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The 3 Best Knife Steels According To Science! || THE Knife Steel Nerd Guide To Knife Steels.

Apr 10, 2024
How are you doing, guys? We have something special. We're in Idaho right now with knives, obviously, and it just so happens that Dr. Lauren Thomas, who if you don't know, is the creator of Magna Cut and I'm just going to say

knife

theft prevention expert, thank you, that feels fair, he's written a couple of books, runs an awesome website called Knife Steel

nerd

s and we couldn't be here without sitting down and talking about something nice related. I went ahead and asked him the stupid question of what the three

best

knife

heists are. Many knife enthusiasts end up comparing knives within a specific category.
the 3 best knife steels according to science the knife steel nerd guide to knife steels
You know they are comparing like s30v and m390 and there are small differences between them, but in reality it is like comparing the Honda Civic to the Toyota Corolla as if they were the same type of product and debating them as if, there are pros and cons, but there are no big differences between these robberies, it's not like a Lamborghini and a Toyota or whatever, yeah, where are you going. I see notable categorical differences, yes, because some robos are like a Hummer and others are like a Lamborghini or maybe even a Formula One racer. I like to talk about

steel

s in categories.
the 3 best knife steels according to science the knife steel nerd guide to knife steels

More Interesting Facts About,

the 3 best knife steels according to science the knife steel nerd guide to knife steels...

You know, if you want to try a new

steel

, you'll see it bigger. The differences if you move to a different category instead of just moving to a new flavor of the same category gives you categories that we can talk about would be like high toughness, a balanced steel and a high wear resistance steel, so If we stick with the high hardness stainless

steels

it would be things like aebl and 14c 28n so they are made in Sweden originally and they were developed for razors so they made them to have super fine microstructures so they could take really sharp edges to shave well because you know razors have to be super sharp or you're going to feel really uncomfortable under a microscope, you don't want a bunch of jagged edges there, just and say it's going to break your face, so the edges are so thin and so sharp that you need a fine microstructure, which gives those

steels

really good hardness and really fine edges.
the 3 best knife steels according to science the knife steel nerd guide to knife steels
In fact, you can use them for a wide range of things. You can use a strong steel and a cutter and you can also use it on a knife that you are probably going to use. Heat treat them differently you know you're going to get a little bit lower hardness for the cutter and a higher hardness because you only need that strength for a really thin edge or it'll be rolling so it's a 14c 28n high tenacity steel that It has most of the properties. of abl, but they use nitrogen and modified the rest of the composition to get a little more corrosion resistance, so in many ways 14c 28n is an improvement on the previous aebl and 13c26, like the balance offerings, is can be used in a wide range of Applications really depend on the edge geometry and heat treatment at this time, a high wear resistance is not that versatile, surprisingly, even though it is high in the toughness category and not very high in wear resistance if you have a really thin edge and it's tall. hardness heat treatment, you can get a really good cut with those knives, some people even prefer them because you can tie them very easily, they can work very well, so I'm a fan of those offerings I've been into for years, some of the The first things I wrote were from my dad's website about aebl because at the time people looked at the composition and said oh this is like 440a which is a really old school rip off that has been used in Factory Knife for decades forever and at this point. its reputation isn't very good so people would say oh abl that's rubbish it has the same carbon content as 440a but its design is different and these swedish companies you know they have that processing optimized for razors so Which is just a world apart, you know? really fine high toughness microstructure, so those are my favorite steels in high toughness category, so moving on to balanced, I used to recommend CPM 154 and s35vn, so they are stainless steels for powder metallurgy and they have good balanced properties, but I developed the Magna cut and I now recommend it in the balance category and of course I've been called, you know, biased for recommending this, but sue me.
the 3 best knife steels according to science the knife steel nerd guide to knife steels
I believe in my own product, you know, so I don't think there's anything wrong with it and I would do it. Say you like it. I said at the beginning that it's really no exaggeration. I truly believe that you are the expert right now doing the work on Knife World, showing what is done and you have been doing it for years before developing your own. so I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that you got the pudding test right and then you were able to create a new flavor that was able to take some of your favorite elements correctly and it's like a chef came up with a new dish based on a classic dish and he says: I think this is the

