Companies need to start issuing verified third-party HRC tests.

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Comeuppance, Jun 27, 2019.

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  1. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    I looked at the data. A lot of those are showing yellow, even though the reading is only off by 0.3. Two freshly calibrated Rockwell testers that have been calibrated to two different standard bars, both of which standard bars traceable to the national standard, are only guaranteed to agree with one another by ±1.0 point. So a difference of "0.3" or even "0.5" is actually not a difference.

    I would be interested in the pedigree of the tester being used for that. The one I used was maintained in calibration using standards traceable to the national standard. Those standards are expensive.
    miso2, craytab, Mecha and 4 others like this.
  2. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    Say what you want. I'm looking for a manufacturer that knows how to do there own R&D and testing. Not a show knife company who is content with a basic standard.
    marrenmiller likes this.
  3. Banter 247

    Banter 247

    Feb 22, 2019
    To provide context, Mo2 saw an IG reply from Lionsteel, which they later deleted, in which the person running their feed specifically stated that “you can’t take M390 over 60hrc”, based on what he/she saw on the data sheet, indicating that this person was unfamiliar with the subject. It’s highly unlikely that their social media person/team is involved with ht, of course.

    They’ve had a few fumbles in social media activity and through direct communication.

    My personal view is this:

    I try to only go off best available data. I can’t comment on what they do or do not know, or about their specific process.

    What I know is: 3/3 samples hit low.

    Different models, made at different times. Very small sample size.

    Is it enough to draw a hard or large scale conclusion? Not at all.

    It certainly indicates that a deeper look might be a good thing.
  4. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    If you think that the vast majority of companies are using some super secret heat treat that they developed in hidden laboratories I have some bad news.
    BigKurtHaze and Mecha like this.
  5. Banter 247

    Banter 247

    Feb 22, 2019
    The person who was doing the testing isn’t the person maintaining the sheet, and those yellows are kind of an asterisk, for exactly the reason you suggest. I think you would get along well with the tester. He’d call out a +/- of .5 as a reasonable variance for reporting purposes, and the machine is well maintained, and calibrated every 90 days.
  6. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    A lot of folks are not going to realize that. They won't take time to read the sheet. I would argue that unless the difference is 1 or greater, it should have been marked green.
    craytab, CWB3 and Mecha like this.
  7. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    I think the vast majority of companies from the results are at 58hrc give or take. And I believe it would be idea to ht them to a level above that of the performance of s30v being its said to be the premium steel in the lineup of most manufacturers. Hence 60-62 would be more idea.
    AmosPaul likes this.
  8. Banter 247

    Banter 247

    Feb 22, 2019
    The suggestion has merit. I’ll pass it along to David.
    AmosPaul likes this.
  9. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    I could always provide an alternate service; verified 3rd party Rune castings of the heat treatment.
    As an advantage, I don't even have to have the knife in my possession, lowering costs. ;)

    Plus, it would introduce a whole new level of argument potential, as people try to figure out what combinations of Runes equal what HRC reading. :D
    Mecha, craytab and Insipid Moniker like this.
  10. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    My personal methodology of knife steel hardness and it’s value is fairly simple and it hasn’t cost me an arm or a fortune. I have found that the easier it is to sharpen the easier it is to get dull and the harder to sharpen the harder it is to dull it, plus or minus my technical skill and alertness while sharpening. Lol. I know you get what you pay for but Just because a knife is priced at $500+ doesn’t mean it will always perform as advertised or even worth half the price and maybe less.

    I think the hardness is only a factor in the formula not the sum and relative at best. There are too many variables that can have an effect upon the performance including individual usage.

    I also believe that a company that would purposely mislead or falsify their product specs will weed themselves out because of poor performance of an inferior product no matter the price even if it’s cheap, if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to you payed to much. Marketing can be like a double edge sword without mercy in customer satisfaction and lack of return customers, if they don’t correct it, eventually they will die.
  11. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    I've got 65,000 knives to test. What's the cost? :D
    palonej likes this.
  12. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    You might suggest that he add another color level.
    Blue = greater than
    Green= meets spec
    Yellow= below spec, but within limits of measurement technique
    Red= Clearly out of spec.
    CWB3 and craytab like this.
  13. Mrs_Esterhouse


    Apr 9, 2019
    Companies could batch test HCR more frequently, and instead of throwing away the tested blades with the divet, they could sell them at a premium. For Spyderco, imagine a limited line in every model called 'Spyderco Rockwells' where they sell their HRC tested blades and include an HRC card with serial number at a $25 premium. I would buy it over the regular model.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
    Mo2 likes this.
  14. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    ...and not a single one of them a bigass titanium sword at HRc 51.8...

    craytab, palonej, danbot and 2 others like this.
  15. Banter 247

    Banter 247

    Feb 22, 2019
    That’s a great suggestion, knarfeng.
  16. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    I can offer group discounts for sure. :D
    I do accept payment in knives...:thumbsup:
    craytab and palonej like this.
  17. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    My boys were each gifted a Steel Warrior slipjoint for Xmas one year. They each had the little HRC sticker on a blade.

    Great teaching moment that was, to explain that "Tested to Rockwell 58" was fine, as long as the steel they were using was effective at that hardness. When the oldest asked "What kind of steel is it?", I answered with a wink and a "Aha!"

    But they used the knives as boys do. They whittled marshmallow sticks, cut rats nests of fishing line off their reels, probably carved their initials in something they shouldn't have.

    And herein was the lesson I hoped they both got. As long as your tool works for you, there's no use in nerding out over spec numbers.

    If your tool doesn't work for you, then toss it and get one that does.
    orangejoe35, Natlek and Lesknife like this.
  18. Comeuppance

    Comeuppance Fixed Blade EDC Emisssary

    Jan 12, 2013
    Yes, most people would be fine with just about any knife, but most people aren't being directly marketed to through the use of powder metallurgy.

    Nobody here is saying that softly-treated knives are unusable, but I would suspect most of us would be annoyed to find we had spent $200+ on an M390 knife only to discover that the heat treatment was so bad that a $100 VG-10 knife would have better edge retention. I don't think it's "nerding out over spec numbers" to be interested in getting a product that matches what you are looking for; people spend more money on knives to get proportional (up to a point) improvements in material and build quality.

    The bottom line is this: Many companies choose to advertise Rockwell hardness, thus they are making a claim about their product that adds value. If characteristics and materials are advertised and included into the cost of the product, the manufacturer is obligated to provide a product that matches their description.
    Pomsbz, AmosPaul and marrenmiller like this.
  19. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    I get you, Comeuppance, I sincerely do.

    I get that what is advertised should be what is delivered. I get that what has potential is what should be realized.

    What I mean by "no use in nerding out over specs" is that we're probably getting what we paid for 98% of the time.

    I'm not trying to be contrarian to your OP. I'm tossing out a perspective from a regular ol' consumer.

    And I'm not your run of the mill regular ol' consumer.
  20. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    It has been often shown that "Trust, but Verify" would be one wonderful way to go, prior to purchase.
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