First off thanks for the chance to win a knife
As for the steels, here goes:
This to me is my "standard steel". I've learned to love it over the years since it's the standard Golden steel. Initially I had the same feeling like most people that it can be a little difficult to sharpen, but that issue has gone away as my sharpening skill increased. I find that I can get this steel to take a ridiculously acute edge and that it holds a respectable working edge for a good long time without being overly difficult to sharpen. It's also stainless enough for my needs. This is the steel that's found in most of my favorite EDC knives...my Manix 2 and Yojimbo 2 in particular.
The standard Seki-Japan steel. I like this steel for the crazy hair whittling edge that it takes, and it takes it with very little effort. It's a tough steel and well suited for EDC as it will roll before it chips which can eliminate excessive sharpening time to fix chipping. I've found it to be very stainless. It doesn't hold a working edge quite as long as S30V, but it does however seem to hold its initial sharpness longer, and as such IMO it makes for a better light duty EDC steel for those who's cutting needs aren't as demanding. My only gripe with this steel is the grain that can be seen in many knives, which i just don't like the look of. I really enjoy this steel in a thin blade like my Centofante 4...it makes for a great fine cutting slicing steel. It was also the first Spyderco steel I had extensive sharpening experience with, in my 2nd Spyderco knife which was a standard black Delica.
The "exotic" Japanese steel. This is a steel that many love to hate for its demanding sharpening requirements. Personally I have this steel to thank for elevating my sharpening skills from a complete rookie to being able to put a respectable edge on a knife. My first taste of this steel was in my CF Caly 3. It literally broke down what I thought I knew about sharpening and made me start over from scratch and rethink all that knew. It was the demanding sharpening requirements that opened my eyes to the mistakes I had been making on other more forgiving steels. Now, I find this steel to be easy to sharpen, although it does take a bit more time to get from A to B. My favorite knife at the moment with this steel is my ZDP Ladybug that lives on my keychain and handles any scalpel type work that needs to be done.
This steel (technically an alloy) is still on my not so sure about list. I'm a plain edge guy at heart, but this steel seems to shine brightest in SE so i haven't spent as much time with it as I have other steels as a result. This nitrogen-based, work hardened steel is well known for being rust proof. The only way I can bring myself to use this steel is with serrations, and for serrations the only way it makes sense to me is when combined with a hawkbill blade to maximize the bite. For this steel, I have my hawkbill Ladybug Salt.
The infamous Chinese steel. I must admit, i'm not the biggest fan of this steel. Being the steel snob that I am, it just doesn't perform up to my standards. It does however take a very fine edge very easily, but the edge retention just isn't what I require for my EDC needs. That doesn't make it bad steel per say, it's just not for me, which is a real shame because I would love to try out some of the value line knives someday, and I may still buy a Resilience for kitchen duty someday.
This is a steel that I have yet to try, but I'm very anxious to own. Currently available in the TUFF, which is a knife that i've been chopping at the bit to buy, but the recent recall/stop in production has put this knife on hold for me until they decide if there's an issue with the lock or not. Particularly, it's the toughness that intrigues me about this knife. I read an article about this steel a couple years ago, where a knife maker took a piece of 3V and put it in a vice and bent it 90 degrees and back and it would not break.