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Blades, Bows and Tools Discussion of non-firearm weapons and camping/survival tools.

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  #1  
Old 08-22-2017, 3:04 AM
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Default are expensive knives really any better?

after the first couple of resharpenings than a $20, $10 or even $2 knife?

anyone done scientific tests showing a $200 knife is enough better that a human could actually tell in a double blind test?

Take two knives and wrap both handles in enough tape to hide the shape, then ask a exp user to cut some meat blindfolded and see if he can guess which is which.

Sounds like a hard sell TV info merical.
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Old 08-22-2017, 9:20 AM
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The concept is lost on me entirely. I have carried inexpensive Cold Steel and Kershaw blades for years, on and off duty, and neither ever failed to perform as well as one could expect from a pocket knife.

Nothing wrong with nice things, but any pocket knife over $100 would be overly extravagant for any practical purpose.
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Old 08-22-2017, 9:31 AM
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I think one of the issues is that very few people use a knife intensively enough, and put it through it's paces over a very long term, to notice a difference in durability and utility.

Really, what's the most you ever need a knife to do? Open boxes and packages, cut cordage, and skin and gut the occasional animal. It comes out of it's sheath just a few times a month at the most, and not several times a day, for any kind of serious work.

And in the history of knife making, we do have massed produced knives that are affordable, that people of the past could only have dreamed of owning.

Yes, there is a difference. If you were a long line trapper and it was one of your only tools, you may notice a difference. For most of us, a Mora or a Buck or a Cold Steel does it all, and you don't have to worry about your Precious knife that cost hundreds and you were on a waiting list for 2 1/2 years to get. And no, I don't own one of those knives.
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Old 08-22-2017, 9:46 AM
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Yes.

My $100 and $200 Benchmades have been bashed by a large rocks to "chop" through coconuts.
The rock has dents in it. Knives still looks new.

My $25 CRKT didn't hold up nearly as well.

Oh and edge retention is far superior on the Benchmades.

Last edited by UEDan; 08-22-2017 at 9:50 AM..
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UEDan View Post
Yes.

My $100 and $200 Benchmades have been bashed by a large rocks to "chop" through coconuts.
The rock has dents in it. Knives still looks new.

My $25 CRKT didn't hold up nearly as well.

Oh and edge retention is far superior on the Benchmades.
Pretty sure the Benchmade guys aren't making their own steel, so is what they start with a lot better and more expensive?

I've heard that unless you are doing exotic high tech stuff, there are diff standard types of steels with diff properties everyone uses for diff aps but nothing all that expensive or better.

Some costs more if it needs to be CERTIFIED, like maybe springs on airliner, but actual steel is cheap.

In other words, can't I buy the exact same steel they use for $200 knives pretty cheap? Like I can buy the leather they use for $2000 shoes pretty cheap.


PS-ain't it all pretty much a comprise of edge holding/brittleness VS easy sharpening and durability VS corrosion resistance, and except for maybe Harbor Freight the steel is all same quality? Just like the steel used in a Yugo is gonna be 98% as good as the steel used in a Porsche for stuff like body panels and frame, and even the engineering of the bends and strength is gonna be 95% equal.
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  #6  
Old 08-22-2017, 10:22 AM
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Hardening process make a difference in knife quality. And pricing.
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Old 08-22-2017, 11:01 AM
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I wouldn't be surprised if Benchmade didn't make their own steel. Manufactures source raw materials elsewhere all the time.

Yes steel varies from every knife manufacture and even models. Each steel has has different characteristics. Take note, blade hardness/edge retention. My Benchmade has stayed sharp long after my budget knives dull. It uses CPM-20CV steel:
https://www.alphaknifesupply.com/sho...tainless-steel

You're right, it'll only cost me $21 to buy enough steel to make 2 knives. But because the steel is harder, I cant use my Dremel or cheaper machinery to shape and sharpen a blade.

Its all in manufacturing and RnD man. My $200 knife fits tight, but flicks out easily and is perfectly centered. My budget knife needs the pivot screw adjusted every week, is barely sharp enough and it RUSTS in my *** pocket.

Compare it to ARs. A budget-range upper made from the same raw materials as a mid-range upper. Tighter fit and better accuracy usually goes to the one that costs more.
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Old 08-22-2017, 11:10 AM
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I can sharpen a $3 knife and it cuts as well as my $100 knives....

For the first few cuts.....


So the blindfolded test is a flawed test as the knives can work well for a few cuts.



I have or had a fiscars knife that I got out of college for $10

The stainless was crazy hard... I spend a long time stoning the knife and recutting the blade angle.

