Why we love the steels we love?

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Hgwxx7
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Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Hgwxx7 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:30 am

Forgive me if this has already been discussed as it's own thread, but I searched "favorite steel" and could not find a thread in the first 10 pages, so here we go.

A lot of times, the steels each get their own thread and for a novice like me it can get overwhelming searching through the pages trying to understand it all.

I know we have a lot of steel junkies on this forum and I'd love to tap into some of that hard earned knowledge in one central thread with a why you love this steel type of discussion.

I'll start it off with VG-10. I love how low-maintenance and reasonably priced it is. It's super forgiving and I don't mind using it till it needs touching up and doing the whole process over again. Takes a great edge and it feels idiot proof, which I like.
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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:42 am

This is a great topic thread and needs to be in our minds all the time.

I like the steel I like because of these main reasons: Sharpness and Edge Holding, Strength and toughness, and corrosion resistance. I like VG10 and H1 and Lc200N for these reasons. I also put alot of focus on satin color and shine. You all may disagree with me but for some reason S30V stainless steel seems to be more dull and matte colored than shiny satiny to me. VG10 beats S30V for that.

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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby The Meat man » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:04 am

I like H-1 because it is the ultimate low-maintenance steel. And in an SE package like the Pacific Salt, it becomes the ultimate beater knife for me. It's a knife I'm not afraid to push to the maximum, maybe even abuse a little bit.
H-1 is also super tough and very easy to sharpen. In SE it is a super steel, no doubt about it.

I like CPM S110V for its incredible edge retention. It is more difficult to sharpen than most, but once you're there you can be confident of having a sharp working edge for practically forever.

Super Blue is one of my new favorites. It's just so much fun to own and use this steel. First off, I really like the way it shows use with a patina. I know that's not everyone's thing, but I just like the look of a well-used knife.
Second, this steel is a breeze to sharpen. The factory bevel on my Calypso Jr was probably something like 40-45° inclusive, so I reset it to 30° inclusive, finishing with a few strokes at 40° with the Sharpmaker UF rods and a few passes on a diamond paste strop. I have never had a knife so sharp - it whittled hair, sliced through a paper towel like copy paper. It's a fairly thinly ground knife, so Super Blue really shines in this configuration.

I was initially worried with rust, but I've been carrying this knife for a week or two now and my confidence in its EDC capabilities keeps growing. No problems with rust, even after cutting up some pretty acidic fruit and just rinsing the blade off with warm water. Of course I am careful not to get too much moisture in the pivot area but I do that with all my knives that aren't Salts.
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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Joey » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:28 am

For me the steel of choice has to be H1. Nothing would be worse in my eyes than taking a $100+- knife out to find rust on it. After that edge retention doesn’t mean much when you know how to sharpen your knives. Not to mention H1 will sharpen in seconds. I’ve also never been able to dull a knife in one work day. Add extreme toughness to the mix and you’re left with a sweet steel.

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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Sharp Guy » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:29 am

Might sound weird but I like 'em all! :D I could get by just fine with BD1 & VG10 but it sure is fun experiencing all these different steels.

The Meat man wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:04 am
Super Blue is one of my new favorites. It's just so much fun to own and use this steel. First off, I really like the way it shows use with a patina. I know that's not everyone's thing, but I just like the look of a well-used knife.
Second, this steel is a breeze to sharpen. The factory bevel on my Calypso Jr was probably something like 40-45° inclusive, so I reset it to 30° inclusive, finishing with a few strokes at 40° with the Sharpmaker UF rods and a few passes on a diamond paste strop. I have never had a knife so sharp - it whittled hair, sliced through a paper towel like copy paper. It's a fairly thinly ground knife, so Super Blue really shines in this configuration.
I used my Calypso Jr last night to cut up a bunch of cardboard in our recycling bin. It was pretty sharp when I started and still sharp when I was finish. Regardless I decided to touch it up on the SM. After coloring the bevel with a Sharpie I realized one side was a little more obtuse than 20 dps. So I plan to reprofile mine to less than 15 dps this weekend. Form what I've heard about SB I expect it'll be a laser after that.
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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby anycal » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:31 am

If I can maintain it (keep it from rusting, keep it sharp) and I can sharpen it, I enjoy all the variety of steels out there. I haven't found one I strongly dislike, out of the dozen or so steels I owned.

