ATS-55 era Spyderco Classics

Discussion in 'Spyderco' started by JD Spydo, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    From what I can remember I believe that all of the TOAD models were AUS-8. They were only made from 1999-2002 from what I remember. I never owned a TOAD and its one of the very few out of that "Pre 2005" era that I didn't own at one time. The Spyderedged TOAD model you have pictured I hear is really tough to find. I almost forgot that the Merlin was mainly made with ATS-55. A good friend of mine recently gave me a VG-10 Merlin and I couldn't believe it because I heard that there were less than 500 of those ever made. I also have that LUM Tanto folder you have displayed on the bottom and mine is a exact copy of that one of yours. I even EDC mine every so often. They also tell me if you can find one of those Matriarch models with a Gray handle that was made with ATS-55 that it's really getting rare.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  2. Frotier76


    Dec 14, 2013
    I'm a bit late to the gathering on this thread but I'll go ahead and post.

    Last month I got my hands on a stainless steel handled Harpy in their ATS-55...had been on the prowl for one for a long time as a user(used to have one originally).It was $80 but only had a vague stain on the handle that cleaned right off with a sanitizer wipe and the blade was never used.

    It's just my opinion but I don't think the VG-10 is a progression over ATS-55 at all.The VG-10 seems to sharpen up to a fine edge faster but it's a kitchen knife steel so it should.You won't see ATS-34/154CM,BG-42, or ATS-55 on kitchen cutlery sets because they call for higher edge stability to very abrasive materials.Lots of fine grained steels out there that perform well enough...I couldn't really distinguish Spyderco's AUS-8 from their VG-10 in performance...but I could on that good ol' ATS-55!
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  3. GB940Rookie

    GB940Rookie Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2016
    POLICE SS, my first Spydie. I was so amazed at the quality. The first user knife I ever paid over $100 for. ATS-55 was the most advanced steel that I owned at the time.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
  4. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    I would be the last one to argue with you to say that VG-10 is head and shoulders above ATS-55 because based on my use of both steels over the years I just don't see VG-10 beating out ATS-55 by a wide margin by any standards that I can see.

    I've used both blade steels over the years and I like both VG-10 and ATS-55 about the same with all things considered. It is also a strange anomaly that VG-10 and ATS-55 both make great blade steels for Spyderedged units. And they both are respectable in plain edge as well. I don't rank either one of them as "supersteels" by any means but they are both far from being average or junk for that matter IMO.
  5. tulsamal


    May 14, 1999
    I've been EDC'ing two Spydies for years and years now. I'm right handed, the right hand knife does 95% of my cutting. So that right hand knife changes now and again. Something new comes along and I start carrying that. (It's a Blurple Manix right now.) But the left handed EDC almost never changes. G10 Harpy with ATS-55 fully serrated hawksbill knife. I live in rural OK on 90 acres and "things happen" where you really need to cut this hose or rope or gnarly giant plant in the fence... right now ... the Harpy always pulls it off. Or pulls through it! Really great knife in every way. I was up in Colorado recently visiting family and I stopped at Spyderco and let them touch it up for me. They admired it.
  6. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    I also had an ATS-55, G-10 handled Harpy that got stolen from me:mad: I miss it terribly because it was my serrated companion blade for about 7 years. I'm currently using an ATS-55 Stainless Rescue model for my SE companion blade to my PE M390 Military model. ATS-55 is truly a great blade steel for serrations/Spyderedges. And there were so many great Spyderco models available in that era.
  7. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    Well you've made some great points. Because I'm like you I still like all my ATS-55 Spyderco blades and I'm probably going to keep all of them too. Now I don't exactly share your view on VG-10 because I own a few models made with that steel and I've actually had decent luck with it. But on some models I tend to agree with you and I still like ATS-55 and it has a really nice penetrating edge when sharpened with a Spyderco Ultra-Fine stone. I was doing some cutting with my ATS-55 Dyad using the plain edge clip point blade and it was like cutting with a laser.

    I just wish that there would have been at least one Spyderco fixed blade model in ATS-55. Also like I said earlier I've always thought that ATS-55 is an excellent steel for Spyderedges.

    I've also always found it most interesting that Spyderco was apparently the only USA commercial knife company that used ATS-55. It wasn't a long era in Spyderco history but it is in my opinion one very noteworthy eras in the company's history.
  8. John_0917

    John_0917 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 15, 2014
    Out of curiosity, why was ATS55 dropped?

    Also, why remove most of the Mo when that’s a pretty strong carbide former?
  9. sgt1372

    sgt1372 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 16, 2018
    I guess this is off-topic but I've got a set of "clip it" knives (the ones w/the plastic pocket clips) that I bought in the early 90's. I've got 2 Gen1 Enduras (1 combo and 1 fully serrated ) and a Merlin (serrated hawkbill) The Enduras are marked AUS-8 and the Merlin is marked G).

