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Non stainless steels, why?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Mrs_Esterhouse, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    ZDP is technically stainless by most definitions, 20% chromium. It just stains and rusts a lot more easily than most because most of it turns into chromium carbides because of the insane amount of carbon in it.
    Lapedog and marrenmiller like this.
  2. kvaughn

    kvaughn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    For me, it's what I grew up with. Carbon steel traditionals.--KV
    Lapedog likes this.
  3. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Saying "tool steels/carbon steels have exact equals" but in stainless steels is like saying everyone should just eat McDonald's cheeseburgers only because they're food and all food is fuel.
  4. Mrs_Esterhouse


    Apr 9, 2019
    Well, that settles it for me; stainless is the way to go. I have no issues with sharpening XHP. I wouldn't call it difficult by any means.

    What would everyone recommend for a stainless that holds a keen razor edge for a long time but not so much a working edge once the razor edge dulls?
  5. marrenmiller

    marrenmiller Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 6, 2017
    I don't think that many properly heat treated steels are going to hold a razor edge for noticeably different amounts of time. If I want something that's easy to get sharp and keep sharp, though, I'd go for AEB-L.
    Mrs_Esterhouse and NapalmCheese like this.
  6. Cosmodragoon


    Jan 1, 2019
    "Stainless" doesn't mean "stain proof" or "rust proof". There is a whole spectrum of corrosion resistance. Corrosion resistance is one property among a few to consider when choosing a knife steel.
    LuckyC and afishhunter like this.
  7. McFeeli


    Feb 13, 2017
    I think you have one of the better steels for that already, CTS-XHP. It won’t hold an edge as long as M390, but it does takes a pretty keen edge without issue. I actually think XHP preforms similarly to some carbon steels. If edge holding is more important M390/204p/20CV are all an improvement. I feel that you can get a keener edge from XHP, but like I said it won’t hold it as long as the three I listed above.
    4mer_FMF and Mrs_Esterhouse like this.
  8. WillB

    WillB Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    All things being equal, that sums up my position too. There are times where say one steel may be more appropriate for a specific use than another, but I think most people make an overly big deal about corrosion, and even edge retention.
    Edgeoflife and willc like this.
  9. DJC72

    DJC72 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    CTS-XHP holds a great edge, I sharpened this steel alongside S35vn (60-61 rc) one day. Xhp took slightly more effort to sharpen and I did notice it. From my understanding Xhp does not have a lot of free chromium. It’s not overly stainless, if that’s what your after.
    Lapedog likes this.
  10. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    If there’s ever a stainless that matches performance of my top non-stainless blades, I’ll gladly retire my others. So far, none have come close.
    That’s why.
    Vanax is supposed to be the next big promise..... but I have doubts.
    willc and Lapedog like this.
  11. Mrs_Esterhouse


    Apr 9, 2019
    Your non stainless steels simply stay sharper longer, or is there some other performance feature you're referring to?
  12. fielder


    Jan 25, 2011
    I really want to try aeb-l Stainless, easy to sharpen and very tough.
    Alsharif and DeadboxHero like this.
  13. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Triple B Handmade Knives, Big Brown Bear

    Mar 22, 2014
    Vanax is balance my friend, it depends on the context.

    Vanax is the S30v/Elmax that people have always wanted.
    Something that doesn't rust, doesn't chip, has good wear resistance and is easy to sharpen.

    PM Carbon tool steels in the 4V, 10v range can run harder and cut longer but will never be as easy to maintain as Vanax to the common man.

    If Vanax was a handgun cartridge it would be 9mm +P+

    More performance at higher cost than 9mm yet more versatile and still able to appeal to a wider audience with more applications and less trade offs than more powerful rounds.

    One should like the High alloy, PM Carbon tool steels if they like more performance at higher trade off.

    Those steels are more like .44mag, .454 casull

    More powerful,but not going to be best for all applications or users. Just dudes that are into firepower put it will take more prerequisites to truly appreciate.

    Everything depends on context.

    So Vanax is a great steel.
    Eli Chaps likes this.
  14. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    Much longer due to less rolling, chipping, or both.

    On vanax,
    Glad to hear it doesn’t have crack issues, but I’ll have to see for myself.
    If it’s significantly limited by hardness, then it partially suffers the same as other stainless steels. It won’t have the edge strength I am used to.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  15. Mrs_Esterhouse


    Apr 9, 2019
    I'm mostly a Spyderco person, but so far they have released very little in M390/204P; nothing in Vanax. They keep pumping out VG10 and S30V for like 95% of their production and it's frustrating as hell.
  16. Lapedog

    Lapedog Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2016
    Carbon steels tend to be tougher than stainless steels. That toughness allows for a more stable edge which can help lower the chance the edge will roll.

    So carbon steels are especially better for larger knives that you may be chopping with.

    Those high carbide stainless steels tend to be less tough. So even though their edge will last longer doing jobs like cutting cardboard; harder materials can easily roll the edge.
    ATJ999 and DocJD like this.
  17. dirc


    Jan 31, 2018
    this is why they invented a skrama, in 80crv2, (basically 1080 simple carbon steel with extra vanadium and lower impurities of sulfur), which just makes for some amazingly tough hard use tools - : )

  18. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    I'm mostly a Spyderco person too, for a few reasons.
    I hear you on the vg10 and s30v, but if it wasn't for them, there'd be no maxamet, rex45, k390, 4v, 52100, hap40, and very little m4 and zdp189 in folder form, all affordably offered to the average person, although the average knife user will never buy any.

    If it wasn't for what I subject my knives to at my job (which requires many forms of knife use), I could mostly get along with vg10 and s30v, although I wouldn't want to knowing what I do.

    What @Lapedog said too with a couple corrections, if I may. Toughness resists cracking, strength resists rolling.
    These two things mostly determine edge stability.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  19. KenHash

    KenHash Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Correct. Patinas are not valued here in Japan. Carbon steel knives are simply wiped down after each use, and that is normally sufficient to keep any sign of rust developing. Rust erasers etc are for knives that have missed proper care or to eliminate the developing patina.
    Processing fish, and contact with salt water has been going on worldwide for a very long time before stainless blades became widespread. Even the US Navy MKII MKIII knives were carbon. And I am sure I am not alone in having rust spots develop sometimes on "stainless" knives that have not been taken care of. Flitz and Simichrome are my favorites, never had a chance to try the highly recommended BKF. Yet anyway.
    Hurrul likes this.
  20. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Triple B Handmade Knives, Big Brown Bear

    Mar 22, 2014
    I used to use flitz.

    After BKF there is no going back. :D

    Flitz seems to be just for polish and luster.
    BKF is a lot less work.


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