So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

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Haunted House
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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby Haunted House » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:09 am

Of the ones I’ve used:

M4: Tough, edge retention, gets very sharp.
Aogami Super Blue: Maybe the most beautiful steel ever and gets sharp easily. Can get scary sharp.
ZDP-189: Just a great overall steel, with some of the best edge retention I’ve experienced.

What I want most:
Cruwear
K390
Rex 45

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MichaelScott
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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby MichaelScott » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:12 am

Being an average knife user in his late 70s, my needs center around steels that are reasonably priced, not difficult to sharpen, hold an edge for an acceptable time and are corrosion-resistant.

1. CPM-XHP
2. VG10
3. BD1N
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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby aaronkb » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:17 am

M4 is hands down my favorite. Easy to sharpen, performs incredible well... I just freaking love it.

After that it’s harder to say but probably cruwear and s35vn. I had a surprisingly hard time sharpening cruwear at first considering the hype, but I’m getting used to it. And s35vn is always easy and performs well enough for most use.

Really excited to check out Rex 45, K390, BD1N and lc200n, but I don’t have experience with them.

And thanks for asking, Sal! I’d be very curious to hear your favorites. I’m guessing s90v is up there somewhere?

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby TomAiello » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:19 pm

Phil Wilson wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:58 am
For the long edge holding on hunting and utility I would go with one of the A11's and right now K390 since that is what I am set up for.
My all time favorite knife is still my K390 Smoke Creek. :)

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Pancake
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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby Pancake » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:46 pm

LC200N: rustproof, good sharpening response, quite tough for stainless, good edge retention

K390: takes a stupid aggressive edge, easy to touch up, takes a nice patina, can get very hard

Cru-Wear: something for outdoor fixed blade
In the pocket: Chaparral FRN, Native Chief, Police 4 K390
On belt: Bow River, Waterway

Plans for future: Swick 5, Police 4 LW, Manix XL (?), Stretch 2 (?)
Hoping for: Caribbean backlock

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby ladybug93 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:48 pm

tl:dr
1. lc200n
2. h1
3. just about anything else that isn't a tool steel, isn't a pain to sharpen, and is a relatively good value.


my current favorite steel right now is lc200n. it holds an edge for a reasonable amount of time, is easy to sharpen, and the corrosion resistance is key for me since i live in hawaii. however, even if i didn't live in hawaii, it's nice to have a knife that i don't have to worry about rusting. if i cut up some food and i don't perfectly clean it, it'll be fine. i maintain my blades, but i like the freedom to not worry about an expensive knife rusting on me without more care than i have time for. i also prefer pe over se, so it's nice to have these qualities outside of h1.

second would be h1 for the same reasons. my h1 blades are all se and i like the steel a lot. there's something about not having to worry about rust and having serrated edges and dlc that make a knife just beg to be used for anything and everything. i love my pacific salt and use it all the time. i don't have experience with h1 in pe, but i'm not sure i'd love it based on what i've read, which is why i like lc200n slightly more.

in third place, i'd probably be tied between everything else that holds a good edge and isn't too difficult to sharpen. most of my other spydercos are in s30v and xhp. i like both of those about the same, with maybe a slight edge going to xhp. i have various other folders in aus8, d2, 8cr13mov, etc. they're all fine for folders really.

for me it's more a matter of value. i don't want to pay more than $50 for any of those steels. i don't want to pay more than $100 for s30v, s35v, xhp, etc. of course, there are other variables i take into account... i would expect to pay more for a larger blade than a smaller blade or for better handle materials.

the same is true for tool steels. i don't hate tool steels, despite my many posts against them in sprints and exclusives. i prefer tool steels in fixed blade knives that i'm going to use hard in the outdoors for processing wood and doing other camp chores. but, there are a lot of good knives in tool steels in that category that aren't super expensive.

so, i personally value corrosion resistance over everything else, with a good balance of edge retention and ease of sharpening being tied for second. all of these aspects of the blade are viewed under the umbrella of value. to me, a native salt is worth more than s110v native because of the way i prefer my steels. and, if i want a knife in a tool steel that might rust, i'm probably going to go with a $30 knife in d2 from another manufacturer than a $150 knife from spyderco. i don't get paying that much for a knife that you have to worry about rusting.

