S30v

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spyderg
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S30v

Postby spyderg » Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:17 am

It’s something we discuss here often and if you’re on other forums you’ll see talk about it there too. S30v, it’s not my favourite steel but it’s good. It’s a great choice as a knife steel, not terribly expensive, from what I know it’s not hard to work with in manufacturing a knife, and it’s attributes make it a steel that is a good balance of corrosion resistance, edge retention, toughness, ease of sharpening... but it seems to get a lot of complaints these days. “Why S30v?, why can’t they use ____?
Personally I’d love Cruwear on everything but it’s not the best choice for many applications. Spyderco has spoiled me(us) with so many great steels. So much so that I don’t even look at a knife in aus8, 440(unless it’s a traditional) anymore. What, it’s not a pm steel? Why are you showing me this? lol!
Same thing goes for VG10 and some other really good steels. I’ve got a RoughRider in some 440 variety that just won’t dull but I’d likely not even look at a Spydie if they were to make it with 440 mystery steel.
I keep reading posts saying something like, “I want one but I’ll wait for the sprint”. Unfortunately if sales aren’t good enough on the S30v or whatever base steel, a sprint is far less likely. Now I can’t afford to go out and buy a bunch of knives just to bolster sales hoping for a sprint, but if I like a knife I’m also not going to snub it over S30v.
At the same time I was so unimpressed by s110v that I’ll avoid a knife in it.
So I’m curious to know some current opinions and thoughts on not just S30v but vg10, and other steels. Do you avoid them? Love them? Buy hoping to help sales for a sprint? Other steels that you think would make for a better base steel on higher end knives?
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Re: S30v

Postby Doeswhateveraspidercan » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:03 am

Ah so here we go again reaching for a match to light this fuse once again.

S30V is okay. I find myself avoiding designs in it now even more after the Ikuchi which I purchased two of and sold.

There are just so many steels that I prefer Cruwear of course, Hap40 is becoming a new favorite and honestly I will take VG10 over S30V any day of the week.

Yesterday I did a corrosion test with a Delica Wharncliffe SE in VG-10 carried it while doing yard work in 90 + degree FL weather for a good 6 hours straight used it to clear vines from the weedeater put it away wet in a sweat drenched pocket, later washed both trucks.

Then Cleaned the house with the hose.

Stripped out of my sopping wet shirts in the garage tossing them in the washer pulled the knife out of my drenched pocket and said alright show me what ya got VG10.

How about no signs of corrosion at all. I grinned with delight.

I have done the same thing with S30V and had rust and pitting.

Yes VG10 will get dull just like S30V does and retain a working edge but the difference in bringing it back to truly sharp is night and day in terms of ease and effort.

Where does S30V shine? I mean it? Where?

The only place I have found S30V not only acceptable but really good is in my Bench made Nestucca fixed blade Alaska style cleaver. There I really like the way it holds its edge makes a perfect skinner and a chopper. It powers through semi frozen beef chopping it in small cubes before putting it in the meat grinder and keeps a great edge for this kind of work.

I also like it in the Native Chief but would prefer Cruwear there as well.

So what I am getting at is S30V is not what I consider a great steel for slicers.

I do think it is a great steel for a harder use like chopping in the kitchen cutting semi frozen beef to grind your own burgers etc..

When it comes to a folder I want a great slicer for heavy duty I’ll grab a fixed blade for the most part.

That being said with the release of the Delica in Cruwear I have learned allot about thin blade stock and a well matched steel like VG10, Cruwear and HAP40.

Had the Ikuchi in S30V it too had thin blade stock but did not compare to any of these steels as a slicer. So yeah ready for Spyderco to move off of S30V as a base steel.

Funny thing Cold Steel was doing great with CTS-XHP and I snatched 3 of the Broken Skulls in it before they went S35VN like the way they mainstreamed their other models into S35VN.

So the question is what would I and others who are just not buying into the perfect balanced steel on paper want to see mainstreamed?

Hate to say it but mainstreaming S35VN makes more sense would even be easier for the manufacturer from what I have read to work with.

A better choice would be CPM20CV (Same as M390) makes more sense to mainstream if you are going to. As we have all seen from DLT it does not cost that much more and Is very well balanced.
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Re: S30v

Postby araneae » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:06 am

I am not a steel junky, but I have a good variety of Spydercos and a few other brands in different steels. They are all good, just different. Some are better than others at different things. Steels like vg-10 and S30V are great knife steels that do what almost anyone needs a knife steel to do. We are a spoiled lot and have the thrill of the hunt for the next great steel; but honestly most of us need nothing better than VG-10 to get by just fine. If you can afford to buy every new steel that comes out, that's great, but Spyderco isn't going to put a truly low performing steel in any of their knives, regardless of the price point.

