What makes S90V so special?

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Genotoxic
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What makes S90V so special?

Postby Genotoxic » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:46 pm

This is a question I've wondered for some time now about S90V. We see it used in Spydercos high end knives such as the Paysan and they use it for their famous CF/S90V sprint runs which seems to be the most premium combo they offer through sprints. They're not the only ones either, Benchmade offer some models in CF/S90V as their top of the line as well.

So this has me wondering, what makes this steel so desirable to put on the most premium of knives? It is a great steel but we have so many great steels nowadays theres gotta be something separating it from the rest. While it's not the best at anything in my experiences it's a pretty great all around steel for regular use. Feels like a far more corrosion resistant Maxamet that traded in some edge holding, takes a very aggressive and fine edge while being very stable.

With all this being said there must be something I dont know about S90V that makes it so premium. Maybe its price or limited in availability or something else but I'd like to hear from you guys what you think about the steel and its status.

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JonLeBlanc
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby JonLeBlanc » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:03 pm

Well, to my knowledge S90V is a "prototypical" high-carbide particle steel, and at this point there may not be much novelty in that class of metals, but it's still very hard and quite corrosion resistant. I only own one knife with an S90V blade but based on the freakishly long time it holds it's edge I'd say it is a step up from S30V, at least in that respect. Just my two shekels lol
My collection so far: 52100 Military (2); 52100 PM2 (2); 52100 Para3; Stretch2 V-Toku; KnifeWorks M4 PM2; BentoBox M390 PM2; BentoBox S90V Military; Police4 K390; S110V PM2; SS Delica AUS-6; Wayne Goddard Sprint VG-10
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Genotoxic
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby Genotoxic » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:41 pm

JonLeBlanc wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:03 pm
Well, to my knowledge S90V is a "prototypical" high-carbide particle steel, and at this point there may not be much novelty in that class of metals, but it's still very hard and quite corrosion resistant. I only own one knife with an S90V blade but based on the freakishly long time it holds it's edge I'd say it is a step up from S30V, at least in that respect. Just my two shekels lol
This is very true, actually come to think if it S90V was one of the first ultra high end steels to come to the market. Since then we've just be flooded with so many options haha, nothing to complain about though!

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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby Larrin » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:43 pm

It is rarer and more expensive because it is more difficult to work with due to the high wear resistance and vanadium content.
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Doeswhateveraspidercan
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby Doeswhateveraspidercan » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:51 pm

Larrin wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:43 pm
It is rarer and more expensive because it is more difficult to work with due to the high wear resistance and vanadium content.
I can attest to the harder to work with for certain. I have a BBS Military I re profiled down to 10% using a hapstone 7 and a digital angle cube. I still have to refine the grind but as hot as it is in FL right now do not want to spend the time in a hot garage laboring with it. Even using the Diamond stones from my Wicked edge pro 3 this has been a chore.

As far as corrosion resistance goes I do not think in practical terms anyone could ask for a better steel I have really ignored this one and left it wet with diamond and S90V dust slurry and still no rust.

My girlfriend does things with her S110V PM2 I gave her that make me want to rust, but no rust yet even when left in sloppy wet potting soil.
:)

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Mattysc42
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby Mattysc42 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:56 pm

It’s a less corrosion resistant but easier to sharpen alternative to s110v. Not as prone to stubborn burrs.
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Top 5 knives I’ve owned: Caribbean Leaf, Shaman, Manix XL, Native LW, Laconico Keen.
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JuPaul
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby JuPaul » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:28 pm

Do you all find that it chips easily? That possibility, combined with the difficulty in sharpening, have kept me away from both s90v and s110v. I've never really understood why folks prefer those to m390/20cv, which also have awesome edge retention, but are tougher and should be even more rust-resistant. Maybe someone can explain it to me...
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby curlyhairedboy » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:37 pm

I find that S90 and S110v excel at holding an edge through material that would absolutely dull other steels with lower carbide fractions. Stuff like carpet, fiberglass and refractory insulation, etc.
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Bloke
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby Bloke » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:41 pm

I’m quite partial to S90V and in my experience it shines when it comes to fixed blades like filleting knives.