I am no expert, and this variety of knife steel is still new to me. Since I keep touching up my knives frequently, I don't get to experience the edge holding capabilities of certain steels. I don't do too many repetitive, edge dulling cutting tasks. Once in a while I dull up a blade faster than normal with cardboard or wood, but never really compared the results . Sharpening is where the difference is more apparent to me.

Three of my favorites - M390 (or 204P), Cruwear, and M4. These are the ones I have the most experience with, both in use and sharpening.

One thing I don't love is chipping during 'normal' use. Doesn't happen too often, and haven't experienced it yet in my top three.
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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby rgrad80 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:32 am

I like 52100.
I bought a Sharpmaker and just started sharpening everything I could get my hands on in the kitchen. I then went and sharpened my Tenacious...and that was soo rewarding because I was able to get it suuuper sharp, way sharper than anything else I’ve held in my hands before.
I took a risk and decided to try sharpening my favorite PM2 with 52100 steel. I took my time with it and when I was done...pure awesome!
So I guess I like 52100 the most because it requires a little maintenance and makes a novice knife sharpener feel like a master sharpener in about 20 minutes.
I don’t even own a strop yet...I have no idea how sharp 52100 is going to get after a good strop but I’m looking forward to it!
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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby supracor » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:38 am

I cannot say that a steel is better than another.
I love them because they are so much!

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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby JonLeBlanc » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:18 pm

^^ I also love 52100; it has been no problem for me in the corrosion department even here on the gulf coast, it takes a fine mirror polish, and the edge... holy moly that edge. It’s like a scalpel. And so easy to get it to that point too. It’s properties are quite ideal for me.
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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby The Deacon » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:45 pm

I love VG-10 for it's combination of qualities. It may not be the most rust resistant, but it offers excellent rust resistance. It may not be the easiest to sharpen but, for me, it's darn close to it. It may not hold an edge as well as some of the newer steels, but it holds an edge quite well.
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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Cujobob » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:46 pm

I find it's more important to understand the basics of knife steels and then you can sort of understand the pros and cons of each steel. Grain size, volume, corrosion resistance, type of carbides, etc. I choose which steel I use based on what I'm doing with it. With proper heat treats, all steels are good at something.

VG-10, S30V and most of the S35/90/110 are some of my least favorites, I will say. VG-10 can be fine, but I was not satisfied with the performance in the heat treatment of it by Spyderco's Japanese partners. The S30/35/90/110 don't sharpen in a manner that I prefer and can chip in some cases.

I have a lot of steels that I love. Nitrobe 77, AEB-L, 14C28N, M4, K390, 52100, CTS XHP, CPM Cruwear, Elmax, M390 variants, etc.

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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Daveho » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:13 pm

M4-
Holds a flipn sweet edge, sharpens easily with diamonds and it stains and changes.

Very rad stuff.

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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Brown_Recluse » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:35 pm

I'm partial to m390 or 204p because they are above average in terms of edge retention, toughness and corrosion resistance. I love s110v but I do find myself being a little more careful with it because of it's propensity to micro-chip and shatter if dropped on a hard surface.

That said, I carry an s110v Para 3 every day. I have knives in m390 and 204p but s110v is a better EDC steel in my opinion and for my uses.
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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby KnickKnackCity » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:39 pm

M4 is the best.

I love it because I can always get a toothy and very sharp edge with just the brown stones on the SM. I am in a very low humidity environment so I dont have to worry about corrosion issues. I still get to enjoy the natural patina and marks that display from its surface with time and use. A heck of a slicer and tough I have found. Fortunately for me the exclusives offered in M4 have scales that I am fond of as well. KW with the carbon fiber and BHQ with the Jade (rit dye almost whatever color you like.) The best all around steel in my bubble.

