U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

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U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby RamZar » Sun May 29, 2016 2:23 pm

Is it me or do the Japanese-made VG-10/G-10 knives seem way overpriced (MAP prices below) compared to the U.S.-made S30V/G-10 ones?

Made in U.S. with S30V & G-10
  • Military: $155.97
  • Native5 (S35VN): $131.97
  • Para-Military2: $122.97
  • Manix2 XL: $122.97
  • Yojimbo2: $122.97
  • Manix2: $98.97
Made in Japan with VG-10 & G-10
  • Starmate: $199.99
  • Tatanka: $191.97
  • Battlestation: $191.97
  • Roc: $155.97
Last edited by RamZar on Sun May 29, 2016 10:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby JD Spydo » Sun May 29, 2016 3:17 pm

I may be the wrong person to ask that question but I've truly got mixed feelings about the two categories you presented us with. First of all I want it to be known right up front that I like VG-10 for hard use and EDC uses a lot better than I do S30V. And it poses a difficult dichotomy for me because I do tend to have much more of a sentimental liking for the USA made Spyders. And right now my favorite EDC that I've been carrying is my M390 Military model which is a Sprint Run, Golden CO USA Earth model.

But with the not so good results I've had with S30V compared with the consistent, durable, dependable results I've had with VG-10 I much prefer it for daily uses over S30V. I've just had much better edge retention and corrosion resistance with VG-10>>And this is coming from a guy who likes some of Crucible's blade steels a lot ( the makers of S30V). I love S90V, 440V and their version of D-2 along with some of their other blade steels but S30V just doesn't impress me hardly at all.

Again I have a lot of mixed feelings about this comparison because there are many of the GOLDEN, CO USA Earth models I dearly love. But concerning VG-10 blade steel the owners of Spyderco must feel a lot the way I feel because it's been their mainline steel for the Japan made Spyders for quite a few years now and I haven't heard of any plans on changing over to any other blade steel in that line anytime soon>> so that should speak volumes.

Now when it comes to the Golden USA made Spyderco Sprint Runs>> that's another story all together. Because there are a lot of those I like really well that they've used Crucible's blade steels on.

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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby RamZar » Sun May 29, 2016 3:27 pm

Well, the upcoming Japanese-made ATR will have S30V not VG-10. My old Japanese-made ATR from nearly 11 years ago has VG-10.

Personally, I've always preferred Spyderco's S30V over VG-10. Some will argue for one steel over another but that's another story.

A couple of years ago I did a poll in the BF Spyderco forum asking for members' choice of S30V vs. VG-10 and 71% chose S30V: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showt ... V-or-VG-10

Anyway, my question was more directed at price comparison even assuming that S30V and VG-10 are on par.
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby Liquid Cobra » Sun May 29, 2016 3:38 pm

I was always under the impression that Spyderco under charged for their golden models deliberately. Sort of a way to help get people into the market.
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby bearfacedkiller » Sun May 29, 2016 3:41 pm

The Lil' Lum is pretty pricey too...

I guess G10 is expensive in Japan?
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby Mikael Andersson » Sun May 29, 2016 3:43 pm

JD Spydo wrote:I may be the wrong person to ask that question but I've truly got mixed feelings about the two categories you presented us with. First of all I want it to be known right up front that I like VG-10 for hard use and EDC uses a lot better than I do S30V. And it poses a difficult dichotomy for me because I do tend to have much more of a sentimental liking for the USA made Spyders. And right now my favorite EDC that I've been carrying is my M390 Military model which is a Sprint Run, Golden CO USA Earth model.

But with the not so good results I've had with S30V compared with the consistent, durable, dependable results I've had with VG-10 I much prefer it for daily uses over S30V. I've just had much better edge retention and corrosion resistance with VG-10>>And this is coming from a guy who likes some of Crucible's blade steels a lot ( the makers of S30V). I love S90V, 440V and their version of D-2 along with some of their other blade steels but S30V just doesn't impress me hardly at all.

Again I have a lot of mixed feelings about this comparison because there are many of the GOLDEN, CO USA Earth models I dearly love. But concerning VG-10 blade steel the owners of Spyderco must feel a lot the way I feel because it's been their mainline steel for the Japan made Spyders for quite a few years now and I haven't heard of any plans on changing over to any other blade steel in that line anytime soon>> so that should speak volumes.

Now when it comes to the Golden USA made Spyderco Sprint Runs>> that's another story all together. Because there are a lot of those I like really well that they've used Crucible's blade steels on.
Isn't 440V just another name for S60V?

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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby The Deacon » Sun May 29, 2016 3:44 pm

Three of the 4 Japanese models you chose are custom collaborations. That means another mouth to feed, and the probability of low sales volume, which means amortizing development and tooling over a smaller number of knives. The Tatanka is just plain huge, and, while I could be wrong, I doubt that Spyderco expects it to be a barn burner. Those factors, plus the higher labor costs in Japan and shipping, all add up.

All but one of the US models listed is an in house design, most are higher volume pieces, and at least one is sold at an abnormally low markup intentionally.
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby RamZar » Sun May 29, 2016 4:00 pm

The U.S.-made Yojimbo2 is a collaboration with Michael Janich although he has a working capacity at Spyderco.

