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Knife Steels

Discussion in 'Knives' started by paustin, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. paustin

    paustin Loaded Pockets

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    How come companies like benchmade and spyderco can offer a quality product with good blade steels like 154CM, SV30, D2, ZDP189 and other great steels when others can't or won't. These companies offer quality blades with these steels and still very affordable between $60-$100, and companies like SOG and Blackhawk sell their blades for this price and use stuff like AUS 8 and other cheap steels.
     
  2. jda

    jda Loaded Pockets

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    hype sells but then again so does quality so idk
     
  3. cardoso5fr

    cardoso5fr Loaded Pockets

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    Cheap steel don't mean bad quality steel.

    An old steel as 440C can be a very good stainless steel if it's well heat treat, and it can be also the worst thing if the heat treatment is bad.

    Spyderco and Benchmade used the AUS6 or AUS8 (taiwan steel) for the begin of the brand, now they changed that type of steel for something more hype.

    That is symply a question of brand position and choice of the material. The very high tech steel for steel geek are sometimes very hard to sharpen and to keep sharp if you're don't have the right tool and knowledge to keep them in good use condition.

    Some Brand prefer probably to make tool with very easy steel to keep in good condition for everybody without a lot of experimentation.

    And the hype steel need good knowledge and very expensive equipment to heat treat them correctly, they prefer maybe to use steel they have mastered to obtain the best result possible.

    That is simply some way to explore, i don't have the "truth" , Spyderco, benchmade, SOG.... All are great brand and i'm sure all the choice they do are very think about.
     
  4. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    AUS8 is far from cheap junk. Originally from Japan, it has an American twin; 440B.

    When you buy a stainless steel Randall Made knife, you're buying 440B.

    A brand with such a legendary reputation to live up to isn't going to use cheap junk on the stainless steel versions of the knives that carry the Randall name.
     
  5. cardoso5fr

    cardoso5fr Loaded Pockets

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    I believed AUS was steel from Taiwan. I was maybe mistaken.
     
  6. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    I see your point paustin. Since the steels you refer ARE lower cost than more exotic, higher cost, blade materials, how come the perceived price disparities? Good point. Any takers?
     
  7. cardoso5fr

    cardoso5fr Loaded Pockets

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    The steel is not 100% of the knife price.
    I'm not able to speak about the price of the great company as Spyderco or Benchmade, but i can speak about what i do.

    For example for a simple friction folder in G10 with a 3" blade that i would sell more or less 100 euros (137 usd) (i will sold the knife the same price with all the three steel)

    If i use a steel as xc75 (more or less 1075 carbon tool steel), the cost of the steel will be more or less 2 euros (3 usd).
    If i use a steel as 90MCV8 (O2), the cost will be 3 euros (4 usd)
    If i use a steel as 110WCRV5 (O7 or Aogami Super Blue Steel), the cost will be more or less 3,5 euros (4,7 usd)

    I know all these are simply tool steel and not very high teck stainless steel. But but as you be able to discover, that is not the steel cost that will make the knife price.

    That is not a lot different with the stainless steel. (i simplify the number but that is more or less the cost of the steel i could find in france)

    For a sheet from 1000x38x3 mm in RWL 34 the cost will be 60 euros TTC
    For a sheet more or less the same size in 440 C the cost will be 20 euros TTC.

    In that sheet, you would be able to make more or less 10 folder blade.
    In RWL 34 your blade will cost 6 euros (8,14 usd) (high tech steel)
    In 440 C the blade will cost 2 euros. (3 usd) (old good stainless steel)

    The heat treatment for the two steel will ask more or less the same even, and the same time of work.

    The cost of the rough material is far to make the cost of a knife.

    5 usd of difference between the two....

    There are a lot of point to take to make the knife price, the material is one, but the human cost, the R&D, the advertisement, the tool invest......, various licence..... the sanding belt, the tungsten milling tool, the drill bit....
    For me the material is far to be what it make the price of a knife.
     
  8. echo63

    echo63 Loaded Pockets

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    this adds to the price a bit - more wear resistant the steel the quicker the tooling is going to wear, raising the costs slightly.
     
  9. cardoso5fr

    cardoso5fr Loaded Pockets

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    Yes you're right. With the human cost, i think it's an important part of the price, but more or less all the stainless steel are quite wear resistant. (there are some exception as ZDP 189, Talonite, Stellite, Niolox which are really "stronger" than other). I'm far to be a specialist of Stainless steel, i use only carbon steel. That is only what i read :D
    I think to have read that S90V and S30V (for example) are pained to grind (for a custom knifemaker), for a robot, that could be easier, but in all the situation the good ceramic belt are very expensive (but efficient ;)).
     
  10. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge Loaded Pockets

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    A knife is more than its steel, correct answer, /end thread :) :)

    On top of that, I think it's easy for knife fans to think that the strength of the product line is the only thing that makes or breaks a knife company. The truth is, companies like Spyderco and Benchmade are using sophisticated and modern management principles to gain competitive advantage. From leveraging the right amount of debt, to setting the best amount of time to extend credit to accounts receivable, to leveraging currency and supply/demand fluctuations to buy the right amount of raw materials at the right time (but not too much, inventory costs money!), to refining their manufacturing processes using any number of modern practices ... excelling at these things allows a company to deliver a product at a better price than its competitors, or at higher margin than its competitors, or a little of both. Companies like Spyderco, from what I can tell, are lean and optimizied; they're not run at the sophistication of Coke or Honda, but they are far more sophisticated and smartly-run than you might think.

    Joe
     
  11. cardoso5fr

    cardoso5fr Loaded Pockets

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  12. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    Streamlined? I take it?