Jump to content

Best stainless and HT service


Recommended Posts

Soooooo I have a dozen or so "hunting" knives ready for me to start learning/making sheaths.

And so far it reminds me of something my kid said when she was about 5....she told me once "but I cant want to" lol

I have a cleaver and a pearing blade design that I am diggin. Think I wanna make a few sets with matching handles and see how they do on consignment at a store by my house.

This has probably already been beat to death.....I didnt have much luck when typing in best stainless using the search function.

What would be THE best....and what do you think is the best bang for the buck.

I just was over on the barrons websight . Nitro v and 440 c were both about 24 bucks for the size I am after.

AEB-L was 19.00. and cpm154-cm was 43.00 a ft.

They are pretty proud of that....is it really twice as badazz as nitro v and aeb-l.

Who is a reputable person for HT? Do they all test and tell you what hardness you end up with?

Do you leave the edge a little thick like when doing carbon steel...or can you fully sharpen before HT?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't help with a commercial heat treater, but here's how I settled on a steel when I started using stainless for folders and small hunters: I read all the reviews, and did a lot of research at www.knifesteelnerds.com, and used a few knives made from assorted super-steels.  From this, I went with AEB-L.  14c28n is a similar heat treat and probably a little better, and that is the equivalent of Nitro V.  Those three you can do in your shop if you have good heat controls.  They also have very small carbides, with AEB-L having the smallest.  This translates to easier sharpening and polishing after HT, along with much higher impact toughness.  In Larrin Thomas's tests ( https://knifesteelnerds.com/2019/03/04/all-about-aeb-l/ ), in fact, AEB-L was the toughest stainless, impact-wise, by an order of magnitude.  The nitrogenated ones are more corrosion-resistant and have slightly better edge holding.

 

440-C has much larger carbides, which translates to longer edge life but harder to sharpen, plus you can't get as fine an edge because the carbides rip out leaving micro-serrations.  It's also not great with impact.  But it's still a fine steel.

 

CPM-154 is in between, in many ways.  Due to the powder metallurgy it has finer carbides than 440-C, but much larger than the AEB-l/14c28n/Nitro-V family. That's also why it's so expensive.  If properly heat treated, which requires a cryo treatment in liquid nitrogen to get the best out of it, it's damn near impossible to sharpen, it's so abrasion-resistant.  And hard. Like, Rc65 is no problem.  This also means it will hold an edge far longer than the others, but at the cost of being so hard to get sharp in the first place.  It's also fairly brittle ( or less tough, shall we say...) and probably not suited for larger blades.

 

I chose the AEB-L for ease of finishing, easy sharpening, the ability to HT it myself, and the fact that as a selling point you can call it Swedish razor steel, because that's what it was invented for.  If you have shaved anything with a Gillette disposable razor made since about 1968, you've used AEB-L.  I figure if it lasts in that role without too much corrosion, it'll be fine in a pocket knife.  It takes as fine an edge as 1095, and does it easily.  You don't need diamond stones or ceramic rods, plain old Arkansas stones and a strop and you'll be shaving in minutes.

 

But it's your call.  You're sending it out, and a lot of people who don't really know or use knives on a regular basis like the super-steel aura of CPM-154. It's more high-tech, and it holds an edge longer by far.  If you can put one on it, that is.  ;)  Crucible (the company) is also made in USA, which is a selling point for a lot of people.  440-C, well, many mills make it, it's one of the older high carbon stainless tool steels out there.  AEB-L is made in Sweden by Uddeholm-Bohler, 14c28n is made in Sweden by Sandvik, and Nitro-V is made for Aldo the New Jersey Steel Baron by some micro-mill or other in the USA.  If your clients think Japanese steel is the shizz, use ATS-34, made in Japan by Hitachi and similar to, but not as fine-grained as, CPM-154 (the original, non-powder-metallurgy 154-CM was made as a cleaner competitor to ATS-34 after Bob Loveless got a batch of the Hitachi stuff that wouldn't mirror-polish without tiny black specks back in the late 80s).  The Germans make some seriously technical super-stainless steels popular amongst mall ninjas and tacti-coolistas. Stuff like Elmax, Zerodur, etc.  Ask our Namibian member (Gerhard, where are you, man?) about the HT on that stuff, though...

