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Thread: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

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    Default Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Not sure which is considered better. Here is benchmades site that describes both:

    http://www.benchmade.com/about_knive...p#Blade_Steels

    What is your opinion?

  2. #2
    Unenlightened Spikedog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Both are pretty good steels. 154CM is being used more recently for mid-priced knives. I have had a couple of Emerson's in 154CM that stay sharp pretty well.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    154 CM is a generally superior steel to 440C. You can a Google search on "Blade Steels" and find lots of information.

    154 has had a storied history. I was originally introduced for the blades within jet turbine engines. Later, it was found to be a superior blade steel, but there were problems in the finishing of the steel because it would "blemish" and not look proper. Don't know if this affected performance or not, but the steel fell out of favor in knifemaking. Hitachi went on to make a virtually identical steel in ATS 34 that became the most widely used steel by custom knife makers. There were other reasons why Hitachi's steel became so popular, but was a fine steel nonetheless. Eventually the problems with 154 were corrected and for several years it enjoyed the status of being included among the "gourmet steels" in the knife community. For a number of years it was the best blade steel made in the US. 440C never reached such status. 154 and ATS 34 declined in popularity with the emergence of CPM's S30V and some of the powdered steels like 440V and now even further with Hitachi's latest, ZDP 189.

    440C's primary advantage is superb rust resistance. Although Microtech would stonewash 154 to improve resistance to rust for their knives used by underwater demolition teams and Seals - as in the Amphibian and L-UDT.

    Probably more than you wanted to know.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary123 View Post
    154 CM is a generally superior steel to 440C. You can a Google search on "Blade Steels" and find lots of information.

    154 has had a storied history. I was originally introduced for the blades within jet turbine engines. Later, it was found to be a superior blade steel, but there were problems in the finishing of the steel because it would "blemish" and not look proper. Don't know if this affected performance or not, but the steel fell out of favor in knifemaking. Hitachi went on to make a virtually identical steel in ATS 34 that became the most widely used steel by custom knife makers. There were other reasons why Hitachi's steel became so popular, but was a fine steel nonetheless. Eventually the problems with 154 were corrected and for several years it enjoyed the status of being included among the "gourmet steels" in the knife community. For a number of years it was the best blade steel made in the US. 440C never reached such status. 154 and ATS 34 declined in popularity with the emergence of CPM's S30V and some of the powdered steels like 440V and now even further with Hitachi's latest, ZDP 189.

    440C's primary advantage is superb rust resistance. Although Microtech would stonewash 154 to improve resistance to rust for their knives used by underwater demolition teams and Seals - as in the Amphibian and L-UDT.

    Probably more than you wanted to know.
    Exactly what I wanted to know!! Thank you for that.

    I am getting into collecting folders and the two that I have...are these two steels. Reason for my question.

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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by Greyhound View Post
    Not sure which is considered better. Here is benchmades site that describes both:

    http://www.benchmade.com/about_knive...p#Blade_Steels

    What is your opinion?
    Most high-end manufacturers like Benchmade and Spyderco no longer make knives in 440C, they are all using 154CM or newer/better steels. CPM-S30V, VG10 and D2 seem to be the 'standard steels' in high-end production knives these days...

    If you find any U.S made Benchmade in 440C steel, that's discontinued so you might want to get the new version instead.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Without repeating too much of what has already been said, 440C is older than 154CM. Both are good steels when heat treated properly. In a nutshell, 154CM is 440C that has been modified for better hot hardness by adding 4% Molybdenum. Crucible now makes 154CM using their particle metallurgy process. If you google for CPM-154CM or crucible you can find out more. Generally, CPM steels are cleaner and more uniform in their structure, which usually results in a slight increase in toughness due to decreased internal stress. Cheers.

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    *Flashaholic* Monocrom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by Greyhound View Post

    What is your opinion?
    154CM has no advantages over 440C when it comes to using the blade. No advantages in terms of price either. But 154CM is a bit less rust-resistant than 440C. Especially if you prefer carrying a knife close to your body. Nothing like coming home from an 8-hour shift, only to find little rust spots on the blade of the one-hander that was clipped inside your belt.

    The spots buff out, but it's the same situation the very next day. 440C doesn't have that problem.
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    Flashaholic* HoopleHead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    i thought 154CM had much better lateral prying strength than 440C?

