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Blade Steels - Have We Been Fleeced By Marketing?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by rogatsby, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. The knife industry doesn’t produce many new steels. Most steels are developed for industrial use, and get picked up by knife makers. Alloys developed specifically for knives are very much in the minority, basically the Crucible S series and a few others.
    Kreyzhorse likes this.
  2. falar


    Jul 7, 2012
    To an extent, yes, we've been had. Most large manufacturers are using such "safe" heat treats that there won't be an "upgrade" worth the price premium they charge for the supersteels.

    Since most are collectors and very few are hard users able to do apples to apples comparisons they can get away with it all day every day and do.
    Shrub and sabre cat like this.
  3. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    If your going to sit there and tell me my maxamet blades are bullshit marketing over 8cr13mov... You are blind af.

    Geometry, heat treatment and composition all play a roll in performance.

    Most people don't know that at all and just look at name brand steels that are popular. Disregarding the other variables. Like the popular 58hrc m390/20cv/204p which don't give as much performance as s30v in most cases.

    Hrc doesn't matter as much as grain size and minimizing retained austenite. For example crk and buck knives performing better at lower hrc than higher hrc steels that are the same steel. A proper heat treatment is better than hrc alone.

    For example d2. Alot of the imported d2 is just better than 8cr13mov. Some of this gets to the 60-63 range. But with a good d2 ht you will see far better performance. Ex https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/heat-treat-d2-yanagi-ba.1657240/

    Krein, Dozier, carothers, etc all have legit d2 heat treatment and performance is going to be better than the cheap import knives.

    So is steel brand names just marketing? Sometimes.

    But that's why we have custom knives.

    The heat treatment protocols or recipes if you will, provided by the companies that make the steel, is generally made for the industry the steels were marketed for. Not for knives specifically. So presses that cut stuff like plastic molds for example.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
    tomhosang, WValtakis and DeadboxHero like this.
  4. Jhansenak47

    Jhansenak47 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 27, 2005

    Marketing is a huge letdown from reality. I have found that I prefer good heat treats, geometry, and blade steels in a handful of knives that actually get used. Marketing is good at convincing you to want things you don't need.

    Things that I need and use are very much appreciated in having good qualities that fulfill their purpose. My TRC Splinter Deluxe in M390 @ 62-63RC is very much appreciated as a fine cutting instrument. On the other hand I no longer want more things that are redundant and unnecessary. I have realised that I don't derive any meaningful satisfaction from safe queens because it is letting the things I own, own me.

    Marketing is a lot of one sided BS and we willingly fleece ourselves.
    Shrub and Applecider3 like this.
  5. Rykjeklut

    Rykjeklut Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    May 23, 2018
    Who is really doing marketing for new steels? Is it the knife manufacturer? Or is it us, the users and collectors?

    I was in to knives before I signed up here, but had never heard of M390/M4/Maxamet/yougetthepoint.
    Shrub and Rasmus80 like this.
  6. Rasmus80


    Sep 21, 2011
    Where marketing plays a huge role, is when Spyderco does a sprint run on PM2, made of some amazing steeltype. And customers, who all ready has 9 PM2's in 9 different configurations, feel they "need" that 10th PM2. That is clever marketing.

    And I do believe, that the huge variety of new super steeltypes, is driven by marketing. Or the need from customers to get new stuff.
    Two sides of the same matter.

    I am not arguing, that "Vanax something something" isn't better that 440C. It will outperform it in testing and real life.
    But "Vanax something something 2019" will probably not make a huge difference from "Vanax something something 2018". But still, some people will readily get in line once that 2019 alloy hits the shelves.

    And their ol' 440C knives, back home in their drawer, would do them just fine in the end.
    Shrub, Rykjeklut and colin.p like this.
  7. A.L.