There are still major manufacturers that use S30V as their highest end steel. There are also many companies putting out AUS8 on relatively expensive knives. I have no doubt that the vast majority of knife users wouldn't be able to tell one steel from the next in average use. It's worth remembering that the Afi crowd is just a fraction of knife buyers and users. Read some Amazon reviews, there are people that think a Gerber knife with 7Cr17 has amazing edge holding....

Also, worth checking out the recent posts by Larrin and DBH for real scientific steel talk. We see so many anecdotal and non-scientific steel related proclamations here that it's comical. Humans are biased creatures and it's hard to make a real unbiased observations without lots of repetition and scientific methods.
Last edited by araneae on Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: S30v

Postby cycleguy » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:07 am

Wasn't too long ago and S30V was all the rage and what everyone had to have; today not so much so. Shows you how fickled we can be as a group of end buyers (was going to say users but I know many don't so going with buyers).

Truth is I can do a lifetime of everything I need a knife to do with 420HC and sharpening tools.

Delica 4 is my favorite folder and I am very happy with VG-10 and prefer it to 420HC so it is now my baseline steel.

Starting to play with all the other steels and so far they have been able to cut what I have been able to cut with 420HC and VG-10 so I guess this makes them OK if they don't rust... :rolleyes: :cool: :p ;) :) :D

As you can tell, I'm not a steel junky; just a functioning sharp edge aficionado and everything falls into place from there! However, variety of blade steel has added a fun dimension and I can see why those salt water guys want something more as well as the blade beaters. If I was backpack hunting for a week or two and having to stay minimalist ... I'd likely have a longer edge retention steel than VG-10 so I wouldn't have to carry a sharpening tool.

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Re: S30v

Postby JonLeBlanc » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:22 am

A perennially interesting question, although I'm not sure how much there is to add to the discussion, but I'd second what's said above. As to one of your questions, I don't avoid S30V per se (indeed I don't think there's too much one would WANT to avoid in it) but if given the choice between two of the same knives, only different steels, I'd probably go with something that offered a little more of that purely subjective "value" over S30V. I readily admit I can't quite justify that preference, but at any rate... That said, I think there are times when one might value more corrosion resistance in particular.
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Re: S30v

Postby Spydergirl88 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:24 am

I prefer s30v. It's very easy for me to sharpen with the brown rods.
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Re: S30v

Postby Doeswhateveraspidercan » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:25 am

Darn it I forgot S30V is excellent is Serrated edges like my PM2 and Combo Military.
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Re: S30v

Postby Frozenspyder » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:27 am

spyderg wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:17 am
but I’d likely not even look at a Spydie if they were to make it with 440 mystery steel.
So I take it you're not a fan of the Serrata?

Seriously though, I think the people who think S30V isn't enough for their uses are a pretty small percentage of the intended market. That minority is just very vocal. Some of them legitimately have a need for a higher end steel, but that's an even smaller percentage of the market.

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Re: S30v

Postby Pancake » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:45 am

Image

I still think that most of users could not tell a difference between steels like S30V, S35VN and maybe M390 in day to day use if they dont have the steel´s names etched on blades.

Claims like:,, S35VN is so much better then S30V, its not chippy, its hold an edge so much better, its just better!!!!11!! “ Are kinda nonsense in my eyes.

S30V is a good steel. Its a very good choice for 95% of users. Those 5 % need something else (something with more edge retention, more corosion resistance....).
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Re: S30v

Postby wrdwrght » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:59 am

TL;DR Don’t buy S30V? Don’t be surprised when no sprints happen.

I agree.
Last edited by wrdwrght on Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: S30v

Postby Doeswhateveraspidercan » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:07 am

Pancake wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:45 am
Image

I still think that most of users could not tell a difference between steels like S30V, S35VN and maybe M390 in day to day use if they dont have the steel´s names etched on blades.

Claims like:,, S35VN is so much better then S30V, its not chippy, its hold an edge so much better, its just better!!!!11!! “ Are kinda nonsense in my eyes.

