Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

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leozinho
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Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby leozinho » Sat May 05, 2018 12:26 pm

I like to sharpen, and admit I'm a sucker for the parlor tricks (whittling hair, silently cutting phone book paper, etc.)

So, among the steels that Spyderco uses, which ones take the keenest edge?

Bonus points if it's available on one of the "classic" EDC models (I'll let everyone decide what's a classic EDC) and isn't a sprint/exclusive that will cost me an arm and a leg.

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby ZrowsN1s » Sat May 05, 2018 12:36 pm

Of the standard models, ZDP-189 takes quite a sharp edge.
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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby Pelagic » Sat May 05, 2018 12:39 pm

Maybe one of the razor blade steels like AEB-L. Basic, high hardness carbon steels will be high on the list, as will cruwear, m4, 4v, etc.

I'm drawing a blank on which ones have a finer grain structure right now.
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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby Rutger » Sat May 05, 2018 12:41 pm

You'd be looking at steel with small carbides then. A low alloy steel and not vanadium like most high end steels.
I'd say 52100 (carbon steel) or ZDP-189 (small chromium carbides and high hardness) could fit the bill. Basic VG-10 is not bad either. Japanese White/Blue carbon steel in some of the sprint runs.

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby bearfacedkiller » Sat May 05, 2018 12:55 pm

Good old VG10 will take an edge that will do what you want. It is easy to get it seriously sharp. BD1 will as well. They both have a low allow content compared to the vanadium steels and both sharpen to a super sharp edge easily.

The upcoming CalyJr in Super Blue would be an outstanding choice. It is a steel that will handle acute edge angles and takes a very sharp edge very easily.

All steel will get silly sharp. I think what you want sort of comes down to ease of sharpening.
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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby Rutger » Sat May 05, 2018 12:59 pm

I've also heard good things about HAP40.

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby ZrowsN1s » Sat May 05, 2018 1:07 pm

bearfacedkiller wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 12:55 pm
....
All steel will get silly sharp. I think what you want sort of comes down to ease of sharpening.
I'll admit I don't know what OP actually wants, but (I think) your suggestion of Super Blue and my suggestion of ZDP is more what he had in mind when asking for "what gets the sharpest" (a question I asked a lot when I came to this forum). If ease of sharpening is what he's after I'd say plain edge H-1 is the easiest to get razor sharp, but it only stays that way for a day or two. SB and ZDP get very sharp and keep that edge long enough to be useful.
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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby The Meat man » Sat May 05, 2018 1:14 pm

leozinho wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 12:26 pm
I like to sharpen, and admit I'm a sucker for the parlor tricks (whittling hair, silently cutting phone book paper, etc.)

So, among the steels that Spyderco uses, which ones take the keenest edge?

Bonus points if it's available on one of the "classic" EDC models (I'll let everyone decide what's a classic EDC) and isn't a sprint/exclusive that will cost me an arm and a leg.

FWIW a recent thread seemed to indicate that many people find Spyderco's ZDP-189 to be consistently scary sharp right out of the box.
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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby Rutger » Sat May 05, 2018 1:16 pm

Any steel will get crazy sharp if you got the right abrasives to cut vanadium and go to super high grit levels. But some steels just have a way better refined edge (less aggressive) than others right off the same grit level stone. Even on coarser stones.

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby Sharp Guy » Sat May 05, 2018 1:43 pm

bearfacedkiller wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 12:55 pm
Good old VG10 will take an edge that will do what you want. It is easy to get it seriously sharp. BD1 will as well. They both have a low allow content compared to the vanadium steels and both sharpen to a super sharp edge easily.
I agree with BFK on this!

I'll also note that Cruwear & HAP40 are pretty easy to get crazy sharp.
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leozinho
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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby leozinho » Sat May 05, 2018 2:59 pm

In theory, the ease of sharpness wouldn't matter, as I simply asked for the sharpest edge possible. However, in practice, it does matter because if I don't have the skill or tools to reach that theoretical sharpness, it's pointless. :D So yes, ease of sharpening should factor into the equation.

I do have an assortment of Japanese water stones (up to the 8k Kitayama - which may or may not be great on super steels), a Tnat, DMT diamond stones, Sharpmaker with ultra fine rods, all kinds of strops and pastes to include Ken Schwartz CBN emulsion in half micron. So again, in theory, I should be able to sharpen the latest and greatest steel. In theory. Whether my skills are there is another question. :D Either way, it's fun to try.


I appreciate all the replies. Keep them coming.

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby blueblur » Sat May 05, 2018 3:36 pm

For me, out of the steels I’ve worked with 52100 gets the sharpest, the fastest and with the least amount of time. H1 and cruwear aren’t far behind.

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby SalomonA » Sat May 05, 2018 4:37 pm

Cruwear takes a keen edge?

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby Surfingringo » Sat May 05, 2018 4:59 pm

SalomonA wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 4:37 pm
Cruwear takes a keen edge?
Very. And it takes it with ease. Cruwear probably responds better to micro beveling than any steel I own, including carbon steels like 52100 and SB. What impresses me most about cruwear is how sharp it will get at lower grits. Takes a very sharp and very aggressive edge anywhere in the 400-1200 grit range but also responds well if you like higher refinement.

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby Deadboxhero » Sat May 05, 2018 5:10 pm

52100
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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby Spider bite » Sat May 05, 2018 5:21 pm

I am still "keen" on ZDP

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby SalomonA » Sat May 05, 2018 5:25 pm

How would you say cruwear compares to m390 in terms of holding a working edge and holding a keen edge, disregard toughness and stainless qualities

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby wrdwrght » Sat May 05, 2018 6:17 pm

I was shocked at 52100's readiness to take a keen edge. I haven't used it enough to confirm that its working-edge is short-lived...

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby npad69 » Sat May 05, 2018 6:39 pm

from my experience, cruwear easily takes up this really bitey edge you can feel when you touch the edge lightly with your fingers. pretty scary especially if your hands are wet.

mbs-26 takes a far keener edge than vg10 on my kitchen knives, but the latter holds the working edge a lot longer

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Re: Steel that takes the keenest (sharpest) edge?

Postby Ankerson » Sat May 05, 2018 6:45 pm

leozinho wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 12:26 pm
I like to sharpen, and admit I'm a sucker for the parlor tricks (whittling hair, silently cutting phone book paper, etc.)

So, among the steels that Spyderco uses, which ones take the keenest edge?

Bonus points if it's available on one of the "classic" EDC models (I'll let everyone decide what's a classic EDC) and isn't a sprint/exclusive that will cost me an arm and a leg.


All steels are capable of taking an edge beyond what human hands can make them.


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