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Let's Talk Steel

There is a lot of talk on this forum about nice scents, luxurious lather, pretty razors, fluffy brushes etc.
That is why I like this sub-forum where more manly things are discussed:001_smile

Anyway, let's discuss what would be a good steel choice for a custom razor (ie steel that would take and hold a keen edge, and would be easy to maintain? Any input that will help decide is welcome.

I, for one, consider a stainless option (just to have one), - so far the following steels look interesting:

CPM 154
http://www.trugrit.com/CPM154HeatTreatSpecs.pdf

CPM S35VN
http://www.crucible.com/PDFs\DataSheets2010\dsS35VNrev12010.pdf

M390
http://www.bohler-edelstahl.com/english/files/M390DE.pdf

here are some carbon steels that I like too

M4
http://www.alphaknifesupply.com/Pictures/Info/Steel/M4-DS-Crucible.pdf

3V
http://www.crucible.com/eselector/prodbyapp/tooldie/cpm3vt.html

I intentionally left out Japanese super steels like zdp-189 or Covry-X and others because Japan does not sell steel.

Feel free to suggest your own.
 
Since you are in the US, are you not interested in the common SAE grade steel? 440 Stainless maybe? Stainless would be less prone to rust, but if you go carbon, it'll be easier honing....but as you know, they'll rust. The equally important part is how you plan to heat-treat it.
 
but if you go carbon, it'll be easier honing....but as you know, they'll rust. The equally important part is how you plan to heat-treat it.

If you look carefully at stainless steel choices they are all powder steels that take a good edge better than some low end carbon steels (D2, 1095 etc). The carbon steel I listed have high wear resistance - thus hard to sharpen but good edge holding. I am not going to heat treat or make razors myself. Just try to decide which steel to choose for my custom order.
 
If you look carefully at stainless steel choices they are all powder steels that take a good edge better than some low end carbon steels (D2, 1095 etc). The carbon steel I listed have high wear resistance - thus hard to sharpen but good edge holding. I am not going to heat treat or make razors myself. Just try to decide which steel to choose for my custom order.
Good choices. Personally, I would take ATS-34, CPM-154, or S30V (have no familiarity with the -35), as they are all common blade steels, with high corrosion resistance and excellent edge retention. In practical terms, I doubt you will find significant variance in performance- more so by who/how you receive heat treatment.

Michael Morris has made a few straights using Nicholson files, but I don't know if he's actually keeping true with the spine as a hone guide, and I'm leery of the serrations left on a blade that would see daily use. i have a couple of his Pocket Profilers, and they are excellent, with remarkably hollow grinds, as compared to many makers.
 
If you want stainless, than CMP154 or ATS-34, if not, than O1, 1095, 1084, 52100 and the like will make the best razors. No matter how good PM technology and new super alloys are, they aren't really made for straights, as they aren't made for knives either.
 
In my opinion, as of now, the only SS that is worth using is the CMP154 (or similar CM154, ATS34) . To be honest the only SS I'll use right now is CPM154.
There are a lot of "cool" steels available. That being said, it being "cool" doesn't mean it will make a good razor.
Is it better then plain old 1095???? Not really. Unless your just set on using a SS.
 
Make sure the maker can heat treat the material choice properly. "Stainless" grades require long process times at specific temperatures.

Phil
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
Easy honability and ability to get very sharp would be my wishes out of a razor. Rust resistance isn't much of a problem for me so I wouldnt go with a stainless. Edge retention isn't as important either since I have a myriad of options for quick touch ups.
 
Personally I would go with plain old 1095, yeah its not corrosion resistant as SS, but I assume it will b taken care of properly since you are ordering a custom. So why SS? Isn't it harder to hone?
 
Have you looked at L-6?
http://www.burgessknives.com/media/L6.pdf

It's an old steel with a high nickel content. Not stainless or very stain resistant, but it works very nicely in the fully annealed state and will Rockwell C in the low 60's if you push it a bit. I made several knives from L-6 back in the 80's when I had my smithy set up.
 
In my opinion, as of now, the only SS that is worth using is the CMP154 (or similar CM154, ATS34) . To be honest the only SS I'll use right now is CPM154.
There are a lot of "cool" steels available. That being said, it being "cool" doesn't mean it will make a good razor.
Is it better then plain old 1095???? Not really. Unless your just set on using a SS.

Since BB is the custom maker I had in mind I see my choices now :w00t:
 
BB?

o-1. make mine carbon. the ability to slap slap slap an edge back on is what makes me happy.

I have a lot experience with ats-34. Love it, but don't love honing it.
 
I have an old Camillius knife that is a bear to hone because it is really hard and tough. I love the thing, have 2, and carry one daily. It is the "Navy 1" model with the spike and single blade. The other has a lanyard and is in my boating kit with my foul weather gear.

I hone the one I carry about once a year, whether it needs it or not, and I was cutting inch thick saplings today with it. I have cut some rather tough and crazy materials recently and it doesn't need honing yet.

A properly heat treated "stainless" is a wonderful thing.

If I can afford I might have to buy a B&B LE (if that is really what this is about)

In another thread it was mentioned what Bill Ellis uses (ats-34, aka 154cm)
http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/48538-Steel

Phil
 
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Well, for carbon steel, O-1 is easy to work with, and hones nicely. I have a piece waiting for me to get off my keester and do something with, right now. Several people recommended it to me. The 1095 is an old standard that works fine, but maybe the O-1 is a little harder when properly HT-ed.

440 is a common stainless for inexpensive razors and knives, and lots of folks are very familiar with this steel and how to work it to best advantage. A popular steel gives you a bigger support group. The CPM154 is probably what I would go with, though, if I were making a stainless razor.

+1 on Nicholson files. You don't have to leave serrations on the finished blade. If you anneal it you can easily grind it down smooth. The thickness would not work well for a big 1/1 chopper, especially after grinding the piece down smooth, but it would give you plenty of meat for a good 5/8 or maybe a 6/8 I think.
 
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