Let’s talk heat treatments.

Comeuppance

Fixed Blade EDC Emisssary
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Jan 12, 2013
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I haven’t seen official acknowledgement of this (admittedly, I have not looked very hard), but I was hoping to get a representative to discuss and respond to this.

In this document of independant HRC tests, Lionsteel’s M390 tested under the target range on 3/3 knives (between 50.9 and 56.38)

Small sample, but troubling anyway. Soft supersteels negate the advantages of the alloys, and the seemingly likely chance of getting a badly-treated blade makes buying a Lionsteel seem like a gamble at best.

I understand that Lionsteel outsources the heat treatment, and it seems like they need to have a serious conversation about how, at the very least, the M390 is being handled.
 
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Apr 6, 2016
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Yawn. There are a dozen posts about this here on BF, on IG and on YT already.
Lionsteel has stated via their official social media channels that if you -or anyone- has any issue with the quality of your Lionsteel knife, to sent it back in for warranty, and they will replace it if needed. I lost a pivot screw once, and they sent me a new set for free. Their warranty is very good and they have made it clear they stand 100% behind their products, which in general are top quality.
So, if by any chance, your Lionsteel can't cut over 400 ropes like a decent M390, send it back to them and they will get you one that does.
 
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Sep 16, 2012
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I'm in the "once bitten, twice shy" camp.
No, it doesn't need to cut forever.
But it needs to out perform a popsicle stick.
 
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Here you go:

02N7cWt.png


In the interest of objectivity, here are notes:

1. Tester arranged meeting at Peters with their guy.

2. They compared notes on testing methodology and calibrated process.

3. The Dom did hit higher than previous. They hit it multiple times, could not collectively figure out what was different, and agreed that a third test was a good idea.

4. They tested one previously untested blade, as noted in the linked comment. Results were in-range for what Lionsteel has aimed for.

5. They tested multiple (if memory serves correctly, 4) other, previously tested samples to calibrate and confirmed the results on those.

My advice to the group, as mentioned elsewhere/previously, has been to third party verify any low outliers and report privately to companies first.

Also interesting to read. (Click on the image to enlarge)
 
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My M4 performs well (in actual use).
My M1 is a little disappointing (actual use).
Both are beautifully made, and I won't be sending anything back.
I did make an 8 year old Cub Scout really happy with a gift of the M1 though. It's the perfect size for him, and he won't have any hangups with edge retention.:)
Yawn. There are a dozen posts about this here on BF, on IG and on YT already.
Lionsteel has stated via their official social media channels that if you -or anyone- has any issue with the quality of your Lionsteel knife, to sent it back in for warranty, and they will replace it if needed. I lost a pivot screw once, and they sent me a new set for free. Their warranty is very good and they have made it clear they stand 100% behind their products, which in general are top quality.
So, if by any chance, your Lionsteel can't cut over 400 ropes like a decent M390, send it back to them and they will get you one that does.
 

Mo2

Joined
Apr 8, 2016
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Also interesting to read. (Click on the image to enlarge)
To add to that, of which was excluded from that blurb

The tester at Peters also has a maintained and calibrated Wilson 4jr right outside his office, and had no qualms about the machine used. This is supported by the other samples each lining up.

These are two very experienced guys, who confirmed testing methodology with each other, etc. Neither could explain the variance with the one sample, and they agreed that it was worth further testing or exploration.

And I think it's worth to note that no one should be claiming that all there knives are 56hrc or whatever the one or two samples shown. For someone to run with that is pretty crazy and that's what this collector knives seems to have done and ltk and the meme accounts on ig.
 
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Nov 11, 2017
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So, it seems the whole M390 HRC affair was nothing but a storm in a teacup which turned into a full scale internet witch-hunt, unfortunately.
The low Lionsteel M390 HRC readings were hard to believe from the start, esp. if you ever used a Lionsteel M390 blade. I had (and used) the TRE and though you could def. complain about a lot of things - like the bad flipping action and the weak detent - the blade of the TRE was nothing to complain about, the M390 held an edge like forever.
 

Mo2

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Apr 8, 2016
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So, it seems the whole M390 HRC affair was nothing but a storm in a teacup which turned into a full scale internet witch-hunt, unfortunately.
The low Lionsteel M390 HRC readings were hard to believe from the start, esp. if you ever used a Lionsteel M390 blade. I had (and used) the TRE and though you could def. complain about a lot of things - like the bad flipping action and the weak detent - the blade of the TRE was nothing to complain about, the M390 held an edge like forever.
No. Some people blew up about things....

But the truth is, cardboard cut testing is showing low on a majority of M390 knives that have been hrc tested. Performing around s30v give or take. When ideally you'd want to perform better being that it's sold as a higher tier steel in the lineup for companies. It doesn't mean they are all under performing. Just a bunch already. The knives tested at 60-62 performed very well.
 
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No. Some people blew up about things....

But the truth is, cardboard cut testing is showing low on a majority of M390 knives that have been hrc tested. Performing around s30v give or take. When ideally you'd want to perform better being that it's sold as a higher tier steel in the lineup for companies. It doesn't mean they are all under performing. Just a bunch already. The knives tested at 60-62 performed very well.
There's a universe of difference between 'performing like S30V' and 'performing like a steel treated to 50 Hrc' and conflating the two is flat out dishonest.
 