I’ve used my Sprig (S90V) exclusively to fillet not particularly because it’s the best filleting knife but I can sharpen it once with a relatively coarse edge and fillet thirty odd fish cutting through bones as I do and not need to touch it up. :cool:

As far as everyday folders go ... I can get by happily with plain old S30V. :)
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Bloke
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby Bloke » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:31 pm

JuPaul wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:28 pm
Do you all find that it chips easily? That possibility, combined with the difficulty in sharpening, have kept me away from both s90v and s110v. I've never really understood why folks prefer those to m390/20cv, which also have awesome edge retention, but are tougher and should be even more rust-resistant. Maybe someone can explain it to me...
Hi JP, I don’t think it chips too easily and the only minor chips I’ve incurred have been due to operator error, primarily because if I’m having trouble cutting through something I just use more force and inevitably exert lateral pressure on sub 30deg bevels.

It’s probably not the easiest blade steel to sharpen and doesn’t seem to like being ground so reprofiling can be a little tedious. That said it’s easily maintained off Sharpmaker rods once you’ve established a clean apex.

As far as corrosion resistance goes, I wouldn’t recommend putting it away wet with saltwater and blood. :eek:
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JuPaul
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby JuPaul » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:42 pm

Bloke wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:31 pm
JuPaul wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:28 pm
Do you all find that it chips easily? That possibility, combined with the difficulty in sharpening, have kept me away from both s90v and s110v. I've never really understood why folks prefer those to m390/20cv, which also have awesome edge retention, but are tougher and should be even more rust-resistant. Maybe someone can explain it to me...
Hi JP, I don’t think it chips too easily and the only minor chips I’ve incurred have been due to operator error, primarily because if I’m having trouble cutting through something I just use more force and inevitably exert lateral pressure on sub 30deg bevels.

It’s probably not the easiest blade steel to sharpen and doesn’t seem to like being ground so reprofiling can be a little tedious. That said it’s easily maintained off Sharpmaker rods once you’ve established a clean apex.

As far as corrosion resistance goes, I wouldn’t recommend putting it away wet with saltwater and blood. :eek:
Thanks. At some point I'll have to give it a try. I've gotta master bigger sharpening jobs on the m390 and zdp-189 that I have first, thought. We'll see if I have the patience. ;)
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby Naperville » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:02 pm

The only thing that I know about S90V is that I'd like to see the Native Chief and Street Beat made out of it.
Spyderco Collection: Military S110V, Bob Lum Darn Dao(CPM-154), Yojimbo 2 (S30V) & TWO in CF 20CV, Sustain(20CV), Native 5(Maxamet), Jumpmaster 2(H1), Province(4V). SHORT LIST: CF Shaman in S90V, Lum Tanto, Native Chief(?).

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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby bdblue » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:12 pm

JonLeBlanc wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:03 pm
S90V was one of the first ultra high end steels to come to the market. Since then we've just be flooded with so many options
There are a lot of premium steels out there but I think S90V is ahead of most of them. Of the stainless steels used by Spyderco I think it beats all but S110V in edgeholding.

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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby ZrowsN1s » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:38 pm

There are pluses minuses and trade offs to all steels. I was talking to someone not too long ago about why they preferred S90V to S110V. S110V has greater wear resistance than S90V but is not by coincidence harder to sharpen. They found S90V to be for them a better balance of wear resistance and ease of sharpening than S110V. It does best with a coarse edge, but I find it holds a polished edge nicely too. And it is fairly stainless.

In short if you're looking for something that is a small step back from the extremes of S110V, S90V is a little more of a balanced steel, while still being high performance, wear resistant, stainless high carbide steel.
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby Someone1 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:00 pm

Genotoxic wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:46 pm
This is a question I've wondered for some time now about S90V. We see it used in Spydercos high end knives such as the Paysan and they use it for their famous CF/S90V sprint runs which seems to be the most premium combo they offer through sprints. They're not the only ones either, Benchmade offer some models in CF/S90V as their top of the line as well.

