Hand Tools

For a long time...
Response To:
Re: Well, me for starters ()

david weaver
...the 52100 type knives dominated the abuse contests. Until recently, I didn't see anything that really was worth the step up from simpler steels.

Super blue, etc, I tried all of those, all the way up to M2 and YXR7 - they all work OK.

This is the first steel I've seen in a knife that would outperform carbon steel in a butcher setting. But is it really necessary? how much time does a butcher spend sharpening vs. cutting? I'd guesstimate not much. Geometry is probably more important than sharpness, but both together is great. Would it matter if a butcher had to sharpen 2/3rds or 1/2 as much if sharpening was marginally harder? Probably not.

Butchers of that era got to see large chromium carbide stainless steels that wouldn't deliver. then, the trend became high vanadium steels that had a "toothy" edge after a little bit of use, and won't take an edge well at lower angles, going as far as breaking off on a strop. Who wants that? Not me.

I don't think V11 would make a good razor (even O1 doesn't), I think it still has enough strength to the wire edge to be problematic if drawn on a strop. Instead of releasing, it would always have a small foil. But on planes, and probably in slicing knives (test data is already available), it's just plain better. Better isn't always necessary, and an all natural stone regimen won't tolerate V11/XHP.

The two things that torture woodworkers (big vanadium carbides and big chromium carbides) are solved, though, by getting rid of most of the vanadium and making the chromium carbides tiny and not doing things that allow them to get big (namely, keeping stainless or high chromium steel between 900-1400F).

I do think people who demand easiest sharpening or who have a regimen set up and who are unwilling to experiment with faster sharpening before the fine parts won't tolerate XHP or V11. It's slower with grinding and coarse work. If a butcher had a pair of natural stones that they liked, they wouldn't be able to deal with it, either. It grades my washita a little finer, which is a benefit with it for fineness and a detriment for speed. I'm using the washita to finish it, though, so the speed doesn't matter.

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