Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

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LarryInLex
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Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby LarryInLex » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:10 am

I bought a small Cattaraugus cleaver at a swap meet about 20 years ago. Cattaraugus Cutlery went out of business in 1963, so this cleaver is at least 57 years old.

The cleaver is made from "high carbon vanadium steel" which is chromium plated.

It's been sitting in a drawer in its original cardboard sleeve for the past 20 years. The blade is immaculate, like it was made last week. There is no trace of corrosion or any other degradation to the chrome finish. It shines like a '55 Chevy's front bumper. (The Bakelite handle is excellent too.)

Why don't they chrome-plate carbon steels nowadays? It seems like you could take Rex 45 or K390 or whatever and make it almost completely stainless. I used to have a ZDP Caly 3.5, so I know what cladding is, but chrome plating would be much harder than 420J.

Bill1170
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby Bill1170 » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:55 am

That’s an interesting question that I would also like to know more about. Cladding is much thicker than plating, but the comparison to DLC is much closer.

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Evil D
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby Evil D » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:39 am

Probably cost. The EPA practically shut down chrome plating, and where it can be done it's extremely expensive.
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby The Meat man » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:43 am

How durable is it?
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The Mastiff
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby The Mastiff » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:45 am

Gerber used to do it in the 70's on some. There was a famous maker that used O1 and he chromed his knives. Personally I don't think it's necessary. I couldn't think of any reason I'd want it done to my knives. For me corrosion isn't an issue. If it was I'd deal with it any of a number of ways other than chrome plating. When it finally goes bad chrome plating looks worse than regular corrosion.

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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby bearfacedkiller » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:53 am

I think that if you start to get corrosion at the bevel it will work under the plating and then start flaking off. Interested to see what other input we get from those with more knowledge.
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Fireman
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby Fireman » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:53 am

:mad: **** it! Now I want to make a knife from a 57 chevy bumper
Image

LarryInLex
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby LarryInLex » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:05 pm

Image

Marks on the blade are just reflections from some trees. There was no attempt to keep this blade dry - it has been stored in a cardboard sleeve for 57+ years. I wish I looked that good at 57!
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Deadboxhero
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby Deadboxhero » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:08 pm

It seemed interesting.

I was able to find the guy that did the hard chrome for Gerber and he was nice enough to chrome some 4v blades for me for testing.



https://youtu.be/Krwo2M4ZzmM

The problem now is that CPM MagnaCut exists,
Stainless 4V with the same toughness and finer carbides too.


So no reason to pursue in my mind.
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S-3 ranch
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby S-3 ranch » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:15 pm

The Mastiff wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:45 am
Gerber used to do it in the 70's on some. There was a famous maker that used O1 and he chromed his knives. Personally I don't think it's necessary. I couldn't think of any reason I'd want it done to my knives. For me corrosion isn't an issue. If it was I'd deal with it any of a number of ways other than chrome plating. When it finally goes bad chrome plating looks worse than regular corrosion.
I have a wonderful fixed blade D2 gerber that is Crome

LarryInLex
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby LarryInLex » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:22 pm

Deadboxhero wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:08 pm
It seemed interesting.

I was able to find the guy that did the hard chrome for Gerber and he was nice enough to chrome some 4v blades for me for testing.


The problem now is that CPM MagnaCut exists,
Stainless 4V with the same toughness and finer carbides too.


So no reason to pursue in my mind.
Thanks BBB. What is that video showing exactly?

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RustyIron
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby RustyIron » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:37 pm

Mrs. Iron just brought home a box full of parts that she had chromed for the old Coca-Cola Machine she's restoring. They also did all the chrome on her old Mustang, and some trim parts on our old truck. The shop is about two miles from here. Doing chrome isn't easy. The surface has to be polished perfectly. Then it gets copper plated. Then it gets nickel plated. Then it gets the chrome. Maybe knife makers have more economical, more durable, and prettier alternatives. Personally, chrome isn't my favorite. I like brushed, tumbled, DLC, blasted...

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Fireman
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby Fireman » Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:19 pm

This was my thinking as well.

Deadboxhero wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:08 pm
It seemed interesting.

I was able to find the guy that did the hard chrome for Gerber and he was nice enough to chrome some 4v blades for me for testing.



https://youtu.be/Krwo2M4ZzmM

The problem now is that CPM MagnaCut exists,
Stainless 4V with the same toughness and finer carbides too.


So no reason to pursue in my mind.

yablanowitz
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby yablanowitz » Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:00 pm

Fireman wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:53 am
:mad: **** it! Now I want to make a knife from a 57 chevy bumper
Image
I can think of better uses for that bumper.

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kwakster
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby kwakster » Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:02 pm

Several years ago Strider had some models that were hard chromed by a company named Armoloy.

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VooDooChild
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby VooDooChild » Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:27 pm

From the makers perspective it doesnt seem worth it.

Carbon steel is nice because its cheap, easy to heat treat, easier to work with, etc. But if your now going to add a whole process of chroming it, then it seems like you could have just bought a stainless steel and put up with the more difficult heat treat.
sal wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 8:14 pm
... "The edge is a ghost"...

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Fireman
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby Fireman » Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:43 pm

San Mai?
It was the solution from Japan around 1300AD.

ABX2011
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby ABX2011 » Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:06 pm

I have an old Kabar J. Bowie that is chrome plated.

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abbazaba
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby abbazaba » Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:08 pm

bearfacedkiller wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:53 am
I think that if you start to get corrosion at the bevel it will work under the plating and then start flaking off. Interested to see what other input we get from those with more knowledge.
This was my first thought as well. Not all chrome plating is equal in quality, but I bet we've all seen some of it flake.

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araneae
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Re: Why don't they chrome plate carbon steel?

Postby araneae » Thu Apr 15, 2021 8:09 pm

LarryInLex wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:05 pm
Image

Marks on the blade are just reflections from some trees. There was no attempt to keep this blade dry - it has been stored in a cardboard sleeve for 57+ years. I wish I looked that good at 57!
It looks like they never put an edge on it...
So many knives, so few pockets... :)
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The "Spirit" of the design does not come through unless used. -Sal


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