Stainless Steels

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by OutdoorsFamilyMan, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. OutdoorsFamilyMan

    OutdoorsFamilyMan Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,379
    Likes Received:
    2,049
    Location:
    Ohio
    I've used the search function and the threads are a little outdated b/c of the new super steels available today so I thought I'd start a new discussion.

    For as long as I've liked knives I've wanted to design one based on my needs,wants and likes. I'm not really looking for the "one knife to rule them all," just an all around knife to suit most of my needs (if that makes sense). I wont get into listing all the needs,wants and desires (maybe I'll start a new thread on that later). I mainly want to focus this thread on stainless steels. For some reason I dont like using my knives (mainly 1095,coated and uncoated and O1) on food tasks; especially on the blades that have developed a patina. Its probably not a big deal but it's how I feel... So I want my dream knife to be stainless.
    I've been looking at lots of stainless steels and am trying to decide on which suits my needs best. I'm looking mostly for corrosion resistance, followed by toughness and then edge retention. I know some steels like 3v aren't stainless but fill my aforementioned needs. I also know 20cv is great in the same areas except lacks in toughness and that concerns me. The tasks I will be doing with the knife will vary from food prep, to batonning, carving and light chopping (considering this will be a 4.5 to 5 inch blade)....
    I'm hoping some of you steel experts can list the qualities of the popular stainless steels so that I (and others) may have a better idea of what stainless steel would work best....
    Here are the stainless steels I've been considering, feel free to list others I've not mentioned and what are the differences in those similarly named...

    S30v,S35vn,154cm, cm154, 3v, delta 3v, 20cv, AEBL, M4
     
  2. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Messages:
    2,333
    Likes Received:
    11,523
    Location:
    New England
    Out of those you listed, a couple are not stainless steel. Versions of 3V and M4 are pretty tough and high end tool steels, possibly overkill if you are in fact needing stainless steel.

    Nitro-V is one I would mention. Makers here have used it and some might call it a tougher AEBL with better edge retention. Good luck!
     
  3. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Messages:
    4,595
    Likes Received:
    18,823
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm no expert, but I've been using S30V and 154CM for many years and have no complaints. I just received my first knife in S35V, and am looking forward to using it. Heat treated by Peters, so I'm not expecting to be disappointed.
     
  4. OutdoorsFamilyMan

    OutdoorsFamilyMan Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,379
    Likes Received:
    2,049
    Location:
    Ohio
    Funny you mention NitroV. I didnt list it because I was under the impression its relatively new and not much is known about it. The maker I'm tossing design ideas around with has been trying it out and really likes it...
     
    John Harper, MrFixIt and M.Hatfield like this.
  5. PeterPNL

    PeterPNL Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    802
    Location:
    The Netherlands
  6. hillst1

    hillst1 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    1,743
    Location:
    North Carolina
  7. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,723
    Likes Received:
    3,157
    Location:
    NE Ks
    I have an AEB-L blade you can borrow if you want.
    I'm a fan of cpm154 and S35 is supposed to perform slightly better -- although I suspect the differences are slight enough I'll never be able to tell the difference.
    I got to put an Elmax blade through it's paces on a passaround a few years back and it performed just fine as well.
     
  8. PeterPNL

    PeterPNL Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    802
    Location:
    The Netherlands
  9. Elgatodeacero

    Elgatodeacero Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2017
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    526
    There are so many good steels available now, you will waste a lot of time agonizing over the best one.

    I remain happy with 420HC and Sandvik 14C28N, etc.

    The practical advice is to buy a Buck 105 or Mora Garberg stainless, and use it for a while until you are sure you need something more.

    I have some super steel knives, but I am hard pressed to accept they are worth the extra price.
     
  10. Richinva

    Richinva Lover of Sharpened Bits of Steel... Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2013
    Messages:
    1,493
    Likes Received:
    4,091
    Location:
    Suburbs of Deatonville, VA, USA
    Well done and properly treated AEB-L with a high hardness is pretty awesome, given good geometry.
     
  11. ChrisOCLM

    ChrisOCLM Knife Addict Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,273
    Likes Received:
    2,115
    Location:
    SE MN
    My favorite stainless steel is hands down cpm154.

    Easy to sharpen, takes a fine edge, and is just a great middle road stainless steel as far as toughness/wear resistance/tensile strength goes.

    Aebl is also another good one with many of those same properties, that it seems like not too many bushcrafters are aware of or haven’t used before.
     
  12. zackerty

    zackerty Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    283
    AEB-L is an old steel, but it is one of my favourites.

    No steel is " best," but try as many as you can in different profiles and you will find a few that please you.

    AEB-L, VG10 or N690, 12C27, and good old 440C all please me enough, and those that know me, know that I have high standards.

