The Best Edge Steels

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Deadboxhero
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The Best Edge Steels

Postby Deadboxhero » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:15 am

IN MY OPINION

These three are the best high performance edge steels that are AVALIBLE on production folders in 2018

Maxamet, K390, CPM Cruwear
Image


It was difficult to narrow it it down to these three, especially with m4,10v and 52100.


BD1N and 4v are also favorites but there are currently no folders available in those steels.





Maxamet

This not a balanced steel, it's an extreme with extreme trade off's, but it has to be the strongest, longest cutting steel I've ever used. It won't hold a razor edge forever, but the edge it takes at high sharpness still makes me giggle.

It's raw aggression with precision.

If you bring the edge up right and feel it it screams at your finger tips!

Very enjoyable to touch up too, just gets sticky, with a real crispy edge, but let it dull enough and it's going to challenge you, especially if your using improper abrasives. I found Maxamet only works best if proper stones are used. CBN/diamond compounds truly make that edge POP!

Maxamet is not as stable as the other steels though. It's a big trade off for that "top speed"



K390

Or as Doc Dan says

"The M4 Killer"

I love that :D

They are completely different steels. More of a 10v compromise mod then a m4 counter part upgrade.

But whatever Bohler is doing to the steel and Spyderco is doing to the heat treatment.
It's KILLER!

Why?

It Holds a longer polished edge then M4, in fact I felt as though it holds that crisp polished edge longer then alot of steels which is surprising giving the alloy content.

Polished edges by nature are a fleeting thing.

also, K390 Sharpens great and has the edge holding closer to 10v.

I've noticed M4 will take a slightly more aggressive edge but doesn't hold that high sharpness as long. But M4 is a little more responsive to honing and touch ups; just crisps up faster but I keep it at a lower finish.

I'm really really enjoying k390, it definitely fits nicely in the gap between m4 and 10v with some unique properties.


The edge stable, way more then Maxamet, which is surprising given how much alloy is packed in the steel.

Maxamet definitely has a higher "top speed" the K390 though.

However, I find that like Maxamet, abrasive selection is king with K390 to really be able to shape the Apex the best. Diamond waterstones have shown to provide the crisper apex with polish, But touch ups on Spyderco ceramic works great too.


CPM Cruwear

This stuff might be the best all around edge performance steel. It doesn't have the raw power of Maxamet or the edge holding of k390.

But it has the best sharpening response.

This stuff WANTS to get sharp!
It has an aggression at the edge similar to M4 but slightly less. Yet it has alot more responsiveness to touch ups, honing and stropping. Which impressive, it's also a lot tougher.

I find this is an upgrade over it's cousin 4v in some regards.

Cruwear just has more BITE at the edge at the same sharpness and finish then 4V
I've attributed that to the added tungsten and chromium, but 4v is tougher even if it's a bit harder which is insane.

I think some of my best edges I've ever made have come off of cruwear. It's so easy to sharpen I don't even consider it a skill, it's just cruwear being cruwear so it excites me a little less :D

What's great about cruwear is it's less picky about abrasives, it's also less reactive then it's other tool steel brethren.

So while the other steels I mentioned will smoke cruwear in one or two areas, Cruwear seems to be the best all around edge performance steel that's available to buy on a production folder.

My words aren't the gospel but these are my observations over the past 6 months.

Shawn
Last edited by Deadboxhero on Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby npad69 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:54 am

of all the steels you mentioned, i have only tried cruwear and so far i'm tremendously impressed by its performance and sharpening response that it made me lose interest in trying out other tool steels.

btw, i really enjoy watching your YT videos shawn.. really appreciate your effort of sharing knowledge mate!

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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby Deadboxhero » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:05 am

Yea man, Cruwear is beast!!
Last edited by Deadboxhero on Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby Deadboxhero » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:06 am

Thanks brother I appreciate that. What Cruwear Spydie?
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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby npad69 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:18 am

rockin the PM2!

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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby Deadboxhero » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:32 am

Solid choice!
I had one at one point it's was great, really showed me what Cruwear was all about.

