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Weapons UnderGround >> attn: knife blade steel experts


12/30/05 9:00 PM
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Aaron
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Edited: 30-Dec-05
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OK I'm looking a few fixed blades, and I'm having a hard time finding out the differences in 3 different types: 0170-6C, 12C27, and 440. What's the strongest? Keeps it's edge the longest? Easiest to get the sharpest edge? TIA
1/4/06 11:10 AM
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krept
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Edited: 04-Jan-06
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Hey bud here is some info, hope it helps. 0170-6C is tough to find info on. It appears to be proprietary to Camillus. I've seen some references to it being a "carbon steel" meaning that it doesn't have enough chromium to be considered stainless. Chances are it's slightly modified version of the 10xx series (1060, 1075, 1080, 1084, 1090, etc.) of steels. 12C27 is also known as Sandvik 12C27. It's listed as having .6% carbon, which makes it a medium carbon steel. 13.5% chromium will make it stainless. 440 is actually a series of steel - 440A, 440B and 440C; as the letters progress down the alphabet, there is a corresponding increase in carbon. A= .65-.75%, B=.75-.95% and C = .95 - 1.25%. All have between 16-18% chromium, so it will be the most rust resistant of the three. You'll want to find out which (A, B or C) is in the particular knife. Let's assume that all blades have a premium heat treatment to get the most of the steel. Let's also assume that they have the same shape and edge geometry, something you will definitely want to consider when getting a blade for a specific purpose. A piece of steel that normally holds a wicked edge would suck as a scalpel if it's made from 1/4" stock and conversely, a super tough steel won't pry well if it's razor thin. So assuming all is equal with the exception of the steel... here is a general rule of thumb about your specific questions... "What's the strongest?" That's tricky because when discussing steels, the word used for strong as in ability to resist breaking is "tough." The midrange carbon simple carbon steels will be the toughest. The addition of chromium will make a steel less tough and more brittle... slightly... but this is magnified as you increase in blade length. Think of a prybar (very low carbon)... you can beat the shit out of it and it won't shatter, but it will eventually bend. You'll need a ton of work to get a bent knife back in a sheath if it was hard to bend in the first place. Good bladesmiths can make simple carbon steels flex 90 degrees in each direction and still do hundreds of cuts on thick rope and then shave hair afterwards. So... for the purposes of your question, I'd say "0170-6C" is the strongest IF it is a simple carbon steel and even moreso if it's around .6% carbon, which the "6C" in the name could very well indicate. Second would be 12C27 and finally the 440 series. Second and third questions go together: "Keeps it's edge the longest? Easiest to get the sharpest edge?" As a rule of thumb, the higher carbon will give you the keenest edge. As you get into high carbon steel, the amount of carbides increase, which correspondingly increase wear resistance/edge holding. The problem is that if you let the edge dull somewhat, because of the higher wear resistance, the steel is going to resist being sharpened. Therefore, in general, the higher the wear resistance the better it will keep an edge but the harder it will be to resharpen. Simple high carbon steels take and hold edges very well and are actually fairly easy to resharpen. When you get into stainless alloys, the addition of chromium and vanadium increases wear resistance and make them harder to resharpen but don't really increase the ability of a steel to take a keener edge. If you'll notice, a lot of straight razors are made from high carbon simple steel because, well, it is very effective at it's job. So... I'd say the steel that holds it's edge the best out of the three would probably be 440C because of the high amount of carbon. The wild card here really is 0170-6C. If it's around .9% carbon, it will take a mean edge and hold it really well... but... it will corrode easily if you don't maintain it, something else to think about. Guess a quick summary would be good huh? haha the 0170-6C, if you accept the "simple carbon steel" assumption, would make a great blade but will be tricky to maintain. If it's high carbon, it'll have a mean edge, if it's midrange, a tough blade. Could go either way. Sandvik would make a great camp style knife. Great for chopping wood by the ocean. Not so great for skinning game. 440 has a wide range and is good all around. It would hold a better edge than Sandvik 12C27, but it won't be a tough. That should help you decide if you are looking for a specific task-oriented knife. Keep in mind that other factors such as blade length, how the handle fits your hand, grind (flat vs hollow vs convex), etc. should have a VERY big affect on your decision as well. cheers
1/4/06 12:47 PM
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Aaron
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Edited: 04-Jan-06
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damn, lots of info. i'll find pics of the knives and post them later. thanks.
1/20/06 7:12 AM
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Ant C
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Edited: 20-Jan-06
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Great post Krept.
2/3/06 12:14 AM
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Ogun
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Edited: 03-Feb-06
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Without knowing what you're using the knife for, it's difficult to tell you what would work best for you. I can easily come up with scenarios that strongly favor one or the other of your candidates steels ... or choose a scenario that makes it a toss-up. To fill in a bit of what krept wrote, 0170-6 is 50100-B, a chrome-vanadium alloy steel vaguely similar to O-1. So, what does the "C" mean in 0170-6C? I dunno ... perhaps Camillus added another alloy to stock 0170-6. 0170-6C will definitely outperform your other two candidates steels (regardless of the 440 is A, B, C) in every area except for rust resistance.
2/3/06 10:52 AM
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krept
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Edited: 03-Feb-06
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I'm thinking that 6C might mean .6% Carbon... making it a midrange carbon steel, good choice between edge holding and toughness. Interested in those blades, man... don't get too caught up on the Gun Nut thread on the OG :-) cheers
2/3/06 4:06 PM
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Ogun
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Edited: 03-Feb-06
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krept, if you want to see how much carbon, you need to look at the other designation of the steel, 50100-B. The "100" at the end indicates 1.00% carbon (basically, same range as O-1 and 1095). The "5" at the front means that it's a chromium alloy, and the "0" past it means that there's less than 1% chromium. The "B" indicates that the steel has been modified with vanadium. So, from the steel name, we know the steel has 1% carbon, less than 1% chromium, some amount of vanadium (of course, we can tell the rest just by looking up 50100-B in the steel charts). The other designation for this steel, 0170-6, uses a different numbering system that is not indicative of its alloys. Camillus confirmed for me that 0170-6C is standard 0170-6 (aka 50100-B), but they left open the possibility that that final "C" at the end means they've customized the alloy mix a bit. Joe
2/3/06 6:11 PM
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krept
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Edited: 03-Feb-06
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Ahhh, interesting thanks. I work with the 10xx series and 5160 and was familiar with 52100. I missed the part about it being modified 50100-B LOL. Heck, they could have added anything to it. I REALLY want to know what INFI is :-) good stuff cheers

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