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Steel Snobbery?

Discussion in 'Knives' started by el_murdoque, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. el_murdoque

    el_murdoque Loaded Pockets

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    I'd like to talk about the term 'Steel Snob'.

    My experience so far, with knives that I really have used suggests that I might be a snob.

    I've tried 8cr13mov. Once. That knife was sharp like a razor and the edge was gone halfway through a simple task. Easy to restore, too - but I'd like to manage cutting up a single cardboard box in one go.

    Moving up from there, I've owned knifes made from CTS-BD1 and D2, which were better, but still lacking in terms of edge retention.

    I moved on to N690 which felt a bit better - it took a while until I needed to top it up again and it took the edge quite well - but I broke off the tip of that knife.

    The knives I use now are made from two steels: S35V and S90V.
    The S90V knife is a Manly Wasp. It's the cheapest pocket knife I own and it's the one I have in my pocket when I know I'll do some work where a knife comes in handy. This blade has been chipped when I used it as a screwdriver. It has been sratched when I cut pewter. I've cut carpets and thick, high density rubber pads.
    This blade took everything I threw at it and sliced it, clean and without complaint. I've topped it up with a steel on occasion, and I think I used a wet stone once. It is the most used, most abused blade I own and it easily is the sharpest.

    Is there a difference in steels, even though they are labeled the same?
    The S35V blade I use a lot is a Kizer Zipslip - might it have a lesser quality than a Sebenza, even though both have the same steel?
     
  2. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I get the feeling that the steel starts off the same from the actual manufacturer or the blank stock but then it is worked with when finished in house or for the brand makers into their own finished product.

    So lets say CRK takes the steel to make a Sebenza and shapes and grinds and heat treats it to the specs that they design and when they are done you get a knife made from Crucible brand steel but finished into a Senbenza and one that is uniquely CRK too.

    I dont know this for sure and I dont think that all makers go to the same lengths to be different but I do know that I have owned blades of technically the same steel by designation that just can not be the same finished product steel.

    As an example I feel like the Spydie VG10 is a lot better than almost any other VG10 that I have used.
    I also really like the Benchmade in VG10 but it is very different too I think.

    The AUS8 in the Ontario is amazing in my experience but I have been mostly underwhelmed by it in other brands.

    M4 Steel seems universally great to me but there are differences between Spyderco and Benchmade M4 clearly too?

    And I love the Benchmade D2 knives above others that I have used.

    So I dont know if it is snobbery really and not everyone cares about the differences at all anyway but I like to have tried enough different steel to know what I like though I am sure it is costing me too!

    I mean for me this is part of the fun of the hobby!
     
  3. adnj

    adnj Loaded Pockets

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    You are not a steel snob.

    Some steels are better than others, relatively. Cost is also an issue.

    Other than heat treat and geometry, how you use the blade and how you maintain the blade has a significant impact.

    Toughness, sharpening ease, edge retention, corrosion resistance, shock resistance, and cost are all qualities that one looks for in most blades. Many of those qualities are noncomplimentary. Use the blade steel in the knife made by the company that fits your needs.

    When you become a steel snob, you will be asking how the blade was produced and what manufacturer's steel batch it came from.

    Sent from my LG-V520 using Tapatalk
     
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  4. aicolainen

    aicolainen Loaded Pockets

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    Talking about this is outside my comfort zone. I'm curious enough to read about it, but I'm lacking in personal experience.

    It is certainly possible to make a great steel into a bad performer with sub par heat treat.
    However, I don't think this is a big problem with reputable brands.

    In the other end, it's also possible to get surprisingly good performance from mid tier steels if you nail the heat treat just right. And this is what you often find with custom makers that run small batches and can do fine tuned heat treats that are impossible on a large scale.

    I've also read that some super steels aren't run to their full potential, because taking it up to it's nominal HRC is so much more expensive.

    And then there is edge geometry and blade shape. Obviously all steels doesn't excel in the same applications, so to maximize its potential, it should be used in a knife that will benefit from its properties.

