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Thread: Knife steel

  1. #1

    Knife steel

    When choosing a knife what do you look for in terms of the steel used for the blade. Some knives seem to stay sharp for many deer where others could do with being sharpened almost before a single deer is finished. What angle do you feel is the best for a good work knife that will keep an edge long enough for a few deer.


  2. #2
    20 degrees
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  3. #3
    The knife i have just had made for me uses 01 tool steel, good high carbon steel. Needs care to keep it in good nick, but holds an edge

  4. #4
    Agree on about 20 degrees - on a mid price point knife I would be happy with AUS-8 Japanese steel or 12C27 Sandvik steel & use a DMT Diamond kit to constantly hone the same angle. for quality stalking & shooting accessories

  5. #5
    I'll give Dougster a prod - he'll put it much better than I.

    As with most things, comes back to a set of circumstances and what we really want from our blade. 20-25 degrees is a good guide, but much depends upon the type of metal, how it is treated and what shape gets us to that edge angle.

    01 tool steel is popular and fills a good role. The debate regards food hygiene will carry on, but bottom line is a clean blade is a clean blade.

    Hardness - within 'treatment' heading above - is a balancing act. All else being equal, a harder steel will hold an edge longer. But with hardness comes the risk of being brittle. For a working field knife a super hard edge risks chipping more easily. Hardness can also impact ease of sharpening. Trying to sharpen a RC 65 steel on a RC56 abrasive is going to be a long, long, long process!

    Shape - design can put more or less metal behind the edge and affect the way cut material moves away from the same. Flat type Scandi grinds are great wood shavers and tend to be easy to sharpen - you lay the flat on your stone etc. But that edge has very little metal behind it. It will fold readily and with harder metals chip very easily. In a workshop now issue - easy to sharpen. In the field with three carcases to work through, not so easy.

    Variations on full flat- hollow grind put that bit more steel behind the edge - there is simply more metal acting in support.

    This goes right through to Convex - which maximises the metal immediately behind the edge and is my personal favourite.

    So step one when looking for a knife is to see what the retailer/ manufacturer tell you about the points above. If they dont consider making the steel, profile and hardness readily available in the blurb, it calls into question how much thought they've given to it. No absolutes here, because a number of good blades dont make these details easy to find.

    Many who are 'scared' ( sorry - very poor choice of word, but brain just not firing at moment ) of sharpening go for very hard steels - like Buck - because they hold edges so long. BUT - they then abuse that and hold off sharpening as long as they can - creating an even bigger problem come sharpening time.

    Very good argument to get a cheaper knife - Mora if what I said above hasn't put you off Scandi grind or Cold Steel Pendleton Lite ( Hollow Ground ) - practise sharpening and once confident 'progress' to more expensive options. Inverted commas because many are quite happy with either of those choices forever!

    Clear in your mind what a good cutting edge actually is and try to hone/polish the edge 20-60 times for every time you actually sharpen it by removing substantial material through an abrasive. A little and often with a steel will work wonders and massively extend blade life and your enjoyment of it.
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  6. #6
    If it is new - then use the edge grind that is already on it - tilt the knife until it sits on the bevel and go from there.

    If it is well gone, send it to me and I'll send it back sharp.

    I'm currently in discussions with someone to bring a kit.

    I personally have some 01 kitchen knives, they have a lot of character, but they are easy to maintain in the house. My stalking knife is RWL 34 with stabilised wooden handles - very forgiving, but there are many out there that will work well.

  7. #7
    thanks for taking the time for your response it gives me a lot to go on


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