S30V is a good steel. Its a very good choice for 95% of users. Those 5 % need something else (something with more edge retention, more corosion resistance....).
Disagree 100% you can most certainly tell the difference.

Furthermore S35VN is is far more corrosion resistant and does sharpen easier. S30V is not super difficult to sharpen but fails to stay sharp so it is too much effort for very short returns.

Spoiled you betcha when there are steels that are easier to sharpen and stay truly sharp longer and more corrosion resistant or close to it but have more favorable characteristics as already outlined.

Is S30V strong enough for most people? How about is a 4Door KIA Soul sufficient for most people’s commute?

Get my point?

Of course S30V is good enough but good enough in today’s world is not really a measuring stick if you can afford your choice.

To each their own ;)
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Re: S30v

Postby awa54 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:15 am

Pancake wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:45 am
Image

I still think that most of users could not tell a difference between steels like S30V, S35VN and maybe M390 in day to day use if they dont have the steel´s names etched on blades.

Claims like:,, S35VN is so much better then S30V, its not chippy, its hold an edge so much better, its just better!!!!11!! “ Are kinda nonsense in my eyes.

S30V is a good steel. Its a very good choice for 95% of users. Those 5 % need something else (something with more edge retention, more corosion resistance....).

First: that *needs* to be a Venn diagram, not a pie chart... the overlap areas could lead to much insight/hilarity!

Second, I like S35VN better than S30V because of sharpening characteristics, which in my experience favor S35VN, especially for fine edges... also, if it's easier to work with than S30V and in a similar cost range, why not? I suspect that the answer is that it costs enough extra, without adding more than the slightest increase in performance, so Spyder-math says S30V=better value.
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Re: S30v

Postby spyderg » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:21 am

Not trying to light a fuse, or start arguments, just genuinely interested in the current thoughts on S30v, and other steels being used in a similar role, base steel on higher quality knives.
There’s no reason it can’t be discussed without insult or ridicule.
My opinion as of right now is S30v is a great steel for Spyderco in particular but other companies as well to be using as their regular steel option for knives above their budget lines.
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Re: S30v

Postby Pancake » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:23 am

Doeswhateveraspidercan wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:07 am

Is S30V strong enough for most people? How about is a 4Door KIA Soul sufficient for most people’s commute?
Well but that is the problem with today´s world. Most people will be sufficient with a normal steel (S30V), a normal car (Skoda Octavia), normal mobile phone (a 150 Eur Samsung), but for some reason, we (people) want something ,,more´´ even when we dont need it and dont even use it to its full potential.

But to each to his own.
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Re: S30v

Postby jdw » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:32 am

I have a Cat in 440c. It can do 90% of my EDC.
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Re: S30v

Postby Frozenspyder » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:42 am

I think this would happen with any steel. If they switched to S35VN, it still wouldn't be enough for some people. If they went to Cru-Wear, many people wouldn't be happy with the lesser stain resistance. S110V wouldn't be tough enough. This one doesn't hold an edge long enough. That one's too hard to sharpen. There just can't be one perfect steel with all the properties that everyone wants.

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Re: S30v

Postby Pelagic » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:48 am

S30V is simply a B— to a B+ in all categories, which makes for a good all around steel but doesn't "wow" people who are really into knives.

We buy knives for a purpose in mind, and we're usually looking for a blade steel that excels highly in 1-2 categories.

Best edge retention? Not s30v.
Best corrosion resistance? Not s30v.
Best sharpening response? Not s30v.
Best apex stability? Not s30v.
Best toughness? Not s30v.

We just have to keep in mind that knife afi's and steel junkies aren't what fuels the majority of Spyderco's profits. S30V is an excellent steel for the average person who wants a good quality knife.

Most of us don't dislike s30v even if we avoid most s30v models. And people opting out of base models and waiting on sprints is partially fueled by the pricing of certain models as well as designs begging for blade steels of particular attributes. Take the Native Chief for example. It is not an all around knife. It's more of a specialized lightweight lengthy slicer. So some of us don't see an "all around" blade steel as optimal for maximizing the usefulness of the model. S110V, k390, or Maxamet would probably be more appropriate. Then you have models like the Subvert, where the sheer price is what fuels complaints on s30v. But most of the time s30v is a fine choice. It's not a "sharpener's steel" like cruwear or 52100, and enjoyment in sharpening is a bigger issue for people here versus the average customer. The only s30v that I've found has an incredible sharpening response is on my buck vantage pro. You can tell the grain structure is fine. But with that said, I'm enjoying the s30v on my Shaman. I think there Shaman is a good EDC knife for me and an "all around" steel suits it fairly well.
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Re: S30v

Postby spyderg » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:50 am

To the comment about the Serrata, no I’m not a fan. Not a fixed blade fan for the most part but if I was getting one I’d want say 3v as the steel. And yes I’m sure I could make do just fine with a 440c knife. I already mentioned my Roughrider. I also mentioned it was 440 mystery steel. One of the things I love about Spyderco is they tell you exactly what your getting.

