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Would you buy a stainless GEC in something other than 440C?

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by knarfeng, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. Yes. 440A hardened to a 57-58 Rockwell

  2. Yes. 14C28N

  3. Yes. Another steel without carbides-

  4. No. I would only buy stainless GEC knives in 440C

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Dean51

    Dean51 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 30, 2014
    If that's true 14C28N could be a decent stainless steel for some. Provided they pushed the heat treat enough to take advantage of the steel. BUT. would GEC even use a non U.S. steel. I doubt it, with their current mission statement.

    These days I can pick up a Shuffler for the same price or less than some of the higher priced GEC's
    So paying premium dollars for a low carbide steel with a little Nitrogen added, would be a hard sale to make, at least to me. Admittedly I may need more steel knowledge, before I can make an intelligent decision there. Edit to add I'll work on that.

    154CM and VG10 are good steels, these days I can't see going less than that unless it's a cheaper knife.

    I've picked up an early bias against the inexpensive low carbon steels.
    I didn't realize it at the time but I became a steel snob by the late 70's early 80's. I used a knife a lot back then and completely gave up on steels like 440A, 420HC. As daily users I flat wore those blades out. Those steels couldn't cut it and I got tired of resharpening everyday.
    As a retired old fart I find I can still dull those steels way to fast.
  2. Camillus

    Camillus Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2015
    I think this is a very valid point. If GEC wasn’t stuck in the dark ages, and in direct competition with other manufacturers, would their product be as valued?

    I personally think GEC should tap into the history of their factory and produce knives in one of the stainless steels that were pioneered by Titusville Ironworks. There is a lot of info online about the steels that were produced in the old factory before it was used by GEC. https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/nwp...ort-history-of-steelmaking-in-titusville/amp/. That would both maintain the tradition and satisfy those people looking for a stainless steel.
  3. VashHash


    Aug 11, 2009
    They could always work with carpenter and use CTS-BD1N. I would be interested in that. Not sure how that all works out though. I think they have made thinner stock for kitchen knives or maybe GEC could order a custom thickness heat.
  4. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    VG10 and 154CM both contain carbides just like 440C does, so switching to one of those is not an option. And VG10 is a Japanese alloy which does not have good distribution in the US.

    GEC's specialty is recreation of classic patterns with very high end fit and finish. No one else is doing that. Case comes close in quality on occasion, but they do not and cannot generate the variety of patterns that GEC does. I don't see that using something other than 1095 and 440C changes the competition situation.

    Using a custom steel is fiendishly expensive. A standard heat lot is measured in tons. No way could GEC afford to do that. KaBar does it with their 1095 CroVan, but their output is many, many times that of GEC.
  5. VashHash


    Aug 11, 2009
    Maybe this would work. It's really close to 14C
  6. blanco112

    blanco112 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 1, 2016
    I'm not a fan of carbon steel so pretty much all decent quality stainless is acceptable to me but I've particularly liked Sandvik steel which is used in many European traditional knives so it makes sense.
  7. Elgatodeacero

    Elgatodeacero Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 5, 2014
    More advanced steels are overdue at GEC, but i think they will get there.

    I expect GEC to use a more advanced stainless steel in the next year or two, and then when it sells like crazy at a premium to 1095, the older 1095 knives will go up in value and have more limited future production.

    Then GEC will probably move to limited runs of non stainless super steels like 3V, etc. and shortly thereafter knifemaking robots will be controlled by Bill Howards brain, etc.

    Things get weird after that.
    UnderDawgAl, zolthar and Tyd450 like this.
  8. Steven65

    Steven65 Traditional Hog Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    Like many others here I would buy GEC's in any stainless that they chose to use.

    I know that modern stainless is tough on the tooling but many production companies water jet their blanks.