The knife became sharp but still had crappy ergonomics. When chopping,, your fingers hit the chopping board...


So yes, better knives are better.... but there is a small gain in quality once you hit a certain level
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Old 08-22-2017, 1:02 PM
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Yes expensive knives are legitimately better tools, up to a point, though not everyone will value this equally (think about socket wrenches, you can get by with cheap ones and maybe that's fine for you, but there are certainly ones of better quality at a premium price). Your sub $100 blade just isn't the same class as higher priced options. That doesn't mean they're not usable or can't be sharpened to the same degree, but the quality isn't equal and it will be apparent to people who have handled better knives.

Up to around $250 you typically are paying for the quality of the steel itself and the workmanship in the overall package - particularly the action. That is to say, a $200 knife will generally have much better steel (stronger, less brittle, keeps edge longer, etc) and will have a noticeably better action. It is simply a better tool. Beyond that you are probably paying for art alongside function, as the best knife makers are talented artists who happen to fashion tools.

Here's a video comparing some of the steels commonly used in today's knives:
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2017, 2:16 PM
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I am an unapologetic, unabashed, lover of cheap folders. When it comes to knives that I use on a daily basis, I see no need to spend over 50 dollars on a folder.... ever.

There are only two criteria that I judge a folder on:

1. Blade characteristics (ie. material, edge retention etc)
2. Quality of construction

In regard to the former, the average user will not notice the difference between AUS-8 or 440C and say something like S35VN steel because they don't use the knife enough. Most users are going to clip their knife on their pocket and carrying around cutting cardboard, blister packs and the occasional apple. I consider myself an above average user of knives and I still don't think it's worth the price bump for something like S35VN. It's a good steel and edge retention is nominally better, but 9/10 times the AUS-8 blade just needs a few passes on a strop or maybe the ultra fine stone and it's right back to hair popping sharp. If I can save 50+ dollars on knife for a minute or less work once a month, I think that's a bargain.

In regard to the latter, there are plenty of knife companies out there who are making budget friendly knives with very good QC measures. Unless you are buying a QVC special or something from the flea market, a decently durable EDC knife can be had at pretty much any sporting good store for around 20 bucks.
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2017, 2:25 PM
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My two Buck 110's and 112's are fine for my use. Pocket knife is a Case something with two blades. Stockman maybe? My most expensive knife is my A.G. Russell Lockback Folder. Probably about $60.00. But, they're all sharp and hold good edges. It depends on what you're looking for I suppose.
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Old 08-22-2017, 2:31 PM
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I think that its personal preference.
My EDC is a benchmade north fork and I love it. But I would not consider bench made high end, just good everyday knives. I also carry a Kershaw Blur as a work knife which I also really like but its just a cheap folder that I don't care if it gets beat up.

Handmade knives although not worth it to many people are made with better materials by humans, not machines. They are made by artists and hold their value. Doesn't make them better, but I do know the steel on my handmade knives remain sharp for years and years. A sharpness that my lower end knives will never get close to or retain if they do for that matter.

Ive got a Larry Page handmade drop point that has a handmade sheath that is the same serial number as the knife. Its a great knife that cuts through animals like butter and is a beautiful tool.
For me, I really like the utility of Dan Winkler knives. They are amazingly sharp, tough and stunning weapons. Many of his knives are in the $300 range and are worth every penny. My blue Ridge hunter is on my side on every hunt.

Not bagging cheap blades, different strokes for different folks. And it doesn't mean a $20 gas station knife won't get the job done just some prefer knives with character.
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Old 08-22-2017, 2:52 PM
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"$20 gas station knife". That cracked me up for some reason. Good one.
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Old 08-22-2017, 3:09 PM
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different tools for different jobs. My pocket clip folder is a $16 Buck. and it's awesome. My Chef's knife is a $200 Wusthoff. and it's an incredible deal.
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Old 08-22-2017, 3:22 PM
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my favorite field knife is the Ontario Knives "Air Crew Survival Knife", have had several of them over the years. They pass through my hands often, usually I gift them to friends. No fancy stuff, no firestarter in a kytex super tactical sheath or compass in the handle, but they stay sharp, take an edge, and I have literally beat on them with a tire iron. My current one I picked up a few years ago at a local Sportsmans Warehouse for I think $30.
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Old 08-22-2017, 3:33 PM
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I save this treatment for the "Gas station-type" knife, "I have literally beat on them with a tire iron."
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Old 08-22-2017, 3:41 PM
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Old 08-22-2017, 3:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Friesland View Post
I save this treatment for the "Gas station-type" knife, "I have literally beat on them with a tire iron."
What? Unsure your knife would not hold up? As I recall, the specific instance was splitting some wood into smaller bits of wood, and I did not have a "baton" handy, but did have a tire iron. The tire iron came away a bit nicked but the knife was fine..
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Old 08-22-2017, 5:08 PM
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A recent discussion on the practical uses for knives:

