Steel choice for making fillet knife. 3V?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Loren Jones, Oct 9, 2020.

  1. Loren Jones

    Loren Jones

    91
    Jun 26, 2019
    I'm looking to make a fillet knife for my dad. He fishes a lot and catches fish in the 1-8 pound range, generally cleans them cutting the ribs off the spine then takes the skin off the filet and removes the ribs. So he cuts through quite a bit of bone in the process although the bone is small.

    No saltwater exposure.

    He has a variety of sporting goods store junk fillet knives.

    I am weighing edge retention capability and toughness very highly. I certainly don't want something chippy. Corosion resistance certainly matters but due to the compromised edge retention to toughness balance of stainless steels I'm thinking of using somewhat corrosion resistant but not truly stainless steels.

    The top of my list right now is CPM3V. Thoughts? It's extreme toughness, very good edge retention and moderate corrosion resistance seem appealing. Am I crazy for considering a non-stainless material?

    In the stainless world I'm drawn to things that favor toughness over extreme edge retention...I don't want this thing to be chippy. In the stainless realm I'm considering AEB-L, Z-Finit or 14C28N (if I could source it).

    Any suggestions much appreciated.
     
  2. skyhorse

    skyhorse Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    You're not going to get the slight flex from CPM 3V required for a good fillet knife.
     
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  3. Larrin

    Larrin KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 17, 2004
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  4. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 3, 2005
    Some makers have reported good results with AEB-L for fillet knives.
     
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  5. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    I would think the AEB steel for ease of maintenance :) But I’m no knife maker so it’s just my .02 worth ;):D But as a buyer id buy a fillet knife in AEB before 3v and I really like 3v
     
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  6. Loren Jones

    Loren Jones

    91
    Jun 26, 2019
  7. Loren Jones

    Loren Jones

    91
    Jun 26, 2019
    Duramax and Richard338, thanks for the AEB-L endorsements.

    Duramax, what do you like about 3V in your experience and why would you avoid it for a fillet knife? Corrosion?

    Thanks
     
  8. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 3, 2005
    One thing to consider is available stock. Alpha knife supply has AEB-L in a ton of different thicknesses starting at 0.04".
     
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  9. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    I'd ask your Dad about his feelings for stainless vs. non-stainless for a fillet knife.
    The vast majority of folks prefer stainless steel for such usage, an opinion I share.

    My secondary opinion is that either AEB-L or 14C28N would work. 14C28N is said to be more corrosion resistant, and if pushed, I'd vote for that.
     
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  10. skyhorse

    skyhorse Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 30, 2010
  11. Larrin

    Larrin KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 17, 2004
    No idea.
     
  12. mendezj

    mendezj Basic Member Basic Member

    993
    Nov 24, 1998
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  13. Loren Jones

    Loren Jones

    91
    Jun 26, 2019
    I want to make it not buy it.
     
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  14. mendezj

    mendezj Basic Member Basic Member

    993
    Nov 24, 1998
    I don’t know if I understood correctly how your dad fillets fish. I also don’t know what kind of fish he catches (other than 1 to 8lbs). However, a flexible knife is convenient when you remove the meat passing the knife between the meat and the ribs. The skin you remove before or after depending upon the fish or how you’re used to doing it.

    in any case, if you must cut the ribs off the spine to then remove the ribs from the meat (?) then flexibility is not that important, and what you need is a blade that holds an edge after cutting bone. Or maybe shears. Again, I’m a bit confused about that way to fillet fish. An 8lbs fish usually has some pretty tough ribs, especially as they attach to the spine.

    By the way, I have a couple of fillet knives (5” and 8” or so) made of 440V steel and those knives rock the world. But I fillet fish different than your dad does.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
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  15. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider

    Sep 13, 2017
    Had pretty good results with the Mora Flex and the old style filet knives. The key is flex and thin stock.
    70E8F99B-062B-4D84-875A-4D7E86FC97B0.jpeg 1181AF54-3D39-40CC-BB7C-320D3B2F6F6D.jpeg
     
  16. mendezj

    mendezj Basic Member Basic Member

    993
    Nov 24, 1998
    I love those little knives. They are cheap and take a razor edge.
     
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  17. The Mastiff

    The Mastiff Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2006
    AEB-L is a good choice. I'd take CPM 154 personally. It's a good all around stainless knife steel.

    Joe
     
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  18. Loren Jones

    Loren Jones

    91
    Jun 26, 2019
    Dad catches walleye, northern, lake trout. He generally goes straight along the spine through ribs. Then he leaves it attached at the tail end by the skin. He next takes the meat off the skin and then slices the bones off the fillet. If it’s a bigger fish he may just carve the meat off the ribs.

    let me ask this way...would a high end stainless like m390 etc do well at avoiding chipping on small bones? If so I’ll just go with a high end stainless. I just don’t want him to deal with chipping. I’d prefer rolling or abrasion and wear over chipping. For example I’ve had S30v and wouldn’t use it for this application due to chipping tendency.
     
  19. Larrin

    Larrin KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 17, 2004
    If you don’t want S30V then M390 wouldn’t be any better. To avoid chipping you would want to stick to AEB-L or 14C28N.
     
  20. Ajack60

    Ajack60 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 21, 2013
    I’ve got a 7” and 9” fillet knives in S30V made by Big Chris. Haven’t had any issues with chipping. To date, they have served me well and am very pleased with them. The only other steel I’d opt for would be S35VN. I hear good things about S45VN also.
     
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