Question for you steel nerds

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Expat, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    What stainless steel is better on this list? Better being defined as better for a general purpose utility knife that will be used around salt-air/coastal environment:

    8Cr14MoV

    440C

    AUS-8

    AUS-10

    S30V

    Any info why will be appreciated: pros/cons, etc.

    Thanks
     
  2. RocketmanDane

    RocketmanDane Member

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  3. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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  4. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    I live on the Wet West Coast, so I have a little experience with salt water and a (nearly constantly) wet environment.

    I've never tried 8Cr14MoV.

    440C is a good steel if done right. I like it just fine. It will rust if left long enough though.

    Just going on experience here, AUS-8 will rust. Rather easily in fact ( even from sweat from being in a pocket). And it will absolutely pit. Decent steel though.

    Never heard of AUS-10.

    S30V is a good steel. I've used it for years on end in my Para 2. Haven't had any rust issues yet.

    As a bonus, I really like Buck's 420HC, especially in my environment. Holds a better edge than AUS-8, easy to sharpen, rather tough, and is more "stainless" than many others.

    As far as N680 goes, I have no personal experience with it. From what I've read, it seems to be on par with VG-10 and 154CM, but more corrosion resistant.
     
  5. C99c

    C99c Member

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    Nevermind, I was wrong. Disregard.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  6. DYSPHORIC JOY

    DYSPHORIC JOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I am not an expert but I like plain 440C if going for cost effective "stainless" based on my experience. I have used numerous Ray Ennis knives over the years and have always been impressed with the toughness and ease of stropping. Key is the HT.
     
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  7. ManOfSteel

    ManOfSteel Member

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    S30V is gonna be your toughest and hold an edge the longest usually. Sucks to sharpen if you don't know what you're doing but it's solid. I'd go the extra step and go to S35VN- the steel S30V should've been.
     
  8. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    Ease of sharpening and cost are factors. I have had S30V and have not liked the extra care it takes to sharpen it. Fine for "knife people" but not always good for people who use knives all day long and need them back to good shape in a hurry.
     
  9. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    I appreciate your answers, guys. Lots to research. I'm looking for the cheapest, rust resistant, user-friendly steel that gets the job done with as little fuss as possible and can be brought back to usability quick when needed. Not trying to win awards for a special steel or design or the like.

    Imagine you are a charter fishing captain in the Caribbean and you're cutting bait, filleting fish, maybe prepping dinner, cutting lines, ropes, prying open an oyster, etc. In other words, you're knife is not to show off how centered it is or how mirror finish the edge is at Sunday BBQ but rather to always be ready to use in that type of environment. And be able to be brought back quickly with 5 minutes and a stone. 5 to 7 " blade. And not something you're constantly having to oil. Maybe rinsing off in some fresh water and a quick wipe with a towel.

    Does that narrow down the options a little?
     
  10. nevermas

    nevermas Member

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    How about 154cm or ats34? Coated blade, proper heat treat, and I've never had a problem with rust after rinse in fresh water and pat dry. Best rust prevention is done through use, and put away dry, so I rarely have a problem even with carbon steel.

    No experience with n680, though Benchmade uses it in their water knives. Spyderco has the H1, but I think that is exclusive to Spyderco and localized Japanese brands.
     
  11. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    I've looked at both of those, too. Price may come to be the deciding factor.

    I think you are right about H1. Doesn't seem like anyone else can get it.
     
  12. Ravenous12

    Ravenous12 Member

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    How about 12C27? Isn't that what mora uses? Has to be cheap. It works pretty darn well and I've never noticed issues sharpening it.
     
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  13. erik

    erik Member

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    8Cr14MoV is pretty much the same as AUS-8 -- easy to care for, not the most stainless, not the best edge holding, but takes a good edge easily and rolls/dents rather than chipping

    440C functions pretty much the same as AUS-10 - very corrosion resistant but at higher hardnesses can be a stone bitch to sharpen, even with diamonds.

