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Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Comeuppance, Jun 27, 2019.
You'll never know until every knife you own is tested. Do you need to know?
Why would batch testing suffice? How many samples per batch would give you a representative range?
Cryptic. I like that.
Obviously, but where is the scourge of this?
You could always purchase your own hardness tester and pay for it to be professionally calibrated and then do your own testing on all of your knives.
I suggested batch testing because that’s how most products are tested. Cars, food, toys, electronics, etc.
As for representative ranges, I’m not a professional quality control consultant. That’s a whole field of study in itself.
I swear, this thread has basically just become Danbot, Craytab, and Insipid Moniker just being contrarian for the sport of it.
Which, as I recall past threads, makes me wonder why I engaged with the posts to begin with.
What were your previous screen names?
Hardness testing blades is depressing.
You jumped into an ongoing debate on the subject of this hrc madness. It's nothing personal. I think valid concerns have been raised.
I don't think so.
I do think that the knife and metal working industries rely on trust. You trust that your steel supplier is not fudging material certifications and that the steel you have ordered is what you have received. You also trust that your heat treater is doing their job to your specifications. Ultimately, the end user is trusting that they are getting what is advertised by the manufacturer.
Verification by third parties does take place, but we don't really hear about it unless a problem is brought to light.
I'm just pointing out here why I don't think the testing you're suggesting will be at all helpful. A single test, or even a few, is unlikely to consistently catch the outliers that are likely to be the main issue or tell us how frequent those outliers are.
I genuinely like you, but you have a bit of a habit of deciding X is true with, by your own admission, no expertise or hard data backing it up and then getting very frustrated when folks point out the flaws in your idea.
I think knife manufacturers should report in their website (at least) what the hardness range of a particular knife is supposed to be. The reason is simple, if you get one that is very soft, you know you got a dud. Duds would be subject to warranty claims.
The problem is that you almost have to trust what the manufacturers says. The Lionsteel M390 started much of this discussion and simply put if Lionsteel reported their target hardness from the third party heat treat, as a consumer you might be able to judge. Such things will impact whether or not you purchase anything made by them in in the future and that is really significant. With my latest Lionsteel knife, when I start using it, if the edge falls off really fast and needs sharpening after little use, I will be concerned. But I will know when I sharpen it if the HT was reasonable. We are paying a premium for these powder steels used to make knives. The reported hardness should be a reasonable range and should be published information.
A dot and sticker on every knife!
Funny that you would post a Frost Cutlery knife. Certainly not high end. Although the Steel Warrior line has been said to be their better imported product line. I think they are all the same and cut from the same cloth if Chinese made.
Added: Frost doesn't even report what steel they use for the most part.
This I can get behind a lot more strongly. Holding manufacturers to a predicted range and pressuring them to treat blades outside of that range as defective seems like a solid, workable solution.
FWIW, that is what this was supposed to be about from the start. Well, half of it. The other part was to add a data point to edge retention testing to provide added clarity to differences in results.
Imacasa also does control on this 20 dollar field knife.
I work in a highly specialized, extreme tolerance metallurgical field.
From a metrology point of view, Rockwell Hardness Testing is child's play. It's simple and relatively robust. This is not complicated testing and the instruments hold up well with not a lot of drift.
Asking for third-party testing of hardness is, with all due respect, absurd. Your life is placed in the hands of companies like mine all day every day and we do very little third-party testing. That is something only done for development, problem solving, and some kind of special case that our own labs can't handle. Now, we do get independent auditing and accreditation through programs like ISO, IATF and others.
But if you can't trust a pocket knife company to tell you the actual hardness of a blade steel? Well, that's one, a pretty small problem, two, perhaps all you should need to know about that company, and three, maybe a signal to reflect on what you really need out of your knife.
Now, I don't get the animosity and vitriol this topic seems to have cultivated. There's nothing at all wrong with consumers wanting to know that the steel they are buying, likely because they are specifically buying it for that specific steel, has been heat treated to optimize that specific steel for the specific knife design. Education and understanding is a good thing. No one is forcing anyone to make any kind of choice. Digest the info and do with it what you will and that's cool for everyone.
This is all just information. You are free to do with that information what you wish but I scratch my head at attacking the folks providing the information. But then, I also scratch my head at the folks who blindly buy a certain knife just based off the steel's nomenclature.
As I've said before, it should be perfectly reasonable, that if a company is supplying a blade in a very specific steel, to the point of asserting that steel as a selling point, to expect them to deliver it at the optimal condition for that specific steel.
Whether or not the average user will ever notice the difference in the heat treat is only relevant to the extent that it likely points out the folly of these steels in pocket knives for the average user. But, that isn't the point. The point is promoting a steel as a premium product but not offering it in the condition that would justify the promotion.
Then comes the question of how much are the manufacturers really upping the prices based on a certain steel? Since Lionsteel seems to be getting so much attention right now I'll just use them as an example. Yes, they promote the M390 steel, but even if they didn't, how much would the price change? Would I pay ~$120 for a Shuffler in optimally treated M390 over one in optimally treated 420HC? Would I still pay that premium if I knew the steel wasn't at it's optimal hardness? Can the knife's design and other quality considerations carry my decision? Do I need M390, even with spot-on HT? Is that what I really want on a small drop-in-pocket slip joint? Is that really why I'm buying it? The steel? Especially if it isn't at it's best performance? If it was 420HC how much less could I get it for?
All of these things should be questions we ask ourselves when purchasing. None of them are right or wrong. It's just an individual preference and decision. But it's always good to have more information to make that decision.
As for sharpening...Sharpening is about more than time. It's about the erosion of your blade steel and thus the cutting performance and ultimately it's life, at least from performance base. If you sharpen your knife on the bottom of a coffee cup in thirty seconds, I'm not even sure why you're in this discussion. Go you. It can also be about knowing your knife can plow through a day's work without needing any attention. Hardness can be a role in that performance.
Personally, I wish the knife community would just become better educated about steel properties, performance, blade grinds, etc.
Reckon next to no one will read all that but anyway...
I reckon somebody did. Well reasoned and written.