Spyderco S30V

Discussion in 'Spyderco' started by FrannaM, Apr 10, 2020.

  1. FrannaM


    Jan 29, 2020
    Bought a para 3 in s30v. Is it just me or is spyderco's s30v better than the others? It holds an edge excellent. In my experience it holds an edge better than my ZT0550 in s35vn. This is my first spyderco in s30v so was pleasantly surprised
  2. MarkN86


    Sep 3, 2012
    You aren't the first person who has noticed it. I've watched some testing online, it seems like ZT runs them just a little softer than Spyderco. I would make an educated guess that ZT runs them softer to make them tough.
    FrannaM likes this.
  3. FrannaM


    Jan 29, 2020
    Ah, ok. That explains it.
  4. AF

    AF Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    I had a ZT in S35VN that didn't hold an edge at all. Spyderco heat treats well.
    buckeyejake likes this.
  5. James Y

    James Y

    Feb 18, 1999
    It’s Spyderco’s heat treat, and I also suspect that Spyderco’s blade grinds and edge geometry have something to do with that as well.

    FrannaM likes this.
  6. tulsamal


    May 14, 1999
    I have a buddy with a Benchmade in S30v and that thing chips if it even sees a staple coming its way. It has really soured him on that steel.
  7. DA170

    DA170 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 12, 2020
    My ZT 0909 S35VN edge holding was horrible! The only one that seemed up to snuff was the 204P on the 0804CF. Haven’t bought a ZT in a long time!
    AF likes this.
  8. SubMicron

    SubMicron Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2020
    Through use, I've found Spyderco's S30V to be on par with other higher end manufacturers.

    I've also found that there's no S30V that can do what I need it to do for some tasks at work. M390 and 20CV cant really get it done either.

    My first Spyderco was in S30V and the various models thereafter have mostly been based on the steel that's best for the intended job of the knife.
    FrannaM likes this.
  9. 353

    353 Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 20, 2015
    May I ask what tasks those are?
  10. SubMicron

    SubMicron Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2020
    In an expensive retail showroom environment, with frequency, I'll have to cut through 100-300 ft of dirty heavyweight cardboard. Due to capacity issues at the recycling dumpster, I have to cut down and reduce double wall boxes up to 80" long into smaller sections. This certainly is possible even with a dull knife, however not without making a mess.

    I need to avoid the tiny bits of cardboard all over the carpeted floor, which is hard with thick dirty cardboard. I need my cuts to be quick and effortless for cleanliness, control, and safety. Other small tasks also require a sharp fine edge. All of this has to be accomplished with a small non-threatening folding knife. Scissors and box cutters aren't viable options due to other dynamics.

    By the end of the day, my edges would be full of little dings that you can feel and see... the kind of edge that starts to get hung up cutting through copy paper.

    Last year out of necessity, I got into knife sharpening, took to it naturally, moved on to freehand sharpening, and have been getting great results.

    So with having to deal with the above cardboard scenario at work once or twice a week, and resharpening every time, it puts a lot of wear on a knife. The better the edge can withstand my day, the less steel has to be removed while resharpening, thus the longer the knife will last. Due to that and time constraints, I'd prefer to only strop my knife at the end of my day if possible.

    So if I'm arriving at work with a stropped edge, I'm also starting on a sub optimal edge.

    The test is simple: can I get through the day without making a mess on the floor and without little dings on my apex, yes or no?

    This journey has lead me down a path of better and better sharpening tools, methods, and lots of different steels.

    So with multiple samples each of D2, S30V, M390, and 20CV, I still wanted more performance.

    For my work knife, I broke it up into two knives: Dragonfly in ZDP-189 for small show room tasks that require a fine screaming sharp edge or otherwise anything that has to be done in front of a customer. This one sees thread, paper, medium weight rope, some cardboard, and 7ft long heavyweight plastic bags covering expensive products.

