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WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2363
Favorite hunting knife..

Romey,
Everyone involved in making and selling these blades may tell you that stainless does not hold an edge as well as carbon steel, but my experience has been the exact opposite. I agree that you can put a devil of a sharp edge on carbon steel that you can never get on a stainless blade. The big problem is trying to get a keen edge on stainless. Stainless just never gets as sharp (in my experience), but it is harder than traditional carbon steel and it's edge does outlast the older carbon steel edges once you get a good edge on them. The makers and sellers will tell you whatever they need to in order to sell their product. Don't step in the bull. Not meant to argue, just conveying my own personal experience. All in all I do appreciate traditional carbon tool steel blades and find their edges (if properly heat treated and tempered) to be completely utilitarian. After all, carbon steel is all the old timers had to work with, and those older knives held up with excellence.

Don't go by what you've been told or read about. Go by what you know and have experienced. An old evil early 20th century Russian dictator once said: "a lie told often becomes truth". It's no different today. I see a lot of this in the media, magazines and the internet. There is soooo much misinformation out there.

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Location: Montana
Joined: 10/24/2006
Posts: 448
Favorite hunting knife..

Western Hunter,
I am a custom knife maker and when I post I don’t post here to sell or make a sale of any knife, in fact I hang around here for the hunting chat as I am a avid hunter and big game guide. Its just when the subject of knives come up I tend to show a little interest as am sure you can understand. I did not make the post to give an opinion, as what I said IS scientific fact of metallurgy. There are many steels and all have their proper use and intention. In the knife making world I am somewhat known for high performance knives. i.e. things that hold a edge better then average knives and due to such I have had to study metallurgy to a fair degree to know what I know and I am still learning and discovering daily new and different approaches to this. That being said ill try to not take offense that you claim I am full of bull because as said I don’t post here to make sale, I have plenty and a backlog.
At rate your quote” Stainless just never gets as sharp (in my experience), (exactly my point and this is due to the make up of most carbon steel)

But it is harder than traditional carbon steel (not necessarily as Rockwell is Rockwell is Rockwell. Some companies do make up for lack of carbon purposely making it harder and more brittle as a result)

And its edge does outlast the older carbon steel edges once you get a good edge on them." (Last part is conjecture and your opinion)
So much more make up edge retention then type of steel, edge geometry, edge thickness ECT. It’s a combination of many things.
If you are making your statements from factory stainless steel and factory carbon blades you will run a gamut of different results and steel type doesn’t matter for edge retention as assembly line heatreat is NOT a super critically controlled process. In fact one is more apt to find differences in knives factory or custom due to heatreat then they steel type.
Ever had the same make and model of knife and both retain an edge differently? I have.
If your broad statement was correct there would be NO carbon knives made at all, if stainless did what carbon does, hands down I would stitch and study that steel and never look back at carbon, but the fact is it doesn’t. Am not saying stainless steel is bad, everything has its place and use. Many times I have customers I know don’t upkeep their blades like they should and they patina or something, easily fixed but those customers are the type stainless was made for.
A great example of carbons/stainless debate would be wood workers and wood chisels as well as leather workers. They absolutely need the sharpest most edge retentive blades possible for their work to come out as it does. To my knowledge not a single company that makes those tools, custom or factory uses stainless steel. That is not a coincidence.
The everyday Hunter rarely would use their hunting knife the amount and on the type of materials that I test my knives for or that some say wood workers or leather workers use in their work so all in all a carbon / Stainless steel debate is somewhat of a moot point as both steels will skin a cat.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2363
Favorite hunting knife..

Romey,
My comment about "Bull" certainly was not directed at you. Really I meant no offense at all. I was not aware that you are a custom knife maker when I made my last post.

All I have stated is my experience with the two types of steel. However I do agree that heat treatment and tempering varies greatly from common factory knives when compared to high end custom handmade knives. And as you've stated, there are many variables that will affect the longevity of a sharp edge. My experience with stainless has been with fairly wide ranges, both low end to high end knives. My experience with carbon has been with mid range to higher range knives.

My comment about sellers and marketers in general holds true. You can sell dog poop to anyone if you market it correctly and cleverly. Marketing departments within companies know this. I've seen it many times. The high end makers of stainless blades will tell you that their's are superior and vise versa. Not saying that you do this, as it sound to me like you put a lot of work, skill, and knowledge into making a fine product. But I know in general that companies BS all the time about their product. Like I've said, one must go by what he/she has learned from experience and come to know rather than what they've simply been told by others or read about somewhere. If you say that your knives hold a better and longer edge than any stainless blade then who am I to argue. You know your product and put a great deal of skill and knowlege into it, and there's nothing at all wrong with that in my book. Maybe one day I'll have enough extra cash to buy one of your fine knives, but right now I need another knife like I need a kick in the shins, so I gotta make due with what I have now.

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Location: Montana
Joined: 10/24/2006
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Favorite hunting knife..
WesternHunter wrote:
Romey,
My comment about "Bull" certainly was not directed at you. Really I meant no offense at all. I was not aware that you are a custom knife maker when I made my last post.

