CTS-204P and ELMAX

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elena86
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CTS-204P and ELMAX

Postby elena86 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:32 pm

I have to chose between a Para2 in CTS-204P and one in ELMAX.I allready own one in M390(blueG10) but I never used it(it is my safe queen).So I have no experience with these steels.For those who know a thing or two about steels,what can you tell me ? I don't need theory I just need to know how these steels perform in real life.Thanx

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LC Kid
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Postby LC Kid » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:44 pm

Hi elena86!


I own and regularly use those three, and if I have to rate them considering Edge Retention / Hardness / Ease of Sharp it would be:

1. M390 - Absolute fantastic steel, it's on my All Time Top 5.
:cool: 2. CTS-204P - Awesome steel with outstanding performance, really good choice for a Work / EDC blade. :) 3. Elmax - It's a Medium-To-Low performance steel in my scale. In my opinion it doesn't worth a penny over any good tempered S30V / S35V. :rolleyes:
Stay Sharp!

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Blerv
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Postby Blerv » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:44 pm

It's really all theory since most real-world differences are going to be difficult to track without an spreadsheet (to say the least) on the higher carbon offerings.

In terms of rough spectrums...as I understand:

Toughness: Elmax > CTS-204p and M390
Wear Resistance: CTS-204p > Elmax

Of course, on average with similar hardening approaches and assuming each is cutting ideal materials to prevent massive chipping.

Edit: fixed a couple things I had turned around :o .

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Postby Ray Allen » Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:39 pm

CTS-204p which I have, out performed M390 by some degree in Jim Ankerson's edge retension testing. Of the three PM2's I have had, it was the only one out of the box that the knife was just flawless in every aspect. Many others have reported theirs being top notch in everyway also. Seems Spyderco just nailed that run.
Cheers...

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Surfingringo
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Postby Surfingringo » Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:42 pm

Here is a plain unscientific answer that many will disagree with.

I would get the elmax. (Or better yet, skip them both and get the plain s30v model) I own the 204p paramilitary...don't love the steel. I have not used spydercos elmax but I've heard it sharpens and wears similar to s30v. I prefer s30v to cts204p and many of the other "super" steels. For me, s30v sharpens up easier and will take a notably finer edge than 204p, s90v, etc. Those steels are great at holding a moderately sharp edge for a long time but that is kind of irrelevant to me. I like to have a hair popping edge on any knife I'm carrying (even if I am using a coarse finish) and I don't mind doing frequent touchups to keep it that way. I find that though these super steels hold a working edge for a long time they lose their fine edge just as fast (if not faster) than some more mundane steels with fewer carbides. I personally like carbon steels and other steels like m4 that will take and hold a very fine edge, even if they don't have near the wear resistance as the "super steels". I'm willing to do a quick daily touchup to keep my knives razor sharp so steels like cts204p are wasted on me. Give me m4 and superblue any day. That's my 2¢

Eta: I want an m4 pm2!! I WANT one! *stomps foot* ;)

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Strong-Dog
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Postby Strong-Dog » Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:58 pm

I know it's not politically correct, but I'm just gonna say what everyone else is thinking here. Elmax is crap. Now hold on, don't hang me yet. It is crap for what you are paying, and for what you hear about it and expect from it. Maybe it is all just HT issues, but my friend has a Diskin and I'm not fond of it in there just from his use and me stropping it.
"For a second, I thought I was dead, but when I heard all the noise I knew they were cops. Only cops talk that way. If they had been wiseguys, I wouldn't have heard a thing. I would've been dead."

-Henry Hill

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Blerv
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Postby Blerv » Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:54 pm

Strong-Dog wrote:I know it's not politically correct, but I'm just gonna say what everyone else is thinking here. Elmax is crap. Now hold on, don't hang me yet. It is crap for what you are paying, and for what you hear about it and expect from it. Maybe it is all just HT issues, but my friend has a Diskin and I'm not fond of it in there just from his use and me stropping it.
I don't know if that's political but it is more likely due to his usage and/or your stropping. There are a number of threads that explain stropping can produce similar sharpness to proper stone techniques but will lack edge retention.

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Cheddarnut
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Postby Cheddarnut » Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:59 pm

Strong-Dog wrote:I know it's not politically correct, but I'm just gonna say what everyone else is thinking here. Elmax is crap. Now hold on, don't hang me yet. It is crap for what you are paying, and for what you hear about it and expect from it. Maybe it is all just HT issues, but my friend has a Diskin and I'm not fond of it in there just from his use and me stropping it.
Id say what everyones thinking is "gee, i hope someone with some credibility will chime in in favour of elmax so i can justify buying the bentobox exclusive PM2 without feeling like an @$$hole".
"...is cabbage a better blue than cars that sing?" C.S.

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Postby Cujobob » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:02 pm

Strong-Dog wrote:I know it's not politically correct, but I'm just gonna say what everyone else is thinking here. Elmax is crap. Now hold on, don't hang me yet. It is crap for what you are paying, and for what you hear about it and expect from it. Maybe it is all just HT issues, but my friend has a Diskin and I'm not fond of it in there just from his use and me stropping it.
How Elmax is heat treated makes a huge difference. Spyderco doesn't take it up very high. Cliff Stamp's knife in Elmax from Ferrum Forge tops his charts for edge retention. He was not expecting that, as I recall, based on his previous comments about the steel a year before getting that knife. Elmax, for whatever reason, varies greatly in performance.