Image


Had to replace it with the Para 3.
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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby Surfingringo » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:38 am

Hey Shawn, great write up and I agree with almost every one of your observations. I haven’t used k390 yet but those are excellent and accurate descriptions of cruwear and Maxamet in my opinion. The one statement that I disagree with is that cruwear has slightly less aggression at the edge than m4. My experience has those flip flopped with cruwear taking the more aggressive edge at any given grit. In fact cruwear takes a more toothy/aggressive finish than any steel I have worked with and that is my favorite characteristic of the steel. Interestingly, another steel that is right up there in aggression of finish is Lc200n. Microbevel that steel on a 1200 dmt and it will exhibit nearly the same bite as cruwear.

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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby twinboysdad » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:19 am

HAP 40, honorable mention?

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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby Bloke » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:31 am

Surfingringo wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:38 am
... In fact cruwear takes a more toothy/aggressive finish than any steel I have worked with and that is my favorite characteristic of the steel. Interestingly, another steel that is right up there in aggression of finish is Lc200n. Microbevel that steel on a 1200 dmt and it will exhibit nearly the same bite as cruwear.
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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby Mzen » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:10 am

All of this Cru-Wear praise just makes me feel more disappointed that I didn't get the Para 3 Sprint before it vanished... Sal, throw us a bone here, is there any chance we will see another Cru-Wear run for that model?

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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby The Meat man » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:14 am

Deadboxhero wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:15 am
IN MY OPINION

These three are the best high performance edge steels that are AVALIBLE on production folders in 2018

Maxamet, K390, CPM Cruwear


It was difficult to narrow it it down to these three, especially with m4,10v and 52100.


BD1N and 4v are also favorites but there are currently no folders available in those steels.





Maxamet

This not a balanced steel, it's an extreme with extreme trade off's, but it has to be the strongest, longest cutting steel I've ever used. It won't hold a razor edge forever, but the edge it takes at high sharpness still makes me giggle.

It's raw aggression with precision.

If you bring the edge up right and feel it it screams at your finger tips!

Very enjoyable to touch up too, just gets sticky, with a real crispy edge, but let it dull enough and it's going to challenge you, especially if your using improper abrasives. I found Maxamet only works best if proper stones are used. CBN/diamond compounds truly make that edge POP!

Maxamet is not as stable as the other steels though. It's a big trade off for that "top speed"



K390

Or as Doc Dan says

"The M4 Killer"

I love that :D

They are completely different steels. More of a 10v compromise mod then a m4 counter part upgrade.

But whatever Bohler is doing to the steel and Spyderco is doing to the heat treatment.
It's KILLER!

Why?

It Holds a longer polished edge then M4, in fact I felt as though it holds that crisp polished edge longer then alot of steels which is surprising giving the alloy content.

Polished edges by nature are a fleeting thing.

also, K390 Sharpens great and has the edge holding closer to 10v.

I've noticed M4 will take a slightly more aggressive edge but doesn't hold that high sharpness as long. But M4 is a little more responsive to honing and touch ups; just crisps up faster but I keep it at a lower finish.

I'm really really enjoying k390, it definitely fits nicely in the gap between m4 and 10v with some unique properties.


The edge stable, way more then Maxamet, which is surprising given how much alloy is packed in the steel.

Maxamet definitely has a higher "top speed" the K390 though.

However, I find that like Maxamet, abrasive selection is king with K390 to really be able to shape the Apex the best. Diamond waterstones have shown to provide the crisper apex with polish, But touch ups on Spyderco ceramic works great too.


CPM Cruwear

This stuff might be the best all around edge performance steel. It doesn't have the raw power of Maxamet or the edge holding of k390.

But it has the best sharpening response.

This stuff WANTS to get sharp!
It has an aggression at the edge similar to M4 but slightly less. Yet it has alot more responsiveness to touch ups, honing and stropping. Which impressive, it's also a lot tougher.

I find this is an upgrade over it's cousin 4v in some regards.

Cruwear just has more BITE at the edge at the same sharpness and finish then 4V
I've attributed that to the added tungsten and chromium, but 4v is tougher even if it's a bit harder which is insane.

I think some of my best edges I've ever made have come off of cruwear. It's so easy to sharpen I don't even consider it a skill, it's just cruwear being cruwear so it excites me a little less :D

What's great about cruwear is it's less picky about abrasives, it's also less reactive then it's other tool steel brethren.

