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Vargo Sintered Titanium Knife

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by OrangeBlueOrangeBlue, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. Found this on GearJunkie:
    The Vargo Sobata 398 is unlike any other knife we’ve seen. It uses a new type of titanium-ceramic alloy to create a blade with some wild properties. According to the brand, while the material is very soft (around HRC 40), it holds an edge five times longer than steel (HRC 63). How this works we have no idea, but, according to Vargo, third-party testing verified this assertion. We can’t wait to put this one to the test to verify this claim of remarkable performance ourselves.


    Sounds too good to be true, so probably is, but I’d love to be surprised.
  2. Rykjeklut

    Rykjeklut Basic Member Basic Member

    May 23, 2018
    Intrigued, but not entirely convinced.
    Allan DeGroot likes this.
  3. Allan DeGroot

    Allan DeGroot

    Jun 15, 2019
    I'll say the same "intrigued but not convinced"
  4. McFeeli


    Feb 13, 2017
    In that excerpt they don’t really clarify what steel was used, so it could just be some really crappy hardened steel, haha.
  5. Rykjeklut

    Rykjeklut Basic Member Basic Member

    May 23, 2018
    Nevermind. Too many beers
  6. Allan DeGroot

    Allan DeGroot

    Jun 15, 2019
    I think a titanium sleeve closely fitted to a ceramic core might make more sense

    (Think along the lines of a SanMai laminate)

    Then again Beryllium-Copper has some promise as a blade material
  7. Gravy

    Gravy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 16, 2014
    Interesting, but I'll just see this as a gimmick until the claims are verified. Would be really cool if they're true!
  8. rxavage


    Aug 16, 2014
    I like how it looks, if this is legitimate I’m in.
  9. It says it’s a titanium-ceramic alloy, not steel
  10. McFeeli


    Feb 13, 2017
    But it also says that the titanium-ceramic alloy held it’s edge 5x longer than “steel” HRC 63. It does not list what steel was used, just the hardness.
  11. lieferung

    lieferung Basic Member Basic Member

    May 24, 2016
    They admit that they don't know how it works, therefore I won't risk my money on it.
  12. Ah, I got it. I suppose it could be anything, although I’m not sure how many low-end knife steels can actually be hardened to 63 HRC.

    Ceramic knives have a higher hardness than steel blades (75 HRC and up), so not sure how they’d get 40 HRC other than that being the hardness of the titanium sheath, which wouldn’t really have any bearing on the edge retention.
  13. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    Vargo does do some decent stuff with Ti, have a mix of their own designs and re-badge OEM gear, which is the same for every brand in the outdoor market these days. The stuff that they design seems well thought out.
    Sintered Ti has some interesting properties (see the new show Savage Builds episode one for a lot of sintered Ti action) And so it will be interesting to see what they can come up with.
    If they can get the weight and hardness of ceramic, while getting the toughness and durability of the Ti, then it seems like it could be a winner in the UL packing crowd, especially if the sintering gets the price down.
    They have Ti blades on the market now without inserts or carbidizing, but they are pretty up there in price, and still pretty poor in performance (to a knife guy, for a cheese slicer they are fine). Vargo has that brand penetration in the UL world, so maybe they can pull this off? Even if the knife is functionally equivalent to a steel in in the 420-aus8 range, if the weight is low enough and the cost is comparable, it will do alright I think.
    For example their bare-bones Wharn-clip is twice the price and half the weight of a Becker Bk13. If they could get the edge retention to an equivalent level, then that weight savings would justify the additional cost for a lot of people.

    As far as doing a san mai thing, sintering tech is another step above in materials science right now, the capabilities are amazing. And I doubt that Copper-beryllium will ever leave the realm of very specialist uses. Ti might be a little more expensive, but beryllium is not something many people want to be working with. If it was going to be a bigger thing, we'd be seeing it, but most people don't need a non-magnetic knife, or if they did, ceramic on its own is now good enough for 90% of uses. This just gets some more durability into the mix, and for people that want weight savings, you have to compete with a stanley blade and some tape, so it better be good to pass that bar.
  14. The marketing reads very similar to what Boker used for its Cera-Titan knives, down to the comparison to 63HRC steel. Cera-Titan is a sintered titanium-ceramic material, so it’s very possible that it’s the mystery blade material. If that’s the case, some reviews on the forum suggest that the material does stay sharp for a long time, but mainly because the ceramic keeps a toothy edge even as it wears.
  15. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    Could well be, and would be useful to the intended market. That's the funny thing about being too critical about a product outside its intended uses. Remember when H1 was getting bashed because it was so poor and soft. Turns out that doesn't much matter when its other properties make up for it!
  16. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    I would welcome a ceramic that managed to be tougher . But it's "trust but verify " for me with any revolutionary developments . :confused:
  17. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Hmmmm... my integral BS meter is creeping towards the red zone.
    Skidoosh likes this.
  18. T.L.E. Sharp

    T.L.E. Sharp I support the 3rd amendment! Platinum Member

    Jun 30, 2016
    I wonder if it actually maintains an apex or if it just has a fine abrasive quality that continues to cut like a Boye cobalt knife.
  19. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    6CB91BD6-33D7-4E82-9717-D45AD8B40D8A.jpeg The toothiness of an edge depends on the size of the inclusions. The Boye Stellite 6B and 440C stainless blades are poured and dendrites (macro crystals) are formed during the cooling process. These teeth are large compared the Carbides ordinarily found in blade alloys.
    My guess is that the Vargo blade contains Titanium Carbides which are very hard. The Cera-Titan blades also contained Silver for ductility. So the hard particles in the soft matrix account for the increased abrasion resistance of the Vargo knife blade material. The sintering process allows putting Titanium and Titanium Carbide together with no machining.
    Here is the goocher. Titanium Carbide is harder than Al2O3 and SiC. So Diamond “stones” would work best for sharpening this material.
    The weight savings over steel can’t exceed 40%. This is not a San Mai blade.
    Here a picture of a sintered Cera-Titan knife.
    Rykjeklut likes this.

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