Feb 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm #1268531
Hi there. this forum has already made me want to make my own tent and sleeping bag, but until I have enough money saved up for that, I've decided to entertain myself with a smaller project.
I want to buy a knife blade, add a wooden handle (maybe with a brass guard, haven't decided about that yet) and make a leather sheath. I've already done this with an old (fairly damaged) Mora blade I had and now I want to do another one with a higher quality blade.
I've already found tons of websites (although very few from the US) offering blank blades from dozens of brands (example: http://www.brisa.fi and http://www.mehr-als-werkzeug.de/product/709292/Japanese-Blade-Blank-Three-layered-Steel/detail.jsf), but none of them offer me any real information about the quality of the blades. I want a 8-10 cm blade that will hold an edge well, but is not so hard that it will chip easily. Which brand offers the best sub €25 (excl. shipping) blades? Helle? Lauri (PT)? Something else? Is there a site where these blades are compared to eachother?
I will mostly use it for simple things in and arround the campsite like cutting food and opening bags, but I may also use it for wood carving from time to time.Feb 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm #1691057
@erdferkelLocale: S. California
I would check out the kits from Ragnar:Feb 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm #1691096
try these guys out.
http://dryadbows.com/helleknives/index.htmFeb 1, 2011 at 11:15 pm #1691289
Another vote for Ragnar. Unless you require stainless, I would go with simple 1095 – tough, easy to sharpen until you cut yourself (experience talking) and holds a good edge.
I favor Mora reg steel (not stainless) for low cost and great edges. Also favor a Scandi grind – easy to sharpen.
Also check out Onterio and ESEE knives – you can get a smaller one with a skeleton handle, add your own scales, and have a very high quality full-tang, light weight blade. Oh, and Onterio has very inexpensive butcher blades that are easy to get wicked-sharp. (We batoned thru a 2" Maple to get a walking stick and didn't even roll the edge) You can cut those blades down to make a geat camp knife.
…just more food for thought.Feb 2, 2011 at 12:27 am #1691298
Any blade that is easy to sharpen is a crappy blade as it won't hold its edge. Just like all of your swiss army, buck garbage sold in common stores. Easy to make and pedal to the unsuspecting public cheaply.
Previous posts about Ragnor. They don't say what their steel is. So one has no idea how long they will hold an edge. Most steels obtain HRC hardnesses of 58-60. OF course unless you are shaving, you don't really want a blade this hard. Hardness is a function of how sharp can you truly make a knife blade. Its alloy content is what will KEEEP said sharpness. IE how Ductile it is at said sharpness. Your cheep steels knives will have said edge break off or roll.
The laminating vibe is a bit of marketing ploy really. Makes beautiful knives though. Its a cover for using a crappy steel. Yes, if they were using top end steel, having the upper outter section not as hard would be swell of course what counts is what the steel is made from.
So, what you want to look for are blades made from d2 steel, 9-4-30, or 9-4-25, tempered to HRC 55-58 instead of HRC 60-62 hardness. There are several other steel types of equivalent grades and durability. Though you won't find 9430 generally as its a PITA to mill/grind. Basically any super high alloy steel worth buying and making your own blades with, since you are going to invest all the time and money in doing so, will be hard to manufacture. If its cheap, you get what you pay for. Nothing in, Nothing out. Simple as that.
These blades(d2 and equivalent vanadium bearing steels) once sharp, hold their edges the longest of any blade out there due to their Vanadium content. Key term is Vanadium in more than trace amounts that is. There are lots of steels that get a high hardness. Of course they are horrible at holding their edge due to their alloy content. Think of vanadium as super hard nodules in the steel matrix. These nodules are VERY hard. Once a Vanadium blade is sharp and at the right angle, keeping it sharp with a simple brush on a stone every once in a while is quite simple. It did take a fairly long time to obtain said angle first. I have a blade bade from d2 at HRC 60. Yes, it holds its edge for an amazingly long time, but the tiny sheeps foot blade broke its tip when I dropped it recently onto concrete. The big blade that is thicker won't do this. In retrospect I should have tempered the sheeps foot blade to HRC 55 and left the big blade at HRC 60 hardness or gone with either 9430/9425 steel which is better than d2.
Obviously you buy the blade at full hardness condition and temper to wished hardness. Otherwise I could Heat Treat it for you I suppose. Some places sell annealed blades as well in case some folks want to engrave it etc.
PS. 1095 is a low end high carbon content steel. Whatever you do, if you are going to go the effort of making your own handle, spend an extra $5 or $10 and get a blade that holds its edge twice as long as low grade 1095 steel. Ok, 1095 is better than structural grade garbage, but its not exactly very good either. We are talking you will be sharpening a 1095 steel blade twice as often as D2 or 9430 steel blade. Search the internet there are forums where they have conducted tests on standard 1/4 cardboard. D2/9430 will have around 430 cuts and your "swiss army garbage" will have 160. No offense to the poster above intended. He just doesn't know what he is talking about when it comes to grades of steel. I have no idea what grade steel his Ontario and ESEE knife companies use. Give em a call. I have found that most knife companies are generally small time outfits and more than willing to talk to the consumer. Call Ragnor as well. Search the forums.