I can tell the difference when using and sharpening different steels. It’s not always a big difference but for example I find I like a more polished edge on s35vn and it’s easier to get one on it than on S30v. I like that kind of edge for cardboard and paper, even plastic wrap. But for stuff like rubber or thick plastic, any kind of mesh I prefer a toothier edge which I find lasts longer on S30v.

This thread is more about what makes for a good/great base steel for higher quality knives.

For example, many makers are using m390 or 20cv as their main steel. Is that the direction some of you would be happy to see Spyderco go in? Or are you more than happy with S30v? It’s there yet another great option?
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Re: S30v

Postby Doeswhateveraspidercan » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:54 am

Pancake wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:23 am
Doeswhateveraspidercan wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:07 am

Is S30V strong enough for most people? How about is a 4Door KIA Soul sufficient for most people’s commute?
Well but that is the problem with today´s world. Most people will be sufficient with a normal steel (S30V), a normal car (Skoda Octavia), normal mobile phone (a 150 Eur Samsung), but for some reason, we (people) want something ,,more´´ even when we dont need it and dont even use it to its full potential.

But to each to his own.
It is not a problem in today’s world. Why view it as a problem?

Why make an issue if a person makes full use of anything’s potential. I admit with some things I will milk them to death like this iPhone 6 Using to respond as there is no great value to owning the latest.

Ah but when it comes to Spyderco’s now we are talking straight up addiction :)

I view it as a blessing to be able to choose what I like best that I can afford and really appreciate the fact Spyderco offers so many different steels to satisfy the qualities people prefer.

Needs are few wants many who cares? Buy what you can afford I say and enjoy what you prefer.

Your writing “most people” has me thinking of a nice poll here on this forum.
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Re: S30v

Postby spyderg » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:58 am

Pelagic wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:48 am
S30V is simply a B— to a B+ in all categories, which makes for a good all around steel but doesn't "wow" people who are really into knives.

We buy knives for a purpose in mind, and we're usually looking for a blade steel that excels highly in 1-2 categories.

Best edge retention? Not s30v.
Best corrosion resistance? Not s30v.
Best sharpening response? Not s30v.
Best apex stability? Not s30v.
Best toughness? Not s30v.

We just have to keep in mind that knife afi's and steel junkies aren't what fuels the majority of Spyderco's profits. S30V is an excellent steel for the average person who wants a good quality knife.

Most of us don't dislike s30v even if we avoid most s30v models. And people opting out of base models and waiting on sprints is partially fueled by the pricing of certain models as well as designs begging for blade steels of particular attributes. Take the Native Chief for example. It is not an all around knife. It's more of a specialized lightweight lengthy slicer. So some of us don't see an "all around" blade steel as optimal for maximizing the usefulness of the model. S110V, k390, or Maxamet would probably be more appropriate. Then you have models like the Subvert, where the sheer price is what fuels complaints on s30v. But most of the time s30v is a fine choice. It's not a "sharpener's steel" like cruwear or 52100, and enjoyment in sharpening is a bigger issue for people here versus the average customer. The only s30v that I've found has an incredible sharpening response is on my buck vantage pro. You can tell the grain structure is fine. But with that said, I'm enjoying the s30v on my Shaman. I think there Shaman is a good EDC knife for me and an "all around" steel suits it fairly well.

Yes, being a “b” steel is what makes it good for the base steel in the lineup. It checks all the boxes even if it’s not the first choice in any category.
I agree that on some of the collaborations and higher priced knives that we have come expect a fancier steel and there’s just no wow factor in S30v.
On a knife like my beloved Smock though, as much as I would have loved Cruwear and there was some excitement when it was mistakenly thought it might be in s90v it makes a lot of sense for it to be in S30v. New perhaps controversial design in a higher price point due to steel choice might not have sold well. As it is they can’t keep them in stock. Perhaps a sprint run will come if all the excitement that might not have been otherwise.
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