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Q:
What is the best metal for knife blades. Im not sure which cause some of my knives hold a good edge and sharpen pretty easily while a S&W knife I've had since Feburary has really no edge at all.

Question by bass bomber. Uploaded on August 08, 2011

Answers (12)

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from mesarich wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

High carbon steel will hold an edge better then stainless steel, but it will rust if not taken care of.

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from iron giant wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Asking what is the best steel for a blade is a question with no real answer. Better choices are, Japanese AUS 8a, High Carbons, D2 Tool Steel, 1095. The trouble is that you could spend hundreds of dollars to get knives made with really high end super steels. Plus different knives serve different purposes. If you want a huge knife, say 10 inch blade, to use as a survival knife, and want it to chop through trees, be an improvised speerhead, etc. You will need something with a lot of flex to it, that may not be hair shving sharp, or stay that way long. Because in Steel softness=strength. If you have something that is really hard you begin to risk the steel being brittle, but it will hold a much sharper edge much longer. for a small knife, used for cutting, like a skinning knife such a steel is ideal. I have a Dozier D2 skinner that is like this. A few companies, Cold Steel comes to mind quickly that offer blades made out of steels that are actually two different steels layered together. I think Cold Steels is San Mai 3. They stick an ultra hard steel between two pieces of soft steel. The hard piece gives it a great edge, and the soft steel gives it strenght. I think Kershaw tried something where they welded the blade of a knife to a thin strand of copper and then welded another piece of steel to the other side. The edge iece was really hard the rest was soft. You will be able to look up the hardness of a good knife on the manufacturers website. For general all around use, I have found that a hardness in the high fifties is ideal. It is hard enough that it will hold an edge for a decent amount of time, but is not hard to resharpen when it does need it, and can stand up to a good bit of abuse. If you want something that is just insanely sharp look for some with a Rockwell hardness around 61 or 62.

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I think the McMillan DiamonbdBlade knife, recently reviewed by Dave Petzal in the "Blogs" section, has a four-inch blade made of D2 steel along the cutting edge that is Rc 65-68, with a spine that is Rc 45 or so. It retails for about $500.

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from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I would answer the question, but it is too far away from Christmas and someone will come out with an over hyped-and over priced knife metal that will not outperform my 15 dollar Victorinox Forshner boning knife that I recently bought a sheath for. Besides people that purchased the Damascus Cowery X Fallkniven Idun reviewed it like this "I was planning on using it to cut through hog ribs, but the knife is too nice to use." LOL my knife is too nice not to use on everything, and besides I have a boning saw for butchering. They make carbide razor blades for box cutters now if regular steel doesn't stay sharp long enough for you. Husky razor knives are great edc's.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

The Cold Steel knives with San Mai III blades are said to be the equal to the McMillan according to Dave Petzal.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page of Cold Steel for a short description of the different blade steels they use:
http://www.coldsteel.com/faqs.html

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from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I personally prefer the carbon steel blades of a good Case pocket knife. No need for $100 knives to lose or dull when you need them most. No need for carrying fancy "sharpening" equipment. I have a ceramic stick I carry to resharpen my old folding, single blade Case.
If I wanted to purchase a "fancy" blade, I think I'd opt for a nice "Damascus" fixed blade of 3.5 to 4 inches. Hand worked Damascus just trips my trigger!! LOL!!!

Bubba

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from ableskeever wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

8Cr13Mo

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

An old knife collector friend of mine one said that most knives with a gunmaker's name stamped on them are not very good. There are exceptions but I think this is mostly true.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Bubba, check out Bear & Son Cutlery for Damascus blades. Made in Alabama!

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from bass bomber wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I looked at the husky razor knife and I'll buy when I can.

