Part 1: Lock Preferences on Folding Knives
Part 2: Favorite Knife Handle Materials
Part 3: Lanyard or No Lanyard?
Part 4: Price?
Part 5: Tip Up or Tip Down Carry?
Part 6: Choil or No Choil?
Part 7: Preferred Opening Mechanisms
Part 8: The Blade
There’s no surer way to stir up debate among knife people than to talk about steels. Everyone has their own experiences and favorite pocket knife steel, and there’s not much truly objective, scientific data out there for those wishing to compare steel performance head-to-head. Truthfully, users are rarely looking for the same things – some prefer a blade that’s easy to sharpen, some want a hard, long-lasting edge that’s more challenging to touch up.
Most of the steels that top the list are a good compromise between cost, strength, edge retention, and corrosion resistance: S30V, S35VN, VG-10, and 154CM are all proven steels that are not outstanding in any one category but perform above average in them all. Modern metallurgy has given knife makers a cornucopia of options, giving makers and users choices optimized for different tasks.
Many of the steels that topped the list are American. In fact, the top three choices – S30V, 154CM, and S35VN – are all made by Crucible Industries, a company headquartered just outside Syracuse, New York. Japan is also well-represented: VG-10 and AUS-8 are both popular Japanese steels.
Knife featured in image: Jeff VanderMeulen Custom Micro