What are your favorite blade steels? Why?

I don't and wont make knives.

I DO however use knives on a rather regular basis.

So being the first one to mention CPM-S30V in this post lets you all know I don't make knives. This steel has been so played out in the last 5 years it's almost common.

I think it is anything but common! I have a Flipper from Randy Doucette "Backbone" and the edge it takes and holds is nothing short of remarkable.

All I use to touch it up is a few passes on my antique stag handled Chef's steel. I have perhaps another 10-15 blades Factory and handmade in S30V and all serve with valor.

I am sold on stainless for all my knives because I hate pits and rust. Recently bought a Case Tony Bose Swayback Jack in Chrome Vanadium. I carried it for two weeks before I noticed pitting on the main blade. My pockets get wet from time to time while working. I like the S30V. And would buy any shape in that steel without a second thought of longevity,edge keeping,maintenance and rust free performance.

An old thread but here I go.

Most of my knives are 1095 which I like. Some are 440C or 420HC stainless. A few are the newer stainless like 14C28N, 9Cr18MoV, 8CR13MOV, and so on. I only have a couple of knives with A2 and D2 steel. D2 being my favorite due to edge retention.
I'm of the opinion these days that 14C28N is probably the best steel found on sub $50 knives these days. It seems to have killed off 13C26 and of course Kershaw is to thank for that.
14C28N did not "kill off 13C26". Sandvik and Kershaw worked together to develop 14C28N in order for Kershaw to have a more stainless and better edge holding blade steel. Kershaw had exclusive right to 14C28N for two years before Sandvik began marketing it to anyone else. I was not the first but was one of the first custom Knifemakers to use 14C28N and I still use it.
I don't really have a favorite per say.

I will list what I use the most for different things.

In the Kitchen I use S110V, CPM 154 and S90V because I find they hold an edge forever in that type of use, might have to touch up the S110V knife maybe once every 6 months if it starts to lose bite for example.

For EDC I generally stay in the S30V and S35VN range as they are stainless and well balanced performance wise.

For utility it's somewhat broader ranging from CPM 10V to an SAK depending on what I pick up.
Even though I am selling knives, I think of myself as a beginner. I really like 1095 because I can Heat treat with fire, the old school way. And now and then I get real lucky and get a cool hamon. I use one of my knives everyday at work. 1095 holds a nice edge. wip9.jpg
I do believe that the 400C stainless steel is the best for any knives either the hunting knives, trekking knives for throwing knives for EDC.
I also like S30V . It is very tough and holds a great edge . have seen independent tests against some very popular steels much more expensive . I was impressed . I also like 3-V for swords. normally use carbon folded steel but, I do

like some of the great production steels that are available including stainless and high quality carbon steels . White paper Hitachi steel makes some of the sharpest blades I have ever seen . Guess it all depends on what I am making . Bubba
154 cm is my favorite for production knives, holds an edge well and isn't hard to sharpen.

For the knives I make I like 1084, it's my favorite because its all I use right now. :biggrin:
Agreeing with Hunter here- I like ATS34 (154cm) for edge holding and corrosion resistance (and fact that I have lots of it). Also have CPMS60V for folders and it has that nice cpm fine grain and sharpens like a razor. For a general use sheath knife I like 440C, for the ease of sharpening and corrosion resistance, or D2 for it's balance of toughness and edge holding. Not sexy but you use what you got....
There are three different kinds of steels tools - steel, carbon steel and stainless steel. The three main features which distinguish steels from one another are corrosion resistance, hardness and toughness. I would go for CPM S90V because of its extreme wear resistance and edge retention which comes with Crucible’s CPM S90V steel.
With CPM 154, what is meant by 'air quench'?

"Air quench" means that this type of steel does not get dunked into oil/water when it comes out of the heat. It is an "air hardening steel." Different steels require different rates of quenching. Too fast can be as detrimental as too slow, depending on the steel.
OK. Thankyou. So once heated, is the steel literally just allowed to cool naturally or is it cooled with air from an air hose or like?
Most people will sandwich the blade between two aluminum plates, but yes, the steel can hang in the air and the rate of heat loss is sufficient for hardening. The quench plates are more or less to prevent warp. There are people here who are infinitely more qualified to provide the explanation of what is happening on a metallurgical level.
O1 tool steel is what I started with. I really like it because it comes precision ground and annealed. For new makers it's one less thing to worry about. I have made a couple with 1084 now and like that steel too! Trying a small Alabama Demascus blank now. The high carbon steels are easy to heat treat I think that's why I like them. When I get a heat treat oven I will try SS and some more exotic steels but until I can control that aspect of my builds I probably will stick with O1 and the 1084?
I air quench A2...it comes out nice. I do not use plates. My knives are small and I hang them from the lanyard hole point down and blow air up. Enough air to cool them quick not enough to move the knives around...

Since this is an old thread that I haven't seen before(and a goody) I will say that I started with O1...love it! I went to A2 so that I could follow my limited production dream...batches without overheating oil and oversoaking steel. It also rusts less easy than O1...I think O1 is a little easier to get sharp?

I plan after the new year to begin working with AEB-L. I am going to try air hardening it and already like the price...cheaper than A2 by a lot...much more limited supply though. Possible better quality control from foundry .

Why AEB-L? We have two whole generations that are used to floating their Ginsu knives in a sink full of water....'Nuff said...lol.