registered User opusxpn's Avatar
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    For the simple man that has very little knowledge on sharpening, angles and bevels. I have retouched zdp but it needs diamond coarse 300 to give it the starting scratch pattern. It was work but nothing out of this world. SB its easier havent tried s110v. The one that got me by surprise was the H1 it was easy to sharpen and got a razors edge. I think on overall value (sharpening, hardness and price) this would be it for me.
    Keep 'em sharpEndura4 (blk all edges, brwn, FG, SB, RG ZDP, blk tac, wave) Salt1 (blk, yllw PE H1)Tasman(yllw SE H1) Pacific salt(blk SE H1) Stretch(ZDP, SB) Delica4(blk CE, wave, SB) Drgfly2(yllw SE H1, org PE,SB PE) Pingo(blk) Cat G10(blk) Centofante3 Ldybg3(FG,SB,Hwk yllw H1, tan H1, blk) Manbug (blk SE, SB) Manix2(Ltw trans blue PE, G10 PE, Ltw dark blue frn) Para2(dig/satin, blk/satin) Military(Cru-Wear) Resilience, Tenacious(blk CE,grn PE), K04 Blk PE, K04 Blue SE, Byrd Robin2 G10

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