So while the other steels I mentioned will smoke cruwear in one or two areas, Cruwear seems to be the best all around edge performance steel that's available to buy on a production folder.

My words aren't the gospel but these are my observations over the past 6 months.

Shawn

How about CPM S110V?
- Connor

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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby curlyhairedboy » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:14 am

I only have experience with k390, but I'm pretty eager to try out maxamet!
EDC Rotation: PITS, Shaman, CF S90v Shaman, Ikuchi, Amalgam, CruCarta Shaman, DLC Lil Native, Sage 5 LW, 4V Shaman, Rex 45 Shaman, Rex 45 Lil Native, Serrated Caribbean Sheepsfoot CQI, Tanto PM2, Serrated Shaman, XHP Shaman, DLC XHP Shaman, REC Shaman, Smallfly 2
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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby The Meat man » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:18 am

curlyhairedboy wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:14 am
I only have experience with k390, but I'm pretty eager to try out maxamet!
I have a Native​ 5 Maxamet and I just can't *not* put it in my pocket every morning. It's such a workhorse of a knife. Just this morning I was slicing up soda cans for fun - cut about 10 of them into ribbons, and the knife would still slice paper and even shave some.*

I've owned it for a few months now and so far I'm very impressed!

*Edit: And the edge had not been hair popping sharp to begin with: it lost no sharpness whatsoever.
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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby abbazaba » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:32 am

Nice write up! I'm no expert, but I pretty much agree with everything you said.

K390 is probably my new favorite based on my experience with the Police4. I don't have as much experience with it yet as my old favorite M4 (nevermind same models to compare apples to apples) but it has been wonderful in use and on the stones.

Cruwear has been a great beater EDC, though I can't say I prefer it over M4 or K390.

Even though I have used and sharpened all of the Maxamet models, I feel like I haven't used this steel enough to really say much other than it's different than any other steel I've used. It even sounds different on the stones. It does seem like it loses a fine edge quickly compared to the other steels mentioned.

More K390 please! :D

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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby bearfacedkiller » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:34 am

Great write up!

Maxamet and Cruwear both really impress me. Maxamet is amazing and Cruwear might be the most well rounded steel I have used and is at the moment my favorite steel and has been for quite a while. Also love 10V, K390, Super Blue and M4. For stainless steels I have been impressed with Elmax, 204P and XHP. To be honest I like pretty much all steels but these steels have all impressed me quite a bit.
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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby krikun98 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:36 am

The Meat man wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:14 am
Deadboxhero wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:15 am
IN MY OPINION

These three are the best high performance edge steels that are AVALIBLE on production folders in 2018

Maxamet, K390, CPM Cruwear


It was difficult to narrow it it down to these three, especially with m4,10v and 52100.


BD1N and 4v are also favorites but there are currently no folders available in those steels.





Maxamet

This not a balanced steel, it's an extreme with extreme trade off's, but it has to be the strongest, longest cutting steel I've ever used. It won't hold a razor edge forever, but the edge it takes at high sharpness still makes me giggle.

It's raw aggression with precision.

If you bring the edge up right and feel it it screams at your finger tips!

Very enjoyable to touch up too, just gets sticky, with a real crispy edge, but let it dull enough and it's going to challenge you, especially if your using improper abrasives. I found Maxamet only works best if proper stones are used. CBN/diamond compounds truly make that edge POP!

Maxamet is not as stable as the other steels though. It's a big trade off for that "top speed"



K390

Or as Doc Dan says

"The M4 Killer"

I love that :D

They are completely different steels. More of a 10v compromise mod then a m4 counter part upgrade.

But whatever Bohler is doing to the steel and Spyderco is doing to the heat treatment.
It's KILLER!

Why?

It Holds a longer polished edge then M4, in fact I felt as though it holds that crisp polished edge longer then alot of steels which is surprising giving the alloy content.

Polished edges by nature are a fleeting thing.

also, K390 Sharpens great and has the edge holding closer to 10v.

I've noticed M4 will take a slightly more aggressive edge but doesn't hold that high sharpness as long. But M4 is a little more responsive to honing and touch ups; just crisps up faster but I keep it at a lower finish.

