Bodog wrote: ↑
Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:12 am
Thanks for the insight. Did you heat treat both according to manufacturer's recommendations or did you deviate? If they are that similar then I'd believe that if heat treating directly in line with each other they would yield the same end results. I have never heard that any mass manufacturers deviate from manufacturer's recommended protocols....
I have been testing a variety of heat treat protocols providing a range of results. Nearly all of them are within the range that would be considered manufacturer's recommendations. There isn't one set manufacturer recipe called for with these and many knife steels. It's more of a manufacturer recommended range and it's up to the maker or heat treat company to decide the specifics based on their desired result. For example, here's a little bit of what the manufacturer's heat treat recommendations say for V4E and 4V:
Heat treat between 1725F and 2160F. (this range of temps provides a range of hardness between 60 and 66)
For best wear resistance HT between 2010F and 2160F.
Triple temper at 1000F for best ductility.
Suggested range of tempering options for various hardness and toughness results from 750F - 1100F. (this range of tempering combined with the range of austenitizing temps results in a potential range of hardness between HRC 46 and HRC 63/64)
Heat treat at 2100F for best wear resistance
Heat treat between 1875F and 1950F for best balance of toughness and wear resistance.
Heat treat at 1800F for max toughness.
Triple tempering is recommended within a range between 1000F and 1100F.
Both steels suggest some form of cryo treatment and different cryo soak times will achieve different results. There's quite a bit more details involved in the manufacturer recommendations than this as well.
So, when deciding on the heat treat protocol (even for a mass manufacturer) a decision has to be made as to what the desired "target" is. Maybe that's just a hardness number or maybe it's more specific than that. Then, whoever is doing the heat treating uses the range of steel manufacturer guidelines to figure out a protocol that will achieve (hopefully) the desired result (assuming it's the first time they're heat treating that steel to that target HRC). The range of possible heat treat results that fall within the manufacturers recommendations is huge.
With some of the older steels and particularly the simple steels, it can sometimes be a bit more simple because the steel might not provide as wide a range of usable results and it may have been heat treated for so many years that it's easy to choose to go with a time tested recipe. This isn't the case with 4V or V4E or frankly most of the steels us steel geeks, geek about.
Bodog wrote: ↑
Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:12 am
..Speaking of which, a known heat treating and knife making professional and knife abuser, Dan Keffeler, used V4E exclusively for several years. Peter's Heat Treating consulted with him quite a bit based on his knowledge. Did he switch to 4V based on 4V having exactly similar performance and ability to obtain it easier and cheaper? If 4V is so similar and easy to obtain and cheaply bought compared to V4E I'd think he'd make that switch. Maybe he has. But i agree with you that 4V and V4E are some of the steels i find most able to withstand a variety of uses.
I don't know what Dan Keffeler's views are on either V4E or 4V. I do know he makes some nice knives and he's a great Blade Sports competitor. His competition chopper that he sells seems to be offered in O-1 steel whenever I see one for sale but that could just be coincidence. However, I wouldn't be surprised if his personal comp. chopper is V4E. If I was going to compete in Blade Sports my comp chopper would probably be V4E as well. As I said earlier, there are differences and they are minor. For competition that is intended to push the extremes of edge stability and all that goes into that I do think I could squeeze a little bit more performance out of V4E than 4V. Under those circumstances an extra 40% cost wouldn't matter to me one bit.
I should also note that the heat treat would be tailored specifically for competition, in which case I would be more focused on hardness and wear resistance than normal. For the same knife design to be used as a camp knife, a wilderness chopper, or any other real-life outdoor or utility purpose the heat treat should be slightly different. Same for a mass-produced pocket knife. In order to be capable and reliable
for a wide range of use it would give up a little wear resistance (via hardness) in order to offer a little more ductility. When heat treated within the ranges that offer this balanced performance I can no longer say one steel is better than the other to a degree that I can identify through use. In fact, even with each steel heat treated for competition I'm not sure the competition format would even be enough to make the differences apparent to the user. Although I do see V4E having a very slight edge over 4V, I see it as more of an "on paper" advantage that is so slight that I simply suggest it shouldn't matter to any potential knife buyer whether a knife is V4E or 4V even if they were the same price. They're both going to provide the user the same impressive performance experience if heat treated properly.