PPS. Stainless steels are a joke compared to high end steels for fine edge holding ability. Easy to heat treat though which is why you see fairly cheap stainless steel knives. You can do all of your manufacturing and then heat treat and put a final polish on the blade instead of another step if you use a common steel. In stainless, the best you can do is SS 440C which isn't stainless, but has enough Chrome content to be listed as stainless except it has 0.4% carbon which makes it… not stainless. You could theoretically go with 13-8 and take it "full-Hard" to a whopping 48HRC as I recall and have a VERY brittle blade if you really want true "stainless". High end steel is a full HRC 10 higher and easily has 2 to 4 times the fracture toughness of both 440C and 13-8. Though 440C is better than PH13-8 obviously.
Unless you are storing your blades in a pond of water, there is no need for stainless. Yes, the high end alloy steels will rust faster than the lower end steels. Though this is not really true as many of them have a high chromium and nickel content to combat this.
PPS. Steels with content of carbon in the above 1.5% range as posted by Ragnor, will obtain a solid edge, BUT, said edge is VERY brittle and will form divits in it once the edge breaks down. Making resharpening them a very very very long process as you have to remove a LOT of steel to attain a new proper edge. Only Tungsten carbide is harder at HRC of 68-72. I think there are a couple exots equivalent up there but…
=)Feb 2, 2011 at 1:49 am #1691302
I'm not affiliated with Esee but I do own a couple of their smaller blades and like them quite a bit.
I'd just like to point out that Esee knives are not Ontario knives but some Ontario knives are designed by Jeff Randall of Esee Knives. Esee brand fixed blade knives are made by Rowen out of some form of 1095 steel that's reported to be really hard for 1095. They're reported to have a better heat treating process, be hand sharpened before leaving the factory, and are impregnated with dust from unicorn horns.
Anyway, the previous poster is right, 1095 isn't the greatest in the world but, when it comes to the Esee's, IMO it's good bang for the buck. You get a respectable knife and great customer service.
There are also plenty of videos of people doing stupid things to Esee knives on Youtube in addition to this stunt by Jeff Randall himself on this page (Right click + save as the "destructive testing video"). http://www.eseeknives.com/junglas_machete.htmFeb 2, 2011 at 1:49 am #1691303
Stupid internet… I did it again.Feb 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm #1691488
Your thesis statement is pretty good! It sets the stage for the entire post as an opinionated slant oriented in a condescending manner. Moreover, the forum was designed for educational purposes in an informative atmosphere. You did provide useful information, however, but its layout and bias held little merit for your argument other than approving D2 steel.
"I have no idea." I didn't post my knife as being "cheap." I regarded them as inexpensive. Research from the "community" regarding the previous two companies will be helpful for the BPL community.
Please consider that my only intention was to offer simple experience-based information in an open form encouraging further research. In addition, I didn’t deem it appropriate to go on about all of the technical information when not explicitly asked. That doesn’t automatically red-flag me as ignorant.Feb 2, 2011 at 12:33 pm #1691492
So Brian, if I understand you correctly the steel quality is 9430>9425>D2>1095>anything "stainless", laminated blades hardly ever use good steel and the more vanadium is used, the better a blade will keep it's edge.
"Key term is Vanadium in more than trace amounts that is."
How much is more than trace amounts?
"Steel analysis Carbon steel: Tempered HRC 59 C-0,81 Mn-0,56 S-0,004 P-0,01 Si 0,35 V-0,161 Cr-0,54
Stainless: C-0,479 Si-0,37 Mn-0,38 Ni-0,09 Cr-14,53 Mo-0,51 P-0,019"
Does the V-0,161 in this steel stand for vanadium? Are these decent types of steel that will hold an edge?
As I said in my first post, very few manufacturers actually tell you what quality steel they're using. Do you know which (not too expensive) manufacturers use good steel? It doesn't have to be the best steel out there, but I would like something substantially better than my victorinox, Opinel or Mora (which is fairly difficult to sharpen and doesn't keep its edge).
Edit: Oh yeah, I am looking for a blade with a rat tail tang, not a full tangFeb 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm #1691495
"Your thesis statement is pretty good! It sets the stage for the entire post as an opinionated slant oriented in a condescending manner."
Every one of his posts is like this. I'm not surprised.Feb 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm #1691515
I have made a few of the kits from Helle Knives and have been very impressed by how incredibly shaving sharp the blades are to start with and how well they hold their edge.