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Old 08-22-2017, 5:28 PM
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I used to carry Buck knives but got tired of broken tips and poor edge retention. For the last 14 years I've had a Benchmade in my pocket. I'm pretty hard on them and they hold up. They are comfortable, easy to open and close. The axis lock is very strong and the edge retention is really good. Everyone at my work carries a knife because we use them a lot. It's almost 50/50 with half carrying a Benchmade or the other half carrying a sub $50 knife. The sub $50s are usually rusty and dull while the BMs are sharp and rust free.

I was once at sea for about 60 days straight and I carried two knives on me. One was a stainless steel Myerchin because it had a Marlin spike on it for breaking loose knots. The other was a Benchmade. On that entire trip the BM didn't rust at all but I had to clean and remove rust multiple times from the Myerchin which is still not the cheapest knife.
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Old 08-22-2017, 7:09 PM
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From my own experience, yes, within reason. I use inexpensive folders for work in case I lose it. Generally they are those cheap Big 5 sales knives. They do not sharpen up well, feel flimsy, and inevitable fall apart, literally in my pocket. I have a few other folders by Benchmade and an older Kershaw which are the exact 180 of the cheapies. Sharpen up quick and easy and hold an edge. No loosening of the fasteners or falling apart.

For fixed I use Esse, an Izula II and a 4. Both get crazy sharp and hold an edge. I used my 4 yesterday to pull a stuck arrow from a stump. 15 minutes of stabbing, carving, prying, and cutting, the edge still shaves hair and the point is keen as can be.

None are very expensive, all less than or right at, 100 dollars. That is about as much I will spend and after using them, am 100% comfortable spending it.
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Old 08-22-2017, 7:25 PM
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Quote:
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From my own experience, yes, within reason. I use inexpensive folders for work in case I lose it. Generally they are those cheap Big 5 sales knives. They do not sharpen up well, feel flimsy, and inevitable fall apart, literally in my pocket. I have a few other folders by Benchmade and an older Kershaw which are the exact 180 of the cheapies. Sharpen up quick and easy and hold an edge. No loosening of the fasteners or falling apart.

For fixed I use Esse, an Izula II and a 4. Both get crazy sharp and hold an edge. I used my 4 yesterday to pull a stuck arrow from a stump. 15 minutes of stabbing, carving, prying, and cutting, the edge still shaves hair and the point is keen as can be.

None are very expensive, all less than or right at, 100 dollars. That is about as much I will spend and after using them, am 100% comfortable spending it.

The Esse 3 is definitely one of those knives that are well worth more than their price. Ive had one for years and years and still sharpens to a razors edge. Its my fishing knife...
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Old 08-22-2017, 7:31 PM
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A recent discussion on the practical uses for knives:

Great flick.
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Old 08-23-2017, 6:29 AM
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Acquiring green dollars never came easy for me and I lean to wards "nicer quality" toys. I would find it difficult to pound a hard won knife with a tyre iron.


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What? Unsure your knife would not hold up? As I recall, the specific instance was splitting some wood into smaller bits of wood, and I did not have a "baton" handy, but did have a tire iron. The tire iron came away a bit nicked but the knife was fine..
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Old 08-23-2017, 7:20 AM
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I've got a few of the Strider clones from China. about 25 bucks each. They have been very good knives... used on a semi daily basis for about 4 years now. I'm really glad i didnt spend 500 on the real one. Its a law of diminishing returns for sure.
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Old 08-23-2017, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by omgwtfbbq View Post
In regard to the former, the average user will not notice the difference between AUS-8 or 440C and say something like S35VN steel because they don't use the knife enough. Most users are going to clip their knife on their pocket and carrying around cutting cardboard, blister packs and the occasional apple. I consider myself an above average user of knives and I still don't think it's worth the price bump for something like S35VN. It's a good steel and edge retention is nominally better, but 9/10 times the AUS-8 blade just needs a few passes on a strop or maybe the ultra fine stone and it's right back to hair popping sharp. If I can save 50+ dollars on knife for a minute or less work once a month, I think that's a bargain.
=
now we are getting somewhere calling out the names of higher end knife steel.
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:42 AM
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Default Are they better?