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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby SF Native » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:18 pm

S110v is really hard to beat. Very stainless and cuts for a long time. Even in really tough material.
K390 is another really nice one. Holds and edge for a long time and gets super thin behind the edge.
Lc200n is really nice for knives that you don’t want to baby. And easy to sharpen.

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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Eli Chaps » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:25 pm

Geometry, blade style, etc. not withstanding...

BD1: Great steel. I used to think it was inferior until I really gave it a chance. Very corrosion resistant. Takes a great edge with ease and is super easy to maintain. Tough and holds it's edge just fine for my EDC tasks.

VG10: More or less the same comments as BD1. A little better retention than BD1 but a little less ease of maintenance.

CTS-XHP: I'm finding this to be a real nice steel. Easy to sharpen and maintain with pretty good corrosion resistance.

BD1N: I don't have this in a Spyderco offering yet but really want a M2LW in it and hope that happens. I am loving this steel. All the attributes of BD1 but much harder and longer edge retention.

I will give honorable mention to S90V as I really enjoy the challenge of sharpening it and it's excellent edge retention.

By and large, I like steels that are tough and easy to sharpen and maintain. I like BD1 more than S30V and so on.

But as Sal says, not better, just different.

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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Halfneck » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:16 pm

I have a fondness for VG10, 154CM/CPM154, D2/CTS-XHP, even 1095. My formative knife years were mostly with knives in 1095(fixed blades & Shrade folders), 154CM(customs & Benchmade), and D2(customs mostly by Bob Dozier). I know what those steels can take and how to maintain them. Newer steels like CPM154 and CTS-XHP are just improved versions of those steels. Spyderco's baseline steels have always done me right (GIN1, GIN2) and VG10 has become my favorite of them.

I sharpen my knives freehand on a benchstone and occasionally touch up on my Sharpmaker. I steer away from steels that require specialized sharpening methods if they get dull. I've got a Kershaw in M390 that has been doing well, but I don't let it get dull. Steels like S110V are not worth the extra cost & potential hassle to me.

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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Vivi » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:08 pm

My favorite steels tend to have a few things in common.

- I can get them extremely sharp
- They're stable under thin edge angles
- They grind quickly
- They're economical

For fixed blades I prefer A2 and O1, for folders and kitchen knives I like BD1, H1, AEB-L and 12C27.

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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Pelagic » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:18 pm

Answer to the thread = We value different things.

It didn't take me long to find out which steels were the best for my job.... Carry one s110v blade, and one serrated blade. For my edc needs, I enjoy m4, cruwear, XHP, the m390 family, 3v or 4v at respectable hardness, or possibly h1 in a setting where i had my sharpening equipment nearby. I'm pretty sure I would like elmax and bd1 too.
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Re: Why we love the steels we love?

Postby Evil D » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:01 pm

Various reasons, some of which even contradict other reasons.

I love H1 because it's tough and essentially maintenance free. I accept that it's not the best at edge retention because it's also extremely easy to sharpen and very tough. It's really everything I realistically need.

However, I also love 52100, which is practically a polar opposite to H1 in that it will rust if you breathe on it too hard. It does sharpen very easily though and seems pretty tough too. Despite the way I love H1 for being maintenance free, I also love the care that a carbon steel takes to maintain it. I love the process of forming a natural patina only to polish it off and start over. I don't always want to have to pay that much attention to my knife though so I don't carry it as much as H1.

I also love S110V. It's way up there on the corrosion resistance scale but is also a bit of a polar opposite to H1 and even 52100 in that it has extreme edge retention but comes at the price of far more difficult sharpening by comparison. It isn't quite as tough as either but I really haven't had any significant chipping or other toughness related damage.

Then there are all the middle of the road steels that I simply like for being really good averages.
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