Reviews & Edge Retention Tests   New For 2021


 What Old's knows about knives ... ( At the moment )

 Playing with knives or being a enthusiast / collector is a learning experience . Anyone that thinks they don't need to learn anything , must be like the Guru of knife experts ! I am not that person , I'm just a guy with some knives learning stuff as I go along . So what do I know ?

A) Not all knives are created equal

B) Lots of fraud out there ( and finger pointing )

C) Buying what you want is in reality much harder than you would think

D) Even brand name companies can put out rubbish ( blade steel )

E) You wont know , unless you are prepared to test and evaluate


 To test and evaluate I simply cut rope !  Yes it's that easy .  Every knife gets the same edge , cut at 22deg with a 180 grit diamond sharpener . This way I am evaluating the blade steel and not the edge itself .

Bevel - the angle of the edge forming the edge .

Degrees - Taken from a single side of the bevel , so a 22 deg edge / bevel is the single side angle . Double it for both sides .

 Grit - Much like sand paper , the grit of the material used to cut the edge / bevel .


 How to sharpen ?

By hand ?  -  This is probably the worst way to do it as it requires skill , seriously mad skills . It is very hard to do a straight cut edge by hand , there will always be some rounding . The more skilled you are , the less rounding of the edge .

Guided knife sharpening ? - I am a convert , love it !  What a time saver and the results are fantastic . Still some skill required but the results speak for themselves .

Machine - ( In my case a whetstone grinder / knife sharpener )  Cuts very straight edges . You do need to learn how . This method really shows up bad factory grinds or poor edge maintenance . Even a guided knife sharpener will follow a bad grind line , but the machine wont . 


 Knives - BS / Fakes / Fraud / bad steel / poor grinds / bad heat treats / 2020 gave me so much bad blade steel . How do I know ?  In 2020 I started cutting rope to see what edge retention was really like . Using a repeatable / reliable method to test retention allowed me to create reliable data for comparison . Obviously I can only compare to my own knives , but I own quite a few of those . So with bad knives failing at 50 slices of rope and good knives failing at 450 slices of rope , I have a reliable and broad  / repeatable test method that hopefully people can understand . 50 is bad 450 is good . A little like $50 is good in the hand but $450 in the hand is a lot better . Same with cutting rope . Except 50 is not good , it's bad . 

 So bad steel fails at 50 . Average steel fails around 100 to 150 . Your 420 stainless , 440c , Cr/Mov , AUS8 and so forth . Unfortunately QC seems to be seriously lacking in the knife industry , Because one Cr/Mov might fail at 50 and another Cr/Mov returns say 240 . Yeah , that makes life hard . So the rule I have come up with is simple . Buying a knife is like buying a lottery ticket , you might win ! But there is probably a greater chance you will lose , because of that lack of QC . ( And a whole bunch of other reasons if you start to scratch the surface ) .  Does spending more money help , I tried that and got a whole bunch of more expensive rubbish !  How do I know = that silly rope trick where I cut rope till the edge goes away . Reality bites hard some times . 

 A trend I am noticing sharpening my own knives is that bad steel likes a rougher cut edge ( Don't polish it ) . I am noticing seriously increased edge holding and I hope to soon show case this through a series of tests . I want to test bad steel . average steel and good steel . Do different finishes on each knife and see what the results are . For a long time some people have pushed mirror polished edges . And I can see that working on really good steel , but do you really need to or want to polish a turd ? ( Bad steel ) Especially if it is nothing more than a waste of your time ?  So that's where I am at right now . Exploring / experimenting with sharpening techniques / methods to see what works and where it works . I just purchased my first M390 knife , as well another D2 and on my desk I have a 14c28n waiting for the rope ( next knife to be tested ) .

 What is my advise ?  Buying a knife is like buying a lottery ticket , do you feel lucky ?  For me so far , spending more has simply given me more expensive rubbish . And just a little while ago I purchased a $9 and change knife that went 200+ on the rope , that's how crazy the knife market is . ( It's a lottery )  How can a $9 knife kick $50+ knives to the curb ?

 Even cheap knives ( $9 ) can look good , feel good , be bolted together good . And in some cases I would challenge anyone to tell the difference in a blindfold test between a cheap knife and an expensive knife . A knife is only as good as the blade it is equipped with . Put a rubbish blade on what would otherwise be a decent knife and you have a rubbish knife . ( But that's only my opinion )

To be continued ......