    S30V is plenty easy to take care of if you have an ez-lap or DMT folding dual grit diamond stone. S35V has better edge holding and toughnes, but is harder to sharpen

    I am also a big fan of CPM154, and the cost for it seems comparable to 440C
     
  14. ozbushy

    ozbushy Member

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    I have a buck 110 style folding knife in 440c which is ok edge holding isn't great and it is a pain to sharpen on normal stones, does get a black form of corrosion which pits in a little.

    AUS8 I had a 2" blade folding knife that I used to let freinds use as if the edge was damaged it took no time to repair, trade off was edge didn't stay super sharp for long, never had any corrosion issues after drying and putting away.

    No experience with the other types you asked about except a bloke at work had AUS10 fishing knife which seemed to hold its edge better than the AUS8.


    AUS10 has smaller grain structure than 440

    Probably not much help but oh well
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  15. Creaky Bones

    Creaky Bones Member

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    I have an assortment of stainless knives. I'm in and around salt water all the time. I like spyderco's H1 a lot. It's tough and does not rust. It also doesn't fit your "cheapest" catagory. I agree with @DYSPHORIC JOY about Entrek's 440C. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who does 440C better and Ray Ennis is as decent a guy as you'll find, but again not cheap. Aus8 is a decent working steel but kinda "meh". If it were me, and it's not, I'd go with Buck's 420hc. Great corrosion resistance, tougher than many of the pricier stainless steels. Doesn't hold an edge as long as s30v or good 440C but neither does H1 and they're both easy to sharpen. The tough part will be finding a style and size that would meet your needs. Of course if I were really a charter boat captain I'd probably just opt for a Dexter Russell sani safe 8" butcher knife and call it a day. My 2 cents.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  16. Bcamos

    Bcamos Member

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    I would honestly go with the cheapest steel you could and pay the extra for DLC coating. Since corrosion resistance is probably the biggest factor here.

    For a lot of us, "sharp" means something. To the rest of the world "sharp" is just slightly more acute than 90*. So for that, I'd pay less attention to what holds a better edge, and go more for resilience. Get something corrosion resistant and coat it with the one coating that's a complete pain in the ass to remove.
     
  17. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    Yes. There is a lot of wisdom in that. Ive been going crosseyed studying NASA tests lately. NASA might have the greatest collection of steel nerds and corrosion studies on stainless steel of anyone in the world.

    They are making good progress protecting steel with citric acids rather than the more expensive and dangerous nitric acids.

    Ideally, cheap steel that is cheaply protected by a system/coating would be the goal.

    The other thing is that a tiny tiny portion of the world that uses knives routinely are actually knife people. Which i think you mentioned. In fact, "knife people" probably use their edges less than others when you factor in how many total inches of blades we own vs how many inches actually get used daily.

    Im impressed more with a great product at a lower price than anything else. If money is no object, anyone can build a great knife.
     
  18. JAD

    JAD Member

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    Mora and Opinel both use this variety of stainless. It is certainly a time proven and low maintenance steel. That has to count for something. We know it is relatively inexpensive and available.
     
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  19. Slade

    Slade Member

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    I prefer S30V, but agree it is not an easy steel to sharpen compared to the others. S35VN and CPM-154 are easier and good but more expensive. 154CM would be the more cost effective choice. 420HC/440A will give you the best rust resistance, but 440A is crap. 8Cr13MoV is basically a less controlled analog of AUS-8, and AUS-10 isn't common but is similar to the more common 9Cr14MoV IIRC. Also, don't forget 13C26N and 14C28N. Especially 14C28N is great stuff and beats out AUS and alphabet soup steels at every turn in my book.

    440C seems like the winner to me of the options with all that has been said.

    H1 is basically rust proof and not unreasonably priced. I think H1 is the clear winner if you're talking about buying a knife for your use and not making one.

    If we are talking about producing a knife, S30V will attract the most customers of the steels in the list.

    Edit to say that N690 is also good stuff and I have enjoyed the two I have. I don't know the extent of their resilience to rust other than its supposed to be stainless, and I think the market in general doesn't recognize the steel for any known characteristics. It may not jump out at prospective buyers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
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  20. JAD

    JAD Member

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    This.....if you're going where I think you're going on this idea...........a production scale.
     

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