SK-5 vs. AUS8A for toughness

Discussion in 'Cold Steel Knives' started by upnorth, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. GrReaper


    Sep 22, 2014
    SK-5 should be tougher than AUS8/AUS8A. (Carbon steel versus stainless. Assuming good heat treats, carbon steel is almost always tougher, if you're not talking about super steels. And AUS8 of course is not a super steel.) But it's a good question, I've never been able to find the Charpy values for SK-5 (or 1075/1080) and ordinary stainless like AUS8 and 440A, B, & C. Would be nice to know the objective values to compare them. For example, how much tougher is SK-5 than AUS8? My guess is probably about twice as tough, but that's just a guess. If anyone has a link to the Charpy values for these common steels, please post them here!
    DocJD likes this.
  2. Mekros


    Jan 3, 2018
    Japanese made AUS8 seems tougher than the chinese SK-5 (20:50" AUS8, 22:36 SK-5)

    maybe is a heat treatment quality issue?
  3. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    It took a lot to break even the SK5 . Way beyond any normal usage . I'd be fairly confident in either one . My Russian is way too rusty to understand more than a few words . I need some subtitles . :cool::thumbsup::thumbsup:
  4. Man with no name

    Man with no name

    Jun 24, 2015
    Wasn't long ago SRK's and Recon Tantos were available in Aus8, VG1, San Mai and 3V. Wonder why they never considered making them in O-1?

    O-1 High Carbon
    O-1 is a high carbon, oil hardening tool steel. Popular with custom knife makers it is used both for stock removal and forged knives around the world. With the proper heat treatment it will take and hold a very fine edge while remaining very tough and durable. An ideal high carbon steel for tough edged weapons
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  5. Man with no name

    Man with no name

    Jun 24, 2015
    SK-5 High Carbon
    Japanese high carbon SK-5 is traditionally used for making a variety of hand tools, including chisels and woodcutting saws. With good all-round toughness and excellent edge holding capabilities, as well as excellent abrasion resistance it has stood the test of time and seen use in many countries.
    DocJD likes this.
  6. d762nato

    d762nato Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    Awesome video, I'm curious if a new 3v model would fair better in these tests. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the heat treat of any steel though.
    DocJD likes this.
  7. Man with no name

    Man with no name

    Jun 24, 2015
    CPM 3-V
    Made in the USA
    American CPM 3-V can take an extremely fine edge which is highly chip-resistant. In recent years, it has proved very popular with custom knife makers. Though costly, this modern tool steel is astonishingly tough and exceptionally wear resistant. It is a fine-grained powdered steel, with a very uniform microstructure giving it excellent impact resistance and fine edge holding performance, and making it perfectly suited for larger blades where extreme toughness is required

    I've got nothing against 3-V steel, but you can get three SRK's in SK-5 for the price of one in 3-V. How much better can it be that it would outlast three knives that are essentially identical other than the type of steel they are made of?
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  8. d762nato

    d762nato Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    [QUOTE="Man with no name, post:
    I've got nothing against 3-V steel, but you can get three SRK's in SK-5 for the price of one in 3-V. How much better can it be that it would outlast three knives that are essentially identical other than the type of steel they are made of?[/QUOTE]

    That's a good point 3 would be better than one I would imagine. I see a carbon-v recon tanto from time to time I wonder how that steel would fair compared to the others mentioned in the toughness catagory. Still at the price point of the SK5 it would be hard to beat.
  9. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    I still have my old Recon Tanto and SRK from the 80's ,both in "Carbon V" . Put them trough all kinds of abuse . Made them into spears . Throwing , chopping , stabbing into trees , etc . Some black coating wore off and the handles look a bit chewed . No functional damage whatever . I did NOT put a pipe over the handle and use to pry laterally on a brick wall . I don't intend to !
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  10. nephron

    nephron Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 3, 2017
    To a lot of people it is not just about price but getting the latest and greatest steel, an "improvement" in the steel is just an excuse to buy another knife( and hope the wife sees it that way).
    DocJD likes this.
  11. mark70


    Apr 8, 2017
    :) steel 0-1 is more polyvalent than AUS-8A san mai lll VG1-SK5 - CPM-3V, O-1 can be used for multiple uses, the other steels are more specific.The AUS -8A of cold-steel with the same thermal treatment is more complete than SK5 :)
  12. mael333ca


    Jul 5, 2012

    the grinds are different, saber on the AUS8 vs hollow on the SK-5. SK-5 is still tougher then aus-8.
  13. gardenrambo


    Jan 21, 2014
    Somewhere I read someone complaining about poor heat treat. Has anybody alse experienced problems with their SK5 SRKs?
    Mine must be from one of the first batches because I purchased it soon after it was released...are certain batches affected by the problem or where there just some lemons? I haven't used mine enough verify heat treat issues
  14. mark70


    Apr 8, 2017
    the cold-steel recon in SK-5 and AUS-8A sI behaved very well, the AUS-8A
    responds very well to cold-steel heat treatment.






