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Old 05-21-2010, 06:14   #1
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Steel Types

Hate for you to be all by yourself over here, so I will ask a question (or two):

Out of all the various steel types available today, which one (in your opininion) find the most "user friendly" in regards to: Keeping an edge, ability to put an edge on in the field, overall durability?

What material do you make your blades from, and why?


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Old 05-21-2010, 06:52   #2
George Tichbourne
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 75
Thanks Steve

The best edge holding knife blade material that I have found is Stellite 6K which is unusual in that it contains no iron but it will hold an edge longer and sharpen easier than any steel on the market, will not rust but has a bad habit of rolling it's edge if abused. I have used it for special knives in the past but sales were poor because of the cost. Last time I heard it was hovering around $200 per lb.

I prefer to make my blades from 440C because it holds an edge well when cryo treated, polishes well and resists rust because of the high chromium content. The other benefit is that it is affordable, about $20 per lb.

There are dozens of other knife blade materials on the market such as S30V, BG42, 19C27 that are harder and work well in folders where the cost is not a concern.

In the industry we have a term, Flavour of the Month, for the latest and most hyped steel in this month's magazines so some makers rush out and purchase that steel and add it to the already large inventory in their shops. Eventually another magazine comes out and the rush is on again.
I prefer to stick with the steel that I have been using for years and has given me excellent service.

George Tichbourne - Custom Knifemaker
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Old 09-13-2010, 00:37   #3
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George, how hard RC can you go with that Stellite 6K before it starts getting brittle and the edge starts chipping or cracking instead of rolling over?
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Old 09-14-2010, 18:16   #4
George Tichbourne
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Well I guess the best answer to the stellite question is to explain that it is an alloy of 50% cobalt, 30% chromium, some nickle, tungsten,vanadium and carbon. The carbon is in the form of vanadium carbides, tungsten carbides and some chromium carbides.

This material comes direct from the foundry as hard as it will ever be and the cobalt is the major component but will not form carbides and as such will not harden......You have to think of it as a chocolate bar (cobalt) full of nuts (the harder carbide structures) and as the cobalt wears away it exposes the carbide crystals which keep on cutting and cutting.

George Tichbourne - Custom Knifemaker
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