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Tell me about Case's "Tru Sharp" Steel

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by EDCanAdamas, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. EDCanAdamas


    Sep 8, 2013
    Any more recent thoughts on "Tru Sharp"? Older threads suggest that it was of poor quality, like 440A or 420J. Has this changed insomuch that "Tru Sharp" is a usable steel for actual daily knife use versus something that stays pretty a really long time in someones collection?

    FYI; I know how to sharpen, I just do not want to be doing it all the time. So far my experiences with Case's CV have been positive, but I have not really tested out Tru Sharp.
  2. Sword and Shield

    Sword and Shield

    Apr 3, 2004
    440A isn't even in the same league as 420J- 420J is more suited to bolsters and liners than blades. 440A isn't great, but serviceable. Case's Tru-Sharp is thought to be 420HC run at about 56RC. It's workable, definitely stainless, and fine for most tasks. I just prefer the CV- I like the way it responds to a stone better.
    At1Rest likes this.
  3. GaiusJulius


    Jan 9, 2016
    Actual daily use is where tru-sharp excels. Ok, it isn't S30V or some ultra-hard, ultra-premium alloy, but it's very stain resistant, extremely easy to sharpen on any surface that will sharpen a carbon blade, takes an extremely keen edge, and owing to the thin, slicey blade geometry of traditional knives, it will hold that edge for a long time. It's prone to forming a sticky burr that's a bit hard to remove but once you do, it will surprise you. Functionally it's about as good as CV, only with the bonus of being stainless.
  4. traumkommode

    traumkommode Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 3, 2015
    Depends on what your daily tasks are. I got mine shaving sharp, and kept it up with a strop after doing stuff like occasionally opening a package or cutting a string or an avocado. The hollow grind is thin enough that what the blades lack in hardness they make up for in thinness behind the edge. I used a sodbuster jr. to clean ivy off window screens for a while and had to sharpen it after that, but ivy is dense, fibrous stuff. Would have had to sharpen any blade after that much work. I agree that TruSharp isn't so satisfying to sharpen as 1095 or 440C, but it is easy to sharpen and goes quickly.
  5. Tru-Sharp has never been 440A or 420J. It is 420HC, as documented by Case themselves (see link below); so, it's no mystery. Case does it pretty well for a basic stainless steel designed for simple EDC uses, like box/package opening, food prep, gardening/pruning, etc. It's very easy to sharpen up to shaving (hair-popping, hair-whittling) sharpness, and is maintained easily on most any choice of stones, from Arkansas stones up through diamond hones. That's actually what I consider to be one of it's best attributes, as it's almost worry-free to sharpen and maintain, no matter what sharpening tools may be at hand. A steel that responds so favorably to many different sharpening media is a mark of high quality, to me, and anything but 'poor' in quality. Same can be said about other quality brands using similarly-alloyed stainless, like Victorinox and Opinel. And some makers' 440A is pretty good as well, such as Camillus & Buck Knives (by Camillus), and Kershaw, whom made very good use of it, for example.


    If perception of 'quality' is based upon other attributes, like high wear resistance (D2, S30V, ZDP-189 and other tool steels or so-called 'super steels'), then you're talking an apples-vs-oranges comparison, which is meaningless as a comparison of quality. One is designed and made for wear resistance, and the other for corrosion resistance and simplicity & economy of upkeep. Nothing to do with quality of manufacture, which is defined by purity of the alloy and consistency of heat treat, for example; but each is made with different end-use objectives in mind.

    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
    At1Rest, Eli Chaps and Ayjaydee like this.
  6. deltaboy


    Jul 6, 2014
    My Sod Busters are Tru Sharp and are great in the Kitchen.
  7. jlhoffman74


    Nov 30, 2014
    Until recently, I have always thought of case knives as well polished toy knives but I bought a 6347 SS Stockman, I am very impressed. It makes a great edc blade, its built well enough that I enjoy using/sharpening it, and the price was economical enough that I bought two just in "case" I lost one. The steel holds a great edge, I just have been stropping mine and it is easy to maintain. The small sheepsfoot bit me because I wasn't paying attention and it was like a scapel right through my thumb. I like mine for food prep and the luchtime apple, I just wipe off on my jeans and in the pocket it goes.
  8. ericnpeterson


    Nov 18, 2013
    Most of my Case knives are Tru Sharp and work well.... I have one CV, a Med Stockman, and it's a pain to keep sharp.
  9. oldtymer

    oldtymer Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    Nothing wrong with Case SS. I just wish they offered more models with the "as ground" blades. It is a little less slick to get a hold on and
    does not show the fingerprints like the polished version.
  10. Woodrow F Call

    Woodrow F Call

    Jan 3, 2013
    Honestly, I find the Tru-Sharp performs about as well as the CV. It sharpens a little differently as it is a touch harder to get that wire to strop off, but it'll shave hair no problem when sharpened. It holds that edge about the same. I prefer the patina of CV, but I've grown to like a few Case SS knives as much as my CV ones.
  11. 64Ford


