Just how good is CPM S30V?

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Hardbawl
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Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby Hardbawl » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:58 pm

Greetings from North Central Pa.

4 years ago I bought an Endura4 from the Knife Center to replace one that I had lost in the snow. With its VG 10 blade, it has been my only carry knife for 4 years. It served me with absolute satisfaction. It cut everything that got in its way. I even used it to process at least 4 deer, and dozens of grouse and pheasants.

recently I saw copy about the PM2 and its awesome compression lock. The chap at the knife center had one in left hand. Now getting a cutting edge knife in left hand is tough to do. Pun intended. I bought one. Now, they only come in CPM S30V steel. My question is how good is this steel? Now it seems good to me but I have only had it for a couple days. Pickings are slim for us lefties. Your thoughts, Please. Hardbawl

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Evil D
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby Evil D » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:05 pm

It's amazingly average. It really doesn't do anything special or amazing but it's a decent middle of the road steel. You could do far better and far worse.
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby elduderino04 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:14 pm

Greetings fellow lefty! The PM2 will serve you well, it's a fantastic knife. For me, even the standard version is perfectly ergonomic in the left hand, but not everyone agrees with that. If you ever are looking for other left-hand friendly Spydercos, you might also check out the Manix 2 with the ball bearing lock, or the Sage 3 with the bolt action lock. Both are completely ambidexterous. Of course, any of the backlocks are ambi as well.

With regard to your question, EvilD is right on. S30V is perfectly decent. You can easily find steels that outperform it in a given category, but it's fairly well rounded. The one complaint is with some heat treats it can chip easily, and others complain that it might be difficult to get to a very keen edge.

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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby bearfacedkiller » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:19 pm

You should find that it holds an edge a bit longer than the vg10 you have been using. Enjoy your new knife!!!
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JD Spydo
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby JD Spydo » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:34 pm

Personally I far prefer the VG-10 you had previously to owning your S30V Para. I've owned several S30V Spyders and I still own a couple and the only reason I own them is because they never made the DODO and a couple of other models I love in anything but S30V. I've had much better overall luck with VG-10 and I find the edge I can obtain with VG-10 is better for what I use a blade for. I'm not at all saying that S30V is junk or anything like that>> and I'm a fan of many of Crucibles ( S30V's maker) blade steels but the S30V is not one of my favorites.

As much as I dearly love the C-36 Military model I won't own or use one in S30V. You can get the C-36 Military in some great blade steels in the Sprint Runs. As far as I'm concerned I liked the predecessor of S30V which was 440V ( S60V) better than I do S30V. 440V is especially good in Spyderedges IMO. Now this is just my own opinion because S30V has a lot of avid fans but of all of Spyderco's main line, production blade steels I far prefer VG-10.

Now I do very much like S90V which is also made by Crucible but not S30V.

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Wanimator
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby Wanimator » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:06 pm

I've found through being left handed that I prefer a thumb depression of the compression lock to a pointer finger.

S30v is pretty decent. It loses its real fine cutting ability somewhat quickly but it'll maintain a rough shaving edge for awhile. VG-10 is better if you're less skilled or have less of a tolerance for working around the steel to get its full potential.

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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby osprey » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:21 pm

JD Spydo wrote:Personally I far prefer the VG-10 you had previously to owning your S30V Para. I've owned several S30V Spyders and I still own a couple and the only reason I own them is because they never made the DODO and a couple of other models I love in anything but S30V. I've had much better overall luck with VG-10 and I find the edge I can obtain with VG-10 is better for what I use a blade for. I'm not at all saying that S30V is junk or anything like that>> and I'm a fan of many of Crucibles ( S30V's maker) blade steels but the S30V is not one of my favorites.
Agreed 100%. S30V is by all means a good steel but it doesn't add any appeal factor for me. I will still buy knives that use it if it is all they are available in and I like the design (Lil Temperance 3 and D'Allara 3 are the two on my list right now) but VG-10 is far more appealing to me. Admittedly, I am not great at sharpening so I may feel differently after trying a guided system but for now VG-10 is a lot easier for me to get and keep very sharp with my Sharpmaster.

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Surfingringo
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby Surfingringo » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:42 pm

Congrats on the knife hardbawl. S30v is an excellent knife steel (at least it is anywhere other than the world of Spyderco where we have access to the latest and the greatest and anything more than a couple of years old starts to look ho hum. Haha.). It hits a pretty nice sweet spot for me between edge retention and ease of sharpening. I much prefer it to the vg10 you have been using and I think you will find it to hold its working edge longer than vg10. Enjoy.

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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby ZrowsN1s » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:00 pm

I've said this before but bears repeating, S30V would be considered a premium Super Steel in just about any catalog but the Spyderco catalog. There's a reason you see it on $700 customs. It's a better steel than you will find in most production knives. At Spyderco... the bench is deep, and they have a lot of steels that are IMHO better than S30V. But we are comparing Corvettes to McLarens here.
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cabfrank
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby cabfrank » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:26 pm

I think a lot of people still really like S30V. Sal himself recently called it an excellent steel for most users.

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toomzz
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby toomzz » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:38 pm

S30V is an excellent average stainless steel in my own experience. If you like to shine your blades S30V is not the one. I also prefer VG10 cooked in Seki Japan. And, as prefered by JDSpydo, I also love S90V.....

