Coated v uncoated blades: pros and cons

Discussion in 'ESEE® Knives and Gear' started by Stone, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. Stone

    Stone Member

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    For a few days, I've been thinking about adding an ESEE 3 to my kit. If I do it, it's still a ways off. I'm broke as a joke (still trying to get my company up and running after years of frustration and bad luck, but next year looks better. And I've got other things higher on my want list. (Smith Wesson HRT boot knife; an underquilt for my hammock; a car ....) But I like researching in advance.

    An ESEE 3 was my first ESEE, back in summer, 2012. I liked it, but at the time, it wasn't quite what I wanted. Even after adding a set of G10 scales, it wasn't quite there.

    After it came an Izula 2, which finally became an Izula I (not really, but you know what I mean; I got the Izula I from @AddictedToSteel in one of his acts of kindness and generosity). I love my Izula. It's my EDC for town, and travels with a Scandi (Helle Fossekallen) in the woods.

    But recently, I've been thinking again about an ESEE 3 for EDC. My Izula will always remain, also. But something about the 3 calls me.

    So, to my question: I see that the ESEE 3 is now available in an uncoated blade option, as well as coated. Here's my pick for the former and the latter. Same price. My first one, and my Izulas, have been coated. I never had an issue. Obviously, I know why they're coated; it's 1095, and it will oxidize.

    But part of me is intrigued by the uncoated blade. I take care of my knifes. Even the coated ones get wiped down after use, and a coating of oil (olive or mineral).

    So, finally, the questions:

    1) what's the advantages of an uncoated blade?

    2) what are the disadvantages of a coated blade?
     
  2. Flex

    Flex Moderator Staff Member

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    Coated blades will have more drag when slicing almost anything.
    Non-coated blades will slice a bit better past the edge, not because of the edge but because there is not coating to cause binding.

    Non-coated will need more maintenance.
     
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  3. JAD

    JAD Member

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    What @Flex said. If you take care of your knives, like you and many others do around here, it comes down to just what looks the best to you. I like the ESEE coatings on my knives and have only ever removed one coating. @91bravo sandblasted an Izzy II for me. I've never had a blade rust on me.
     
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  4. 91bravo

    91bravo Guest

    I'm not racist, so I like both coated and uncoated. I love the looks of a worn out coated knife!
     
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  5. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Video comparison

     
  6. 91bravo

    91bravo Guest

    Frictional drag from a coated knife is very minimal in my experience. Use the knife enough and it will wear away!
     
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  7. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Member

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    After owning both I would go un-coated next put a double done ( done twice?) forced vinegar patina. I have found I like the nearly black mottled look the patina gives. If it starts to develop surface rust ( it's been on my pack for 3 days in the back of a kayak in the rain :D ) it just rubs right off with a mere nylon scrubbie. I've had a 4 in tan and still have my first black Izula and where the worn coating doesn't bother me but, the un-coated would be my choice. ;)
     
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  8. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Wouldn't a person who didn't like both be a bladist?
     
  9. Stone

    Stone Member

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    The comments on that video are thought-provoking and useful.

     
  10. Yardman

    Yardman Member

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    image.jpeg image.jpeg I like Uncoated and I like un-coating because it is fun tinkering. My esee 5 sits in my truck and doesn't get much rust if any. Most blades I blu. I did get an Uncoated 3 and sold it for a deep discount. Etching is the key to uncoating for me. I like a deep etched logo and you can get that when you got coating to work with. I used the 3 for
    food prep and it rusted a lot and took some cleaning. I also am not a fan of the 3 and for food prep a chefs knife is more practical.

    Navy seal guy I know only uses Uncoated because of slicing. He demos on tee shirts to show the difference in slicing.

    I figure my grandfather had Uncoated carbon steel why not me. Having said that I am keeping my 6 and Junglas coated and going for the 91Bravo worn look.
     
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  11. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Member

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    [​IMG]Either way is fine really, I just like the darkened bare steel, and pics are a requirement in these threads!
     
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  12. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Blade lust.

    Yes, I'm loathe to admit it, but I must.

    Just sheer lust as I imagine a patina emerging on it . ..

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
  13. Stone

    Stone Member

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    And whereas the 3 is the skinner and slicer,
    the RB3 -- also uncoated -- is the carver.

    Oil is important for both,
    whether from mineral, plant or animal sources.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Stone

    Stone Member

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    Note to self: blade thickness of both the 3 and the RB3 is 1/8".
     
  15. Donkey

    Donkey Member

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    Uncoated and look after it
     
  16. Donkey

    Donkey Member

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    Besides i bet a fair few fail to look after the uncoated parts of a coated blade due to ignorance or a false sense of security.
    Coatings could also hide defects in a blade,in extreme cases
     
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  17. JMJ

    JMJ Member

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    A better place!!!!
    I'm with yardman, I personally prefer uncoated blades but rather start with coating so I can deeply etch in the logos. That may not be important to everyone, but I'm a little ocd about things like that.
     
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  18. Yardman

    Yardman Member

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    I also found masking off under the handle before stripping solves rust under the scales. I leave the edge around the handle unmasked so it is stripped. I'm sure I'm not the inventor of this.
     
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  19. Slade

    Slade Member

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    I'm good with both. When storage in a rust prone situation is likely, a stainless steel should be used in place of either. When a non stainless steel is in this situation it needs to be protected, uncoated or otherwise. There are always raw metal places on knives including the edge which is thin and the most vulnerable and valuable part of a knife.

    I do not approve of plant/animal based oils in general because they inevitably become rancid and sticky as they break down and can have other undesirable attributes. They won't kill you or anything, I just think there are better options. Patina is the way to go IMO. Unrefined oil from a source like your own skin is a definite no-no as the salts present will cause more problems than will be solved. Raw water is not nearly the problem that salt is.

    Sheaths are meant for storage during intermittent use, but long term storage should not be in the sheath. That just invites problems. I think this is the place most run into issue. Safe storage outside of a sheath is not the most convenient thing to accomplish.
     
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  20. 3HM

    3HM Member

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    Go chrome plated. Rust proof, no coating to wear off, and it looks awesome. Polished chrome is much slicker than polished steel.
     

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