The one I use most is the "varg" blade which shaved arm hair even after skinning and quartering two large hogs. Its handle matches my bamboo backed yew longbow.Feb 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm #1691526
Brent, I'd love to see a photo of the knife and bow together!
BTW, here's another vote for Ragnar's. The blades and stuff he sells for making knives are very functional, and make for some great users. If I found myself alone in the woods with one of Ragnar's blades, I'd consider myself adequately equipped.
To find a truly great knife, first consider your purpose – what are you going to use the knife for? Then consider the grind – is it designed for your purpose? Next comes the heat treat – is the metal hard/soft, ductile/brittle,etc? Finally, consider the type of steel – and remember there is more than one opinion on that! Good luck!
Finally, these are neither rat-tail nor cheap, but Falkniven offers their blade blanks (ground, with their heat treat). My opinion is that they are the best quality knife blanks available on the regular commercial market.Feb 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm #1691697
"Brent, I'd love to see a photo of the knife and bow together!"
"Finally, consider the type of steel – and remember there is more than one opinion on that! Good luck!"
I'm a big Esee fan. After seeing what their knives can take I quite worrying about other brands even though it's "just 1095." They're more than good enough for my purposes and what 99% of the population actually uses a knife for. It's a shame you're not interested in a full tang.Feb 2, 2011 at 8:39 pm #1691718
Here you go…..
from when I first finished the bow
I later added some canebrake skin for a grip and plate.
The handle is very basic and not fancy. this was my first knife so I wasnt really sure how I wanted the handle to feel. I sized/shaped it for my hand for skinning. It has been heavily used.
Feb 2, 2011 at 8:52 pm #1691723
I have an esee izula 2, 1095 steel. This knife is hands down the best "working knife" I have owned. The 1095 steel keeps its edge through a reasonable amount of use. My knives are tools and I use them, sometimes bordering on abuse (hey it's a multiple use item, right?) Sure, it's not as light as a single edge razor, but I don't care.
I have had good luck ordering blanks from ragners, reasonable prices and super quick shipping. I highly recommend him.Feb 2, 2011 at 8:56 pm #1691728
Those are some great looking tools! A lot of love and care went into making and using them! Well done, sir!Feb 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm #1691730
@joshleavittLocale: Ruta Locura
An arrow rest! thats cheat'n! Just kidding, NICE stuff.Feb 2, 2011 at 11:24 pm #1691756
VERY nice work. I'm not sure what else to say….Feb 2, 2011 at 11:30 pm #1691759
Sweet! I envy anyone that does work like that. Shows you care.
I like the grind on the Helle blade – it's the style I consider easier to sharpen because I can just lay it flat on a stone or glass/sandpaper combo. Good job on the handle.Feb 3, 2011 at 5:10 am #1691793
Nice! Very nice craftmanship!
@Stephen: I would love to own one of those Fallkniven. They're just a tad too expensive for me though. Maybe some day…
@Larry: The reason I don't want a full tang knife is that I want total freedom to customise the handle any way I want.
I've read a lot of good things about Lauri, Helle and Enzo blades in the forums of http://www.britishblades.com, so I'll probably use one of those blades.Feb 3, 2011 at 7:56 am #1691834
I love the H1 steel that Spyderco uses on their knives. I know that there are nicer steels for edge retention like 154cm (sharpens wonderfully), s30v, or the durability of 1095 or the awesomeness of damascus knives but my favorite is H1.
With an H1 neck knife I NEVER EVER EVER have to take it off unless I'm using it. I can run in the rain with it, I can go swimming with it, I can shower with it, and it never rusts. I have had my current knife made out of H1 hanging off my neck for 7 months and through all of my showers and even swimming in a chlorinated pool it shows no signs of rust. I love it.Feb 3, 2011 at 9:48 am #1691882
Mark, you should be more than happy with how any one of those perform. I too would love to own a Fallkniven, but wouldn’t use it enough for fear losing it. Too $$ for me to easily replace.
I’m trying to remember for the life of me why I didn’t think of Helle, Lauri, or Enzo on my last purchase, and the only thing I can come up with is sheer brute size. I didn’t have any knifes that could (or that I would want to) take any abuse so I thought why not? A new experience to break an old stigma.
Have fun and come back with pictures of your work in progress!Feb 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm #1691959
Your thesis statement is pretty good! It sets the stage for the entire post as an opinionated slant oriented in a condescending manner. "
I am sorry if information is considered condescending to you. Knowing that there are steels out there that allow your knife to stay sharp twice as long as common steels is condescending? To most folks, information is great. Sorry if you don't like information.
Here is some condescending, according to you, information for others on this forum, who actually want to know what they are buying and make an informed decision: This link will give names of common used steels. Its a long list. http://www.knifesupply.com/knife_blade_steels.html NOTE as a reference point: Your swiss army knives use a variety of martensitic stainless steel of 440C. Gets hard, loses its edge rapidly. Stays shiny, so people will buy it and say… Oooo ITS SHINY! I want one! (Yes, I own one) I was once that ignorant scchmuck taken for a dull knife blade ride.
