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AEBL vs Delta 3V

Discussion in 'Carothers Performance Knives' started by David45, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. David45

    David45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2017
    Both sound like great knife steels. How do they compare?
    Edge holding
    Corrosion resistance
    Ease of sharpening
    I saw a little info in the Ask Nathan thread but it was somewhat buried. I thought this might get more information from users.
    Good luck on 4/5 everyone
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
    Lost Empires, Oyster and gusbuster like this.
  2. aqw955

    aqw955 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 24, 2013
    Check on zknives and alpha knives supply, then you will see the difference. Aebl is stainless and 3v is high carbon tool steel, they are apple to orange. But with the presence of vanadium in 3v, I think it will have better edge retention. So still 3v for me :)
    gusbuster likes this.
  3. XtianAus

    XtianAus Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2016
    D3V is definitely my favourite carbon steel, but I do really appreciate a good stainless steel. Especially when it has an optimized/specialized/unique HT.

    Just the ease of maintenance and corrosion resistance is attractive to me and where I live. I should say though, I have never had a problem with D3V and corrosion. But I have had VG10 rust on me...
    Although I take better care of my Carothers compared to some other knives :p

    That said, when I learnt Nathan was using AEBL and optimizing it's HT, I was intrigued and excited. I hope we see other patterns offered in it in the future.

    Let's kick this thread off with what Nathan has already stated concerning these two steels:

    "The person I collaborated with on the design was in the military. he observed that while most enlisted men are gearheads, they're not all knife nuts. And they are judged on the condition of their gear. So many of them are going to choose gear with lower maintenance requirements and will choose a stainless steel over a better, but rust prone, steel. With that in mind we have offered a stainless variation of the Utility Fighter. I chose aeb-l because it has a combination of edge stability, corrosion resistance and toughness that I like. It is not as weak as most stainless, and the edge is not chippy or crumbly or mushy like most stainless. It behaves almost like a simple carbon steel.

    we used Elmax on the previous run, and it is also a fantastic stainless steel. Way underrated, I think because many folks have experienced it with a less-than-ideal heat treat. However its biggest strength over aebl, very high abrasion resistance, was not the mechanism most of the casual knife users were dulling their knives. They scrape and clack it into shit. Use a rock or a steel tailgate as a cutting board. Mechanisms where that wear resistance does not pay a dividend. And when they do it was difficult for them to re-sharpen. Aeb-l does not have that problem. Edge stability is key, and aebl has that in droves."
  4. betzner

    betzner CenCal Coast Platinum Member

    Jan 23, 2007
    Might as well have a pic of one vs the other..........

    BenR.T., stjones, Fullflat and 9 others like this.
  5. David45

    David45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2017
    A quick search will show a discussion in a “folding knife” forum.
    Bohler-Uddeholm AEB-L is discussed along with Sandvick 13c26 (a copy). They are compared to 8cr13moV. Good info but obviously heat and cryogenic treatments are said to give different performance characteristics. One writer likes his AEB-L cryogenically treated and hardened to HRC 62.
    Anyone know how Nathan conditions his AEB-L? Nathan?

    Still begs the question; can both UFs be hammered through a cement block without dying?
    How much longer can I leave AEB-L out in the elements without suffering permanent rust damage as compared to Delta 3V?
    After Nathan does his magic, can I sharpen each on a river rock and get an equivalent edge?

    I’ve decided to add the UF to my “collection” of CPKs. Which one? (I can’t get the warden’s permission to get both :()
    Fullflat, Mike157 and gusbuster like this.
  6. Odog27

    Odog27 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2011
    Go for an AEBL next week. If you don’t get one, then I guess it’s D3V for you!
  7. David45

    David45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2017
    Great idea. One for each son when I’m done.
  8. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    I don't have extensive or hard use tales to share about either steel.....

    What I will say, is sharpening my cpm3v is a bear. And I mean that!! Reprofiling a 4 inch CPM3V has taken me more time than significantly reprofiling 10 inch heavy convex bowies in steels like VG1. Or simple carbon steels, even using the same stones.

    CPM 3v has been a beast with the limited equipment have. My diamond stone ( a cheap Smith medium grit) has given up having any effect. Now....that stone is worn out, and needs replacement. I've done a lot of steel removal with it over the years... but it still works on simple carbon, L6, 52100, and all my 10xx and tellingly, it works fine on my AEBL still!

    I have been using a course Lansky basic stone (,not diamond) on the CPM3v and it has taken 20 or so hours, and it still have some spots not quite done.

    If it was not a nice custom Kwaken by Ben Tendick I'd just hit it with my belt sander... I've fully reprofile Busse knives that cost more, both by hand, and by belt sander.

    In contrast, I reprofiled a relatively obtuse primarily grind on a little AEBL on a regular stone and it took actual minutes!!! Maybe 15 or less, and I actually almost over did it!!!!!!

    So much faster. It is also extremely easy to touch up on either stones, or ceramic. Gets an easy sticky hair jumping edge with minimal effort.

    No complaints yet about AEBL yet. I bought another custom in it, after experiencing it on the first.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  9. Tricky Dickey

    Tricky Dickey Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 15, 2012
    Have you tried sharpening any of the D3V from Nathan? It’s relatively easy to sharpen in my experience.
  10. TRfromMT

    TRfromMT Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 4, 2016

    Delta 3V, 6" UF. Getting a *nearly* mirror polish was about an hour long affair. Im talking starting with a factory edge and a 200 grit diamond stone to establish a new bevel all the way through several progressions of stones and stropping. I was surprised at the ease it sharpened.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
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  11. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    No, it is CPM3V from Ben Tendick (he does do cryo with LN) but I don't know that he does the same heat treat protocol as Delta 3V from Nathan....

    But, I'm using a non diamond stone. My only diamond stone is plumb worn out, and it was only a medium grit to begin with.
  12. CataD

    CataD Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    I've reprofiled and sharpened Delta 3V (and also CPM 20CV) with a $30 Lansky system. It took a little longer than on the KME or WE, but it worked fine. When I say longer, I mean like 30 min - 1h or so...

    CPM 3V and such are super steels. Why would you expect to be able to sharpen them on a river rock?

    EtA: What is the steel hardness of that CPM 3V Tendick knife you have?

  13. Brian77

    Brian77 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 27, 2014
    AEBL is a dream to sharpen, even at 63rc. D3v is not fun for us to sharpen. Also D2 is not... Compared to 52100, 1095, CRv 2,.... They are a joy to sharpen.

    D3v holds an edge well. Slow speed sharpening is the key. But I don't enjoy sharpening it.
  14. ElCaptain

    ElCaptain Gold Member Gold Member

    May 1, 2011
    Might be something to think about for the upcoming Kephart/bushcraft knife. Some of us want to have the option to be able to sharpen our knives on river rocks. I personally would love a FK2 in something that would be a bit easier as it is one of my favorite designs so far.

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