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby tangent » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:55 pm

1. LC200N (more in linerless FRN, please)

2. H1 (in serrated)

3. VG-10 (for an all-around cost-effective choice)

My EDC is a linerless Delica Wharncliffe in S30V (oddly enough). But that is only because it is not offered in LC200N...yet!!

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby Sumdumguy » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:29 pm

1. LC200N: Ridiculously balanced, seemingly without fault. Combined with the Caribbean, it is truly flawless. Honestly, all other stainless steels have been stricken off my top lists by this one. I simply have no need for a different stainless option.
(Not that I don't still buy other stainless models)

2. M4: My only experience with it has been on the Mantra 1. However, it has given me awesome edge retention without being a bear to touch up. Also, the corrosion resistance has been pretty incredible to me. Some seem to disagree, but for me in the nasty climate of the southern Appalachians, it has been great. I take care of it, but it only gets oiled every few months of partial carry. I can't wait for my Advocate to show up.

3. Superblue: This was a very, very tough decision. I wanted to say VG-10 because it's my favorite "standard" model steel, but it has been antiquated by LC200N. Thus, Superblue wins. It takes the best edge of any steel I've experienced. The corrosion resistance is pretty bad, but if taken care of it develops a wonderful patina. Superblue just gives me a special feeling inside, it's almost mystical on a kitchen knife.

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby tjsblade » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:35 pm

CPM M4
PD#1 / Cruwear
K390

I tend to like the tool steels. I just find I can get them sticky sharp and I like the look of a natural patina to me is just an aesthetic bonus. The Cru-wear seems pretty stain resistant though even with very little care.

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby sok » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:43 pm

VG-10
M4
S90V

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Naperville
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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby Naperville » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:51 pm

This is more of a popularity contest for me. I am not Michael Christy, Pete from Cedrid & Ada, or any other knife steel tester, and there are a few very good ones. I have not been able to afford 2nd and 3rd copies of knives to test their properties, so I'm hesitant to push anything I own to hard. I have a lot of knives, but I use them for self defense, which means that they sparingly if ever get used. They do get carried, but that does not mean squat, and I understand that.

Firearm owners are in the same boat as I. They buy a weapon, and they pray they do not have to use it. But if I have to use it, I want it to cut, and cut, and cut, and not snap off in my hand or the target.

Steels that I am very interested in - in no particular order are: Maxamet, M390/20CV/204P, CTS-XHP, D2, S35VN, 3V, 4V, M4, S90V, S110V, ZDP189, and while I have no knives in the following and would very much like to test out: S125V, K390, Vanadis 4E, Rex 45, 1V, S7, Rex 121, Z-WEAR. The bottom line is, I need 3x as many knives as I have to beat the beans out of them to see where the steels fall.

My 3 favorite steels, for knives ranging in size from 1/2" to 7" in blade length, based on moderate use and everything that I've read:
Maxamet
M390/20CV/204P
4V
Last edited by Naperville on Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Spyderco Collection: Military (S110V), Bob Lum Darn Dao(CPM-154), Yojimbo 2 (1 in S30V & 2 in 20CV), Sustain(20CV), Native 5(Maxamet), Jumpmaster 2(H1), Province(4V). SHORT LIST: CF Shaman(S90V), Lum Tanto, Native Chief(?), Street Beat (AEB-L, NioMax or Nitro-V at 63HRC).

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby Albatross » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:53 pm

K390 is a more recent favorite. Edge retention, how it sharpens, and how stable the edge is, has really impressed me. I truly love this steel, it's easy enough to sharpen, and seems to love the strops.
Rex 45(Hap40 when Rex isn't available) takes a phenomenal edge and quite easily. It's very enjoyable to sharpen, has great edge retention, and can take a good amount of abuse(if necessary).
S90V(204P is not far behind) turned out to be a very balanced steel in my opinion. Far from the horror it was made out to be on some other, unnamed forums. The steel sharpens very easily with diamond stones, and for me, takes a super sharp edge, again, despite the stories. The edge retention is good, rust hasn't been a worry, and it's plenty tough for my uses. If I had to pick knife to last the rest of my life, it would have to be a Spyderco Military in S90V. The other 2 steels above are more exciting to use and sharpen, but for me, S90V does it all.

