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High-Performance Blades Sharing ideas for getting the most out of our steel.

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Old 01-07-2002, 02:38 PM
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most important factors in determining performance

While I know it is a very subjective question , how would you rank the following factors in determining the performance of a blade?

Blade material (ie type of steel)

Heat treat (if applicable)

Edge type (convex, hollow etc)

Blade design

The pemutaions are many but you could split it into utility, choppers, fighters etc...........

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Old 01-07-2002, 03:09 PM
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I think they're about equal, since they are inter-related. The best steel is worthless without decent heat treating. Edge profile can make a lousy steel better and a good steel bad, though I'm not sure if you're speaking of edge or blade grind there. The blade shape makes it work or not.

The bottom line IMO is that whatever steel the knifemaker starts with, it is his responsibility to use it to best advantage. You design the knife to suit the steel's strength and weaknesses - i.e. no 440C swords or 52100 diving knives. You shape the edge to provide the best cutting and performance for a knife of the style you're making - no hair popping swords (though I've made a few. ) You ensure it gets the best possible heat treat, bringing the steel to the hardness that's best for the application and whatever balance of wear resistance and impact toughness the steel's capable of - no Rc65 swords either. And you stamp your name on the blade, taking responsibility for all of those things together.

This is really one of the issues I have with many of the "what steel is best comments" on other forums. It also reflects on forming judgements about any single quality in a knife, especially the steel, when everything else that went into the knife mitigates that quality.

If this weren't just a little bit complex, we'd all be making the same knife, from the same steel, at the same hardness, with the same edge profile...
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Old 01-09-2002, 06:24 PM
Rob Simonich
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I really cant add anything to what Jerry said, as I am in aggrement. A knife should the the sum of the parts for its intended purpose.
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Old 01-10-2002, 07:50 AM
george tichbourne
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Unless you get the entire package right it won't dress a moose. Of course the package will be different when you decide to make a fillet knife.

The point that I am trying to get at is that form is determined by intended function and experience is the best teacher in this case.
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Old 01-13-2002, 12:09 AM
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That's the answer I had sorta come to myself

While I love all the new fangled stuff, it really is more than just the steel that makes the blade!
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Old 01-26-2002, 03:51 PM
Ed Caffrey
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I agree that all the factors must be paid equal attention. One factor that I didn't see, which is a concern to most of my customers, is the ease of re-sharpening. Obviously it is one more factor that would have to be considered in building the blade, and one I think is all too often overlooked by makers. Over the years I've had dozens of people call me and ask if I could re-sharpen another makers blade. Some have even asked me to "re-temper" their blade(s). My response is to send them back to the maker who produced the blade. Many of these folks did not want to do that, sighting that it might embarass the maker. I got to thinking about it and hope that none of my blades have ever seen that happen. It would be MUCH more embarassing for me to hear that from another maker instead of the customer letting me know!
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Old 01-26-2002, 04:10 PM
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Ed, you made an excellent point!! The 5160 hunter you made for me is very, easily re-sharpened....that is one of the several reasons I prefer a PROPERLY forged blade.
I can easily remember 15/20 years ago buying stainless steel blades that were almost impossible to sharpen, and I'm not bad, though much better today. I remember this one knife I wanted a long time for and the workmanship was as good as it gets and the India Stag was some of the best I've ever seen. I had to trade the knife because the steel was just too hard. Plus, when you finally did sharpen it it wouldn't edge an edge worth two cents.

Very good point you made there Ed!!

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