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My LC200N Mule Rusted. How is that possible??

Discussion in 'Spyderco' started by neffarious, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. neffarious


    Jun 23, 2012

    If only!
    PA Trout and Burke like this.
  2. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    yep i read that wrong. thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
  3. BladeScout

    BladeScout Basic Member Basic Member

    May 16, 2010
    Yes, its going to take time.

    There might be a Voight-Kampff test as well.
    Spectre and Wharn like this.
  4. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    i already had an iq test this year......
    mattmanyam likes this.
  5. GundaManiac

    GundaManiac Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Is that to check if the Mule is a Replica(nt)?
    jbmonkey likes this.
  6. neffarious


    Jun 23, 2012
    It's to check if it's an android. My phone already failed
    Mattysc42 likes this.
  7. BladeScout

    BladeScout Basic Member Basic Member

    May 16, 2010


    Both pretty good.

    kbirk2003, Bill1170, Neko2 and 3 others like this.
  8. neffarious


    Jun 23, 2012
  9. blueblur


    Feb 25, 2009
    That is classic!
  10. Sal Glesser

    Sal Glesser Moderator Moderator

    Dec 27, 1998
    Perhaps your Android is a counterfeit?

    Armadew, uxo2 and Mo2 like this.
  11. neffarious


    Jun 23, 2012
    I hope its not a replicant as I got it from a licensed distributor :)
  12. tyyreaun

    tyyreaun Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2017
    This thread got me interested in LC200N and other stain-proof steels. I've since picked up the LC200N mule, and got two others test blades from a maker on this forum - one in Vanax and one in AEB-L. I've had them sitting in a salt bath since Sunday night.

    The AEB-L steel is staining pretty badly. The LC200N has some staining, mainly near the edge, but it seems minor. I don't want to disturb it yet, but it may wipe off easily. The Vanax has nothing - the salt in the glass is still perfectly white, while the salt in the other two is turning yellow from the staining.

    I'll keep them in through the week and then try to clean them. Interestingly, the BladeHQ corrosion test video had a Spydiechef sitting in water from the Great Salt Lake for a while, and it showed less staining than my LC200N mule has after just a few days. The mule isn't quite as stained as what the OP showed, but it's getting there. I wonder if the Spydiechef has a different heat treat process (possible since they're made in different factories) that affects corrosion resistance.
  13. Mick_1KRR


    May 1, 2016
    This has ever so slightly bummed me out a little about LC200N, if it turns out it's stainless ability is dependent on an absolute 100% perfect heat treat - how are you to know the one you have isn't defective until you see it staining. I'm still excited about the steel because i know Spyderco work on things until they perfect it, but can't say i'd trust it as much from other makers if it becomes widely used.
  14. BladeScout

    BladeScout Basic Member Basic Member

    May 16, 2010
    Cool your jets.

    Unless I missed it, we havent heard from Spyderco yet.

    Everybody can make a mistake but lets not quite yet break out the torches nor jump to conclusions prior to having heard from Spyderco.
  15. Mick_1KRR


    May 1, 2016
    Exactly, hence why i said - "if it turns out it's stainless ability is dependent on an absolute 100% perfect heat treat"

    Meaning it could be possible that it's chemical makeup isn't all that is required to make it rust proof. Just thinking out loud, might all turn out to be smooth sailing.
  16. neffarious


    Jun 23, 2012
    As soon i a hear something, I'll let everyone know. They have offered a replacement, which I am accepting. I am still waiting for the final results on the mule and the scales.
    trevitrace, RipD and lieferung like this.
  17. Murphjd25

    Murphjd25 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 27, 2016
    I’m also kind of wondering if it was because the heat treat was ran a little softer then the production LC200N on the Spydiechef. I admit I am not entirely sure how much effect hardness will have on corrosion resistance in this steel though. Can’t wait to hear what Sal finds out.
  18. tyyreaun

    tyyreaun Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2017
    So I ended my test early, as the results were getting fairly obvious. Pictures below and attached.

    I had the knife submerged in water with salt dissolved to the saturation point. This definitely constitutes abuse of the knife - that level of salt is completely unrealistic in any real world situation - so please consider this a worst case scenario. I'm certainly not suggesting that this would happen to any LC200N knife under any normal scenario.

    The knife was straight from Spyderco, wiped with alcohol to remove any oil, and then submerged in salt water for 4 days. Afterwards, I rinsed it and wiped it with a cloth - nothing more aggressive. Weirdly, it had just one area of damage, but that area was pretty bad:

    Big rust stain, and multiple chips in the edge that weren't there when I submerged the knife.