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from a.rank wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

honestly it depends on your preferences. I make knives (forging and/or stock removal, no kits) and it comes down to what properties you want. different steels will have different pro's and cons. one steel may hold an edge great, but will be to brittle overall. if you're serious about getting a quality knife, invest in a handmade one, or at least a knife that is "edge tempered"

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from santa wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

a.rank, When I make a knife blade, I have found that S7 tool steel works very good. I has great impact resistance and depending on how the temper is drawn will not be too brittle to flex and still hold an edge for months. I have a forge and have hammered out a lot of steel, but to make a good knife blade out of S7, you just have to cut and grind to shape. Then wrap in ss foil and heat in the heat treat oven to about 1800 for an hour then draw at 900 for two hours and it is ready to clean and sharpen. No forging needed.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Bubba, check out Bear & Son Cutlery for Damascus blades. Made in Alabama!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from mesarich wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

High carbon steel will hold an edge better then stainless steel, but it will rust if not taken care of.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from iron giant wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Asking what is the best steel for a blade is a question with no real answer. Better choices are, Japanese AUS 8a, High Carbons, D2 Tool Steel, 1095. The trouble is that you could spend hundreds of dollars to get knives made with really high end super steels. Plus different knives serve different purposes. If you want a huge knife, say 10 inch blade, to use as a survival knife, and want it to chop through trees, be an improvised speerhead, etc. You will need something with a lot of flex to it, that may not be hair shving sharp, or stay that way long. Because in Steel softness=strength. If you have something that is really hard you begin to risk the steel being brittle, but it will hold a much sharper edge much longer. for a small knife, used for cutting, like a skinning knife such a steel is ideal. I have a Dozier D2 skinner that is like this. A few companies, Cold Steel comes to mind quickly that offer blades made out of steels that are actually two different steels layered together. I think Cold Steels is San Mai 3. They stick an ultra hard steel between two pieces of soft steel. The hard piece gives it a great edge, and the soft steel gives it strenght. I think Kershaw tried something where they welded the blade of a knife to a thin strand of copper and then welded another piece of steel to the other side. The edge iece was really hard the rest was soft. You will be able to look up the hardness of a good knife on the manufacturers website. For general all around use, I have found that a hardness in the high fifties is ideal. It is hard enough that it will hold an edge for a decent amount of time, but is not hard to resharpen when it does need it, and can stand up to a good bit of abuse. If you want something that is just insanely sharp look for some with a Rockwell hardness around 61 or 62.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I would answer the question, but it is too far away from Christmas and someone will come out with an over hyped-and over priced knife metal that will not outperform my 15 dollar Victorinox Forshner boning knife that I recently bought a sheath for. Besides people that purchased the Damascus Cowery X Fallkniven Idun reviewed it like this "I was planning on using it to cut through hog ribs, but the knife is too nice to use." LOL my knife is too nice not to use on everything, and besides I have a boning saw for butchering. They make carbide razor blades for box cutters now if regular steel doesn't stay sharp long enough for you. Husky razor knives are great edc's.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

The Cold Steel knives with San Mai III blades are said to be the equal to the McMillan according to Dave Petzal.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page of Cold Steel for a short description of the different blade steels they use:
http://www.coldsteel.com/faqs.html

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I personally prefer the carbon steel blades of a good Case pocket knife. No need for $100 knives to lose or dull when you need them most. No need for carrying fancy "sharpening" equipment. I have a ceramic stick I carry to resharpen my old folding, single blade Case.
If I wanted to purchase a "fancy" blade, I think I'd opt for a nice "Damascus" fixed blade of 3.5 to 4 inches. Hand worked Damascus just trips my trigger!! LOL!!!

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

An old knife collector friend of mine one said that most knives with a gunmaker's name stamped on them are not very good. There are exceptions but I think this is mostly true.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I think the McMillan DiamonbdBlade knife, recently reviewed by Dave Petzal in the "Blogs" section, has a four-inch blade made of D2 steel along the cutting edge that is Rc 65-68, with a spine that is Rc 45 or so. It retails for about $500.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ableskeever wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

8Cr13Mo

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from bass bomber wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I looked at the husky razor knife and I'll buy when I can.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from a.rank wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

honestly it depends on your preferences. I make knives (forging and/or stock removal, no kits) and it comes down to what properties you want. different steels will have different pro's and cons. one steel may hold an edge great, but will be to brittle overall. if you're serious about getting a quality knife, invest in a handmade one, or at least a knife that is "edge tempered"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 2 years 11 weeks ago

a.rank, When I make a knife blade, I have found that S7 tool steel works very good. I has great impact resistance and depending on how the temper is drawn will not be too brittle to flex and still hold an edge for months. I have a forge and have hammered out a lot of steel, but to make a good knife blade out of S7, you just have to cut and grind to shape. Then wrap in ss foil and heat in the heat treat oven to about 1800 for an hour then draw at 900 for two hours and it is ready to clean and sharpen. No forging needed.

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