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Thread: Blade types (steels)

  1. #1

    Blade types (steels)

    After trying a custom knife recently it suprised me how and why anyone using a blade for gralloch/butchery would want to use anything but stainless.
    I don't intend to understand steels but I do understand hygine issues.
    rust, pitting and staining of blades has got to be a no no.
    Stainless maybe harder to put an edge on but can be sharpend.
    The whole point of us going through the point of a gralloch is to put food on the table.
    Yes I know its been hit with lead, yes i know its dropped onto the ground but the point is to minimise contamination.
    Stainless has to be the way forward.
    when i asked why stainless was not used it was said it is a dearer blank and harder to work. if you are having a knife built and paying for its design then is cost the issue? you are having it built aren't you.
    my experience with the last knife has opened my eyes alot and i will from now on when doing a dsc2 stalk take great care to notice what the blade used is made off and note this in a candidates portpholio (I always have asked plenty of questions about this but never really looked at what steel is used more about handle etc and that the blade is clean).
    My knife I think is moly chrome steel/stainless, i can gralloch x4 deer in a day and can still shave the back of my arm afterwards.
    keeping the edge away from bones is the trick and learn how to sharpen it to start with.
    I would like to hear what you all have to say so i can make my mind up better.
    thanks john

  2. #2
    I started with a stainless mora.
    Sharpen it with Laanski system then polish the burr off, which is nearly always created when sharpening a stainless blade, using a leather strop. Razor sharp and stays that way for several grallochs.
    Now I use an EKA swingblade which is brilliant and holds a very sharp edge using the method above
    Below is a link to my website.
    Quad sticks

  3. #3
    There's plenty of good stainless steels mate, i think they're just harder to source, for me anyway. Got a knife for the BDS underway that's in 12c27 stainless for the very reason you stated, Hygiene. Your carbon steels are just as good, if not better for taking an edge, but are more work to look after ie. keep from going rusty. Especially for those that don't think about cleaning their knives after a long day out stalking and all they want to do is clean up and get the heed doon! Uncle Buck started a good thread about forcing a Patina onto carbon steel blades, well worth a look if you've got one.

    You could liken it to the guy with a stainless synthetic rifle who's been out stalking on a wet evening, he put's his moist rifle in the car to drive home knowing it'll be fine, but the guy with a nicely blued rifle is driving home worrying about it rusting up in the back.
    Owning a gun or knife and not using it, is akin to not sleeping with your girlfriend to keep her neat and tidy for the next bloke.

  4. #4
    Personally (from a food hygiene point of view) what is far more important how the knife is disinfected/sterilised between uses. If you ever go to an abattoir the knives are kept in boilers and each time one is used for any sort of contaminated job the knife is swapped for a sterile one and the dirty knife is washed then placed in the steriliser. If anyone thinks they can 'sterilise' a knife with any equipment you could possible carry stalking you are mistaken.

    We use carbon steel scalpel blades for surgery - but they come single packed and are disposed of after use. Carbon steel perfectly acceptable in both human and veterinary medicine in that context.

    My view would be a disinfected or sterilised knife in good condition is far more important than the material it is made from. You could argue that if you own an expensive carbon steel blade that will rust you will take better care of it than a stainless one you can wipe on your sleeve and forget about!

    Re keeping them sharp - cutting the skin from the inside out (once you have broken flesh) will really help keep the edge. Grit and dirt in the coat blunts quickly (as does hitting bone).

  5. #5
    I'm not sure what extra benefit in terms of hygiene you foresee with a stainless blade over a well looked after carbon steel blade. Both can have micro scratches in the surface, which might harbour harmful bacteria. Blade staining indicates a chemical change to the steel, but as long as there is no loose rust or similar there is no additional risk of contamination.

    On the other hand, a carbon steel blade is easier to sharpen, and if the right steel is chosen can hold an edge far better. Also, if you are choosing a cheap knife, the MORA stainless blades are woefully thin and weak, whereas the carbon steel blades are good and thick, and very strong.

    Of course, if you are having a bespoke knife made, then the steel you choose can be tailored. Remember that a carbon steel can be shaped, filed and initially sharpened before being heat treated to improve hardness and edge retention. Many stainless compositions cannot be hardened by heat treating, so all work must be done on a much harder material, with huge additional effort and time required.

    Each has their place. Some stainless compositions are good for knife blades, others aren't. A good knife maker will be able to recommend the correct steel for what you need to achieve, but stainless is not inherently better, or safer, than a carbon steel blade that is well looked after.

  6. #6
    A lot of hand made knives are made from 01 tool steel, cheap, easy to work and takes a good edge. Rusts though. RWL 34 is used too, more expensive, harder and takes a great edge, stainless too. I have owned knives out of both steels by very good makers, some were works of art but for my thinking something like a Fallkniven F1 is ideal, stainless, great edge retention, kraton handle, zytel sheath. You pay your money....

  7. #7
    thanks for the replies lads.
    I think in my case been out twice a day every day then in the larder, my 2 main rifles are both sako stainless for ease of use/cleaning and easy to keep its looks, my knives need to be the same, an everyday tool to be used after the rifle has.

  8. #8
    Hey John, I rekon if you clean the Knife between gralloch's (sterile wipe) you should'nt encounter any hygiene issue's.

    I for one have used a Mora (carbon) which I find, if looked after properly will do just fine.

    That's not to say I don't use other knives!! I really find it hard to believe a stalker would only carry one Knife.

    Atb, Buck.
    Last edited by Uncle Buck; 17-11-2011 at 00:36.
    "let him without sin cast the first stone"

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Buck View Post
    Hey John, I rekon if you clean the Knife between gralloch's (sterile wipe) you should'nt encounter any hygiene issue's.

    I for one have used a Mora (carbon) which I find, if looked after properly will do just fine.

    That's not to say I don't use other knives!! I really find it hard to beleive a stalker would only carry one Knife.

    Atb, Buck.
    the knife which raised the problems was a hand made 01 carbon sent to me for evaluation.
    I gralloched a doe on sunday and wiped the blade with the same type of wipes I used on my hands back at the truck and replaced it back in my bum bag. went to get it out on monday to gralloch another doe and it was red rust. in a day after been cleaned with a sterile wipe. My onw knife a stainless is 4 year old and looks like new and gets dishwashered every few days.
    keep the carbons for me.
    p.s. I carry a buck folder as a spare and also have a small kershaw on my keyring which has gralloched a few deer.(both also stainless and sharp). There is also a blade never used on my multi tool.
    Last edited by www.yorkshireroestalking.; 17-11-2011 at 07:26.

  10. #10
    Well you can't say fairer than that John, to each their own eh!

    Atb, Buck.
    "let him without sin cast the first stone"

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