    Full pictures of the blade are attached. The black streaks are gunk from when I was testing the remaining edge cutting through cardboard, including tape. What's odd is that the rest of the knife, including the edge, held up very well - dare I say, perfectly. That's kind of inline with what the OP shows - certain areas of heavy staining, while the rest of the blade appears fine. Contrast that to the corrosion test videos from Cedric and Ada or BladeHQ, where the knives that did rust had staining and speckling evenly distributed across the surface of the blade.

    DSC_5045.jpg DSC_5046.jpg

    So, I dunno what to make of it. Most of the blade was fine, but one spot got destroyed. There were some theories earlier in the thread that the rust spots might be from inclusions in the metal, either from the refinery itself, or from the grinding process. Zknives lists LC200N as manufactured using the electroslag remelting process (description here: http://www.zknives.com/knives/steels/steeltec.shtml#ESR) which certainly sounds like it may be prone to inconsistencies in the final product, but I'm just guessing from their brief description.

    What's also interesting is that we now have three examples (the OP's comments, plus the Cedric and Ada, BladeHQ videos referred to earlier) where the Spydiechef held up much better to corrosion testing. In particular, BladeHQ had a SpydieChef submerged Great Salt Lake water, which likely isn't too far off from what I was testing with, especially once some of their water evaporated and concentrated the salt. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the mule and the Spydiechef are made in different facilities, on different continents, so there could be any number of factors that would lead to
    different results.

    Just based on this, I'd have to conclude the following:
    • LC200N appears to be generally more stain resistant than regular stainless steels
    • With data from two production batches (the mule and Spydiechef), I don't think we have enough data to start figuring out the inconsistencies. Hopefully Spyderco can learn more once they get the OP's blade, and subject it to additional testing. I'm hoping some Spyderco Tusk users can chime in as well
    • Spyderco's warranty and customer service are excellent, as the OP found. If you do buy an LC200N blade, and it corrodes under normal use, it sounds like they'd replace it. Based on that, I wouldn't really have any major concerns buying a Spydiechef or Caribbean for use in salty conditions
    Hopefully we'll know more once the Caribbean launches. The Spydiechef was a bit of a specialty knife - I'm hoping the Caribbean sees more use in salt water conditions so we can get more real-world data.

    To add, I was also testing an AEB-L blade and a Vanax blade at the same time. The AEB-L blade got destroyed in 4 days - the edge was almost completely gone. Not even worth trying to resharpen it - I trashed it. The Vanax blade? Perfect, as if nothing happened. That may support the theory that the problem is due to inclusions or inconsistencies in the steel manufacturing process, as Vanax is a powder steel, which should lead to a much more even distribution of the components.
  19. NJBillK

    NJBillK Custom Leather and Fixed Blade modifications.

    Mar 27, 2014
    Thanks for taking the time to do this for us. I agree that they results are not what I expected to see, and I would think that many would agree.

    I am still looking forward to my first knife in LC200N, and these slight stains (across all knives shown/referenced) haven't tempered the desire. I am fine with M4, so LC200N should be plenty stainless.

    Thanks again, and it is too bad you tossed the AEB-L... I love a good project knife, and could have given it a good home and nursed it back to life.

    Thanks again, and I am looking forward to some updates by the OP/Spyderco.
  20. tyyreaun

    tyyreaun Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 26, 2017
    Sure, not a problem - I was as curious as anyone. I was planning on scrubbing off the rust, but now I'm thinking it may be useful to put it back in a salt solution and let it continue corroding. If the theory that it's rusting due to inclusions or inconsistencies holds true, then if the bad spots fully rust out and are scrubbed away, the remainder should be as rust proof as LC200N is expected to be. It may not be final and incontrovertible proof, but more evidence doesn't hurt.

    Absolutely - there are plenty of tests showing that the Spydiechef is as rust proof as you'd expect it to be. I don't know Spyderco's manufacturing dates, but I would guess that all the LC200N mules were made in one big batch a while ago, and the ones they're selling now are leftovers from that batch. The Spydiechef would then have been made separately, probably from steel bought separately, using the lessons learned from the mule itself. Whether it's because it's a different batch of steel, or whether those lessons learned made all the difference, it sounds like the Spydiechef is a different beast.

    I'm tempted to buy a Spydiechef and repeat the test, but $200+ is starting to get a little above where I'm willing to destroy a knife to satisfy my curiosity :)

    Separately, though, I have commissioned a maker on this forum to make two fixed blades for me, one in Z-Finit/LC200N, and the other in Vanax. One maker making two blades to the exact same specs, and both getting heat treated by Peter's. I'll see how they compare on corrosion resistance, and I've reached out to one of the YouTube knife channels about then getting both tested for edge retention. Given that both steels were purchased recently from AKS for this project specifically, they should be relatively fresh stock, so hopefully any historic issues with LC200N manufacturing that may have affected the mule will be gone.
    Mo2 and NJBillK like this.

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