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Heat Treating and Metallurgy Discussion of heat treatment and metallurgy in knife making.

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Old 08-01-2021, 05:41 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,345
Knife Steel Nerds Edge Retention Tests of 48 Knife Steels

I recently found this web site KNIFE STEEL NERDS and I'm sure others here are well aware of it. Anyway I found this informative article on edge testing using the CATRA Edge Retention Testing method. In this method they cut through a paper with a certain amount of microscopic silica abrasive and measures how many millimeters a knife cuts through. It even has a video showing how it works.

At first I thought OK should be interesting, but it also gets into toughness further into the article. Well I was surprised at many of the results to be sure. The guy who set the web site up is a Ph.D. in Metallurgy and goes into what makes for good edge retention from its geometry to its heat treat and the components of the steels in the tests. It is a very interesting article and I'll share some of his findings like how well 440C did and he used 3 different HTs on 3 blades at HRC 56, 57 and one at 62.8! I didn't know you could get 440C that hard and with a 300 temper as well.

All steels were cryo'd in Liquid Nitrogen for 12 hours except one D2 for comparisons and another D2 at 36 hours cryo (cut the most), even the high carbon steels like 1095 got a 12 hour cryo. I was surprised at the 440C at 56 hard beating A2 at 61.5 hard at 405 mm vs 382 mm cut. I imagine that 440C converts more chromium to carbides than I thought, certainly more than A2 does. (has an article on carbides too) Keep in mind that all blades were ground and sharpened the same. Rex121 at 71.4 hard held an edge the best with 1009 mm cut and as expected 8670 was the least at 271 mm cut. 8670 was last on edge retention, but it was first on toughness. What surprised me was that O1 was only 283 until I saw his 10 minute soak time of an O1 alloy without the 0.20% of vanadium for a longer soak. (At least 15 minutes!)

So I thought I'd give some folks a bit of summer reading on an interesting subject. Here is a link to the article. Some is technical and you can just skim over those sections, but don't miss the toughness section.
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:09 AM
KenH KenH is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Baldwin Co across the bay from Mobile, AL
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Dr Larrin Thomas does a GREAT job with his "white papers". I'm sure most of ya'll know Larrin is the son of Devin Thomas (Hoss). There are loads of good knowledge on that site. I've been reading it for a long time.
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