    The second knife is a Native 5 LW Maxamet as my cardboard warrior. This is the newest addition to my work rotation. Testing at work has been limited due to the COVID19 shutdown but I did get a few harder use days and some lighter use stuff done it and I'm pleased with the results so far.
    guy g and 353 like this.
  11. Colorodo

    Colorodo Gold Member Gold Member

    May 23, 2014
    My Fluted Military with S30V is my favorite knife.
    sliceofaloha likes this.
  12. 731Chopper

    731Chopper Platinum Member Platinum Member

    May 25, 2017
    Do y’all not use a baler?

    I’ve noticed Spyderco’s s30v to last longer than other blades I have in the same steel. The edge durability of my Benchmade bugouts isn’t nearly as good as one example.
    Danno4017 and Oloung1 like this.
  13. SubMicron

    SubMicron Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2020
    No, as a result cardboard has to be cut manually, and has to be cut inside on the carpet, that has to stay clean.

    For EDC, S30V is fantastic steel relative to what's been commonly available in the past. However if maximum edge retention matters, to the point where comparisons between different S30V are made, it may be better to just consider other steels.

    Where hard use and volumes of cutting are concerned, S30V's performance is surpassed by a growing list of steels. Other stainless options such as 20CV, and especially M390 are increasingly available at comparable prices to S30V.

    Dirty grity cardboard is the big equalizer of most stainless steels, and its here where I feel that S30V underperforms. Even simple Sandvik steels surpass S30V in edge retention through cardboard and compete with M390.

    So far I'm very happy with Rex-45 and Maxamet. I'm eager for a scenario at home where I can put K390 and 4V to the test.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
  14. John_0917

    John_0917 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 15, 2014
    ZT is not known for their good heat treats, or for pushing the performance envelope. Their focus is more on good action and cranking out as many knives to sell at cabelas etc as they can.

    Spyderco largely abandoned S35VN because of the superiority of their S30V, they have the heat treat close to perfect and really only use S35VN in exclusives now. With the advent of SPY27 and S45VN we will see what happens...I wouldn’t be surprised if 30V and/or 35VN are discontinued by Crucible.

    Something to keep in mind is that Crucible is a horribly run company that has been through at least one bankruptcy recently, their Glassdoor reviews of employee life are awful as well. If they were trying to cut down product lines I would not be surprised.
    FrannaM likes this.
  15. rick melear

    rick melear

    Nov 28, 1998
    I’ve always found, for my needs Spyderco’s S30V is perfect, especially in the various Military family. Not saying there is nothing better but I like it
    buckeyejake and sliceofaloha like this.
  16. GatorFlash1

    GatorFlash1 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 28, 2012
    I think both S30V and S35VN are very good knife steels if used in the manufacture of a knife by a reputable company with years of experience in knife construction. That said I must admit my EDC since it was first introduced is a Gayle Bradley 1 with an M4 steel blade. M4 steel is not as corrosion resistant as S30V, etc. but holds an edge for a long time and for my hands it feels very good for cutting chores around the house, shop, yard, etc.

    FrannaM likes this.
  17. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    I've wondered what else they use S30V for? Other than the cutlery industry I have no idea. I spoke to one of Crucibles employees about 10 years ago at one of the BLADE Shows and I asked him what else they used their 440V ( S60V) for. He told me that it was mostly sold to the "tool & die" industry.

    So I'm wondering what else they use S30V for. It's not one of my favorite blade steels and this is coming from a guy who likes most of what Crucible makes.
  18. SubMicron

    SubMicron Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2020
    S30V was actually created specifically for the knife steel industry by Crucible. Chris Reeves is credited with having a hand in development. From it, they've developed S35VN and now S45VN
  19. DocT


    Mar 25, 2012
    There is certainly nothing wrong with S30V, despite the bashers. As Dr. Larrin repeatedly shows in his articles and tests, S30V is a well balanced steel with great edge holding. In fact, if people would change their edge angles, they could not tell the difference between it and M390 (with Spyderco blades, that is). Edge angle matters. Blade geometry matters. These more than the steel choice. There is a video where a lowly Victorinox SAK outperforms high end super steels for the surprised tester and it was all due to edge geometry and a thin blade.

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