 

Find a heat-treater who does knife steels, and find out what they like to work with. If they prefer to do CPM-154, use that.  Get batch discounts with guaranteed results.   I think Texas Knife Supply has an HT service, maybe Jantz does, and possibly Midwest as well.  I told a guy yesterday that Paul Bos was the best in the business for years, and while he's retired his shop is still going as an independent contractor to Buck Knives up in Idaho. https://www.buckknives.com/about-knives/heat-treating

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for you input Alan. I think I will pull the trigger on some aeb-l.

I am gonna sent it out.....I really wanted to get a HT oven but I dont think it would ever pay for itself.

The one thread that did pull up when I tried the search was the one where you recommended Paul Bos...the rest seamed pretty much un related.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have a gas forge and the ability to hold it steady at 1925-1950 for ten mintues, you can do AEB-L yourself.  Knife temper for it is 350-400, but yeah, for springs you do need an oven that can hold 1145 for an hour.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I told a guy yesterday that Paul Bos was the best in the business for years, and while he's retired his shop is still going as an independent contractor to Buck Knives up in Idaho. https://www.buckknives.com/about-knives/heat-treating

That link says he actually sold it to Buck in 2001, but apparently they still do custom heat treating services.  I went through that plant about 15 years ago; pretty neat.  Also, about 5 years ago I did a favor for another local heat treat facility checking the chemistry on a Buck knife as they were not coming out of heat treat like they thought they should (it was indeed 5160, like Buck said it was).  So even though they have their own heat treat shop they still outsource some work.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

If you have a gas forge and the ability to hold it steady at 1925-1950 for ten mintues, you can do AEB-L yourself.  Knife temper for it is 350-400, but yeah, for springs you do need an oven that can hold 1145 for an hour.

The barron sent me some ael-b on accident. I gave one a go in my forge and it only got sorta hard. I am sooooo wanting to order a knife oven right now....my visa is twitching. lol

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well.....I just ordered a 14.5 deep paragon from Jantz. I dont even know what the going rate for HT on stainless is...but I will hook anyone on here up if they want something done.

Does ael-b benefit from cyro?

Where the heck do ya buy liquid nitrogen? lol

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I couldn't resist either.  Got an 18-inch deep Evenheat.  :lol:  It'll make some things a LOT easier for you.  But you do need either anti-scale or stainless HT foil now, if not both.  Anti-scale for carbon, foil for stainless.  

 

According to Larrin in that article I linked about it, AEB-L does benefit from subzero time.  Even a standard freezer helps a lot.  That's what I use, an hour in the freezer after the quench and before tempering.  Larrin's testing showed that to give most of the retained austenite enough time to convert to martensite, gaining a point of hardness and lot of toughness.  Dry ice gets a little more out of it, but liquid nitrogen gets only a tiny bit more than dry ice does, so for AEB-L it doesn't make the cost/benefit ratio for me.  As for where to get it, got an Airgas distributor around?  Or, if you live in serious ranch country, check the farm co-ops.  You can get a liquid nitrogen dewar (think super-thermos bottle) and the LN to go in it.  They use it for freezing and transporting bull semen for high-end breeding purposes.  Insert your own joke here... :rolleyes:

 

Garry down in New Zealand got a dewar off ebay, IIRC.  

 

If you know a refrigeration tech, ask them about doubling up some compressors.  I have the book "Making multi-blade folding knives" by Gene Shadley and Terry Davis, in which Mr. Davis built a cryo cabinet by hooking two 1-hp freezer compressors together in series.  He says it gets to -180 F in 15 minutes and will hold it for hours with no trouble.  That's not LN cold, but it's pretty darned close to dry ice in acetone.  If I knew how to do that I'd try it, but that's a bit over my head.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...