Let’s talk about S35VN

Ajack60

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Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
7,261
Over the years I've learned that not all cardboard is the same. Breaking down/slicing through large appliance cardboard is hell on a knife. Breaking down a garbage disposal is a piece of cake, a water heater, not so much. If I want to dull one of my knives quickly, heavy duty cardboard is the way to go. Most of the strapping material I cut is plastic and doesn't have other material to strengthen it. Fiberglass will dull a knife in a hurry regardless what steel it is.
Reaming plastic pipe puts lateral stress on a blade, ask Dcdavis Dcdavis hoe S110V holds up under lateral stress;). I believe Hinderer runs their S35VN a little harder. I've got two, sent one to Big Chris for a regrind. It's great for slicing, not so much for putting lateral stress on it. It's the only S35VN that has chipped on me. I've read that M390 will chip and other steels. Maxamet is super for cutting cardboard, I've read of folks having their blade break doing normal duties.
Most every fixed blade that I've ordered from Big Chris has come with the question "What are you using the knife for ?". It's been a fit for use steel along with the blade thickness that he's recommended.
So, yes there are different steels that will hold an edge longer, but would you or anyone else want a $500.00 knife that rusts/patinas or will stand a greater chance of breaking with lateral stress or requires breaking out a sharpening system every time it needs to be touched up.
The steel is one part of the knife, being able to take it apart, clean it and put it back together without issue and having it operate as smoothly as when it was new, that's the whole of the knife. CRK does a pretty good job of making a knife that is user friendly for most anyone looking for a well built knife. Besides, I've got so many knives with S35VN, it's the norm for me.
 

Dcdavis

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2018
Messages
6,047
Over the years I've learned that not all cardboard is the same. Breaking down/slicing through large appliance cardboard is hell on a knife. Breaking down a garbage disposal is a piece of cake, a water heater, not so much. If I want to dull one of my knives quickly, heavy duty cardboard is the way to go. Most of the strapping material I cut is plastic and doesn't have other material to strengthen it. Fiberglass will dull a knife in a hurry regardless what steel it is.
Reaming plastic pipe puts lateral stress on a blade, ask Dcdavis Dcdavis hoe S110V holds up under lateral stress;). I believe Hinderer runs their S35VN a little harder. I've got two, sent one to Big Chris for a regrind. It's great for slicing, not so much for putting lateral stress on it. It's the only S35VN that has chipped on me. I've read that M390 will chip and other steels. Maxamet is super for cutting cardboard, I've read of folks having their blade break doing normal duties.
Most every fixed blade that I've ordered from Big Chris has come with the question "What are you using the knife for ?". It's been a fit for use steel along with the blade thickness that he's recommended.
So, yes there are different steels that will hold an edge longer, but would you or anyone else want a $500.00 knife that rusts/patinas or will stand a greater chance of breaking with lateral stress or requires breaking out a sharpening system every time it needs to be touched up.
The steel is one part of the knife, being able to take it apart, clean it and put it back together without issue and having it operate as smoothly as when it was new, that's the whole of the knife. CRK does a pretty good job of making a knife that is user friendly for most anyone looking for a well built knife. Besides, I've got so many knives with S35VN, it's the norm for me.
Ha! Let’s just say I learned I don’t need s110 for my uses at work
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
3,156
I spent 13+ years as a professional guide. I lived completely off the grid more or less homesteading. Now I’m a full time carpenter. To say I use my knives would be accurate. I carry a pocket knife as a “do whatever comes up” tool. So that’s what it does best... a myriad of tasks. It is a jack of all trades & master of none. What you (op) are asking for is a specific task tool. That’s just not what this company does. Personally I wouldn’t change a thing. When I cut a bunch of cardboard in use a utility knife. I don’t want to carry one S90V knife for cutting specific things in a controlled space, a 3V knife for really thumping on materials and an S35VN knife for whatever else comes along. I can get by with the S35VN where the others are less appropriate when weighed across the board for someone like me. I am a jack of all trades as well.
 

bart1

Gold Member
Joined
May 24, 2009
Messages
1,213
If we buy into the whole " Chris Reeve knew what he was doing" thing, isn't it true he helped develop SV35 steel for his purpose? I have been 100% pleased with ATS34/BG42, SV 30/35.. in my Reeve knives ... maybe there is something "better" but I'm not going to chase it. I can use and sharpen my knives just fine... Go elsewhere if it makes you happy.
 