    Jun 6, 2016
    I had a blue mini copper lock in SS and a red mini copper lock in CV. I was pleasantly surprised with the SS as it seemed to sharpen and cut as well as the CV.
  12. MattWRog

    MattWRog Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    Mentioned above already, I recently acquired a Sodbuster Jr and the hollow grind was a pleasant surprise. The SS is refreshingly easy to touch up and get satisfyingly hair plowing sharp. I don't mind the nightly ritual of a few swipes on the crock sticks if need be.
  13. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    As I wrote recently on a similar thread, I find the steel to be a waste of time, sharpens easily but dulls incredibly fast and easily when used for anything but food. I have a chinese knife in 440A which is just as bad. My knives in 1095, 440C, D2 & 154cm are a universe away. I do not have the patience for having to strop or sharpen my knives back to sharp on a daily basis if used for anything but food.
  14. ConBon


    Jan 17, 2012
    I second this, as I can use my SS Stockman for about a week with no problems, soecifically using the main clip for 90%of all cutting tasks including thick cardboard, lots of packing foam and plastic wrap, opening boxes, etc.

    They're surprisingly easy to maintain and have really impressed me.

  15. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004

  16. SubSpace


    May 26, 2011
    I'd personally rather have a knife that's easy to sharpen anywhere than a knife that, while it will hold an edge longer, needs special equipment to sharpen. Tru-Sharp and Vic Rostfrei make sense in a pocket knife for tasks pocket knives are best at. I have found no discernible difference in use between Tru-Sharp and CV. One just rusts easier.
  17. James Y

    James Y

    Feb 18, 1999
    I have several Case knives, and all of them are Tru-Sharp. I guess I'm "one of those guys" who prefers a good stainless steel over straight carbon steel in my pocketknives. While I prefer Victorinox over Case, as far as cutting performance goes, much of that has to do with Vic's superb blade geometry. Truth be told, there is otherwise little difference. Case Tru-Sharp, as already mentioned earlier, tends to develop a wire edge during resharpening that can take a bit more work to get rid of. But in my experience, Tru-Sharp, while not my favorite steel, is a very good user steel. IMO, it's certainly good for a lot more than just collectors' pieces that won't be used (as I've heard some on forums suggest). As a kid, I used lots of straight carbon steel pocketknives, and did not find them to hold an edge any better than Case's Tru-Sharp.

  18. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000

    Tru-Sharp is easy to sharpen and even easier to touch up. That's because it's so dang soft. The hardness spec for Case TruSharp, as listed at AG Russell's, is 54-57.
    The spec for Case CV is also 54-57 but the CV does seem to hold an edge a bit longer. Even so, that's still softer than what other manufacturers get from treating plain 1095.

    There's no reason for Case steel to be so soft, other than perhaps saving a few bucks on manufacturing. 420HC can be hardened to 58, or they could use 440C that is easily hardened to 59-60 rc.
    And the Case CV at 54-57? Camillus hardens their Carbon V to 58-59, and GEC reportedly treats their plain 1095 to 58-59. It sure seems like even the common Schrade Old Timers' 1095 is harder than Case CV.
  19. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    Jim I agree with you.:thumbup:

    I often wonder what kind of 'tasks' people are dreaming of for pocket-knives? Cutting hundreds of items for days on end, butchering or castrating dozens of animals a day? Cutting up tonnes of boxes, cutting wire, thick leather, pruning a vineyard then carrying massive whittling projects on hardwoods?? And never a touch up shall there be?:D:rolleyes:

    I'm a keen gardener, I often take hardwood cuttings or prune smaller stuff, open fertilizer bags, feed or seed sacks, sharpen pea-sticks etc. Now I've found CASE Trusharp more or less the same as cv or carbons except it won't rust. Stropping it takes seconds and the edge stays OK for what it's needed for. It most certainly is not, use once and it's blunt.

    A lot of the suspicion of CASE Trusharp or other basic stainless steels is rooted in prejudice or received 'wisdom' CASE certainly do churn out shed loads of collector display knives, some of which are nowhere near tasteful, they can look shiny and gaudy, consequently, people believe that the steel is for show and not for work, uh uh. Also, there seems to be a hangover in some quarters of 'stainless aint no good, won't take an edge!' Yes, maybe before I was born, and I'm in the elderly fart league....:eek::D If you don't like basic stainless or you long for some impossibly hard to sharpen super steel then fair enough, but CASE Trusharp can be a workman's friend, no question.
  20. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    The other reason is that so many folks prefer ease of sharpening over edge retention, as we've read in posts above. And for most folks, 54-56 is hard enough to function well enough for daily tasks.

    Personally, I'm closer to the sentiment voiced by Pomsbnz than to many of the others, although I don't find Tru-Sharp to be "a waste of time", I'd be happier if the blades were harder. Buck 420HC works so much better for me at it's 58-59 hardness.

    That being said, I own and often carry Case knives in Tru-Sharp; so while higher hardness would be appreciated, it's not a complete deal breaker.

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