The prices on the Japanese-made collaborations are on par with the higher quality and more expensive handle materials of Taichung collaborations like Techno and Positron.

There are other Japanese-made VG-10/G-10 that I think are overpriced:

Civilian: $173.97
Police: $149.97
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby RamZar » Sun May 29, 2016 4:11 pm

Mikael Andersson wrote:
JD Spydo wrote:I may be the wrong person to ask that question but I've truly got mixed feelings about the two categories you presented us with. First of all I want it to be known right up front that I like VG-10 for hard use and EDC uses a lot better than I do S30V. And it poses a difficult dichotomy for me because I do tend to have much more of a sentimental liking for the USA made Spyders. And right now my favorite EDC that I've been carrying is my M390 Military model which is a Sprint Run, Golden CO USA Earth model.

But with the not so good results I've had with S30V compared with the consistent, durable, dependable results I've had with VG-10 I much prefer it for daily uses over S30V. I've just had much better edge retention and corrosion resistance with VG-10>>And this is coming from a guy who likes some of Crucible's blade steels a lot ( the makers of S30V). I love S90V, 440V and their version of D-2 along with some of their other blade steels but S30V just doesn't impress me hardly at all.

Again I have a lot of mixed feelings about this comparison because there are many of the GOLDEN, CO USA Earth models I dearly love. But concerning VG-10 blade steel the owners of Spyderco must feel a lot the way I feel because it's been their mainline steel for the Japan made Spyders for quite a few years now and I haven't heard of any plans on changing over to any other blade steel in that line anytime soon>> so that should speak volumes.

Now when it comes to the Golden USA made Spyderco Sprint Runs>> that's another story all together. Because there are a lot of those I like really well that they've used Crucible's blade steels on.
Isn't 440V just another name for S60V?
Yes.

https://www.crucible.com/eselector/prod ... s60vs.html
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby dogrunner » Sun May 29, 2016 9:45 pm

Interesting question -
Not just you because I have had the same reaction for the last few years. Some of the VG10 models, at least, seem a little off in pricing, at least compared to what I am used to thinking of for the admittedly high volume models like Delica and Endura. I have multiples of those (although lately been sticking to just the sprints in interesting steels) and price seems reasonable. But some of the other VG10 models seem on the high side. I think my mindset is calibrated by the Delica and Endura though. The VG10 models you listed are custom collabs or really big chunks of steel, as already noted.
The flip side is the standard PM2, Mili, etc in S30V and now 110V seem like AMAZING bargains!!! And some of the M4 models, including the Bradley collabs are truly bargains - easy decisions if you love M4. No complaints from me on that count. I am going to get a Tatanka one of these days just to experience a folder bigger than many of my fixed blades, but I confess I pass on a lot of the VG10 models because not a big fan of the steel to begin with, and definitely not at the higher prices of some models.

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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby RamZar » Sun May 29, 2016 10:03 pm

The Japanese-made VG-10 models with FRN like Delica and Endura are still priced well.
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby Squawk » Mon May 30, 2016 3:39 am

Well, not to forget that labor costs in Japan are actually pretty high and nearly on par with the US ones. I think that's a main driving factor as well.
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby The Deacon » Mon May 30, 2016 4:14 am

RamZar wrote:The U.S.-made Yojimbo2 is a collaboration with Michael Janich although he has a working capacity at Spyderco.

The prices on the Japanese-made collaborations are on par with the higher quality and more expensive handle materials of Taichung collaborations like Techno and Positron.

There are other Japanese-made VG-10/G-10 that I think are overpriced:

Civilian: $173.97
Police: $149.97
As you noted, Michael Janich works for Spyderco. Not sure whether he gets a percentage or not.

Again, Japanese labor costs are higher that those in the US, and higher yet compared with those in Taiwan. That's one reason most Japanese electronics companies outsource to Taiwan and China nowadays. US models do not have to factor in shipping costs, or a profit for the overseas maker plus a profit for Spyderco. Exchange rates can also be a factor. Spyderco's dollar may be able to buy more in Taiwan than it does in Japan. I also would not be totally surprised if Japanese makers simply tack on a few bucks for the perception that a "Made in Japan" label adds value to a knife.

With the possible exception of the models made in China, Spyderco has never had knives built overseas because it was cheaper. They did it in the beginning because they had no US plant, and there were Japanese makers willing to make knives for them. They continue to do so because, even with the recent expansion, Golden does not have anywhere near the capacity to produce everything Spyderco sells. Outsourcing to a number of makers is a sensible way to do business, it lessens the potential impact one maker's failure can have on Spyderco. Just ask any model railroad enthusiast.

You can either accept Sal's assertion that, with the exception of one or two US models they choose to sell at a lower margin, Spyderco marks up all their knives the same, or not. Either way, the simple solution is not to buy knives you consider overpriced. Like it or not, we are not entitled to get the things we want for the price we're willing to pay.
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby z4vdBt » Mon May 30, 2016 5:47 am

I like that the Japanese Seki City models line up their lettering on the blade very nicely, while the Golden Colorado lettering is all over the map.

