3v or A2 Steel

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Bryce Haley, May 11, 2020.

  1. Bryce Haley

    Bryce Haley

    Mar 24, 2020
    Hey guys, so I’ve been looking at some Bark River Knives. They are very beautiful. Is 3v really worth the extra cost over A2 steel? And for anyone who owns a bark river, how do you like it?
  2. Currawong

    Currawong Platinum Member Platinum Member

    May 19, 2012
    A2 is a good steel, but 3V has better edge holding, is much tougher, and is more stain resistant. If you're not pushing the boundaries of the knife, don't mind sharpening, and don't mind cleaning, drying and protecting the steel, then you won't see a meaningful performance bump from 3V over A2. But why not go for 3V?
    patrickguignot likes this.
  3. dimiw1337


    Feb 25, 2019
    i would say its worth it. 3v is a straight upgrade from a2 without any downsides compared to a2!
    Alberta Ed likes this.
  4. KenHash


    Sep 11, 2014
    3V is a CPM powder steel. It will have high edge retention among other things and worth it if you don't mind the higher price. A2 tool steel is a good steel and no one is going to be dissatisfied with it.
  5. H0kieengineer

    H0kieengineer Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 24, 2017
    Their A2 is a solid pick and I haven’t really noticed a difference between it and their 3V. Either is a good pick.
    Alberta Ed and Currawong like this.
  6. Mikael W

    Mikael W Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    I have a BRK Scandi in 3V and a BRK Huntsman in A2. Both are marked as HRC 60 and has thick spines + edgegeometry.
    Both hold an edge in an awesome way and it's very hard for me to tell the difference.

    That means heat-treatment and edgegeometry are more defining than the choice of steel.
    Let's not forget about personal sharpening skills, as this is just as important as the knife itself.

    Jhansenak47, d762nato and Currawong like this.
  7. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    Usually, I'm not willing to pay the 3V premium unless it's a hard use knife that I want good edge retention from. A2 has good edge retention and is plenty tough for most of my uses. For me, most of 3V's benefits, the added toughness, isn't worth the cost when it comes time to sharpen and maintain.
  8. Snacktime


    Aug 18, 2019
    I bought 3v, $50 for better specs on every spectrum of measure. Why buy a nice knife and skip on the steel? Besides you should spend the extra money on the upgraded handle too.

    I am still loving my Lt Wright genesis 3v with micarta handle. All started when looking for a plain fixed blade.
  9. deadzonepatrol


    Apr 11, 2019
    All of my Bark River knives are A2. Never seriously considered getting the upgraded steel 3V. I don't think it's worth paying the extra money. I'm kind of afraid to find out how hard it will be to re-sharpen 3V. Unless you're doing some real heavy duty survival camping, you're not going to notice much difference in performance.

    I love my Bark River knives. They are pricey compared to many other production knives, but they're still great value. I've noticed that some people like to nit-pick about the grinds and the fit n finish. In all fairness, if I look at my knives, they're not 100 percent perfect. They do have some slight imperfections. Nothing significant though. I was very satisfied with the value I got every time. They have designs that no other production company makes. And they have great leather sheaths. I think most of those who are disappointed are those who had unreasonably high expectations, like expecting to receive a high end custom quality fit n finish.
  10. rexromic

    rexromic Gold Member Gold Member

    May 28, 2011
    3V all day!
  11. CVamberbonehead

    CVamberbonehead Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 6, 2017
    All of my Bark River/Blackjacks (except one I ordered today in 154cm!) are A2 and they work great. I dont see the need for better steel for me personally. I dont want to deal with sharpening those super hard steels. A2 is tough and holds a good edge. When it finally dulls, its easy to sharpen. What more could you want? That being said, I havent used 3v, maybe its awesome.
  12. bigsurbob

    bigsurbob Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2016
    A2 is great for a fixed blade. The blade i use most is thin paring knife in A2, and it rules. Excellent steel if you don't mind wiping it down when you're done and applying the occasional oil (things you should do anyway). Apparently 3V is superior but I don't know if the extra dollars are well spent because I don't own a 3V knife.
  13. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    The thing I will say is that you may consider your sharpening method. 3V can be harder to sharpen if you are used to high carbon steels, and getting quick effects with compounds on leather. If you are on the diamond train already, then not as much of a big deal, since you will need to sharpen less anyway. I've not used A2, but I will say that the jump from pretty hard (58-59) 1095 to 60 or so 3V is very noticeable.
  14. Riz!


    May 5, 2014
    Ive had many barkies. My favorite was the aurora. I have it in 3V and A2. The only thing that I liked better about the A2 was the fantastic patina that it developed. It had an almost iridescent gray, blue and purple appearance. It its was easy to touch up, held its edge well and got extremely sharp but it frequently needed touchups when compared to 3V. Mike Stewart (brk owner) can be quoted as saying that CPM 3V is the best all around knife steel for an outdoor use fixed blade.

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