(I had a notion this was the case but I still wanted to make it clear that I do not post here to make a sale, though time to time I may show a picture of something extra I have for sale. I completely agree there is ALOT of BS in all sales industries and knife making is no exception and can even be the rule! Pick up any Blade magazine or Knives illustrated, its AD start to finish including the articles. One good example is a gentleman from Wyoming who is a great salesman but his knives are sub par for what he speaks and even more sub par compared some factory knives trouble is he writes it and ppl listen!! He will tell you all day long how he can stab through a car door and cut through X amount of rope. To that I say, so will a railroad spike and a saw.)Parlor tricks are what they are its that simple. I have driven a blade edge first into a steel welding table for a demo and drop it tip first from shoulder height to show edge retention and proper heat treat, no parlor tricks to that and ill do it on a finished knife much to the customers horror but i figure if it broke or don’t something in a way that damaged it then I wouldn’t want to sell it anyway and have my name attached to it)

All I have stated is my experience with the two types of steel. However I do agree that heat treatment and tempering varies greatly from common factory knives when compared to high end custom handmade knives. And as you've stated, there are many variables that will affect the longevity of a sharp edge. My experience with stainless has been with fairly wide ranges, both low end to high end knives. My experience with carbon has been with mid range to higher range knives.
If you say that your knives hold a better and longer edge than any stainless blade then who am I to argue. You know your product and put a great deal of skill and knowlege into it, and there's nothing at all wrong with that in my book.

( I stated carbon blades hold better then stainless, inparticualr higher carbon blades, I dont mean junk made from a chevy truck spring although they arent BAD if done right. I am one to let others opinions speak for my stuff and they praise much better then I could myself)

Maybe one day I'll have enough extra cash to buy one of your fine knives, but right now I need another knife like I need a kick in the shins, so I gotta make due with what I have now.

I have contemplated making another give away knife, I have done this regionally to let ppl test them and abuse them to their will and in return ask for a honest opinion, keeps me informed and honest. Maybe you’d be a good candidate for this.
I personally test ever 5th blade to near destruction and record what I did and how it performed, Every other knife I make I put through a rigorous cutting test which I make very public and goes with that knife if and when sold.
In another thread on this forum I actually posted a cutting result so if you look around you’d find it. In a round about way I posted it thinking the folks involved with the thread may test their super duper factory knife against it, if so I didn’t hear a result.
I apologize if i came of over sensitive as well, I had just woke up from a fairly intense hunt with a guy I didn’t care for as a customer so that may have affected my fuse level. I would though be interested in continuing the thread and possible I could give a more in-depth reason why each steel performs like it does and its uses and reasoning behind them.
I really would stress reading the articles on my site that i wrote (links page) and my opinions page.

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Location: austin and amarillo texas
Joined: 07/21/2007
Posts: 195
Favorite hunting knife..

I've got a couple of cold steel blades that I absolutely love. I think that they are probably some of the strongest, most durable, and sharpest knives available (really keep their edge). Of course, they are extremely expensive if you buy the nicer models (they use three types or strengths of steel on certain parts of the knives). You can go to their website and watch those guys cut the crap out of a bunch of different types of junk... very entertaining. Strangely, the prices listed on their website are substantially higher than the prices you can get at other knife outlets or online stores. Think

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Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1566
Favorite hunting knife..

Romey,
You wouldn't know a fine knife if you stepped on one neener! . Mabe you could send me one to Test for you? Evil!

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Location: Montana
Joined: 10/24/2006
Posts: 448
Favorite hunting knife..

Thumbs up Funny!! Never know may happen,infact if i made fillet knives youd probably be one id send too!

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Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 07/08/2007
Posts: 325
Knives

Romey, Thanks for the info. and the links. Very nice work.

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Location: Montana
Joined: 10/24/2006
Posts: 448
Favorite hunting knife..

Your very welcome.

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Joined: 08/26/2005
Posts: 46
Favorite hunting knife..

I have a Schrade Old Timer 6-OT+ folder, which is a stainless steel knife. My dad bought it for me when I was 10 years old. I t has been with me every year in the woods since he got it for me for Christmas back in 1991. It has skinned many deer, rabbit, and squirrel, but since Schrade has quit making knives, I am gonna retire it this year and keep it in my knife collection for my boys when they are older. I got a new Leatherman Wave I use for EDC which has both a straight edge knife, and a serrated edge knife, both made of 420HC stainless steel, which is the same metal used on a Buck 110 Folder. The straight edge, I sharpened using an Aransas oil stone. My father in law gave me a hint of what to use for sharpening a serrated knife. He told me he uses a 3/32 welding stick with the flux pulled off of it. He said doing that actually put a better bite into his knife that it did when it came out of the factory. He said dont go nuts with it. Just a few passes through between the teeth will bring back its sharp edge. My serrated edge came from the factory just fine from the factory, but the straight edge was sharp, but a tad rough. roughly ten passes on each side on the oil stone brought it to a smooth, sharp edge. I had also heard about a man who was a carpenter, who used his serrated knife while cutting carpet, and after a year of cutting alot of carpet, it was just starting to get dull, he said he used the same procedure with the welding stick. About ten passes on each section, and that ran the back down a leather strop to remove and burrs. Me, personally, after sharpening my knives on the oil stone, I put the stone in the case, and use the back of the leather case for my stone as kind of a strop. Believe it or not but it works. When me knife startes to get a little dull, I will run it on the back of the stone case. Only when it wont hold an edge anymore is when I take the stone to it. This cuts down on the wearing of the blade. My grandfather gave me his old case pocket knife he carried since the 50's, and the blades are dark of course (Chrome vanadium blades), but not much wear on the blades, because when it started to dull, he would strop them. Sorry about babbling on, but I hope it helps.

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