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Thread: Tool Steel: Thoughts on it?

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User SpyderEdgeForever's Avatar
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    Tool Steel: Thoughts on it?

    There are, ofcourse, different types of tool steel, from carbon and stainless to others, with different element compositions and so on and so forth. What are your experiences with blades made from various tool steels as far as performance and function as well as looks go?

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    I don't have a lot of experience with the application of tool steels in knives other then D2. I would also point out that blade geometry, grind and thickness are all variables that play a role in how the steel will perform. A good example was my Bob Dozier Buffalo River Hunter. It was a fixed blade hunting knife made of D2 with a hollow grind. I had skinned a few caribou with it and used it for camping, until one day I thought I would baton some wood. I learned the hard way that thinly ground, hollow grind blades at 60-61 HRC aren't the best blades to baton with ...

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Depends on the steel. That is like asking what someone's opinion on a rubber tire is. Sure, they can say they like it better than an airless tire, but a rubber tire (or in this case, tool steel) is just too broad. That said, I normally like tool steels. As much as any other types of steel
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    The only one I have that I *think* is tool steel is 01. I've been quite happy with that on my Spyderco Bushcrafter and my BHK's.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Officer Gigglez's Avatar
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    Several of the blanks I made into knives from Jantz supply are D2 steel. It is very tough, and holds an edge well enough, but it seems to catch rust fairly easily.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User David Lowry's Avatar
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    I've had M2, M4, and D2 and I love them all. Tool steel kicks butt, not only because it's tool steel but because it seems to last forever and take a crazy insane edge. I gained an amazing respect for how hard certain steels are by trying to drill them. I own high speed bits that will cut stainless and regular steel, needless to say, they won't touch tool steel. They just make the tool steel angry.

    The D2 that I owned (Spyderco D2) takes an edge better than the M2 or M4 that I have had experience with. I've had M2 from Benchmade and M4 from Spyderco. Both were great. They get really "bitey" as far as the edge goes.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of M4 and even 1095, I'd love to see more in Spyderco's lineup.

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    Seems to me that a steel intended to be used as tool steel has to have a pretty good level of performance or else they would not be able to keep selling it. So tool steel should be reliable. Steels used just for knives can of course vary a lot. For instance basic "440" steel can be a real unknown. Steels such as "surgical stainless" can only be counted on to be sort of shiny metal.

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    SKD11 Japanese chef knife

    I have a Japanese chef knife done with SLD steel, which is also known as SKD11, hardened to HRC60. The knife gets sharper than any other knife I own and holds an edge for a very long time. The downside is that it is a bit chippy. There are numerous very small chips about 1/3 out from the handle. I ALWAYS use a proper cutting board, usually edge grain maple. Anyway I love the knife and it looks great. That said if I have to cut something like a rock hard squash I prefer to grab the victorinox chef knife ... softer steel and if I wreck it much cheaper to replace.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdblue View Post
    Seems to me that a steel intended to be used as tool steel has to have a pretty good level of performance or else they would not be able to keep selling it. So tool steel should be reliable. Steels used just for knives can of course vary a lot. For instance basic "440" steel can be a real unknown. Steels such as "surgical stainless" can only be counted on to be sort of shiny metal.
    It really just depends on what the tool steel was designed to be good at doing. Some tool steels also have an edge, like an impact chisel while others need high wear resistance. Not all tool steels will hold an edge well enough to be suitable for a knife. Some only need to be very tough and not crack or chip.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User phillipsted's Avatar
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    There is a good summary of the whole family of tool steels on Wikipedia.

    Tool steels are usually developed for particular characteristics needed for the tools they are intended - "S" steels are shock resistant and used in jackhammer bits, for instance. "T" and "M" types are high-speed steels (HSS) and were developed to retain their strength and hardness at high operating temperatures found in high-speed machining operations.

    Cool stuff.

    TedP

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User wrdwrght's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillipsted View Post
    There is a good summary of the whole family of tool steels on Wikipedia.
    Just read this helpful article (as well as its Heat Treating link) yesterday. Surprised to learn that H1 is a tool steel; I have thought it was a powder steel since I got my DF2 Salt a few years ago. Need to steal it back from my wife.
    Marc

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User earthman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Lowry View Post
    I've had M2, M4, and D2 and I love them all. Tool steel kicks butt, not only because it's tool steel but because it seems to last forever and take a crazy insane edge. I gained an amazing respect for how hard certain steels are by trying to drill them. I own high speed bits that will cut stainless and regular steel, needless to say, they won't touch tool steel. They just make the tool steel angry.

    The D2 that I owned (Spyderco D2) takes an edge better than the M2 or M4 that I have had experience with. I've had M2 from Benchmade and M4 from Spyderco. Both were great. They get really "bitey" as far as the edge goes.
    I found the same problem when trying to drill a hole in a finished hardened blade, the only bit that did the job was a carbide one.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User ginsuwarrior's Avatar
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    I've been impressed with the A2 as offered by Bark River, keeps an edge and seems to be resistant enough to corrosion. Even though I like 1095 (mostly from Kabar), I can watch it develop rust before my eyes while processing animals (blood), so you just have to wipe it down every 1/2 hour or so. Great steel though, can handle some abuse but easy to sharpen too. 3V (now also offered by Bark River) also good, seems to be quite resistant to corrosion too.
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