So this has me wondering, what makes this steel so desirable to put on the most premium of knives? It is a great steel but we have so many great steels nowadays theres gotta be something separating it from the rest. While it's not the best at anything in my experiences it's a pretty great all around steel for regular use. Feels like a far more corrosion resistant Maxamet that traded in some edge holding, takes a very aggressive and fine edge while being very stable.

With all this being said there must be something I dont know about S90V that makes it so premium. Maybe its price or limited in availability or something else but I'd like to hear from you guys what you think about the steel and its status.

It's nothing but marketing. What steel works for you may not work for someone else even though they paid far less for their knife.

Truth is S90V is nothing that isn't also available on the market for less than Spyderco is offering it for. Anywhere you find it, though, it isn't worth the cost.

Edit to clarify:

I reread my post and believe i wasn't really clear. S90V is the same as any other steel in that it can do some things well and others, not so much. I believe that S110V would fill the same niche for cheaper, even staying within Spyderco's products. It's evident that S90V is a quality steel but if someone is looking for the attributes of S90V there are other quality steels on the market filling the same niche for less. Marketing and hype makes certain steels appear to be more than they are, which is unfair to those who immediately spend money to try out some God tier steel and then are disappointed when they find out the steel isn't what they really wanted/needed.

It's just a steel with pros and cons like any other. It's good to have options and sample from a buffet but it should be kept in perspective. I need to constantly remind myself of this to keep from going crazy and buying everything out there.
Last edited by Someone1 on Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby wrdwrght » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:16 pm

On page 6 of the S90V Shaman Is Out thread, Sal says: “I really like S90V”. That also makes S90V special...
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby awa54 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:04 pm

Interestingly (to me at least), I have had more issues with getting a good edge on S90V than S110V...

The M390 class steels are more to my liking, but now that I've learned to sharpen S90V, I don't avoid it if I like a knife that it's used in.
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby Deadboxhero » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:20 pm

Genotoxic wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:46 pm
This is a question I've wondered for some time now about S90V. We see it used in Spydercos high end knives such as the Paysan and they use it for their famous CF/S90V sprint runs which seems to be the most premium combo they offer through sprints. They're not the only ones either, Benchmade offer some models in CF/S90V as their top of the line as well.

So this has me wondering, what makes this steel so desirable to put on the most premium of knives? It is a great steel but we have so many great steels nowadays theres gotta be something separating it from the rest. While it's not the best at anything in my experiences it's a pretty great all around steel for regular use. Feels like a far more corrosion resistant Maxamet that traded in some edge holding, takes a very aggressive and fine edge while being very stable.

With all this being said there must be something I dont know about S90V that makes it so premium. Maybe its price or limited in availability or something else but I'd like to hear from you guys what you think about the steel and its status.
It's one of the longest cutting stainless steels on the market. It cuts longer than m390/20cv/204p

It's under s110v and s125v.

I prefer the s125v the most for high wear stainless but I'm sure the s90v is easier to work with and tougher.
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dogrunner
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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby dogrunner » Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:47 am

As others have already noted, it holds a sharp cutting edge far longer than S30V and better than m390/20cv, M4, and most other steels. Maxamet might beat it in that regard, maybe 10V, etc. I have used my PM2 in s90V for a long time as my primary cutter of tough and abrasive materials (dirty horse stall mats for example) and it has never chipped and does better than most at edge durability. No issues at all with corrosion. It is one of my favorite steels.

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Re: What makes S90V so special?

Postby JonLeBlanc » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:52 am

bdblue wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:12 pm
JonLeBlanc wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:03 pm
S90V was one of the first ultra high end steels to come to the market. Since then we've just be flooded with so many options
There are a lot of premium steels out there but I think S90V is ahead of most of them. Of the stainless steels used by Spyderco I think it beats all but S110V in edgeholding.
Oh thank you, but that was not a quote of mine :cool:
My collection so far: 52100 Military (2); 52100 PM2 (2); 52100 Para3; Stretch2 V-Toku; KnifeWorks M4 PM2; BentoBox M390 PM2; BentoBox S90V Military; Police4 K390; S110V PM2; SS Delica AUS-6; Wayne Goddard Sprint VG-10
Wish list: Hundred Pacer; Sliverax; Mantra; 52100 PM2 SE; Kapara


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