Nothing wrong with ignorance. Ignorance is simply the lack of knowledge that can be learned. We are on a forum to LEARN! To become LESS ignorant. Sigh…
So, sorry, that a forum is opinion. GASP! Opinioin. You stated: "Please consider that my only intention was to offer simple experience-based information in an open form encouraging further research." EVERYONE already knows this, and its pretty useless information because the end user has no idea what went into your "user experience".
They have no idea if you ever use your knife for more things than cleaning dirt from under your finger nails! So, why on earth are you getting bent out of shape, when I offer up, or anyone else it seems, technical information regarding the subject, that superceedes said user experience? Does this make your user experience invalid? No, just means others can now quantify!!! your user experience against theirs!!! Does simple factual information cause such an affront to you because I stated there could be a better user experience than what you had and enjoyed?
Most folks I know, feel affronted when folks deem them too STUPID to understand a simple subject, because THEY work in the field. In this case there are some grades of steel better than others. TO get better grade of steel costs money. Pretty straight forward for the common joe of whom I am one. I just happen to know some of the names of the steels in question. This is the major problem for the common joe. Finding out said information in the first place. Does the common joe care really about how to heat treat said steel? Not really, rather they want to know why said material is cheaper or more expensive to manufacture so they can understand why the price on said knife blade is what it is. Proper information and application of said information will help those who WISH to understand. Sorry, that you don't wish others to understand a little background. Assuming you have said information and didn't wish to share it that is as you claim you do. What you deem everyone else too stupid to understand and thus, the only valid information is what you supplied? REALLY! Common, who do you think you are?
There is nothing more aggravating than reading a forum of people talking about the color yellow, when if they knew about color red, would all flock to it, but since color red is more expensive and requires learning that it exists in the first place no one knows about it because the common suppliers never tell the common joe that color red is available because in their inventory flow charts, fewer folks are willing to pay for color red so they never stock color red. So, common joe is stuck with color yellow even though its far inferior to color red because the supplier and the forum guy who is dispensing information thinks the public is too stupid to pick for themselves as this would ultimately require them to carry a larger inventory.
Personally this is driven by the absurdity of the inventory tax on businesses.Feb 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm #1691964
Mark. Several top end comanies sell high quality laminated steel blades. There are several knock off companies of course that ruin it for the good companies. A laminated steel blade will be less likely to shear itself in half.
Yes, the V, stands for vanadium in steel contents.
Here is a list of common steels used in knife making. Well some, the cheap ones, are listed first in the list, and the harder, better, more expensive steels are down the list. http://www.knifesupply.com/knife_blade_steels.html
Another little comparison of steels. http://www.warrenknives.com/blade%20steels.htm
Ah, the forum site still exists. Here is probably the #1 forum as I recall if you wish to find all things knife specific. You probably have already stumbled across it, but if you haven't. Here it is. http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/index.php?s=463cbe9f484cbbc396835b94a723891b.
A good writeup on blade angle verses steel wear resistance verses cutting ease.
As for a rattail verses… blanks for adding your own handle. Good luck finding what you are looking for. Now, you can call up a company that creates a finished knife and ask for just the blade itself. Most small companies would be more than willing to do this in my experience if you beg properly.
The "best" knife blade you could possibly get by most folks standards would be a blade made from CPM 10V. Finding such a blade is very difficult and generally very expensive. Especially compared to your common steels like 1050,1060, or 1095 and 440C Stainless steels.
Yes, most manufacturers rarely tell you what steels are being used in their blades. They figure most buy their knives based on how they look rather than on how long said knives hold their edge.
Your top end knife manufacturs, small companies generally, will tell you if you call them and ask or find such information on forums. It has been a long time since I have bought a knife. Last time was for kitchen knives quite a few years ago. So my memory is very vague on the name of equivalent companies.
Let me see if I can't dig up some very old bookmark links, though as I remember, half of them don't work as said small time company is gone. Everyone wants a "best knife" but few are willing to pay for it.Feb 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm #1691976
i like your posts, i have a similar style myself.
As for knife steels [big subject, 6000? knifemakers in US?], i'm still looking for the ultimate that never loses a razor edge. May not be possible so i'm a bit disappointed with knives in general. Re D2, i own a kershaw outcast, one where they got D2 right, i swear you can chop logs all day and it will not get dull just don't hit any rocks or it chips easy. Not crazy about VG10, Benchmade M4 is pretty tough, as is ZDP189. Don't know about really high end $1000 +, read an article about fellow ,Kramer?, chasing that market/ulimate knife.
Best advice about knives, get a good sharpener ,LANSKY !!!
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