With those 3, I don't need any other steels.

Zdp-189 just barely missed the list. I'll have to revisit this in a year to see if my opinions have changed.
Last edited by Albatross on Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sal wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:01 pm

...But in general, I'm all about high performance, Ergos, safety. That's why I've been accused of "deigning in the dark"...

sal

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby elena86 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:29 pm

K390 - for fixed blades
CTS-XHP - for folders
SRS 15 - for anything .... that's my vodoo steel, too bad Spyderco doesn't use it.
Marius

" A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it " ( Rabindranath Tagore )

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby abbazaba » Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:45 pm

M4 - My long term benchmark of what I like in a steel.

K390 - The Police4 really blew my mind with this steel, and probably surpassed anything I've ever used for fine edge holding. Really excited to try it in a more familiar platform (PM2 and Seki)!

REX45 - Hey, I know what I like and this could arguably be small improvement over M4.

Sorry stainless fans. That would have to be a stainless specific list for me.

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby Danvp » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:00 pm

My top three based on actual use at the moment are:

LC200N: very stainless, easy to sharpen, holds an edge for a fair amount of time and tough enough not to chip soon. Knife: Spydiechef.

S35VN: stainless, easy to sharpen, holds an edge for a fair amount of time, not prone to chipping. Knives: Native 5 and large en small Sebenza.

M390/20CV/204P family: stainless, holds an edge extremely well, of the factory more prone to chipping, after reprofiling less chipping, sharpening takes a bit of effort, however rewarded with good edge holding capability after.
Knives: Paramilitary 2, Para 3

I tend to like well balanced and stainless steels the most. Also have a few tool steels like 52100, M4, K390 and Rex 45. Don’t carry them often.

Very wear resistant and hard steels are not my first choice either. I own S90V, S110V, ZDP189 and Maxamet. Only carry my ukpk in S110V because of the model itself. That said, I like the BDN1 version better.

Also own and use VG10, Cruwear and H1. They are great also. We could only choose three....

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby tonijedi » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:13 pm

Can't really say way, but the ones I use more are:

H1 in both SE and PE
VG-10
ZDP-189

This are the steels on my "rotation", H1 being the most used (SE Salt2 and PE Dragonfly).

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Haunted House
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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby Haunted House » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:34 pm

Wartstein wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:33 am
sal wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:52 pm
Hi all.

Topic says it all. I'm just curious. We've built a lot of models with a lot of steels and we're still doing that as it is one of our passions. I know there will always be new steels and we're surely be working with them. But I find that myself as well as other knife afi's do have their favorites. Like you, I love them all and they are all different, but top 3 only.

sal
Sal,

I listed my favorites in the post above.
May I ask: Would you also like to share your current personal top three with us?
I won’t speak for Sal, but I read him say in an older forum post that 52100 was his favorite steel to forge.
Coincidentally, I just pulled the trigger on my very first Spyderco- a Para 3 in 52100. :)

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby Archimedes » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:03 pm

O1 tool steel. I have some bigger fixed blades in this steel and it is tough and gets sharp. Seems like really sharp. Stays sharp. I think this steel is magic in a fixed blade.

INFI Steel which is what Busse uses. Been using this steel for a long time and it gets very sharp and is very tough. I would love if Spyderco could get permission for a folder run.

S30V or S35VN. They seem pretty close to me and not sure I could tell the difference. Fantastic steel for folders. I have been carrying a brown Para3 with S35VN for a couple of years now and it just goes well with this knife. Have had a lot of S30V knives over the years as EDC and it always served me well. Just a really usable everyday steel that does a lot of things well.

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby ikaretababy » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:16 pm

4v - the trendy steel at the moment but it is capable of supporting an incredibly thin geometry which I think offsets some minor tradeoffs it makes in the wear resistance category.

k390 - another trendy one but I honestly can think of any way this steel could be improved for folders/fixed blades.

hap40/rex 45 - I feel like it has similar level of performance to the above mentioned steels but is more enjoyable to sharpen.

Honorable mention: Cruwear

if you can't tell, rust resistance isn't one of my priorities

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Re: So what's your top 3 favorite steels? and why?

Postby ladybug93 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:03 pm

look at all those entries for lc200n... i hope we see it creep into some other production models. :)


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