    Jun 27, 2007
    I think the marketing is less to be blamed here but fanboys and influencers.
  8. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    I dunno, just spent a week fishing in the salt with my Lc200n knives and the marketing seems to have kept the rust away. Variety is the spice of life, so yeah some probably are a bit hyped if you look at it from the marketing copy when they were released, and as we learn more, we get more out of steels that we couldn't before. Are "low end" steels good enough for most guys on most days? Yeah, but I'm glad there are guys who want bigger better faster, because then cool stuff happens.
    Twindog likes this.
  9. specgrade

    specgrade Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 21, 2009
    Or pizza....
  10. CanadaKnifeGuy


    Jan 27, 2019
    I think there is a minor differences amongst most of the modern, high-perf stainless steels out there.

    But start comparing between carbon 1095, a modern (powder?) stainless, a 440c stainless and an H1 rust-proof and there is a significant difference.

    Different applications / uses and environments dictate that some of these are way more appropriate to use than others .

    Start getting religious between s30v, VG-10, AUS-8 and 12c27 and its a bit rediculous .

    I have my own preferences... But I'm not going to take a final stand over the differences. They'll all cut .
    Shrub likes this.
  11. Monofletch

    Monofletch Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    I have had $400 knives in M390 and 80crV2 that dulled when cutting butter...... I have also had expensive knives in those steels that I haven’t sharpened since I got them! It all depends on edge geometry and heat treatment.

    I do like M390 the best so far. Maybe my favorite with s90v a close second.
  12. TheEdge01


    Apr 3, 2015
    Yes!!!! It is marketing. Stores probably sell far more knives with lower midrange blade steels like 8cr13mov, AUS8, 440A, 440C, etc than any other price range though. Marketing isn’t just an attempt to sell premium blade steels, it covers the lower end steels as well. However, you usually get an all around better product when you buy a knife with a premium blade steel from a reputable manufacturer.
  13. DJC72

    DJC72 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 1, 2014
    I think many manufacturers don’t run steels, in folders, at the higher rc’s That they should be. They lose so much performance and edge retention.
    tomhosang likes this.
  14. kamagong

    kamagong Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2001
    It's everything I never knew I always wanted!
    slyraven likes this.
  15. Snipe 1

    Snipe 1

    Apr 21, 2006
    It's clever marketing that got you to think that you needed Lc200N or H1 to prevent corrosion. How much of your other saltwater fishing equipment or boat hardware is made of Lc200n or H1? Are the expensive reels, rod guides, gaffs, etc., made of those steels? All that stuff made out of normal stainless steel seems to pretty much last a lifetime with minimal care.
    Shrub and rogatsby like this.
  16. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    Those stainless steels your boat etc are made out of, wouldn't keep an edge for a knife. So you can't use them for knives.
  17. PirateSeulb


    Jun 6, 2017
    LC200N and H1 are probably the only exceptions to the marketing hype they seem to provide a much more real benefit that mostly lives up to what the marketing on them promises. I think the others can but don't as frequently live up to the hype and/or the measure of the benefits are exaggerated or at least difficult to see in part due to the many factors that can impact what they promise.
  18. DocT


    Mar 25, 2012
    I think edge geometry is more important than the steel (though steel is important). I think Cliff and others have demonstrated that pretty well. Even the lowly SAK can out cut super steels with the right edge geometry and other not having it.
    Shrub and Pomsbz like this.
  19. Snipe 1

    Snipe 1

    Apr 21, 2006
    I would agree that those steels deliver what they promise with regards to corrosion resistance. I would disagree that there is much of a tangible benefit though. The Salt knives are marketed to those who are exposed to a "marine" environment. Well, as someone who has worked for more than 30 years in the marine environment and fishes in saltwater as a hobby, I still think it's just clever marketing. Any saltwater fisherman knows that as soon as they get back ashore, they have to spend quite a bit of time rinsing their boat, rods, reels, tackle, even some clothing items with fresh water. So what is a Salt series knife going to do for them? Save them an extra 8 seconds by not having to rinse their Spyderco also?
    Shrub likes this.
  20. PirateSeulb


    Jun 6, 2017
    I guess I am thinking for those who want a knife when they take trips to those areas who aren't accustomed to the environment and as mentally aware of what needs to be done.

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