    Just bought a used plain bladed version of the Gen 1 Endura w/o a steel marking to complete the set (which according to SpydieWiki means that it could be G2, GIN1 or AUS-8) but I still want an AUS-8 marked version to better match the other Enduras.


    The tip of the plan bladed Endura is messed up and I need to send it to Sypderco for reshaping and resharpening but will wait until after Xmas to do that.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  10. Arnikusz


    May 13, 2015
    jstrange likes this.
  11. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    I was told some time back and Sal himself even chimed in on a thread saying that Spyderco tested ATS-55 against VG-10 and the results were that VG-10 won out. Since then VG-10 has been the standard issue steel on most of Spyderco's Japan made folders and on some fixed blades.

    I've used both steels a lot over the years and all I can say is that I like both of them. If there is a model that I want very badly and it would be made from either blade steel I can say that neither one of them would I shy away from.

    Personally the users I still have with ATS-55 are ones I really like to use. Even though it's an older blade steel I still considered it better than what most commercial knife companies use in their mainline models today. There are a lot of big knife companies that to this day still use 440C in many of their top models>>> I would take ATS-55 over 440C any day of the week.
  12. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    Vg10 was originally used in Japanese horticulture knives and was brought to the US cutlery market by spyderco as an improvement over ATS34 & ATS55. Their first knife in VG10, I believe was the Moran, a camping/hunting knife. When VG10 was introduced, Spydeco was using MBS-26 in their kitchen knives.
  13. John_0917

    John_0917 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 15, 2014
    Interesting history, I thought that 55 was somewhat similar to S60V for some reason.

    I wonder why they thought that removing the Mo (a good carbide former) would have any positive effect?
  14. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    Yeah I think you're right about all that. The Moran was the first fixed blade in VG-10 and the C-54 Calypso was the first folder I remember ever being offered in VG-10. Like I've said previously I would be the last one on the planet to disagree with Mr. Glesser because I'm sure they did controlled tests and I'm sure VG-10 won out. But I am willing to bet that it wasn't by a big margin that it won out. Because I still have 4 to 5 of the ATS-55 folders that I still use on occasion and I have no desire to trade them or sell them.

    I still think that ATS-55 is a very respectable blade steel. Even though ATS-55 is discontinued at the Great Spyder Factory I still think it's better than many of the steels that a lot of mainline knife companies use to this day. And it's not the only discontinued blade steel that Spyderco dropped from it's main line up that is superior to many of the blade steels that are used by knife companies that are household names. For instance I've not ever used a Case knife that I thought had better steel than any Spyderco I've used with the possible exception of the older GIN-1 models.

    Also I was always disappointed that they never made a fixed blade with ATS-55. But if they wanted to offer one from left over ATS-55 blade stock I would deeply consider buying it depending on what type of model of fixed blade it was.
  15. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    I believe ATS55 was produced for Spyderco and it was discontinued because it was consumed. VG10 was a "flavor-of-the-year" steel when it came out.
  16. cbrstar

    cbrstar Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 7, 2015
    I was quite surprised to learn ATS-34 is the same as CPM-154. Its weird, and maybe because I don't know enough about steel but I just find CPM154 much more exotic then VG10. But thats the power of marketing.

    Personally I don't like S110V as much as some of the cheaper steels. I've been seeing too many broken blades lately. Was ATS-55 like this where the benefits came with negatives like being too brittle?
  17. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    As far as blades chipping and/or breaking I never had that problem with any of the ATS-55 Spyderco models I ever owned and used. As far as edge retention and overall performance I couldn't see a great gap of difference between ATS-55 or VG-10. I like both of them about equal. The newer supersteels most definitely have their place in the cutlery world but I still maintain that many of these older blade steels are far from being antiquated or just considered sub-standard.

    GIN-1 is one steel that I don't care if I ever use again but there are a few of the older steels I still like and still use.
    cbrstar likes this.
  18. dkolds


    Jul 27, 2013
    I have a lot of old-school Spydercos. It's one of the benefits of being an old knife collector, that is - having collected Spydercos for a long time. My wife says I can take all
    of them to heaven if they are all found on my body blade first. "If you buy one more knife ..." Yikes!
  19. dkolds


    Jul 27, 2013
    Here are all the ATS-55 Spydercos. grin.
    tag "more results" also.
    I have a Police second in that steel. I live near Golden and went to the first several second sales. They had a store called Ironstone and it sold all brands of knives and when they decided get rid of all the non-Spyderco knives they had a sale. Knife heaven!
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
    cbrstar likes this.
  20. Butch

    Butch Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 25, 2003
    92A09831-2146-4E01-9F15-81EBC51C221B.jpeg My Rescue with ATS-55.

Share This Page