Hand Tools

Subject:
Thanks, Michael!

David Weaver
You touched or what I only understand at a summary level, but I don't know all of the terminology other than the yield strength (which I'm sure I've looked up before - nothing beyond the elastic limit of the steel, but it's more complicated than that as things like corners getting blown off of a chisel due to lack of lateral support, maybe that's also yield strength, but there's resonance and repetition).

Larrin complicates things a little bit (necessarily) by talking about the composition of the hardened steel beyond grain size because some fine grained steels don't fare well, and like he discusses with spicy white, toughness becomes a problem below a certain hardness due to other mechanisms.

But Bill likes 3V, and Larrin may have suggested that. Larrin likes it, too - it's a good example of a very good steel with a fine grain (compared to other vanadium steels) and high toughness and pretty good hardness potential.

What's not well explained is what I mentioned - that some steels will hold up well at even higher hardness, or at lower hardness with poorer toughness numbers than 3V or A2, especially (a better comparison because I don't think 3V has any bad behaviors - A2 is very dependent on heat treatment).

I saw the same problems with blue and super blue and while being assured that they didn't have any such problems, they show up under my microscope - what looks like carbides leaving. I was assured that was a matter of defect, but larrin went further and took micrographs- tungsten tends to not make uniform carbides at lower concentrations, there are some big ones here and there - and they can be quite big. The blue steel will still wear longer than white, and it'll be mostly sharp, but composition issues rob it of its potential (52100 can attain high hardness in a similar way and uniformity is much better).

This discussion is a very small area of probably anything as it would only appeal to the fish slicers, the straight razor users, carvers and a few people using hand tools who appreciate a certain type of edge. I don't cut fish, just note that they (professional fish cutters) tend to have some preference for really hard knives and not in some kind of new whizbang composition.

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