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I am now getting tired of new threads/tangents on the subject sure I would like to see more response from LionSteel and Mike on BF but their responses elsewhere are showing that perhaps the testers had a fault and there is in fact no problem and this has been a bunch of damage to good companies for nothing but a currently unexplainable fault in a small sample independent testing.
 
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Mar 17, 2017
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collector knives statement
(its the pinned comment under the video)

Nick, first I want to thank you for doing what you do, specifically in this video. There are correct ways to do things and there are incorrect ways to do things. There are those that say they agree with you, but their actions are quite the opposite of your recommendations. I want to start off by saying that even though you don't address any specific parties, and may have not had any in mind - I will. As some of you might know, a group within the community has taken it upon themselves to try and test manufacturer hardness claims for steels like M390. I think these guys are genuinely good folks with good intentions. There is LTK (luv them knives) channel, Kurt who works for a government contractor and has access to an hrc machine at work, and several others that document, etc. They've also amassed a following of excited fans. Folks that have a few hours of extra time can watch the series of LTK "rant" videos for reference to my response. I would also like to preface with the fact that NONE of these guys involved in testing, data entry, or shooting videos, ever contacted CollectorKnives or to my knowledge lionSteel prior to publishing their video. Any responses they reference are private conversations with a couple of my customers that were delivered to the team without my knowledge.

First off, until their 6/10/19 post which put focus on a series of lionSteel knives that I have produced in collaboration with the factory. They had many knives in the video, but really lambasted the two barlows of mine (Shuffler and Dom). The Shuffler owned by ltk, Kurt has tested a 1/2" spot to range from 48-58hrc (about 6 tests). The Dom looked a little less busy and tested twice right at 51hrc in the documentation. A customer notified me of the video being published and sent us into a frenzy. The factory, as part of quality control, tests @1.5% of all production blades and we had sent several variations to the premier heat treat company in the U.S. - Peter's Heat in PA. Matter of fact, we sent a full brother to the Shuffler in the video (first release clip blade with the old natural micarta slabs). Ours tested within factory specifications. So we went into full discovery mode having the factory take an assortment of blades to their regional ISO9001 lab for verification. Every barlow blade that myself and the factory EVER had tested - came back within factory specifications; which were set from the steel manufacturer's data sheet recommendation. So what it boiled down to is that we needed the exact knives that Kurt had tested to be independently verified and eventually sent back to the factory to figure out what happened.

So it took a couple of weeks, during which CollectorKnives suffered significant losses due to cancelled reservations and lost sales. Not to mention the reputation damage due to trolls and false information being disseminated on social media outlets. But on 6/29/19 Kurt set up the third party verification with the lead of the blade division at Peter's Heat and drove the 40 miles to verify his readings. He took the exact Dom (sheepfoot) from the datasheet that LTK has made very public at 51hrc. Peter's Heat tested the knife four times with Kurt present and each time got a 59.1hrc reading.

Now my thought is that since these guys were so adamant for the makers to just own up to the facts and admit shortcomings; they would produce an awkward, but genuine response to this invalidation of their data on at least one of the poster boy knives. Nothing yet. But, to this point, there have been two responses that I find interesting. Kurt seems to have deleted his instagram account. Which I completely understand. There were a lot of posts by him that might be hard to hunt down and delete one at a time. One that I wrote down regarding hrc testing was "Unless you are a full blown moron that eats paint chips, it is not a difficult (test) to perform". And my main concern is that he works for a government contractor and now any readings that combine him and that hrc machine, might cause his employer "headaches". So, he is probably making some decisions at this point, and I hope this does not cause any problems or social media retaliation. But for the LTK channel, their response was a 30 minute "GAW" video as a re-direct on "hrc is not everything", "burning the honed edge may make tang readings invalid" (even though those are the readings they based their video on), scratch tests, cut tests, etc. And a sales pitch for funding a garage hrc tester for Kurt. The frustrating thing is that he re-emphasized the Dom and Shuffler readings, continuing the narrative even with strong proof that their results can't be trusted. Kurt even took an untested Shuffler to Peter's, and it tested within factory specifications. But there is no mention of this anywhere in the video. LTK had said earlier he would "stand" on Kurt's results; but I'm hoping Kurt confirming they were wrong would alter the stance a bit. Not one mention of the testing result by a 36 year blade heat treat veteran working for the premier heat treat company in the U.S., that invalidates their result on one of the respective knives; and no test outside factory specifications on a Shuffler, Roundhead, or Dom.

My hope is that LTK is hard at work on a video discussing the shortcomings of the tests, validity of their results, and opening a dialogue of trusted approaches going forward; but I'm not holding my breath. And yesterday's video sure seemed like he was doubling down on flawed measures, rather than issuing apologies that he owes the businesses who this invalid data has harmed.

LTKs response where he admits that not a single Lionsteel knife has been outside of specification:
 
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May 17, 2010
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The last two Lionsteel slip joints I got it seemed to take forever to reprofile the edges. Both m390 and both noticeably harder than most other m390 blades I have.
 
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