best

dish.
I think the dishes are at least worth trying and I think the industry agrees Magna cuts well and I use a variety of standardized tests so that I can compare steals without bias, yeah, so you know, in some categories I expected it to be a little better than it ended up and in others, like corrosion resistance, especially, I was aiming for a seven or eight out of ten and instead hit a nine or ten. out of ten and I would have known it without having an unbiased test, so sometimes people tell me I'm attacking my Steel 2 low.
Yeah, you know, the initial test on Magna Cut has been excellent across the industry and I'm like, well, I guess I think it stays there, you know, so I'm not going to say it's something it's not. I love it so the Magna cut has great rebound properties. It can be heat treated up to 64 or 65 if you are heat treating it in small batches for a custom knife maker or you can make it softer for more hardness, it just depends on what you are looking for. You know, it can be used for quite large knives. I've seen guys making competition Choppers with it, which you know, are big, beefy knives.
I have to take a lot of abuse and maintain a very sharp edge for those competition things, yes, yes, even very thin kitchen knives and it seems to work well in the different types of applications, so the Magna cuts. It's done very well, you know, I'm very proud of it, it's been incredible. Now you had two labels in that balance category. Do you think the Magna cut just fills the category or do you think there is another steel in there that cpm154 still has? a place especially for custom knives, the reason is that Magna cuts s 30 vs 35vn, they all have vanadium and niobium carbides, which you would say, what does that have to do with anything exactly?
They have greater hardness, those hard particles in steel. conventional abrasives, so if you buy typical sandpaper, you're going to have a hard time getting a great finish on these steels, so those carbides improve the properties of the steel and you get a better balance between toughness and wear resistance, but you've done something which is more difficult to finish. hand, so custom knife makers often send me messages like, do you know how these things are finished? and I'm sorry, you know there's no easy answer, there's some tips and tricks, but it's not going to be that easy and that's just the trade-off, so you know, everything is a trade-off, well, I know even here at Buck they've developed some things in Magna cut, they have some interesting things that are one of the reasons we are here and even talk.
With these guys a few months ago when we were here, they mentioned that they were like, yeah, Magna cut like it took us a second to figure out how to use this thing or how to finish it or even a big company. there is a learning curve, some knife companies will have a lot of steels, since we are at Buck we won't mention them by name but yes some companies are known for using many different steels and as a customer you are simply okay great, I have a lot of options, but they have to make little logistical changes for each one of those thefts, they can't just put the same steel in the same process and it comes out exactly the same, yeah, so it's not that this or that steel is not tested or whatever, but you have to solve the logistical problems in the process for each model, yes, each steel that you are using, yes, and that is why I do not blame any company for being like us.
We're only going to use 154 cm and we're going to continue to use it, yes, because as long as they continue to sell, that will save you money, you know, it costs these companies money to offer you this variety. Yeah, sure, moving to our third category, so yeah, road resistance that gives you high edge retention, especially when cutting, so the lower your wear resistance, the easier it is for that edge to wear down and becomes more and more opaque, you know, if you think about a perfect triangle that becomes more and more round. As it wears, you may also lose an edge due to chipping or rolling.
Those are other mechanisms, but if you have the right geometry for the type of cut you're making, you should really lose your edge to where if you're losing your edge from chipping or rolling, you need to be more obtuse at your correct angle and this is one great consideration not only considering the correct steels you are using, but also the way an edge is finished and the sharpening that is done on a knife. They are really important to the performance of particular seals in particular situations, so the edge geometry is actually more important than the steel and it is more important than the heat treatment.
The geometry of the edge is actually more important than the steel and it is more important than the heat treatment, so if you want to increase the performance of your knife you simply sharpen it differently, so take it to a sharper angle and just start to cut things and then if you get a roll or a splinter the way you're using this knife, back off a little bit. of knife enthusiasts don't understand the ability they have to improve the performance of their own knives. I work all day, every day, to optimize steel choice and heat treatment, and I admit that edge geometry is more important than both.
I love it but obviously we want to optimize all three of course yeah you know you have optimization on all three you're going to have the best performing tool which brings us to yes so finally we'll get to the high end s90v retaining steels and s110v. They are also powder metallurgical steels, they have a high vanadium content and all those vanadium carbides give them really high wear resistance. The s110v has better corrosion resistance than the s90v, but it has a little worse resistance than the s90b, so those are my two favorites on that. category and yes, that really high vanadium content gives them excellent serum resistance, well, not only has it been fun to immerse myself in a world that I understand, I mean, I read your book with as much understanding as I can.
I'm not an engineer, right? I've enjoyed the website for years, but I also love hearing your opinions and I love hearing this Edge philosophy or this Edge reality that you're talking about. I think it's amazing, yes you can read more in my book we are going to publish the book now blade engineering so blade engineering there are whole chapters on edge geometry where I show the effect of edge geometry for example CPM 154. I mentioned which is in the balanced category, but if you only go 10 degrees sharper I forgot the exact number you'll have to look up in the book, yes it will outperform the s90v, you know, 10 degrees more obtuse, that's the big difference it can make.
I also did some Edge impact testing where I did 15 degrees per side. and 25 degrees per side I think with the 15 degrees per side it was amazing that you would drop this rod and you would impact and just give it a little Tink and then you look at the knife and it's just mangled, you know there's a big old splinter coming out of it, which is another aside when you press something like if you were cutting a hard material like hardwood or brass it's a pretty slow application of stress but if you make an impact the behavior changes.
That's why you can see amazing tests on YouTube where they cut really hard things and you're like, "This steel isn't even that strong and it makes this amazing cut, but if you give it a little bump, then it works." It would be really bad, right, but at 25 degrees, you know, I would have to like put my arm all the way up, it was a pendulum, yeah, and then I would hit it and then it would get like a little wave on the edge, so we both on the area. of rolling, chopping and also cutting, you know, this is an important balance, so I love it, so read knife engineering if you want to learn more.
I love this whole knife steel

nerd

thing Lauren's been doing, it's not her day to day thing. work, he's not a steel scientist, that's what he does, so we're talking about testing and stuff. with steel, which is amazing, yes, I have a PhD in metallurgical engineering. I did my PhD on steel and I work for a steel research facility that develops new automotive steels, soI have all the credentials you can get. I feel completely confident saying wonderful expert hey, well, thank you so much for taking the time, I really appreciate it and guys, thank you so much for tuning into this.
I hope you learned something that I know I have and am very excited about. I enjoyed the first book. No. I haven't read the second book yet, but I enjoyed the first book. I joined the website. Be sure to check out the links in the description. See you in the next one.

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