I'm really really enjoying k390, it definitely fits nicely in the gap between m4 and 10v with some unique properties.


The edge stable, way more then Maxamet, which is surprising given how much alloy is packed in the steel.

Maxamet definitely has a higher "top speed" the K390 though.

However, I find that like Maxamet, abrasive selection is king with K390 to really be able to shape the Apex the best. Diamond waterstones have shown to provide the crisper apex with polish, But touch ups on Spyderco ceramic works great too.


CPM Cruwear

This stuff might be the best all around edge performance steel. It doesn't have the raw power of Maxamet or the edge holding of k390.

But it has the best sharpening response.

This stuff WANTS to get sharp!
It has an aggression at the edge similar to M4 but slightly less. Yet it has alot more responsiveness to touch ups, honing and stropping. Which impressive, it's also a lot tougher.

I find this is an upgrade over it's cousin 4v in some regards.

Cruwear just has more BITE at the edge at the same sharpness and finish then 4V
I've attributed that to the added tungsten and chromium, but 4v is tougher even if it's a bit harder which is insane.

I think some of my best edges I've ever made have come off of cruwear. It's so easy to sharpen I don't even consider it a skill, it's just cruwear being cruwear so it excites me a little less :D

What's great about cruwear is it's less picky about abrasives, it's also less reactive then it's other tool steel brethren.

So while the other steels I mentioned will smoke cruwear in one or two areas, Cruwear seems to be the best all around edge performance steel that's available to buy on a production folder.

My words aren't the gospel but these are my observations over the past 6 months.

Shawn

How about CPM S110V?
Non-stainless is generally more aggressive. Out of two Militaries M4 is the toothier one. PSF59 is also great in that regard.

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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby JD Spydo » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:52 am

I haven't yet tried the Cruwear but I would like to in the near future. And I may be like an old 33rpm record album with a skip in it :rolleyes: but the luck I've had with M390 has been awesome. And yes I even like it better than S110V too ;) . At this point I want to test drive more Bohler steels.

But I am going to make it a point to try to snag one of the GOLDEN made Cruwear units before too long. I also want to hear more about some of the newer steels coming from our Japanese competitors.

I've also been wondering what they might be replacing MBS-26 steel with on Spyderco's kitchen knives?

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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby Ankerson » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:34 am

I have my own take on the 3 best. :eek:

This is for folders, currently available.

CPM M4 - Nice balanced time proven steel that can take a nice aggressive edge and keep it for a long time, does well with a variety of different heat treatments.

CPM S110V - IMO hands down best steel for folders when MAX edge retention and corrosion resistance is needed, can take a very aggressive edge and hold it for a very long time.

CPM S30V - Time proven steel that does well with a variety of different edge finishes from coarse to highly polished, IMO still hard to beat as an all around EDC steel.


Also noteworthy: Any of the mid range steels that are currently used will offer similar performance to S30V: S35VN, XHP, Cru-Wear, ELMAX, M390, 204P. I still believe CPM 154 is the best all around EDC steel in the mid range however so if it ever gets into a Production Spyderco it could really be something. Given the choice I would choose CPM 154 over any other steel in the mid range.

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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby ZrowsN1s » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:16 am

Interesting. I have about 13 knives in 154cm, and one in cpm 154. It gets very sharp and it's stainless, but I would have picked S30v or cruwear over the cpm 154. I respect your opinion a lot though as you do extensive testing. Can you elborate more on what you like about cpm154 over say s30v or cruwear?
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Re: The Best Edge Steels

Postby Ankerson » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:23 am

ZrowsN1s wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:16 am
Interesting. I have about 13 knives in 154cm, and one in cpm 154. It gets very sharp and it's stainless, but I would have picked S30v or cruwear over the cpm 154. I respect your opinion a lot though as you do extensive testing. Can you elborate more on what you like about cpm154 over say s30v or cruwear?

All depends on how CPM 154 is heat treated in the end, done for max edge retention it holds an edge for a long time, it's also pretty tough and not chippy.

In my experience it's very well balanced for a variety of uses and will hold an edge longer than both S30V or Cru-Wear if it's done right.

Those who have the RWL-34 Mule Team have some idea of what CPM 154 can do if done right.

Spyderco nailed RWL-34 perfectly.


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