    Perception of what the so called "super steels" can do, is affected by peer pressure, sometimes.
     
  13. John Harper

    John Harper Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    234
    Likes Received:
    615
    Hi,

    I've been looking at lots of stainless steels and am trying to decide on which suits my needs best. I'm looking mostly for corrosion resistance, followed by toughness and then edge retention.

    …. The tasks I will be doing with the knife will vary from food prep, to batonning, carving and light chopping (considering this will be a 4.5 to 5 inch blade)....



    Given that your proposed use includes batoning, you must put a premium on toughness. In general, your needs will best served with a low carbon steel because with stainless steels, beyond a certain point carbon tends to form chromium carbides which have an adverse effect on toughness, whilst increasing wear resistance, and to some effect lowering corrosion resistance.

    Although there are no published toughness values on the bulk of cutlery stainless steel, the ones that best combine all the attributes that you are seeking would be Bohler-Uddeholm’s AEB-L and its Sandwick equivalent of 13c26; Also the Sandwick 14c28N is an excellent steel of this kind.

    What you must also keep in mind is that besides chemical composition, the heat treatment and manufacturing process plays a crucial role in a finished blade’s attributes.

    Ultimately your challenge will be to find a blade that is not only made from the steel of your choice but also has the design features that you want.

    Cheers
    John
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
    CSM1970 and A Seedy Lot like this.
  14. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2017
    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    3,220
    Location:
    NW Montana
    Here is a chart from http://knifesteelnerds.com showing toughness and hardness for steel pieces that Larrin has tested. The thing that surprised me is that AEB-l is at the top for toughness while Zwear is claimed to be tougher than 3v at higher hardness it only fell in the middle range for toughness.

    toughness-summary.jpg
     
  15. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2017
    Messages:
    697
    Likes Received:
    3,220
    Location:
    NW Montana
  16. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2017
    Messages:
    1,951
    Likes Received:
    6,371
    Location:
    Idaho panhandle
    Cool web site! I hadn't heard from Larrin since his undergrad days, it's cool that he's working on his PhD now! His dad is a bonafide genius, I see the apple didn't fall far from the tree.
     
    John Harper likes this.
  17. CSM1970

    CSM1970 Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    4,839
    Location:
    Texas
    Interesting article to be sure. Larrin and I share an Alma Mater.
     
    John Harper likes this.
  18. Damian1690

    Damian1690 Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2016
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    347
    Location:
    North East Indiana
    I’ve used different stainless steels and really haven’t had a problem with any of them, unless they were no name crap. But, about the highest end steel I’ve used is 154cm. I love 154cm because it’s easy to sharpen, holds an edge and is pretty stain resistant.

    For folders I’ve used Aus-8 (hate it), Sandvik 14C28N (nice), and 420hc (Buck). I absolutely love the Bucks. As of right now I don’t think I’d ever get a different folder. I haven’t used a Buck fixed but I bet the steel is still awesome.

    But anyway, on fixed blades I’ve used some Chinese 440a and 440C equivalents and have been pretty happy. Here lately I’ve been using a Gerber Prodigy fine edge in 420HC and it’s very tough. Although it’s easy to sharpen, it does takes awhile to remove dings. Should be pretty hard to get one though. I batonned it through a dog bone just to test the steel (I DONT recommend ever doing this!) and other than a couple tiny dings it was fine. I find the edge retention to be about the same as 1095 imo. The corrosion resistance is excellent.

    So based off my personal experience, I’d recommend 420HC or 154cm. If I had to go with 440C I doubt I’d be disappointed. But since you’re looking for corrosion resistance-toughness-edge retention in that order, I’d tell you to look at 420HC. Have you tried the Gerber Prodigy or Strongarm? It might be what you’re looking for. They had a limited run of the fine edge Prodigy, but you could probably still find one. I know a guy who has a couple... ;)
     
    John Harper likes this.
  19. 62flint

    62flint Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    Messages:
    727
    Likes Received:
    1,756
    All knives were subject to patina prior to the advent of stainless steel. Cast iron skillets have patina. For me, it would make more sense to have a dedicated food prep knife rather than a single tool to do everything. I bought this blade for about $13 and put the scales on, but you can buy them with scales for about the same price. Its .065" SS, hollow ground, and sharpened up to scalpel sharp without a lot of fuss. IIRC, its under 3 oz despite 4" of blade and full tang.
    IMG_1582.JPG
    Its a Dexter Russell Green River steak/utility blade. Paired with a larger knife of whatever steel, machete, hatchet, or axe, and you're golden and not boxed into a one tool fits all scenario. It sure would suck to break your do everything dream knife and be left standing with your handle in hand.;)
     
    Madwell, John Harper and Rockgod1619 like this.

Share This Page