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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby RamZar » Mon May 30, 2016 11:11 am

Based on the high price, casual consumers have wondered if these Japanese-made VG-10/G-10 are that much better than the U.S.-made S30V/G-10 ones and I tell them that the quality of the U.S.-made ones are actually better with better materials plus you save a lot of money. I do tell them about high labor costs in Japan and the exchange rate but most are astonished by the big price differential.

I only recommend Japanese-made Spydercos with H-1 to them since it fills a nice niche. Mainly I steer them to either Golden or Taichung models. Taichung has lots of quality folders between $117.57 and 179.97 which incidentally have more expensive materials.
Last edited by RamZar on Mon May 30, 2016 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby BTG » Mon May 30, 2016 11:28 am

I do like my VG10, but of the list given..GOLDEN all day...have close to a hundred off the top list, only one I'm not into is the yojimbo...and only own one off the Japanese list...the Tatanka....own a ton of Streth,Endura,Delica's, D2's, MB's and LB's..just not much Japanese G10.

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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby The Deacon » Mon May 30, 2016 2:11 pm

RamZar wrote:Based on the high price, casual consumers have wondered if these Japanese-made VG-10/G-10 are that much better than the U.S.-made S30V/G-10 ones and I tell them that the quality of the U.S.-made ones are actually better with better materials plus you save a lot of money. I do tell them about high labor costs in Japan and the exchange rate but most are astonished by the big price differential.

I only recommend Japanese-made Spydercos with H-1 to them since it fills a nice niche. Mainly I steer them to either Golden or Taichung models. Taichung has lots of quality folders between $117.57 and 179.97 which incidentally have more expensive materials.
I suppose that's one way of looking at it.

Me, I carry Spydercos that I like and, for better or worse, so far most of those seem to be models Spyderco decided to have made in Japan. Golden only turns out 1 midlock, the Native. It's ok, but I like the Caly 3 better. Taichung's only midlock is the Chaparral. It's a great little knife and I carry one most times when I have to visit beautiful downtown Greenville, but I don't go there very often. Where I live, outside Greenville's city limits, I can carry something larger and almost always do.

As for quality, I think that, to at least some extent, we see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. I've yet to see a US Spyderco that truly impressed me and off-center blades seem to be a constant theme for the Military and PM2. Taichung does an excellent job on screw construction knives and their CNC machining is top-rate. But, so far at least, screw construction knives are all they've done for Spyderco.

Could Taichung or Golden do just as good a job on the FRN Stretch or the new G-10 Stretch 2 as G Sakai, or as good a job on the G-10 Kiwi 4 as Moki? Probably. Would I be just as happy with S30V, S35VN, or XHP as I am with VG-10? Probably, since I have no complaints about my S30V Chaparral, but I don't consider any of them "better" than VG-10. It's a moot point anyway. The reality is, moving production is not an option.

Could Taichung or Golden do just as good a job on something like the original bolstered Kiwis, the bolstered Schempp Persian or Kris, the Micro Dyad, or the prototype bolstered Stretch? I can't say for certain they could not, but neither has produced a smmoth bolstered model to date, so I'm skeptical and would have to see it to believe it. Heck, as great a job as Chris Reeve does on his knives, I doubt he could turn out Kiwis as good as Moki's or Micro Dyads as good as G Sakai's. Let's face it, in terms of fit and finish, there are a lot fewer places to screw up when building a framelock with standoffs than a pinned construction bolster and scales midlock.
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby paladin » Mon May 30, 2016 2:38 pm

The Deacon wrote: Let's face it, in terms of fit and finish, there are a lot fewer places to screw up when building a framelock with standoffs than a pinned construction bolster and scales midlock.
Exactly.

It has been discussed by Eric how relatively simple <loaded phrase, I know ;)> it is to fine tune a knife's final fit & finish on a model like a Native 5.

Go to the 4:00 min mark to the 5:20 mark

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owOZd3G0DBM

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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby bearfacedkiller » Mon May 30, 2016 3:30 pm

The BRG FRN Stretch in ZDP costs a quite a bit less than the Stretch2 with G10 and ZDP. I realize some of the factors influencing this but the price difference is still quite substantial. One has a $200 msrp and one has a $350 msrp. I struggle with understanding that one.
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Re: U.S.-made S30V/G-10 vs. Japanese-made VG-10/G-10

Postby RamZar » Mon May 30, 2016 5:01 pm

bearfacedkiller wrote:The BRG FRN Stretch in ZDP costs a quite a bit less than the Stretch2 with G10 and ZDP. I realize some of the factors influencing this but the price difference is still quite substantial. One has a $200 msrp and one has a $350 msrp. I struggle with understanding that one.
It doesn't compute with me either. Stretch ZDP FRN has a MAP (40% off MSRP) of $120 whereas the Stretch ZDP G-10 has a MAP of $210. That's a 75% increase! Last year I got one of the Stretch ZDP G-10 for $175 (50% off MSRP) and I think even that's a stretch (pun intended)! :)
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