80CRV2.... Checking it out

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Recently I purchased a new batch of steel. Replenished my supply of 1084, and decided to purchase enough 80CRV2 to experiment with, and see if it's something I wanna go with.

A couple of days ago, I forge out 4 test blades that will be used to experiment with heat treat, temper, and various geometries. My first surprise was how shockingly easy it is to forge.... moves like butter under the hammer. I did some thermal cycle testing too.... it has a better then average grain size from the factory, and thermal cycling makes it very fine grained.

Last night I rough ground the blades in prep for heat treat....again, pleasantly surprised at how easily it grinds when annealed. Less then an hour to rough grind 4 blades to 120 grit!

I'm going to run a couple of different heat treats to see what washes out, as well as some different grind geometries. I suspect the most difficult part will be finding the correct tempering temp to match the grind geometries. This is the part of Bladesmithing I love.... testing and tweaking to find a steel's "sweet spot". :)

If anyone has used 80CRV2, I'd be interested to hear you thoughts on this steel, and the methods you use/used to achieve. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of "soaking" during heat treat, but I'm going to experiment with one of these test blades and give it a 5 min soak to determine the outcome.
 

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
Will be interested to hear your results. I made some knives several years ago out of it that Darrin heat treated for me and like how they performed and how nice of an edge it takes. I wanted to use more but have been hesitant to because I want to heat treat it myself in my forge and not sure i can do the soak that people say it requires.
 

samuraistuart

Well-Known Member
Ed, 1080+ was the very first steel I used. Back then I didn't have anything to compare it to, but that's changed after experimenting with most of the usual suspects available (low alloy carbon). 1080+ is the name Alpha Knife gave 80CrV2 because people initially thought it was a Chinese steel with that ID. And 1080+ is a very good name for it. I call it 1080CroVan....essentially that's what it is. The small vanadium % indeed allows for a very very fine aus grain. Thermal cycling around critical a few times, as you've seen, really gives a nice velvet grain when simply fractured. The chromium is also relatively small dose, allowing for deeper hardening, but also making the steel a bit tougher over plain 1080. Aus temp window is larger than more picky, hypereutectoid steels. I would soak this steel, because it has some alloying (primarily the Chromium), 5-8 minutes. I don't think aus grain is going to enlarge AT ALL with good temp control and a short soak with this steel, again because the vanadium prevents that from happening. 1500F-1525F. It is a very very tough steel, and due to that, can be taken to very thin geometries at high hardness levels. I think you'll love it. It's a great steel for newcomers to heat treating, as well as a great steel for performance. Don't expect much of any wear resistance, but plenty o toughness at high hardness.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I've forged 4 test blades, and have them to the point of finish grinding. My "Honey do" list has kept me from finishing/testing, but I'm inching closer. I think I'll have Tim film the testing for a video on KnifeMakerTraining.com :)

I've never been a fan of the "soaking" thing, but with this steel I did a few different things during heat treat to learn the steel's reaction. I'll see what the grain looks like on those blades I allowed to soak, during the testing.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I've finished out the blades, and started some testing. All the blades were forged, then thermal cycled 3x prior to annealing. Then rough ground to 120 grit and heat treated as follows... all in Parks 50.

Blade #1: Hidden tang, 4" drop point hunter. Torch heated (no soaking), heating only that portion of the blade that I wanted to quench, then edge quenched, then tempered for 2 hours X3 cycles @ 400F
Blade #2: Hidden tang, 4" drop point hunter. Salt Tank heated to 1550F, (no soaking) and full quenched. Tempered for 2 hours X3 cycles @ 400F
Blade #3: Full tang 4" hunter style: Salt Tank heated to 1550F, allowed to soak at temp for 5 mins., then fullly quenched. Tempered for 2 hours X3 cycles @ 400F
Blade #4: Full tang 6" hunter style: Salt Tank heated to 1550F, allowed to soak for 5 mins., then Edge Quenched. Tempered for 2 hours X3 cycles @ 400F

All the blades were finish ground with a flat grind, convex edge, to a 400 grit finish. All blades were "raggedy" sharp when they came off the 400 grit belt. (very fine convex edges, which is my norm)

I sharpened all the blades on a worn 400 grit belt to a "bitey" edge.

The first thing I did was the brass rod test. Historically it is my most accurate test to determine if a particular steel is at the correct working hardness for the geometry I apply. To my surprise, all the edges flexed and returned to true. I wanted to see just how much difference there might be between the soaked and non-soaked blade/edges, so I did the brass rod test a second time, applying as much pressure as I could. It turned out as I had expected. Those blades that were allowed to soak at temp chipped out, and those that were not allowed to soak flexed and went back to true. As I expected, soaking versus not made the blades slightly harder, and more brittle at the same tempering temp. (I'll know more once I break all the blades and examine the grain under magnification.) Of course the easy fix for the blades that were allowed to soak is to re-temper at 425F and test again.

I did a few little cutting tests with the blades that didn't chip out, and I would venture to say that this steel cuts just about on par with my 1084 blades....with a bit more edge toughness.


