View Full Version : Jerry tells us more about 3V

10-28-2003, 12:45 PM
Jerry, from the reading I have been doing it appears 3V has as good if not better impact resistance and edge holding as any steel out there. I know you have used a lot of it what are your thoughts.

Jerry Hossom
10-28-2003, 02:47 PM
3V is a very special steel, probably the best of all the CPM's in terms of knife performance. It's primary quality is an extraordinarily fine grain structure, which is probably unique among air hardening steels. A2 is noted to be an excellent high impact steel. 3V has 5 times the lateral toughness of A2. 3% vanadium and the fine grain structure give it exceptional edge holding, particularly when used in demanding conditions where toughness (resistance to micro-chipping) adds to edge holding. And again because of the exceptional grain structure, 3V takes an amazingly fine edge.

It's only negative, and it's one that's important to some, is that it rusts. Not only does it rusts, but it does so in a particularly nasty way that IMO utterly destroys a blade's cosmetic appeal. 3V doesn't develop a uniform bloom of rust like tools steels, one you can simply wipe off, maybe sand out if it's really bad. 3V rusts in SPOTS. If a blade is left wet and unprotected, you'll see a few orange spots, usually in a fairly small area. Under those spots are holes, not small little holes you can just sand away, but deep HOLES. Usually a good light oil, preferrably one with some teflon in it protects the steel and it's not a problem, but be careless and it'll bite you.

Rust aside, I don't know of a better knife steel.

10-28-2003, 04:02 PM
I am sure 3V could be epoxy coated or one of the other high tech coatings. Is it that much better than S30V to justify the extra effort?

Jerry Hossom
10-28-2003, 05:22 PM
Lateral toughness is about 5x and wear resistance is about 2x that of S30V. If that's what you need it's worth it. One thing to remember, with that lateral toughness blades can be much thinner and lighter and still be as strong. Lots of attributes are enabled with a superior steel.

I've coated 3V blades with Tungsten DLC and it works well. Personally, I use Birchwood Casey's Synthetic Gun Oil. It has some teflon and is very persistent. Works well.

10-28-2003, 05:26 PM
How does this lateral strength compare to 52100? How about grain structure?

Jerry Hossom
10-28-2003, 07:01 PM
I'd rather not go there. 52100 gains many of its qualities through processing.