I Tested the Edge Retention of 48 Steels

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Larrin, May 1, 2020.

  1. Currawong

    Currawong Platinum Member Platinum Member

    May 19, 2012
    Out of that grouping of stainless steels with high edge holding (s30V, elmax, cpm154, etc) vanax seems to stand out as the best edge retention to toughness ratio. Plus it's the most stainless of that group.

    It's interesting that vanax is shown as so much tougher than elmax, but with less edge holding. Based on Cedric&Ada's results and other info I thought it was the other way around (that vanax is slightly less tough than elmax, but with reasonably superior edge holding) - I guess we can chalk this up to different heat treatments.
  2. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    One advantage of ZDP-189 over S110V is its ability to be sharpened with Shapton Glass stones (Al203). I have a bunch of San Mai ZDP-189 blades in which the ZDP has better corrosion resistance than the cladding (something like 408SS?).
  3. Fixall

    Fixall Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2018
    I noticed that too. AEB-L sure seems like a dang versatile steel. I find it interesting that out of all the steels I've tried in the kitchen (which is several), I tend to like 52100 and Super Blue the most even though the look to perform pretty poorly overall on the chart. Then again, I tend to value ease of sharpening and a very keen edge most in the kitchen, so maybe that has something to do with it.
  4. 353

    353 Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 20, 2015
    I've seen a lot of claims that ZDP will hold on to a super keen edge longer, while S110V looses this fairly quickly down to working sharp edge.
  5. onewing


    Apr 2, 2013
    Why do some steels have toughness data but no edge retention data? (L6, 80CrV2)

    edit: I see, these tests were done previous and independent to the edge testing.
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  6. Larrin

    Larrin Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    Uddeholm datasheets also show Vanax having higher toughness than Elmax.
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  7. Mrs_Esterhouse


    Apr 9, 2019
    I've never used either, but that is really interesting information.
  8. Mrs_Esterhouse


    Apr 9, 2019
    If that's the case, I would personally be more inclined to buy something in ZDP-189.
  9. zuluninja

    zuluninja boricua grinder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 25, 2009
    Great to see humble steels like AEB-L & 14C28 do so well against more premium offerings. I think it would be practical to toss in the ubiquitous 8cr13 in the mix as it is so widely used. Great stuff, Larrin, thanks for the continued education :thumbsup:
    Noremac258 likes this.
  10. ace

    ace Gold Member Gold Member

    May 3, 2000
    I have no way of proving it, but I suspect that these and similar claims have more to do with sharpening than anything else. ZDP can be sharpened with "regular" stones. S110V benefits from harder abrasives such as CBN and diamond.
    jpm2 likes this.
  11. Fixall

    Fixall Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2018
    @Larrin, alright I think these are the last of my questions. I apologize if they have been answered in a previous article that I missed.

    How well does toughness correlate to edge stability? For instance, at 60hc, CPM-154 is nearly twice as tough as S30V... But I'm sure that doesn't mean you could use a piece of CPM-154 stock that is half the thickness as a piece of S30V and get the same edge stability. How thin COULD you take the CPM-154 before it had the same edge stability as the S30V? Is there a formula for such a thing?

    And what in the world is going on with 10V? At 60hc it is tougher than 204P, S30V, Elmax, D2, VG-10, and even 1095 which are all steels commonly used in pocket knives, and even fixed blades, with few complaints about toughness... And yet 10V @60hc still blows them out of the water in edge retention too. Is there an Achilles heel I’m missing?
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
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  12. Mannlicher


    Nov 19, 2008
    Amazing effort and dedication. I appreciate your sharing this with us.
    Larrin likes this.
  13. Larrin

    Larrin Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    If "edge stability" referred to a single material property it would be easier to answer. The term has its uses and also its added confusions. It is a combination of strength/hardness and toughness in terms of steel properties and then of course the edge geometry parameters (thicker more obtuse edge is more "stable"). Increasing toughness alone does not necessarily improve edge stability unless chipping is the primary failure mode. And going thinner often means that failing to deformation also becomes more likely. I know, that doesn't help that much, my only excuse is I didn't come up with the term.
    10V has an excellent combination of toughness and wear resistance due to it having only vanadium carbide. The downsides are that it is not stainless unlike several of the steels you listed, and also that finishing and polishing can be difficult due to the high hardness of the carbides.[/user]
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
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  14. murat1983


    Feb 22, 2010
    That is lots of work. It is much appreciated. Thanks to those involved. I already read the article four times, and I still read it from time to time. It never gets boring! Few of the steels I would like to see tested are N77, Vancron Super Clean and S390!

    Great work!
    ShannonSteelLabs and Currawong like this.
  15. Mrs_Esterhouse


    Apr 9, 2019
    Thank you Larrin for your article. I read it almost night before bedtime as it's very relaxing.
  16. Mrs_Esterhouse


    Apr 9, 2019
    And XHP. I want to see how bad it is. :D
  17. me2


    Oct 11, 2003
    Looks like my next knives are going to be 8670. I've been looking to make a couple of kitchen knives just the way I want them.
  18. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    As @DeadboxHero routinely and rightfully points out. The sharpening is always a major a factor.

  19. 353

    353 Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 20, 2015
    I have not noticed this myself as I said, but I just recall reading this same statement several times over the years on different forums. It's loosing the very keen edge a bit quick, whether they knew the importance of using the right stones or not I'm not sure. But I doubt all of them were ignorant of this.

    I can't find your DeadboxHero reference, can you please point me in the right direction or provide a link?
    Eli Chaps likes this.
  20. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    No single reference, just that Shawn often says that one of the reasons people can have vastly different experiences with steels is the sharpening. I think he actually said it in this thread somewhere.
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