Joined
May 1, 2016
Messages
1,566
I feel you man. My 21 will hold a razor edge pretty decently, but its working edge deteriorates quickly. My friend told me once how he cut something on the rocks while camping with buddies. I told him that dulls his blade and he doesn't care, he needs the knife to do that. So I feel like the sebenza is put together with that kind of use in mind. Integral lock and s35vn, both Reeve's invention and it adds for me to authenticity. The s35 could have been done differently, but Chris thinks everyone is in the jungle somewhere and there is no cardboard in the jungle you kno. Funny note: My k390 delica will murder sebenza in cardboard and do everything you do at your job probably (I'm careful enough). Anyhow, the way I cut with sebenza is different from my other knives. I use more of a sawing motion with the sebenza whereas I push more with others. I keep the edge toothier as a result and with its hollow grind and this sawing motion, it does a good job of going through materials. The knife is all straight with how the handle and edge are aligned and it feels good to saw with it utilizing that awesome jimping, otherwise it's too thick for my liking and doesn't cut well.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
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1,235
Edited to say that this is not a bash, but rather why present an A+ product (the knife) with a C+ steel (S35VN). I know S45VN is coming, but not much of an upgrade, but hey, anything is better than nothing. Read on to get my thoughts.

I know that there’s been a lot of discussion about the Rockwell hardness of S35VN over the years. CRK bumped it up 2 points (57-59 to 58-60, although those numbers may be a point or 2 off I’m going off memory). For many years, I would not touch a midtech without a super steel. That changed when I asked my wife to get me a micarta 21 Insingo for my 50th birthday (6/20, my first CRK). I fell in love with the knife. I loved it so much I immediately sold a few Hinderers from my collection to buy a Knifeart Damascus (7/20, see pics). After carrying both knives everyday since then I’ve discovered 2 things. I put both knives to work hard, I’m an R&D engineer in a military arms factory (DOD contractor) I use my knives all day, every day. I have discovered that at the end of every day, or sometimes every 2nd day, I need to sharpen the S35VN. It gets dull such that it rips (with enough force) instead of cuts/slices. The Damascus (DT ladder) holds an edge longer by quite a bit, but still needs a good stropping by the end of the day. The S35VN needs carbon rods to sharpen.

So what I’m saying is this, CRK, you make a world class knife (which I love like no other), but you put a high maintenance blade on it with a low maintenance frame. Why? I know you bought a foundry’s mill run worth of the steel (S35VN) but sell that to another manufacturer and move on. You’re killing me. It’s like buying a Ferrari with a Chevy engine.
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I own the Sabenza 21 like the one your showing pic #1 except mine has the drop-point, S35VN vary user friendly steel and probably my best CRK to this day, grate photos.
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
161
I'm finding as of late, I've been going backwards on steels. For a while I wouldn't carry anything less than m390/20cv and while that's still the best steel for my personal uses, I've actually enjoyed going back to s30v and s35vn for the ease of sharpening. I put a micro bevel on my edges and it takes MAYBE 10 seconds at the end of the day to touch it up.
 
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
1,281
My favorite knife steel is M390. But... my favorite knife is a CRK. I decided to live with the compromise and with time and use I've come to appreciate S30V and it's descendants a bit more. I don't think there are many (any?) hard use folders that as as thin behind the edge as a Sebenza or Inkosi. This must have an effect on how fast the edge can get damaged or dulled, but it also means they come back pretty fast with minimal effort. I've found that I can restore the edge on my CRKs with a strop and unless I've knocked it hard against steel or a rock, etc, I rarely have to actually go to the stones or a Sharpmaker. That thinness also is why these knives cut a variety of materials so well, and perhaps why Chris wanted to use a steel that favors toughness over hardness. I briefly owned a Paramilitary 2 in S110V. It was awesome until I had to sharpen it. I painstakingly brought it back on the Sharpmaker and promptly sold it. Just my opinion here, but for all the hype around full flat ground blades you get from some makers, I've found that if the knife is thick behind the edge, it won't cut the way I like.
 