    Or so I've read :D
     
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  5. Wesmanthetiger

    Wesmanthetiger Loaded Pockets

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    I feel like the term "steel snob" is more of the derogatory designation for a certain kind of person that's into knives. If you're focused on the type of Steel, usage, company, Etc, I feel like you're really just into the hobby and there's nothing wrong with that. Where the snobbery come is in is when people attack others for using what they consider inferior Steels and try to make them feel bad about themselves for being proud of owning certain knives. My collection runs the gamut between expensive knives and cheap knives. I have a Spyderco tenacious in 8cr13mov that I literally have pounded through metal using a Crescent wrench (abuse, I know...) With little to no damage yet was mocked on a forum for my steel choice. Knowing the best steel for the job doesn't make you a snob. Ridiculing others for not using what you would is snobbery. I think we all just love our Hobby, and love knives, and because of that we know a lot about them, and that's okay.

    Sent from my LM-G710VM using Tapatalk
     
  6. PhrankKastle

    PhrankKastle Loaded Pockets

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    I only own two steels in my entire knife collection, either ESEE’s 1095 (Candiru, Izula, Izula II, 3,4,5,6). Still need to add the Junglas to my ESEE collection, the other is Bucks 420HC (Buck 110 with me all day everyday, a Vantage and a Spitfire). I use my knives daily and if I’m in the woods they get used and at times I’d say they’ve been abused but those two steels treated by those manufacturers have taken the beating and asked for more. Edge retention has been superb for me and both steels are easy to get back to shaving sharp when needed. In the past I’ve owned blades in D2, S30V and S35V and there’s nothing wrong with them but I honestly don’t feel they offer me anything more other than an increased cost for the higher grade steel.

    This Christmas I will be adding a Buck 112 to the collection which they offer in S30V but I saved 40 bucks and went with the tried and true 420HC.
     
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  7. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    I've had some cheap blades perform and hold their edge better than similar blades with the same grade of steel so heat treatment is certainly a factor here, some companies get that process bang on, some don't I feel.
     
  8. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    My primary users have been Buck, Victorinox, and Spyderco (vg10). No bragging rights here I guess, but good knives nonetheless.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  9. el_murdoque

    el_murdoque Loaded Pockets

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    My S90V blade is by far the cheapest of my EDC knives, that's why it's used and abused - but I still marvel about how it holds an edge through all this.
    But I see there's more to a knife blade than the steel used - of course there can be a huge difference between the rod of steel and the finished product, even if two companies get the same quality of raw material.
    You live and learn.
     
  10. Lateck

    Lateck Loaded Pockets

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    I always have felt the "steel" isn't that important. But, I have a number of quality knives with more than "regular" steel. (Elmax, CPM-1V, 3V, 154, D2, A2, S35-VN, 20CV, H-1, LC200N, 8CR13MOV, 8Cr14MoV, Etc.)

    As long as the steel is hard, it really doesn't matter to me. If I like the knife that's my justification for the steel.
    Yes, I do know that different steels perform better at certain tasks but most likely I'll never have to really test that theory
     
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  11. HeadOffice

    HeadOffice Loaded Pockets

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    I have luxury steel blades (M4, etc.) and hard use dailies (D2, Aus 8, etc.). Since I got a Wicked Edge Pro (Gen 3 I believe) I can sharpen them at any time so I don't care if they lose an edge - they get a new one straight away...
     
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  12. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    "...I might be snob.”


    From dictionary.com
    A person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field.

    If you fit this definition, so be it.

    I believe that everyone has developed some expertise in something by the time we reach 30 years of age and that we HAVE some condescending behaviour; overt or otherwise. I see little if any wrong with that.

    Regarding knives, I don’t care if you disdain my choices about the make, model, or blade steel. If it cuts when I need it, I’m satisfied. WHEN it doesn’t, I use my backup. I’ll sharpen the other one later.

    I’ve been in places where those fancy steels are not available, but there are plenty of objects one can use to sharpen a blade.

    When I return to my home environment and return to using my knives with blades made with those premium steels, it makes me disdain how I refuse to subject THEM to the abuses that I subject those knives with the cheap steels.

    THAT behaviour is ALSO snobbery.
     
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  13. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Exactly. How many people say, oh well I carry this and that, and when it fails I still got a $10 Mora in my backpack. I used to be one of those people. But when you think about it, why do you rely on such an expensive knife, but feel the need to carry a backup a fraction of the cost? Because it is a status symbol. I know that there is a lot of crap out there, but there are some decent makers that would give the high end guys a run for their money. A fool and his money and all that...