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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by HoopleHead View Post
    i thought 154CM had much better lateral prying strength than 440C?
    Honestly, no clue about that. I prefer not to pry with a knife.
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    I have Benchmade Griptillian in both 440c and 154cm. There is virtually no difference in actual perfomance.

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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by guyg View Post
    I have Benchmade Griptillian in both 440c and 154cm. There is virtually no difference in actual perfomance.
    That has been my experience as well, I have two BM Mini Grips, one in each of the steels being talked about. I've seen no difference in real world performance between the two.
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    Mad71 Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    154cm is superior to 440. Just wondering why some of you use your knives for prying. I thought knives are for cutting. I use a crow bar for that. lol

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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by lightinsky View Post
    154cm is superior to 440. Just wondering why some of you use your knives for prying. I thought knives are for cutting. I use a crow bar for that. lol

    its nice to have a prying option with your knife, like the PryMate or Razel. of course a specialized tool is better, but...

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    *Flashaholic* Monocrom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by lightinsky View Post
    154cm is superior to 440.
    How so?

    Which criteria are you going by?

    I'll agree that 154CM is better than 440A, but not 440C.
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    Flashaholic* NA8's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by guyg View Post
    I have Benchmade Griptillian in both 440c and 154cm. There is virtually no difference in actual perfomance.
    Yeah, I've got a Spyderco Endura in ATS-55, yet another production stainless steel. Works fine for me, though Spyderco switched to VG-10. Been EDC for years now.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Both Steels make great blade steels. The advantages of 154cm over 440c are very slim that I wouldn't use that as the criteria for choosing one knife over the other. Now CPM 154cm and other engineered steel s30v, bg 42, and others are a different story. I have many stock and custom knives made out of the same material and both have held up well

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    Flashaholic* mudman cj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    So how do S30V, 440v and ZDP 189 compare in rust resistance to 154CM and 440C?


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    Flashaholic* mossyoak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    zdp will rust up pretty easy thats why spydie laminates zdp189 between two layers of 440c in alot of their knives.
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    Flashaholic tussery's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    S30V has rusted first in the real world for me. 154CM has held up a little better. I do work along the gulf coast and spend alot of time on the water and sometimes get soaked with salt water, so my knives see a little more that some people.

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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Thank you to everybody for this great information.


    _

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    Flashaholic* adamlau's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    As I stated in another post: S90V and M4 are the blade steels to look for in a folder. A little bit exotic, kinda exclusive and if the heat treat is within spec, the blade steels to beat. Next up are ZDP-189, followed by S30V and M2. 440A/C/V will cut just as well for most users, but we are not most users are we? We all want the good stuff and will pay a slight premium for just that, right ? I know I would and I do!
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    *Flashaholic* Monocrom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by adamlau View Post
    As I stated in another post: S90V and M4 are the blade steels to look for in a folder. A little bit exotic, kinda exclusive and if the heat treat is within spec, the blade steels to beat. Next up are ZDP-189, followed by S30V and M2. 440A/C/V will cut just as well for most users, but we are not most users are we? We all want the good stuff and will pay a slight premium for just that, right ? I know I would and I do!
    Good stuff??

    440C will easily keep up with many of the exotics out there. I've heard some custom knifemakers say that they would still be using 440C, but their customers insist on going with the modern-day exotics; and they are indeed willing to pay more for the "good stuff." What's a custom knifemaker supposed to do, turn down a sale? Only encountered one individual who was that arrogent. Not even sure if he's still making knives.

    Nothing wrong with going for the exotics. But I honestly have yet to encounter something that significantly outperforms a properly heat-treated 440C blade. It might be a plain Jane, but a bit of make-up and the right dress; and you've got a real head-turner.
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    Good stuff??

    440C will easily keep up with many of the exotics out there. I've heard some custom knifemakers say that they would still be using 440C, but their customers insist on going with the modern-day exotics; and they are indeed willing to pay more for the "good stuff." What's a custom knifemaker supposed to do, turn down a sale? Only encountered one individual who was that arrogent. Not even sure if he's still making knives.

