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The lowdown on Camillus blade steels

Discussion in 'Camillus Collector's Forum' started by desmobob, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. desmobob

    desmobob

    May 5, 2003
    I'm a fairly new fan of Camillus knives. My favorites are the Model 99 utility knives and TL-29/Electricians' Knives, although I have several other models.

    I've seen a few different opinions of which steel was used in the electrician's knives and Camillus knives in general. The electrician's knives are one of my all-time favorite knife patterns and an EDC for me. I had been under the impression that my knives had 0170-6 or 0170-6C for blade steel. Am I right?

    Were different steels used over the production years of the TL-29/electrician?

    Thanks for any information,
    Bob
     
  2. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Without going and digging thru my notes for the exact statement from Phil Gibbs;
    Camillus used 440A steel to about 1990 . Then went to 420 HC steel. They used that until they closed their doors in 2004 or 2005. DM
     
  3. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    2006 was the last year of production, with bankruptcy being filed for in February 2007.
     
  4. buckthorn

    buckthorn

    206
    Mar 20, 2006
    Can it be assumed that the steel and heat treat used for the contract Buck 300 series pocket knives and the Camillus "stainless" (in the 179 for example) were the same?
    Thanks!
     
  5. Vit_213

    Vit_213

    729
    Feb 4, 2011
  6. buckthorn

    buckthorn

    206
    Mar 20, 2006
  7. black mamba

    black mamba Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    Here is a quote from an earlier thread by Phil Gibbs:

    So apparently, the Sword Brand knives used a slightly upgraded 440B instead of their regular 440A.
     
  8. buckthorn

    buckthorn

    206
    Mar 20, 2006
    Thanks to all for the clarification regarding steels. Now, here's perhaps a more complicated question: How did the timing of using 440A (and/or 440B) vs. 420HC coincide (or not) with the changeover from three-pin scales to "one-pin-plus-plastic-studs-through-holes-in-the-liner" scales? In other words, if you have a Camillus knife that is stainless and you can guess it was made more or less around 1990, can you tell whether it was made prior to, or after, 1990 (and therefore made from 440A vs. 420HC) by examining scale construction? I imagine that complicating this was that any changeover in both steel grade and scale construction occurred gradually. And, assuming similar quality heat treat can I discern a difference between those two steels' performance? Do I really have to know this? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But I'm curious and perhaps others are as well.
     
  9. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I am guessing you are meaning in 1977 not 179. The particular steel cannot be ascertained without metalugery tests. But yes one should notice better edge retention with 440A than 420. And I have noticed that with a Buck 307 from the 70's. DM
     
  10. buckthorn

    buckthorn

    206
    Mar 20, 2006

    David, Thanks for helping to clarify and it's good to know that you feel there's a difference in performance between 440-A and 420. I had suspected there is but not sure whether I could have detected it.

    In any case "179" referred to the Camillus model number, not a year. (I'm old, but not THAT old!)

    But I still have the question of whether for an individual, one-pin Camillus knife, introduced prior to 1990 but continued to be be listed in the catalog after 1990, is there way of ascertaining which stainless it contains? I guess not.
     
  11. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Without having it tested. No. It was during that timeframe they switched around and used up what they had on hand. So, employees are not sure. DM
     
  12. buckthorn

    buckthorn

    206
    Mar 20, 2006
    Thanks again David.I'll just have to settle for not knowing what steel i have in my 179 other than it is stainless and of relatively low grade. If having a super steel were my prime criterion there are plenty of alternatives (though mostly not in traditionals). I "like" the 179 so I'll just continue to carry it, aware that it isn't "perfect". Is any knife the perfect one? It took me many years to get there, but i gave up on THAT search long ago!
     
  13. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    The search for the perfect knife is like hunting for 'Big Foot.' Your not going to find it. I rotate around 3-4 folders, depending on what I'm doing. This seems to keep my picky disorder in check. DM
     
  14. buckthorn

    buckthorn

    206
    Mar 20, 2006
    Realizing/accepting that makes life just a tiny bit more comfortable and less complicated, doesn't it?!
     
  15. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Yes. DM
     

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