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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been using a hand me down western skinning knife for big game hunting in old 1095 steel. It takes an edge easily with my field sharpener and has a long curved edge that makes slicing easy. Decided to buy a skelotinized buck caping knife for small areas. It was in S30v. It didn't come from the factory as sharp as I get my other and I couldn't get it as sharp either. That said, it held what edge it had well and worked just fine.

Well I lost that one. So I bought a skelotinized caping and boning knife from buck both in their 420 hc. Paid <$40 for both combined. Both of them came from the factory razor sharp. Far sharper than I can get them.

I guess the reputation of harder steel being very hard to sharpen is true. I mean the S30v weren't even sharp from the factory.
 

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Even with a type steel , treatments following a build can vary.
I've yet to settle on a given description as the answer to what constitutes a good knife steel.

Been a couple surprises over time.
A gifted knife set I was (discreetly) skeptical of perform very well despite an apparent hardness higher than most I run..

My default when being out or remote for an extended period is often old high carbon stuff that gets touched up during busy use. Though seldom is in "the field".
Another is old industrial saw blade steel.
Of course I wouldn't know the hardness or heat treatments they received.
But a real hard steel just isn't my medium. Something I can abuse , (though avoid doing so) and swipe with a file a few times then run through a quick crude sharpening that cuts well is fine.
Working a chip out of a hard steel , I've done. Never quickly though...
AN old Forschner from my youth is hard too. Once sharp it holds it's own pretty well. But if needing resharpened during use it's slower than softer stuff. Obviously. With a pile of meat indoors , time matters.
So I'll have two three knives at hand. The hard Forshner is great for boning. Though not ideal cause if you abuse it the edge meets bone wrong , but stays sharp enough to set a softer steel aside if need be till the pile of meat is cleared.
With a third knife reserved for fascia or delicate trimming or silverskin.

Forced , give me regular steels.
But I appreciate a higher grade in the mix.
 

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Personally I'm a fan of high carbon 1095 or A2 tool steel both are very durable and easy to sharpen. I own a few super steel knives and just don't care for them some of the hard super steels can be very brittle and crack or snap under pressure were as 1095 for instance has more flex in the steel making it more forgiving and a lot easier to sharpen and shape a new blade angle if needed. Some of my newer knives I like are are Hess knives in 1095 and Rapid river knives in A2 steel. But my favorites for hunting and camping are vintage Marbles woodcraft knives and Schrade Walden pre-74 hunting Bowie both are 1095 and get a lot of use.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I really don't use my hunting knife for utility purposes where it might bend or break. If I was going to use a knife as a shovel or pry bar I'd probably use my old USMC kabar which I think is 1095 as well.

Searching web forums it appears that old western knives have a great reputation for their tempering process or whatever goes into treating the 1095 steel. Apparently the guy who started western knives originally worked for another manufacturer. My knife was probably bought in the 60s.

Same with the 420hc buck uses.

We'll see if I make use of them this year. Seems I should.
 
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I really don't use my hunting knife for utility purposes where it might bend or break. If I was going to use a knife as a shovel or pry bar I'd probably use my old USMC kabar which I think is 1095 as well.

Searching web forums it appears that old western knives have a great reputation for their tempering process or whatever goes into treating the 1095 steel. Apparently the guy who started western knives originally worked for another manufacturer. My knife was probably bought in the 60s.

Same with the 420hc buck uses.

We'll see if I make use of them this year. Seems I should.
Yes, the western knives that were made in Boulder Colorado do have a nice carbon steel. I bought 4 of the vintage black beauty fixed blade knives a few years back (model f28 I believe) and they take a very nice edge plus the handle has a real good feel to it. And you can still find them fairly cheap. Just have to keep a coat of oil on the blade or they'll rust like a old ford pickup.


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It would seem that the founder moved to boulder for health reasons but he and before him his father already had experience working in and owning multiple knife manufacturers and hence his skill in his trade.

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