Joined
May 5, 2003
Messages
2,397
For a long time, the latest/greatest steel was the first thing I looked for when choosing a knife. Lately, I've been enjoying a lot of knives with S35VN, AUS10, S30V, D2, AUS8...

When you start taking a realistic look at what you're really going to need your knives to do, you'll likely find you've been spending a lot of money on overkill. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

For bigger knives, I'm really liking S35VN so far.
 

willy88

Gold Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Messages
90
however I am looking forward to seeing what CRK's S45VN will look like. I have a hinderer and a spyderco with this steel and it seems to be a good compromise from S30V and S35VN. It holds the edge of the 35VN better without the hassle of sharpening the 30V.
 

TRfromMT

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Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
5,196
For me, this isn't about why CRK doesn't use a "better" steel than they do. It's about why they don't do any better with s35VN than they do. It's a premium knife, but I think they leave a little something to be desired with the performance of the steel.
 

abbazaba

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Joined
Oct 30, 2015
Messages
3,358
I don't see CRK ever using a non stainless, but until 10v or similar is an option I'm fine with S35vn, S45vn...

However, their S45vn could be a pleasant surprise. If they have been doing steel mostly the same way (for a bunch of reasons mentioned) and we are more impressed by other companies implementation of it, there is an opportunity for CRK to show us how awesome S45vn can be. They know the criticism and certainly recognize the importance of this change.

Trying to positive, but I agree with most of the concerns.
 

Accelerator

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Joined
Oct 16, 2010
Messages
955
For me, this isn't about why CRK doesn't use a "better" steel than they do. It's about why they don't do any better with s35VN than they do. It's a premium knife, but I think they leave a little something to be desired with the performance of the steel.

I guess in a way that this is what I was trying to say. So much effort in the foundation of the knife (amazing fit, finish & consistency) and then the blade not matching the greatness of the frame.

Again, I think a few posters think that I’m bashing my CRK’s, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here is an anology.....a precision hunting rifle. The bolt, receiver and overall fit of the action are world class. Easy throw, positive extraction and ejection. Wood grain is amazing. Then to the barrel, very accurate when it’s been properly cleaned, but after a few shots, the spread tends to open up and shift tends to wander. So, I can clean thoroughly and bring it back to sub-moa, but that has a short life span. After a few shots, the bore gets fouled and I’m back to taking the rifle out of the hunt for another cleaning.

I’m still carrying one of my CRK’s every day, so I’m not bitching or giving up on the my knives or the brand as a whole. The conversation that I intended to have was that my observation of the balance between the body and the blade is a bit out of synch.

Thank you to all who have contributed to this thread. It has been mostly a civilized discussion and many worthwhile and valued opinions have been expressed. Exactly what I was hoping to find.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
118
It's hard when Spyderco has a new steel every 6 months. Some of those steels are awesome. S35vn is a great steel with a great balance. The PM steels in general are great quality steels with low impurities. S45vn will be run harder and have a different balance but still not far from S35vn. I'm satisfied with both choices. I did just pick up a small 21 so another S35vn knife to the drawer.
 

Accelerator

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Oct 16, 2010
Messages
955
I’m searching for another 21 to add to the collection for Xmas. My goal is to continue to grab 21’s while they’re still available as I love that platform. My guess is that when S45VN comes out it will predominantly be on 31’s but I’m in no rush there since their availability should be fine for years to come. I may add another Damascus 21 as well as that has blown me away both in looks and function.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
118
I'm tempted to grab another 21 as well. Slim pickings unless you are left handed or shopping for damascus. I see a few rhino CGG's available that might make me bite.
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
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161
I'm tempted to grab another 21 as well. Slim pickings unless you are left handed or shopping for damascus. I see a few rhino CGG's available that might make me bite.

For the first time, I feel like I have an advantage being left handed in the knife world! I thought I was grabbing a PJ 21 insingo before it was too late, but quickly realized its pretty much free rein for lefties right now.
 

BMCGear

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Jan 4, 2014
Messages
6,192
A Sebenza in CPM M4 would be my grail. The edge holding of that steel really impresses me. I might be weird, but I like the blemishes and blotches that appear on the steel.

M4, K390, or 10v. Any and all would work. I'm with you - I do enjoy the wear and color on a good tool steel. Add that to the character titanium gets and it would be unreal.
 
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