CTS 204P and M390 are essentially the same (minor differences, I believe), but one batch could be heat treated differently from another which would account for the greatest difference between them.

If you like a well rounded steel, Elmax is your best bet. For maximum edge retention, go CTS 204P. Elmax will be fairly similar to the standard S30V version though, but it is a limited run so...there's that going for it.

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Postby MacLaren » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:07 pm

Shucks, I'm with surfingringo. S30V is just dandy. It does get sharp as hell too :)
Paul. :usflag

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Cheddarnut
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Postby Cheddarnut » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:09 pm

Whatever there are the fewest of cut the best.
"...is cabbage a better blue than cars that sing?" C.S.

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dbcad
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Postby dbcad » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:28 pm

I don't know any of the steels well :o But I'm inclined to think each has it's own niche given the myriad of variables, edge angle, surface finish, media being cut, blade geometry, ....Any of the other variables that lead to opinion ;)
Charlie

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[CENTER]"Integrity is being good even if no one is watching"[/CENTER]

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tvenuto
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Postby tvenuto » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:35 pm

Composition-wise, Elmax is close to S30V, 204 and M390 are very similar.

Please remember that small differences in edge angle, finishing grit, material being cut, and so on can account for many of the differences people attribute to steel.

They are both high performing stainless steels, and will likely hold up fine in your uses. So, which handle color do you like more? I, for one, like the dark green, so that one.

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Postby Liquid Cobra » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:12 pm

I'll be the first to say buy both!
Most recently acquired: Paramilitary 2 Tanto, YoJUMBO, Swayback, Siren, DLC Yojimbo 2, Native Chief, Shaman S90V, Para 3 LW, Ikuchi, UKPK, Smock, SUBVERT, Amalgam, Para 3 CTS-XHP, Kapara, Paramilitary 2 M390
Grail Paramilitary 2 M390 X 2! ACHIEVED!!

For more of my pictures see my Instagram account.
@liquid_cobra

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Postby cckw » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:19 pm

I have M390 in a custom knife and it's edge retention tops anything I have ever used, so it is my favorite right now. Many people do not like super steels because they are hard to sharpen. With a lower skill level or low patience a person will make a mess of the edge with M390, S90V and etc. but be in love with VG10 or AUS 8.. I would rather spend the time sharpening when I am in the mood to sharpen then get a lot of use before sharpening again. So depending on who you are in this realm makes a difference on what steel to get.

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Surfingringo
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Postby Surfingringo » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:51 pm

I can easily get em all hair whittling but the higher wear resistance take just a bit more time. I just find a very subtle difference when sharpened on the same stone. For example I can get s30v to treetop leg hair off the flats of the mediums. 204p will cleanly shave but won't quite treetop off the mediums. It's an extremely subtle difference (and basically irrelevant to real world usage) but I can tell. So factor that with them taking a bit more time to sharpen and not holding that fine edge any longer than other steels (and less than many) and you've got a steel that's just not that interesting to me. Not trying to convince anyone else. I understand why people love em but they just aren't the best option for the way I use and sharpen my knives.

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Postby Nate » Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:18 pm

Hey Gringo, have you used/sharpened Super Blue enough to have a feel for how well it holds a shaving edge compared to s30v, m4?
:spyder:

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Surfingringo
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Postby Surfingringo » Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:38 pm

Apophis wrote:Hey Gringo, have you used/sharpened Super Blue enough to have a feel for how well it holds a shaving edge compared to s30v, m4?
Hi Nate, I have sharpened and used it a fair bit, but I believe the answer to that question depends on a lot of different factors. First of all "shaving sharp" is a pretty broad term. Are we talking about scrape shaving arm hair, dry shaving face hair, tree topping? Then we have to define what type of material is being cut. Abrasive material and things like fibrous rope are going to dull the edge on superblue fairly quickly.

Here's what I find with superblue. It will reach a very high level of sharpness and it will hold that high level of sharpness through a good bit of light use. By light use I mean kitchen use (like fruits veggies and meats), wood shaving/whittling, etc. So yes, as long as you aren't cutting highly abrasive material, I think that superblue will hold an extreme edge (let's call it hair whittling for lack of a better definition) longer than s30v. On the other hand, s30v will probably hold it's working edge longer.

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Postby Nate » Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:01 pm

Thanks.

I'm usually browsing threads with my phone, so I tend to mostly read and then try to compress everything I want to say too much when I do post, lol.

You got the jist of what I was trying to ask, which was about the "hair whittling" sharpness edge holding. Sounds like there is a noticible difference in light use, but you'd really have to be looking for it to see the difference.
:spyder:

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Strong-Dog
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Postby Strong-Dog » Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:20 pm

Cheddarnut wrote:Id say what everyones thinking is "gee, i hope someone with some credibility will chime in in favour of elmax so i can justify buying the bentobox exclusive PM2 without feeling like an @$$hole".
LOL yeah, you're probably right. I can't justify it though. I haven't bought a new knife in a while, then all of a sudden the M390 full size ritter grip pops up so I HAD to get one. I've literally always wanted a full size grip, in better steel, and the ritter blade just makes it better. Than today a couple S110V CF Natives popped up, so I HAD to get one of those as well. Sigh. Won't be buying another knife for a long time.
"For a second, I thought I was dead, but when I heard all the noise I knew they were cops. Only cops talk that way. If they had been wiseguys, I wouldn't have heard a thing. I would've been dead."

-Henry Hill


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