    Nothing wrong with going for the exotics. But I honestly have yet to encounter something that significantly outperforms a properly heat-treated 440C blade. It might be a plain Jane, but a bit of make-up and the right dress; and you've got a real head-turner.
    440C will easily keep up with many of the exotics out there.
    Not in edge retention it will not! 440C is a joke in edge holding compared to D2 and S30V. Even VG-10 beat it hands down. And then when compared to ZDP-189, CPM-M4 and S90V the difference is simply brutal.

    Many custom knifemakers still preach by 440C simply because it's a pretty easy steel to work with, and it takes the BEST finish among all stainless steels hands down.

    So if you want a very pretty blade that has excellent stain resistance but not so great toughness and egde retention, 440C is the way to go. If you want a very tough blade which takes a finer edge and holds it for longer but it doesn't resist rust so well, then plain carbon or tool steel is your choice. Wonder why most bushcraft/wilderness blades are made with High-Carbon steel and not stainless steels?

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    *Flashaholic* Monocrom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by Outdoors Fanatic View Post
    Wonder why most bushcraft/wilderness blades are made with High-Carbon steel and not stainless steels?
    I'm thinking it has to do with the fact that native Bushmen are often found in more underdeveloped parts of the world. The stainless steels they have access to is the cheap stuff. In comparison, even the lesser carbon steels will put the lesser stainless steels to shame.

    As for edge retention, the other steels that you mentioned are certainly better than 440C. But my experience is that they are not that much beter. But some of the exotics are certainly a bit better at attracting rust. Look at ZDP-189. As mossyoak pointed out, Sal has to sandwich this exotic in between 440C because it'll rust so easily.

    I'm happy to trade off just a bit of edge retention to get a blade that's very rust-resistant. As for edge retention, that's what carbon steels are for.

    But as far as D2 goes, oh yeah it's got extremely good edge retention over 440C, and practically over everything else out there too.... And you need the patience of a Saint in order to sharpen a dull D2 blade. That, or access to some laser-sharpening equipment.
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    Flashaholic* adamlau's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Do any of us longtime users really worry about rust? Pre and post use maintenance is the key! Swipes with mineral oil for food grade applications and Ren Wax/TUF-CLOTH for all other situations have kept even my high carbon blades rust free. Or induce a patina. Reduce your worries! A dull D2 blade is easily reworked across a Sharpmaker with diamond triangles, or a belt sander and finished across black and green .
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by adamlau View Post
    Do any of us longtime users really worry about rust? Pre and post use maintenance is the key! Swipes with mineral oil for food grade applications and Ren Wax/TUF-CLOTH for all other situations have kept even my high carbon blades rust free. Or induce a patina. Reduce your worries! A dull D2 blade is easily reworked across a Sharpmaker with diamond triangles, or a belt sander and finished across black and green .
    Very well said! a Harbor Freight sander is 40 bucks and works better and faster than any expensiove sharpening system in the market, bar none. There is no excuse for letting a blade go dull.

    And yes, mineral oil when storing your blade, again, no excuses for rust.

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    *Flashaholic* Monocrom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by Outdoors Fanatic View Post
    Very well said! a Harbor Freight sander is 40 bucks and works better and faster than any expensiove sharpening system in the market, bar none. There is no excuse for letting a blade go dull.

    And yes, mineral oil when storing your blade, again, no excuses for rust.
    I'm half tempted to get a dremel tool and go to town on my Bob Dozier K-4 model.... But it's still hair-popping sharp, and I'm only half tempted.

    Yeah, a nice thin coating of oil on the entire blade is a must before storing, at least with carbon steel and D2.
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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    I'm half tempted to get a dremel tool and go to town on my Bob Dozier K-4 model.... But it's still hair-popping sharp, and I'm only half tempted.

    Yeah, a nice thin coating of oil on the entire blade is a must before storing, at least with carbon steel and D2.
    Don't try that with a Dremel. Use the right tool for the job, a belt-sander is the way to go. Check this out:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...temnumber=2485

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    Default Re: Blade Material: 440c vs 154cm

    Quote Originally Posted by Outdoors Fanatic View Post
    Don't try that with a Dremel. Use the right tool for the job, a belt-sander is the way to go. Check this out:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...temnumber=2485
    Hey, that looks sweet. I appreciate the link.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

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