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Thread: Best knife blade material?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* KDOG3's Avatar
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    Default Best knife blade material?

    I was looking at a CRKT knife and its blade is made of AUS8. How does that compare to 440 stainless? I want to get a good all around folder with a serrated edge. The Colt Cobra based knife I have now is a piece of junk. Can anyone recommend a bad-azz looking, quality tactical folder? I'd like to get a carry case with it as well. I'm looking to not spend more than 50-ish on the knife itself....

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    AUS8 is a decent steel. Benchmade's 440C is better, but we are talking shades, not degrees.

    As far as the knife you are looking for, I suggest you check out Spyderco. They have very good steels (VG10, S30V) around that price point. Look at the Endura, Delica, Native, etc. Why do you want a carry case? Do you mean a sheath?

    Check out bladeforums.com FAQ re: blade steels.

    This is a more complicated question than you might realize, especially since it involves a bunch of subjective measures.

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    Flashaholic* Unicorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    There are three types off 440 stainless steel used in knives. 440 A, B and C. Each one has a higher amount of carbon. 440C generally has the highest edge holding, and overall best performance. 440A us used in cheaper knives, and ones subjected to lots of salt water, dive knives mainly. AUS8 is somewhere around 440C performance, but just a bit under in terms of edge holding.

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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    yes which material is important, but I submit proper heat is more important.

    naturally it costs more to grind harder material like D2 and cost more to properly heat-treat to correct RC. This is where knife makers reputation for delivering the goods comes in.

    would much rather have a quality heat treated 1095 knife for $50 from a small maker like Newt Livesay. rather than paying out big $$$ for a mass produced knife with low quality heat, but fancy alloy.

    A quality knife is 59-61 RC, hard is hard, but different materials offer different tuffness.

    Sharp is sharp, but wearability is where different alloys shine. two blade may start out the same sharpness, but one will out last the other by many times.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    It is hard to say a steel is "best" without characterizing what you want it to do. For edge holding then you want ATS34 or 154CM or M2 or D2 or a few others. BUT these trade away a little bit of toughness and corrosion resistance for better hardness (edge holding). If you need toughness for prying or chipping resistance then you need a different steel. Aus6A and 440A are perhaps better for this.

    From the description of what you want you might want to look at Cold Steel knives. They use good materials and make knives that perform well but don't cost a lot.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* KDOG3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    What I want is for the edge to stay sharp!

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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    if you want wearability or edge's ability to stay sharp longer. Go with D2 or simular alloy.

    again proper heat treat is more important than alloy. if you have a fancy alloy that's heat treated to 58RC or less. it's going to be no better than a lesser grade steel.

    so you need proper alloy, correct heat treat and blade angle to match alloy's tuffness.

    when both are properly heat treated to 59-61RC.

    1095 VS D2 1095 will be tuffer, but D2 will stay sharper than 1095 by several times.


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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    Get a Spyderco with VG10 steel. It's the poor mans super steel.

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    Flashaholic RebelRAM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    You didn't say what size blade you are wanting, so I'm assuming 3" to 4" CRKT uses AUS-6 and AUS-8 on most all of their knives. Nothing wrong with it. The AUS-6 is a little soft, but it sharpens really easy. I have found that it's very hard to tell the difference between AUS-8 and 440.

    If you get a CRKT or Spyderco either one of those brands are going to be way better than a Colt or S&W knife.

    You say you want a "bad-azz looking, quality tactical folder" Looks aren't everything. Sometimes the plane jane looking knives are the best performers. Also most "tactical folders" don't come with sheaths because they usually have a pocket clip. But there are a few that do come with sheaths.

    I recently purchased a Spyderco Native with an S30V blade and I am very impressed with the S30V steel. It definitely holds an edge unlike anything else I have seen. This knife only cost me $56, so that's almost in your price range.

    The main things I look for in a knife is quality steel and good ergonomics on the handle. You probably won't be able to cut as well with a knife that doesn't fit your hand.

    The CRKT Cascade will probably fit your requirements best and it does come with a sheath
    http://www.knivesplus.com/crkt-casca...-cr-6914k.html

    The CRKT Cruiser is similar, but does not have a sheath
    http://www.knivesplus.com/crkt-cruis...-cr-7914d.html

    The CRKT M16 series is also very good, but I really don't like how they feel in my hand.

    The CRKT Crawford/Kasper model is my primary EDC and I think it has one of the best handle designs on the market.
    http://www.knivesplus.com/CR-6783-CRKT.HTML
    The only thing is they only offer it in AUS-6 steel now. If you can find one of the now discontinued Professional models with the aluminum handles, those do offer AUS-8.
    Try this place, they may still have some
    http://www.1sks.com/store/crkt-kff-professional.html

    I am a big fan of Spyderco as well, although I don't have as many of them as I do CRKTs. Spyderco does have higher grade steel in your price range where CRKT doesn't. But I don't know of any Spyderco folders that are offered with a sheath. One Stop Knife Shop has great prices and they are a great store to do business with.
    http://www.1sks.com/store/spyderco-folding-clipits.html

    Also the other links above at Knives Plus, I have bought many knives from them. Their prices are usually the lowest around.

