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ninjatoth 08-15-2013 12:24 AM

What Do You Guys Know About Steel?
I been looking at buying a good quality hunting knife, one that will last a lifetime, but I see so many steels to choose from and I have no clue what they all mean, like aus8, san maii 3, 4116 stainless and about 3 dozen others I have heard of, what is a good steel that is really hard yet won't break, something that could literally be shot with a 45 and cut the bullet in half with type of steel?

ninjatoth 08-15-2013 12:27 AM

also, in the size and spec department I want a fixed blade and something just small enough to be a good gutting knife, yet just large enough to get into the vitals of lets say, a raging black bear or cougar in a woods defense situation.

griffin81 08-15-2013 01:43 AM

The possibilities are endless. It all depends on what you want to use it for and price range. There are a lot of great steels, what really matters is how well the knife is heat treated. I would look for a custom maker with a lot of experience I would personally recommend Ben Steward I your want a awesome tough as nails knife. He is young but one of the truly great Arkansas knife makers. He builds a 100% quality knife. Also look up Allan Hutchens he won the blade show hunting knife this year and builds a top quality knife. He is also a great teacher and has helped me a lot in building knives.

TekGreg 08-15-2013 03:06 AM

Ninja, here is a simplified primer on types of steel and how they affect a knife. Read this and see if it helps. :)

kbd512 08-15-2013 03:19 AM

For a working knife, you don't want a blade that's as hard as a file. Sooner or later the edge will dull, or chip if it's really hard, and you'll need to sharpen it. Hard steels makes that task more difficult than it already is. A butter knife with the right heat treatment can cut a bullet in half.

Just get a regular 1095 or AUS8A blade. Fancy steels don't make knives better heat treatment, blade and edge geometry, and better handles do.

There may be someone out there who spends hundreds of dollars for a working knife, but most of the time when someone buys something like that they won't use it because they're afraid they'll break it or mar the finish.

So, buy a common high carbon steel blade with a good finish or a common stainless steel if corrosion resistance is very important. Either way, get a product with a good heat treatment, suitable handle material, and blade/edge geometry that's suitable for your purposes.

Based on what you stated you intended to use it for, it sounds like a medium sized stainless steel skinner is what you need.

txpossum 08-15-2013 01:08 PM

For a good basic knife, it's hard to beat 1095 (carbon) or 440C (make sure it says 440 C, not just "440") stainless.

However, Buck does get very good results it's heat treatment of 420.

KA BAR makes . . . or used to, I haven't checked lately, very reasonably priced knives out of D2 in their "High Impact" knives.

Another good D2 bargain -- Queen. Not all their knives are made out of D2, so check them out carefully before buying.

What's your price range?

Marthor 08-15-2013 03:11 PM

I took the "engineering materials" class in college.

I learned how metals and alloys get different properties by heat treatment. Every alloy combination has been tested and analyzed at every temperature to produce tables showing all their properties.

Over 100 years ago, not all this analysis had been done. So, they didn't know that some types of steel would change properties at different temperature. Some large boats would crack in half when they sailed into freezing arctic waters. Eventually, the research was done and they figured out all sorts of things and documented everything.

Even though 100 years of research and documentation has been done, they are still learning. Especially in aircraft, metal fatigue on titanium is a newer research focus. Research is fun, like if we zap this metal with a lazer, how does it affect the properties?

But even taking a college class doesn't make me an expert on knife blades. Common steels used for knives are decided on by a number of factors. Stainless is popular, but weaker. Others are heat treated more for superior properties, but then they cost more to manufacture.

So, getting around to my main point to answer the thread question, if you want to know something about steel, you can look it up because it's all been tested and documented. :D

AR10 08-15-2013 03:38 PM

You cannot purchase a tool that lasts a lifetime. Loss, theft, breakage, etc.

Also if you dance all night long with one woman, you are missing the reasons to dance in large groups.

In your lifetime, you will purchase many, many knives. Be careful, blades are sharp and cut skin and meat quickly.

Steel_Talon 08-15-2013 04:08 PM

Buck Vanguard.... Will be an excellent place for you to start out with...

Marthor 08-15-2013 05:16 PM


Originally Posted by ninjatoth (Post 1335645)
, something that could literally be shot with a 45 and cut the bullet in half with type of steel?

Now that would also depend on what metal the bullet is made out of too. 45 usually isn't a penetrator bullet, but some penetrator bullets have steel cores.

Lead is super soft and splashes almost like water against steel.

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