1. BladeForums has ZERO TOLERANCE for extremism or calls of violence. We request your assistance dealing with this as we do not want to see the site shut down due to violent threats. Please see this thread here in Tech Support: https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/bladeforums-has-a-zero-tolerance-policy-towards-threats-of-violence-extremism-be-warned.1769537/

Who actually prefers stainless in a folder?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Fass, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. JAB

    JAB Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    As far as my collection goes:

    Modern folders = mostly stainless
    Traditional folders = mostly carbon
    Therom and jfk1110 like this.
  2. Therom


    Nov 13, 2013
    I usually prefer non stainlesss on fixed blades and traditional folders

    on modern folders I prefer stainless

    Stainless involve less attention to maintenance and even if I don’t live in a humide area it just brings me some peace of mind ;)

    in addition, for my use, the characteristics of stainless steels from 154cm, 14c28n, S30v or better are more that excellent
    Some may lack on though ness but I don’t really care on a folder

    This being said I have folders in Maxamet and M4 and they are excellent. I use them mainly to cut cardboard and tape and they are very performant.

    However has I also sometime use my EDC for food prep, stainless steels are just easier for me.

    after some time in knives, I realise that maintenance and service are key factors for le.
    A stainless steel, a simple blade geometry, a knife easy to disassemble and reassemble, etc are important for me now
  3. Fass


    Mar 8, 2020
    I will turn 42 soon but I was never really exposed to carbon steel folders. Growing up in western Europe in the 80's and 90's, all we really knew was the Swiss Army knife. The SAK was pretty much the pocket knife. It was what my father had. It was what I was exposed to as a youngster.
    BIGDORK and Therom like this.
  4. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000
    I like them equally, as they are both capable of meeting my needs.

    I've never had any issues with carbon steel unless the knife was completely neglected.
  5. KenHash


    Sep 11, 2014
    I haven't had a folder in carbon steel since the 1960s. Mostly because so many stainless folders have become available since then. I don't think I ever "chose" one over the other. Fixed blades of course are a different story.
  6. chalby


    Nov 8, 2020
    I don't really prefer one or the other. It's more about the characteristics of the steel. I can live with either as long as it performs the way I want. I do like how my carbon knives look after they have developed a patina over time, but in the same way that I like how a stainless knife develops scratches and marks from use. Both give character to a knife IMO.
  7. midnight flyer

    midnight flyer Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Thankfully, we don't have to make a choice!

    I sweat like a LOT on site, frequently soaking through my clothes and staying wet all day. Haven't found a steel in the knives I own (no Spyderco Salt, etc.) that I don't at least spot a little rust on.

    I love the ease of sharpening carbon and carried carbon for years even after SS started becoming popular. I was used to lubricating a tool, checking oil on equipment, etc., and always got a little extra on my finger to run over the blades on my large pocket folders. Rust was averted with just a little prevention. When stainless got interesting for me was when larger knives of quality and affordability became easily available. For months of the year I carry only stainless knives to work and for play.

    But as we move into cooler weather down here in Texas, time to dust off my favorite old carbon knives from years ago and put a dot of 3in1 on the pivots and sharpen them. With cooler weather I don't sweat near as much so rust isn't a problem. I like carrying the old warriors since they kind of connect me back to when I started in the trades back in the early 70s.

    The carbon knives work just as hard as the stainless models I carry, and vice versa. I like my old carbon CASE knives a lot and look forward to carrying them every year; it's part nostalgia, part utility, and part just using a good knife that I like.

    tiguy7 likes this.
  8. Mikel_24


    Sep 19, 2007
    I have owned exactly three folders with carbon blades: Opinel, Payaresa (tradicional Spanish knife from the Cataluña region) and Cold Steel Pocket Bushman. I still keep the first two knives. The Cold Steel was a tank and nice to have folder, but way too heavy and I gifted it.

    The problem with folders is that one way or another they rely in tolerances. If they are tight, they work nicely. If they are (or get over time) sloppy, the action becomes craptacular. Another problem is that folders, by nature, have nook and crannies that trap moisture, debris, etc. That also contributes to rust.

    Steel rusts, then, since rust is soft, it erodes away... and you are basically eating up your steel. Depending on the steel it can be a patina, surface rust or can start pitting, which is even worse. This means that over time the action of your knife is likely to become rougher or slopier.