    I have found that normally you get what you pay for in knives, but to a point. The $500 knives usually aren't much better than the $150 knives. And for $40 to $150 you can usually get a really good knife.

    Let us know what you end up buying.

    --JT

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* KDOG3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    Thanks Rebel!!! That 1st and 3rd one you posted are what I'm looking for. Now to squirrel away some money without the boss finding out!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    K-Bar has some good Bob Dozier designed folders in D2 at or under your price point I'd rate them as superior to CRKT and some of the others . Nylon pouches are cheap and easy to get or scourounge . I dont think I'd call them Bad-assed looking, just good comfortable performers, that wont put up much of a flag with LEO's .

  12. #12
    Flashaholic Geode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    [ QUOTE ]
    KDOG3 said:
    I was looking at a CRKT knife and its blade is made of AUS8. How does that compare to 440 stainless? I want to get a good all around folder with a serrated edge. The Colt Cobra based knife I have now is a piece of junk. Can anyone recommend a bad-azz looking, quality tactical folder? I'd like to get a carry case with it as well. I'm looking to not spend more than 50-ish on the knife itself....

    [/ QUOTE ]

    First, you are going to be limited in your choices by your price range. CRKT steel is just fine. Blade grind and geometry + heat treat are more important than blade steel most times, IMO.

    Best stain-resistant (IMO) S-30V and 420V, Best carbon steel - 3V and Hitatchi blue steel

  13. #13
    *Retired* NewBie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    Do you plan on ever using it as a pry bar, as an outdoorsman would? Will you ever need to pound it into the rock/ground as a stake?

    Makes a huge difference when selecting blade materials, many shatter or snap under these conditions.

    If you are a city slicker the needs are quite different.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    Geometry and Heat treat! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
    As far as geomtry, hollow grinding was actually designed for disposable butcher knives! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]
    A flat grind with good geometry (Convex!) or a good full convex is my favorite, with full convex being by far the best.

    I like my M-16 03Z except for edge holding.
    Of course it is convex edged. (Not serrated!)
    The handle is uncomfortable, but not too bad for breif
    tasks.
    Good serations are better than strait edges for quickly ripping through fabric or rope. I personally would much rather have a fully strait edge because I like to keep it very sharp. The choice depends on how one uses their knife! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]


    I don't like 420 J2, 420 HC, 440B, AUS6, or 440B for a knife that must hold an edge.

    NewBie, no offence at all, but I am an "outdoorsman" and I have never found any need to pound any of my knives into the ground or use them as prybars.

    Did I mention that I like convex edges? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

  15. #15

    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    What's the sharpest "knife" blade material? (Trick question and plastic surgeons can't answer.)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    Well, you want to get as few molecules as possible at the edge, and for that you'll want something very hard. Obsidian knives can be much sharper than steel knives. Far as I know, a diamond scalpel takes the cake. How'd I do? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Not totally sure of the answer, but it makes sense.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    S30V and VG10 are very similar, but S30V is lot harder to snap in prying, I believe. Joe, is that right?

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* cratz2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    I know some guys get really bent out of shape over the smallest differences in blade material. Plus, I know a lot of guys have probably well over $1,000 in knives and they usually cut their mail open with them... maybe cut up a cardboard box now and then but some guys act like they never want to have to sharpen their knife ever again!

    My $0.02 worth of knowledge goes like this: I'm not crazy about AUS6 or 8. AUS10, VG10, ATS34, 154CM, 440C are all fine in my book. D2, S30V etc should be even better when it comes to edge holding but you know what? Most guys willing to spend over $20 for a knife probably enjoy keeping a good edge on their knife/knives.

    I've owned a decent number of various M16s, mostly with AUS6, a couple with AUS8. I've personally had more problems with the AUS6 knives developing surface rust than any other stainless steel I've ever carried. And the AUS6 knives got noticably duller more quickly than I am used to but they also sharpen in about 30 seconds.

    Right now I carry a Spyderco with AUS10 and a Camillus with 154CM and I'm quite happy with both of them. Come to think of it, the Camillus Cuda EDC might be worth looking into. It has the tactcal type look I suspect you are looking for. It feels generally very well put together for the price and they come in a 154CM version. I don't much care for how a knife looks, but I admit that I'm not crazy about how the Spyderco plastic scales feel. Generally the Endura and Delica are good choices though I tend to prefer knives a bit smaller than those models.

  19. #19
    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best knife blade material?

    How well sharpened you keep your knives is the most important thing. I get a kick out of people who buy top quality kitchen knives and then never sharpen them. Hello !?!

    Next comes proper heat treating. No good to have some super duper steel that hasn't been properly heat treated to bring out it's best.

    Finally comes the steel itself, and there are so many things to weigh off against each other: corrosion resistance, durability, and hardness and so on. In my experience, 1095 high carbon straight up non-stailess steel is pretty hard to beat if you don't care about rust. But of course, most of us DO care when it comes to knives. I love the S30V on my Sebenza but frankly, given the things I typically use my knife for I would probably not notice much of a difference if it were some lesser alloy, or even if I did, I would still choose the Sebenza due to it's uncompromising build quality and functionality and ruggedness and aesthetics (yes, believe it or not, I find the Sebenza's looks and feels very appealing).

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