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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby h8speech » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:44 pm

Yeah I think a lot of respondents are steel nerds who are (unconsciously, perhaps) comparing it to steels like S110V, M390 etc.

That's not reasonable, since OP's previous experience is with VG-10.

So hardbawl, S30V keeps an edge longer than VG-10. You won't need to sharpen your PM2 as often as you did your Endura4. Obviously you do know how to sharpen if you've used an Endura as long as you have - what do you use to sharpen? S30V can be a little slow to sharpen on arkansas style stones, but diamond plates cut it easily.

S30V is also maybe a little more brittle than VG-10, but that won't affect you. It mostly turns up as microchipping when guys sharpen it at very low angles like a scalpel. If you're sticking with the factory grind (or anything as low as 15° per side) you will be absolutely fine for all your EDC and animal processing needs.

Neither steel is likely to stain or rust in your usage.

animportant
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby animportant » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:51 pm

It's nothing special...Because Spyderco and other companies uses it so much. Thats why it doesn't get the respect it deserves.

It holds a great edge, it's tough, and very stainless. Sharpening takes effort but doable without a doubt.

If you compare steels by composition you'll see s30v and s35vn are nice materials. Their vanadium content isn't too far off from the exotic m390s and 204ps. It isn't meant to be a super steel, although I think it is one of the best all arounders. S35vn for all intents and purposes might as well be the same. It's easier to machine, slightly more edge stability as it trades some vanadium for niobium, but at the end of the day they are decently high carbide alloys meant to cut without too much chippage. Me like.

fanglekai
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby fanglekai » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:53 pm

S30V from Spyderco is good. The lefty PM2 is awesome. Enjoy it.

Hardbawl
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby Hardbawl » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:19 pm

Thanks, guys, you have been helpful. My VG 10 Endura4 was hard for me to get a good edge when I tried to touch it up on an AG Russell crock stick. The guy at the Knife Center suggested I try some DMT diamond stones. I got the ones that have 2 different grits top and bottom. Using the fine/extra fine one I was soon able to get a hair popping edge that I could "bring back" in a few minutes. Never looked further than that. Now, with the S30V of the PM2 Those DMT diamond stones do the same magic. I have never changed the factory angles. Just kissed them with maybe 10 very light strokes per side with each grit of the sharpener. This is followed by using a home made strop to align the edge. I do this maybe once a week when I take a pipe cleaner to the pocket lint that is collected. Using this routine, my VG10 Endura4 was always "ready to go". If the S30V does as well, we are good. Again, thanks. Hardbawl

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wrdwrght
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby wrdwrght » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:41 pm

I'd say S30V is good-to-excellent in all metrics used to characterize a steel's properties, but not outstanding in any one of those metrics. If that's what average is, I'll take it.

As others have hinted, many of us, myself included (given all the S30V in my accumulation), are compelled to acquire steels that claim to be best in one or just a few metrics simply to learn what is gained and lost.

This compulsion should not be understood to reflect badly on S30V.
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tripscheck'em
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby tripscheck'em » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:35 pm

Hardbawl wrote:Greetings from North Central Pa.

4 years ago I bought an Endura4 from the Knife Center to replace one that I had lost in the snow. With its VG 10 blade, it has been my only carry knife for 4 years. It served me with absolute satisfaction. It cut everything that got in its way. I even used it to process at least 4 deer, and dozens of grouse and pheasants.

recently I saw copy about the PM2 and its awesome compression lock. The chap at the knife center had one in left hand. Now getting a cutting edge knife in left hand is tough to do. Pun intended. I bought one. Now, they only come in CPM S30V steel. My question is how good is this steel? Now it seems good to me but I have only had it for a couple days. Pickings are slim for us lefties. Your thoughts, Please. Hardbawl

Depends on what you're sharpening with and if you intend on repeatedly cutting a *ton* of dense stuff.

I like using a fine (white) ceramic, and for that s30v is more trouble than it's worth, but it also puts up a stiff fight on the medium ceramic too. All vanadium-carbide steels take far longer to sharpen on fine abrasives, generally speaking, and the payoff relative to the work required to get there is small compared to the economy of high chromium steels. s30V also is no tougher than 154cm. The main difference is that the edge will chip where 154cm will roll. This means you need to grind more steel away to get s30v back in working condition.

fyi, I'd much prefer CTS-BD1, 440c, or 154cm in the paramilitary, or even D2.

I did an audit of a printing factory recently, and it occurred to me that s90v would do very well as a blade in that environment where abrasive, thick types of paper and packaging are cut non-stop for hours on end.

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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby feralcomprehension » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:39 pm

wrdwrght wrote:...many of us...are compelled to acquire steels that claim to be best in one or just a few metrics simply to learn what is gained and lost.
Nicely put. Where does that come from?!

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wrdwrght
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Re: Just how good is CPM S30V?

Postby wrdwrght » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:24 pm

feralcomprehension wrote:
wrdwrght wrote:...many of us...are compelled to acquire steels that claim to be best in one or just a few metrics simply to learn what is gained and lost.
Nicely put. Where does that come from?!
The turn of phrase, or the compulsion? :) I recognize the phrase as mine; I can't tell you where the compulsion originates.
“Simplicate and add lightness” - one of Sal’s mentors

-Marc (ATR2, today)


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