    My opinion is that folders in stainless steels are a better option than folders in carbon steel. If you go to the extreme of considering salt water, nothing short of the SALT series of Spyderco will do too well (although I must say I have used VG10 as a beach knife and only got a few surface rust spots)

    tiguy7 and KenHash like this.
  9. Chronovore

    Chronovore Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    I prefer stainless. Put it this way. D2 is semi-stainless and I can only EDC it three seasons out of the year. Humid summers and sweat lead to spots even if I put extra effort into keeping it clean and oiled.
    tiguy7 and Billy The Hungry like this.
  10. Billy The Hungry

    Billy The Hungry

    Aug 11, 2020
    Losing my mind, forgot I already replied, sorry. Mods please delete
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
  11. colin.p


    Feb 4, 2017
    Ditto. Pretty well sums it up for me.
    Stelth likes this.
  12. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012


    At some point in my day, I'm going to be involved in something that gets a folding knife wet and/or nasty. For that, I prefer stainless, rust proof, or as near to rust proof as possible. Love LC200N!
  13. abcdef


    Oct 28, 2005
    Ok with either.
  14. The Mastiff

    The Mastiff Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2006
    I consider everything except Salt series knives semi stainless. Every 'stainless" can and does rust except H1 and LC 200N IME. I carry what I like and want and don't try to make it stainless unless I really need it and then I carry a Salt. I usually prefer tool steels for their attributes which is much more than just toughness. I'm carrying K390 now but Cruwear, 3V, 4V, 10V etc. are also some of my favorites. I also like O1, 52100, 5160 even in folders if done right. No, I don't let my blades patina or rust and that is not much more time consuming or more effort than my carrying a S30V, S90V, 20CV, or other stainless knife and keeping them rust free. I maintain everything and don't find it an issue.
    David Mary likes this.
  15. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with non stainless folders at a time I really needed them and they were rusted shut. After soaking with penetrating oil and working them the back springs broke. They were my camping and fishing knives and I kept them oiled but unknown to me they were put away dirty and wet by my camp mates thinking they were stainless. After that I haven’t used non stainless for an outdoor knife. I still have a couple of 1095 folders that are my whittling knives and only I have access to them and they stay indoors mostly.

    Also my work environment makes it necessary to use stainless. Like many have mentioned that there’s a lot of good stainless now so why not use stainless?
    tiguy7 and Chronovore like this.
  16. Billy The Hungry

    Billy The Hungry

    Aug 11, 2020
    I prefer fixed blades in carbon. Folders with carbon steel don't do well in my pocket, because of my sweat.

    My sweat is extremely corrosive, and causes problems for some of my stainless steel knives, also. I live in Florida, so sweating is just a part of life here for me.

    With that said, one of my favorite user steels is Case CV. However, I HAVE to do a forced patina on them, and even then I still fight rust.

    Chronovore and Therom like this.
  17. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    Given the choice, I will usually take carbon steel. But that choice doesn’t happen often. Opinel, Case and Mora are three that come to mind. But if a knife I want is only available in stainless, I will buy it without a second thought.
  18. strategy9

    strategy9 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 27, 2015
    All day every day as far as locking folders go. Moving parts, nooks and crannies, hostile environments and nature of work, the ability to resist rust while superior edge holding ability, without a doubt I prefer stainless in my folders.

    My 2 favorite things about carbons is relative ease of sharpening and superior toughness, which for me is much more practical in hard use fixed blades over 4"... even traditional patterns I much prefer in stainless, and wish more premium companies offered higher end stainless varieties akin to their carbon counterparts when making traditional patterns. Especially considering pins instead of screws makes keeping those nooks and crannies around the moving parts a bit trickier...

    Just my preference though. To each their own.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
  19. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    This is how my pocket knives often look , just from carrying in Summer . :oops:


    So , heck yea ...definitely stainless for folders . Most kitchen knives . Even small fixed blades . :cool::thumbsup:

    Carbon for toughness . Throwing knives , swords , machetes , survival knives , etc . :)
    tiguy7 and Billy The Hungry like this.
  20. MarkN86


    Sep 3, 2012
    I recognize the good in both. For smaller blades, carbon steel doesn't have many advantages over modern stainless, but that doesn't mean carbon steel is all that bad overall. There are lots of nice folders and small fixed blades in carbon, and I don't seem to have as much trouble with corrosion as some do, but there is still some care required.

    There seems to be some evidence that carbon and tool steels absorb shock better in larger blades. Until someone can develop a stainless and heat treatment that can absorb shock like carbon steel can I think you'll still see a preference for carbon steel in harder use tools like large fixed blades, machetes, and axes.

Share This Page