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G973F met Tapatalk
     
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  14. ThaMac

    ThaMac Loaded Pockets

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    Let’s say I thought a while before bringing in my 0.02 USD. First of all, a long time ago I’ve been learning a lot about those topics, as I am a mechanical engineer. Though at the same time I will of course admit, that I never worked in the field. So far for the prelude. Whatever follows are my opinions (of course) and I am still just a layman, as I am very aware.
    Steel, every steel IMHO, carries its possibilities and therefore as well its maximum capabilities. Heat treatment and therefore hardness (surface and core) have to be right and compliment things like cutting angle, grind, bevel, secondary bevel and so on. And together they have to be right for the application. Meaning, it’s from importance what and how you want to cut. There, we have four factors: material of the knife, treatment, cutting edge geometry, and material to be cut.
    Material, treatment, and geometry are influencing the price. Material? Well sure. Treatment? Proper treatment takes not only time but good, precise equipment which influences the price. Geometry? It’s not only about the design of the geometry, some of it takes longer and better equipment to produce. All goes into the price.
    As a customer i have certain possibilities. As every steel carries its maximum abilities, the choice of steel influences the best I can expect. As for the treatment, I have to rely on the experience of the maker. What I can do though, do my homework and snoop around on the internet. Who is well known to be able to work with certain materials. No guarantee, but a good guess. Same is for geometry.
    Now we have the fourth factor. What do I want to cut. Next to all those quantifiable factors, there is more. And heck, don’t we know it. How often am I willing to sharpen? How much do I want to spend? And — here we go — what is my opinion about it. This is, IMHO, the major factor. If someone wants to call me snob for my opinion, have at it. I am a big boy with a serious job and a good income, I want to (want to!) buy myself nice things. Therefore I go for materials with the best possibilities, from well established makers. If needed I beat my knives around as much as want. They can take it and I don’t buy bling, but high quality.
    Sometimes I think that some(!) of the accusations of being a snob are as well going back to “sour grapes”. If someone buys a 35 USD knife, they’ll have a reason for it. Plus, the market, each market, has its players, fields, niches, and so on. If you wanna buy a Benz, for whatever reason, do it. If you wanna buy a Skoda, or a Toyota, or a Buick, or a Ford, do it.
    Why is it so important what others buy or have?


    Austria est imperare orbi universou
     
    #14 ThaMac, Dec 28, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
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  15. MORT

    MORT Loaded Pockets

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    I, on the other hand, am a steel slob. If I like a knife, I don't care the steel, I put an edge on it until I'm annoyed with it or come across a new knife I like, and the cycle starts again. That's my take on the issue, I'm sure someone will tell me how ignorant I am.
     
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  16. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Nope. Not ignorant. Just happy I guess?

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G973F met Tapatalk
     
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  17. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    Was in a fecal-orifice country a few months ago doing some research. Was about to cut something using my issued fixed-blade. You know, the one with the
    well-known name, decent steel, appropriated grind, likely adequate heat treating and all the other premium characteristics that are discussed in several forums like this one.

    Our guide stopped me before I could use that knife and suggested that I SAVE it for delicate tasks. That knife is stout and 7 inches long.

    He handed me something that resembled an elongated meat cleaver. Musta weighed about three pounds and had tire tread for a handle. I actually saw another being made out of a truck suspension leaf spring.

    I used it for everything from cutting that something that I mentioned earlier; along with various other tasks including food prep.

    That so-called “rugged” issue fixed-blade never saw any usage but caught the eye of our guide. I gifted it to him before I left the area.

    I returned the one that he loaned to me. He said that he will have a bigger, better one made for me when I return.
     
  18. tbzbbt

    tbzbbt Loaded Pockets

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    Take an interest in the construction and the materials of your knives and form a view shaped by your experience. The problems come if you claim your opinion or subjective experience as fact; and take umbrage when others have different experience. Your use-cases may also be completely different from others. Be concious of focusing too much on the gear itself rather than what you can achieve with it. There lies madness.

    tbzbbt
     
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  19. Evil D

    Evil D Loaded Pockets

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    There's a fine line between snobbery and being an aficionado. I like Sal Glesser's saying "all good, just different" because almost every steel has good qualities, it just depends on what your preferences and needs are. It's only when you start seeing steels as lesser or inferior that you become a bit snobby.
     
  20. ThaMac

    ThaMac Loaded Pockets

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    I would disagree here. Some steels are lesser and/or inferior. That’s a question of material composition and development over centuries. If it wouldn’t be that way, there would not be new steels on the market. We wouldn’t even have stainless steel.


    Austria est imperare orbi universo