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Question by backcountrybeagle. Uploaded on July 16, 2009
As a general rule of thumb, high carbon steel is harder than stainless steel and will stay sharp for a longer period of time. The downside of having steel that is so hard is that when the knife eventually loses its sharp edge, it will be more difficult to re-sharpen. Hunters are particularly fond of high-carbon steel for their field knives because they need a knife that will keep its edge while skinning large animals. Re-sharpening a dull knife while the animal that you just killed is decomposing can be very tedious and frustrating!!!!!!!!!!!!
High carbon steel by far, it is actually quite easy to resharpen. Stainless steel my look prettier, but it does not perform near as good. Carbon steel is stronger, not neccasarily harder, than stainless and throws a good spark.
High carbon steel is a better knife blade. But also look at where the knife is made. You can buy a cheeper knife that wont hold up as good or spend a little more and get a really good knife with a warranty. And you can always go to a bass pro shop and they'll re-sharpen your knife for you to a razor edge for about four bucks.
yeah my blades made of high carbon steal stay a lot sharper longer then my stainless steal blades
I think Buckeye got it right on his details.
Anybody else notice that stainless steel is predominant for what you will see in Cabelas, etc., I am thinking nearly exclusively
Stainless is pretty soft these days
Like so many people said, High Carbon is the stronger of the two.
high carbon .
I'll stick to high carbon if possible, but it has the dis-advantage of raising cost on knifes.
Excellent stainless knife steels are available, like 440C, AUS8, ATS-34, 154CM, and S30V, but like the non-SS steel blades a lot depends on the treatment by the maker. The same blade material from different manufacturers can have different properties.
There is also VG10 - a laminate that places a tough steel on the outside and a harder more brittle steel on the inside, for a very strong blade with a very sharp edge. I don't have any experience with it. If the edge material doesn't have chromium, like my kitchen laminated knives, the edge can corrode quickly. But it seems most hunting and fishing knife makers would make the edge material somewhat stainless.
I like a good D2 blade - semi-stainless.
A sharp knife is key, but for all this said, unless you have a true appreciation for materials, need a survival knife, need resistance to salt water, or need a knife that will cut long before sharpening, it is hard to go wrong when you buy a good brand name knife and diamond sharpening stones.
Damn MLH, that was a lucid, intelligent, and well thought out answer. What are you, a butcher?
I was under impression that a high carbon presence makes it sharp but also more succeptible to rust?We used to use high carbon hooks specifically so that they come out of sharks mouths quicker if they broke line.Curious.
I have a friend that is a knifemaker and has his own forge. According to him the best high carbon steel comes from ore mined during and before WWII. He likes to use old railroad spikes to make knives.
VG10 is similar in concept to what the Japanese did to make their blades back in the day, and even now in very limited quantities.
High carbon is my favorite. I have an old buck knife I bought in 1968 dressed and cut up hundreds of animals with it.
I agree w/buckeye, it's funny that 20 years ago, most knives were carbon steele, and the pricier ones were stainless, nowadays, stainless knives are dirt cheap, and you end up paying big bucks for most carbon steel blades.
steve182 - a couple-three decades ago I had a little to do with materials and corrosion engineering. I'm a bit rusty, though, pun intended, so no expert. Just an interesting subject with a lot to learn.
Powder/particle metallurgy has been around a long time but use for knife steels like 154CPM and S30V have expanded capabilities and quality. I still have a couple of powder metal pieces formed in lab in 1976.
Also cool are broadheads like the G5 Montecs. These are precision cast by injecting a powdered metal slurry into a mold, removing the binders, and then heating (sintering) the parts. Just have to be sharpened.
As to butchering, I have some nice sharp VG non-stainless kitchen knives, but I tend to butcher my butchering so leave that to the butchers.
Although stainless steel is nice, I would go with the carbon steel because it is actually a lot easier to sharpen and keeps its sharpness longer.
jerico, Your correct, carbon is more susceptible to rust so you must take care of it. Also it is much easier to sharpen than a stainless. Now the plus side to the stainless is it is easier to care for (prettier), it is harder to sharpen but once sharpened the edge last longer.
Del, Railroad spikes is interesting. I talked to a guy who made quality knives (more than I could afford) and his favorite recycled metal for knives was leaf springs from old cars (think 40's-60's) and old discarded saw mill blades. He said the carbon steel in those things made an unbelievable knife.
I like the Knives of Alaska knives. Good steel, not necessarily stainless, but will hold an edge better than most and they have some excellent designs. For more money the Busse line of knives is hard to beat for durability and blade strength and sharpness. Check out ...knifetests.com and go look for the Busse Full Battle Mistress...talk about a survival knife!
Then there are the Diamondblade knives...made in conjunction with Knives of Alaska these look to be the ultimate in a hunting knife. Super sharp and durable blade that won't need sharpening for a log time with moderate use. See Diamondblades.com
I gave out Knives of Alaska combo filet knife sets out for Christmas and everyone I gave a set to loved them!...not just for fishing either...they are great to trimm fat off of a brisket before cooking!
High Carbon is better than stainless.
high carbon cuz its easir to sharpen and holds an edge. the only reason stainless ever caught on was because the majority of people(present company excluded) got lazy and didnt want to have to spend time cleaning or taking care of their knives. nce the cheap stainless gets dull theyll just throw it out and buy another one.
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