Ahhh the age old arguement..
The best knife steel is mainly the steel that the maker has intimate and practical knowledge of its heat treat. Using junk yard and scrap steel is iffy at best as there is no REAL way of knowing the steel type of scrap steel without a spendy analysis and hence the proper heat treat of said type. As for the over all flavor of the steel types its a turkey shoot at best.
A example is this. Take one knife of properly heat treated 5160 and one of properly heat treated say 0-1 steel. The AVERAGE hunter wont beable to tell much differance in the cutting abilitly of either even though one has far more carbon then the other. Make either of those steels with a sloppy heat treat and you will in a aboout a minute.
There is much more to a great blade then the steel. Blade grind, geometry ect has as much to do with and maybe more to do with edge retention and toughness as what steel one uses.
That being said carbon steel properly heat treated will get sharper then a Stainless steel blade of exact same thicknesses and geometries thats the pro for carbon, the pro for stainless being it is more stain RESISTANT then carbon. One other thing i do advise is stay away from steel of the month clubs
Hope this helps
I apprecaite that very much, I am not saying those items couldnt make very servicable knifes at all. Infact the examples given are some of the very steels used in knives.
Hedge Shears are commonly a 10series carbon steel , 1060 to 1070 steel which means its a simple steel with .7 of carbon and does make a fine mid- carbon contented blade
Old Files,Mower blades used to often be W-2, 1095 and have made fine knives. (High carbon steels)
Here is the issue, every steel has a different individual heat treat. AND not all mower blades are 1095, not all truck springs are 5160 and some of these items are simpley mild steel, pot steel ect and without having the steel sent off one can never know which heat treat to use or do as most custom makers have done, make a great blade only to have it not harden. I can make a guess by spark testing as to what a steel is but I`ll not chance your money and my reputation on a guess.
Every steel I use is completely virgin steel and I insist on batch analysis so any small change in the perticular batch I am aware of and ready for. The key to a great steel for a knife is consistancy and the knowledge of the person making it.
Im trying to do my best in my knife making knowledge to pass on some understanding of such to eliminate alot of myths, mysteries and snake oil that has come along with custom and factory knives for the general public.
So if any a questions here im happy to help if i can. Some I have adressed on my website already
There is one tip I have learned over the years in hunting whitetails in late season snow. Do not overlook soybeans left standing on the edges of fence rows, woods, creeks, buildings wherever it might be, this is where the deer will be while the food lasts during late season. December/January will pull deer in from some distance away to feed on the easy to get to food.
I killed one of my nicest bucks off of a very small patch of soybeans that was left after rains created a...