    Imagine a limited run of large trappers in RWL-34 or Damasteel! Awesome.
    If CRK and other niche manufacturers can water jet or use another modern process to produce blanks why can't GEC?
    Heck I had 15 CPM154 folder blanks done for me by Robo-Jet who do all of CRK's work. It cost me around 15 bucks a blade and that included the steel cost.
    Elgatodeacero likes this.
  9. Camillus

    Camillus Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2015
    It changes the situation because one of the main drawcards of GEC is their old fashioned/traditional aesthetic, including limited choice of steel. Carrying a GEC involves a deliberate choice not to carry a more functional modern folder. By using a modern steel, GEC would diminish a key point of difference it maintains over other knife manufacturers, both those producing traditional patterns, and those that produce modern patterns.

    I didn’t propose using a custom steel, I am proposing using one of the traditional steels once produced or distributed by Cyclops.
  10. Elgatodeacero

    Elgatodeacero Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 5, 2014
    i think the vast majority of customers for GEC would pay a premium for a classic styled and built knife where the only non-trad thing was blade steel.

    the knives can look the same even if spring, liners and blade are made of S90V.
  11. Planterz

    Planterz Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    I'd love to have Sandvik or AEB-L. I've never really used my traditional pocket knives as workhorses unless specifically intended as them (ie: O-1 Farm and Field GEC or Opinel), and like them to be exceptionally sharp for fine, light work, and those steels would be perfect for that.
  12. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    Depends on what steels those are and whether they are still in common use. If the alloy is not in common use today, the only way to obtain it is to have a custom batch made. Custom batches are very expensive.
  13. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    I agree. If Queen could do BG42, ATS34,D2 and 440C it should be possible for GEC. Reasons are sometimes excuses too. Maybe GEC can pick up some equipment (and patterns :)) if they liquidate Queen by auction.
  14. Planterz

    Planterz Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    I don't quite see it that way. 14C28N would be considered a "modern" steel, but I don't think it would betray the spirit of the traditional knife that GEC aspires to hearken back to and recreate. It can get razor sharp without much difficulty or with specialty equipment. If you did a blind test, I'd bet that most if not all of us would enjoy the steel for being easy to maintain and appreciate that it holds an edge well, all without assuming that it's something new and/or exotic and feeling that it's not "traditional" enough. Make it from M390 or S90V and we'd all notice.
    Elgatodeacero and Camillus like this.
  15. Camillus

    Camillus Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2015
    I agree. I would happily buy a GEC knife in ‘better’ steel than 440C if it wasn’t ‘too’ modern and wasn’t ‘too’ expensive.
  16. Peregrin

    Peregrin Traditional Forum Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    Assuming that a particular GEC knife is available when I'm looking to purchase, I'd be happy with any of the stainless steels listed, as long It has a good heat treatment and can be hardened to 57 or 58 RC or higher.
    Eli Chaps and Shurke like this.
  17. BigJim2x

    BigJim2x Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 22, 2016
    I did not vote as I have no preference to what type of stainless as long as it is stainless. Love me some acorn shield in stainless of any flavor - as long as its a pattern I'm interested in.

  18. Sergeua

    Sergeua Gold Member Gold Member

    May 1, 2016
    I'm rocking a 60-61 12c27 slipjoint.
    57-58 o_O yall some bushcrafters :p

    K Sorry keep forgetting is too hard to make a stamp or something like that and you don't need to cut cardboard.

    I think 440c gives it a pretty old school look and feels traditional to me. In the future you gotta have some xhp though because new generation chooses pepsi and gec can be a high fit and finish performance piece. Nowadays materials we cut perhaps requiers upgrade. That's just my wishful thinking.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  19. Wurrwulf


    Dec 3, 2015
    As a bit of an aside, I know that I recently read comments here on BF that GEC did, in fact, buy some new equipment. Can anyone share what it was that they bought? I thought it was for cutting blanks, but I may be misremembering.

    On topic, I probably wouldn't buy a GEC in 440A unless it fell closer to Case price range. I really like my knives in AEB-L, though. I'm certainly not a steel snob, and I greatly put more emphasis on ease of sharpening rather than edge retention. That being said, 440A just seems a bit too "low end" for a product of such quality as GEC knives.
  20. JohnDF

    JohnDF Gold Member Gold Member

    May 14, 2018
    I would prefer that they stick with 440C as a minimum.

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