As I continue to test these blades, I'll keep posting my results. I suspect Tim will want to do some filming of the testing so we can offer it up on KnifeMakerTraining.com.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Nope... don't own a hardness tester. There was a time that I used to put a lot of stock in Rc hardness, but time and experience has taught me it's not really that useful .....at least for me. :)
 

BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
This steel just popped up on my radar so I poked around doing some research. Most of the "buzz" is pretty positive that I found. I will bring some in and give it a go also.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I'm becoming intrigued with this steel. It's showing me better edge holding then 1084, but it also displays exceptional toughness in a very thin edge cross section. So far I would have to say that as far as cutting goes, it's almost on par with 52100, and has better edge toughness than 5160. That's a pretty good combination! In the not too distant future I'll see just how well it holds up to flexes and/or breaks. :)
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
I normally work with SS, either 14C28N or AEB-L mostly, just just ordered a couple pieces of 80crV2 from Alpha Knife Supply for a couple of chef knives. Looking forward to more of your results Ed.

Ken H>
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
samuraistuart says,
I call it 1080CroVan....essentially that's what it is. The small vanadium % indeed allows for a very very fine aus grain. Thermal cycling around critical a few times, as you've seen, really gives a nice velvet grain when simply fractured. The chromium is also relatively small dose, allowing for deeper hardening, but also making the steel a bit tougher over plain 1080. Aus temp window is larger than more picky, hypereutectoid steels. I would soak this steel, because it has some alloying (primarily the Chromium), 5-8 minutes. I don't think aus grain is going to enlarge AT ALL with good temp control and a short soak with this steel, again because the vanadium prevents that from happening. 1500F-1525F. It is a very very tough steel, and due to that, can be taken to very thin geometries at high hardness levels. I think you'll love it. It's a great steel for newcomers to heat treating, as well as a great steel for performance. Don't expect much of any wear resistance, but plenty o toughness at high hardness.


So Ed, if I am reading this correctly 80CRV2 is a sooped up version of 1080!!! Is that correct????? It has all the good of 1080 and then some stuff 1080 doesn't have such as the chromium and vanadium!

It sounds as if it is best with a small soak!

Can it be quenched in Parks 50??
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Based on the testing I've done so far, I would say it's more like a "souped up" 5160, meaning that it's showing me the toughness of 5160, with hardness levels of 1084, and doing it in a very fine edge geometry. As for the soaking, I've never been a fan, and I feel in most cases it does more harm than good with non-stainless steels. I've still not broken any of my test blades to get a read on the grain, but if the blades I soaked have as good grain, as those I didn't, then I would say that a 5 min soak might be the way to go with this particular steel.

All the test blades I've done so far have been quenched in Parks 50.
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
Thanks Ed, I am going to keep my eye on this 80CRV2 / 1080CroVan. Have you got plans to break your test blades?? If you do let us know the results.

I think that is one of the hardest lessons I learned. Almost breaks my heart to snap an otherwise good blade but, its the only way to know for sure what the grain looks like and how the HT went!

I had one I wacked, OK a little harder, wacked HAH, :confused: it flexes and pops back. So I grab a pipe and that time she snapped. Looking at the grain, I see what I like to see. That's when I hear that little voice inside say, see I told you it was a good one!!:D It is OK I know you had to break it!!:rolleyes: Is it just me or do any of the rest of you have knives that talk to you??? LOL
 

jmforge

Well-Known Member
Ed, do you think that this stuff might benefit from a slightly lower austenizing temp, say 1500? I know it is sold as kind of an "enhanced 5160" but it has a fair bit more carbon, so I am wondering if the "standard" 1084 1500/400 recipe might be a good stating point?
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I've not experimented with that low of an austinizing temp yet, but based on what I've done so far, I tend to think no. One of the next steps/experiments with 80CRV2 is to up the austinizing temp, and see what comes with a soak versus non-soak. My standard recipe for 1084 is a bit different then what you mentioned...... I personally like 1084 better at a 1550F austinizing temp, with no soak.
 

jmforge

Well-Known Member
I use room temp Parks #50 for 1084 and the 1500/400 has worked well both for monosteel and 1084/15N20 damascus.
 

JeremyBartlett

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the testing results. I have 16 feet of this stuff. Going to forge some and do some by stock removal. Sounds like a good steel though
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I've not updated this thread, but thought I should. As things stand right now, based on the testing I've done to this point, I'm confident that 80CRV2 is going to replace 5160 in my shop. It will take me a few more to get it all "tweaked" to my satisfaction, but just the fact that I'm yet to find an inclusion in any 80CRV2 compared to repeatedly finding them in 5160, along with the super fine geometry I can put on 80CRV2, and have it hold up as it does, makes me like it.
 

JeremyBartlett

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the update Ed! I'll be doing some blades this weekend with my 80crv2. Of the methods you have tried so far which heat treat do you like best. I have a heat treat oven with a pid, so I was thinking 1550 with a full quench. With 2 two hour tempering cycles at 400.
 
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