    :) the Chinese cold-steel sword for the price has exceptional performance and yet is made of steel 1055/1060 :)
  15. gardenrambo


    Jan 21, 2014
    Just watched a new video on YT where a SK-5 SRKs tip snaps when it is stabbed into a treestump repeatedly...before this it was batoned through a thick piece of wood with a big club. The reviewer thrashes it like a madman...watching it almost hurts.
    I wonder if there is a heat treat issue...But then again in other videos the knive takes the same batoning and stabbing without any problems...
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
  16. ursamajor


    Oct 27, 2010
    SK-5 is not an equivalent of 1080. While SK-5 has a smigde more carbon, it is further alloyed with other elements.

    As for Carbon V, my understanding is that it was Sharon Steel 170-06. It’s what Kabar is currently calling “1095 CroVan”.

    So how I heard it, was that Camillus was making Cold Steel’s US Made Carbon V knives. When Camillus went belly up, Coldn Steel went to China/Taiwan for manufacturing, and switched to SK-5. Kabar bought up Camillus’ remaining Sharon Steel. Looking at the alloying elements, SK-5 is further alloyed than simple 1095.

    SK-5 is closer to 1095 CroVan, than it is to 1095, 1080, or 1075.

    The Sharon steel has more carbon and chrome, with Vanadium for toughness, but SK-5 gets there with Nickel. The Sharon Steel will have the edge (pun intended) in higher hardinability-but at the same Rockwell, the steels would be virtually indistinguishable to the user.

    Bottom line, SK-5 is an alloyed Steel, where as 10XX are pure Carbon Steels.

    And Carbon V is an alloyed Steel.

    As for Aus8a (Cold Steel used annealed Aus8) it will commonly get compared to 440B because of the Carbon levels, but 440B has more chromium. Aus8 has Nickel and Vanadium, which 440B does not. I notice that AUS8 both gets sharper, and holds its edge better than 440B. It’s also more prone to staining, but is tougher.

    Cold Steel’s heat treat of Aus8 is 2nd to none as well.

    If I had to choose between the Japan made AUS8 SRK, and the Taiwan made SK-5 SRK, I’d choose the AUS8 blade (not that the SK-5 SRK is a lacking knife in the least). More stain resistant/less maintenance. Similar edge retention at its hardness, and adequately tough-it can withstand extensive gross abuse. There have been some nasty destruction tests of the 8A SRK, and the blade just shrugged it off.
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  17. gardenrambo


    Jan 21, 2014
    Did some work around the garden with my SK-5 SRK. Used it to cut some branches and make some notches and shavings...worked fine. I also stabbed a tree stump to see how the tip holds up. Didn't bend it because it wasn't my goal to break it purposely but the normal stabbing was no problem for the tip. Feels just as durable as my AUS-8 SRK. I will take the knife with me on my next camping trip without worrying :)
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
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  18. Hermit_Knight


    Mar 19, 2018
    I got an sk5 Srk when they first came out and apart from the uneven grind that I fixed it is an awesome blade that has not failed me I even battoned through eucalyptus even though I don’t really like doing that but it held up fine I also stabbed a stump like gardenrambo and the tip is intact I highly recommended it although i have never owned a vg1 or aus8 srk but they can also take so much abuse as I’ve seen via YouTube!
    nephron, DocJD and gardenrambo like this.
  19. loogin28


    Feb 20, 2017
    I have the Recon Tanto SK5 and carry it and use it as my main bush carry knife. Did an Overnighter on Friday and did some testing with the Recon Tanto. Chopped with it. It's too light for any serious chopping although not terrible on small branches. Carved with it, forgot my spatula and made one. Did good for that. Set up a tarp shelter with wood stove using paracord and rope. Cuts cord and rope very nice. What I also tried was some medium batoning. It was only Jackpine, but had some huge knots. Pieces ranged from small to 6 inches with only the small portion of the tip exposed. I beat on this blade good. I can't seem to find any pictures of the tang on this knife. I'm guessing its full tang? At any rate, the knife impressed me. I was not gentle in my approach and it passed with flying colours. I carry my belt knife cross draw horizontal position. The sheath holds it nicely with a positive click. Good job Cold Steel on the knife and sheath. SK5 works for me.
  20. gardenrambo


    Jan 21, 2014
    There is another nice new review on YT, I think it's from Hungary. The SK-5 SRK performs really good. Can't wait to take mine on a camping trip
    Hermit_Knight and DocJD like this.

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