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Best/Last Knife


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#21 Jeff



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Posted 21 January 2018 - 11:41 AM

There is a lot of talk about this steel vs. that steel. The truth is, molybendum and vanadium are used as a short cut to proper hardening and tempering. They foster the production of anthracites, the specific iron compound that makes steel hold an edge. Properly hardened and tempered you can create more anthracite in carbon steel than molybendum/vanadium steel. The added bonus of a properly tempered blade is that you can keep the edge at Rockwell 59-61and have the spine tempered to spring steel hardness. This makes a blade hard, tough, flexible, and capable of taking and keeping a wicked edge.

This isn’t an either or proposition. It’s a which is most valuable for your application. Japanese Knife making tends toward harder, less flexible blades. It has to do with the quality of steel available historically in Japan. Indian and middle eastern blades were made from what is now called crucible steel. In some rare cases they were made from Wootz Damascus steel. Wootz Damascus has a particular makeup that leads to aligned anthracite crystals, making the blades incredibly strong and flexible. Toledo steel, from Toledo, Spain, is prized for its ability to flex and return to true. It made rapiers that are still famous today as a result.

If you want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a brilliantly made blade, try these guys:


Your $500-$1000 and up will deliver a knife with a shaving sharp edge that will cut nails without chipping, bend 30deg off straight and return to true, made by a master blade smith.

I prefer my folders to be easy to sharpen and hold a wicked edge. But I’ve spent the better part of 30 years learning about steel, sharpening, and have developed some pretty strong views.

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