Nearly always, Yes. Better enough to justify the price? Up to you to decide. Expensive knives are nice. Oftentimes they get treated like the crown jewels and never get used for what they were intended for.
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Old 08-23-2017, 2:01 PM
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after the first couple of resharpenings than a $20, $10 or even $2 knife?

anyone done scientific tests showing a $200 knife is enough better that a human could actually tell in a double blind test?
I can tell before, after, anytime. I always have a $20 knife in a pen cup on my desk in case I forget to pocket something and some cheap ones in the car too.

Yeah the Thermite still cuts tape and opens boxes, etc...

All my cheap knives have play in the blade pivot and cheap plastic bushings or maybe really undersized and ill-fitting phos-bronze bushings. Some are better than others, none are the same.

ZT's feel like precision machines with zero slop. Benchmades once in a while you take one apart and cannot get the slop out of the pivot and some come like that out of the box, but most are solid.

Spyderco in a certain price range have no slop and great fit and finish. Cheap Spydercos have slop. No way can I mistake a Tenacious for a PM2, or YojimboII based soley on the blade pivot and action. That's just a few the obvious things not getting into the steel, edge retention, grind, liners, dehorning, weight, frame material, etc...

If you take a USA made Kershaw like a Link 1776 or Blur it gets harder to tell the difference from ZT's but there are still lots of differences.

They do all cut. Buy what you like and spend what you like.
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Old 08-23-2017, 2:55 PM
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PS-ain't it all pretty much a comprise of edge holding/brittleness VS easy sharpening and durability VS corrosion resistance, and except for maybe Harbor Freight the steel is all same quality? Just like the steel used in a Yugo is gonna be 98% as good as the steel used in a Porsche for stuff like body panels and frame, and even the engineering of the bends and strength is gonna be 95% equal.


Eeeeeeeehhhh... Sort of. There is a degree of flexibility in the characteristics of a given type of steel based on factors other than the chemical composition of the steel. Things like heat treating, blade design and grind angle come into play. You can have 440C steel from two manufacturers and get different wear to performance ratios due to these related factors. It's important to compare apples to apples; knives of similar designs and sizes etc.

However, for the most part, the type of steel is a decent measure of how the blade will wear and resist (or not resist) corrosion.
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Old 08-23-2017, 4:06 PM
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There's lots of these knife steel comparo charts.

http://knifeinformer.com/discovering...t-knife-steel/
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Old 08-23-2017, 8:31 PM
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I couldnt tell you the difference between a $400 bottle of "fine wine" and a $5 liquor store special. They both taste like cat piss to me. To assume that a $400 bottle of wine is somehow "not worth" the price tag to someone with more refined tastes than my own would be foolish. The same goes for knives, 1911s vs glocks, leather seats in your car.. so on and so forth. Buy what suits your needs and wants. If you can't see the value in it, don't buy it. Pretty simple.
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Old 08-24-2017, 12:29 AM
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The big difference between a "cheap" knife and a high-end knife is I am not the least bit reluctant to abuse the cheap knife. It's one reason I have always liked Cold Steel. They are inexpensive so if I ever do manage to wreck one, I can replace it easily. I've done stuff to CS knives I would never do to my Randalls. The Cold Steel knives are chewed a bit but still totally functional.
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Old 08-24-2017, 1:08 AM
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Cheap knives can be sharpened to razor thin; however, cheaper material won't hold up as well. Also you have to take into account the handle and other features. The more expensive knives, you can change the clip configuration to put it in different pockets, some are ambi and some have special ways to open it like Emerson Waves or Kershaw Spring Assist.

I recommend a Kershaw if you want a budget knife. They can be had for $20-$30 on Amazon.
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Old 08-24-2017, 5:39 AM
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I've done stuff to CS knives I would never do to my Randalls. The Cold Steel knives are chewed a bit but still totally functional.
Cold Steel makes some pretty nice stuff too.

I have a cheap fixed blade on a garage shelf that mostly get used for cutting dirt and grass around sprinkler heads and digging, cutting boxes for recycling or anything else if I'm in the garage without a knife. Not a CS, but it is a D2 import. I have a couple Moras in the kitchen drawer and a SYKCO Chop House.
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Old 08-24-2017, 5:49 AM
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Here's a testing review on a Spyderco with a CPM 10V blade that is interesting.

http://www.bladeforums.com/threads/s...sting.1222344/
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Old 08-24-2017, 7:05 AM
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Is this a Cheng su is just as good as a Randall thread?
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Old 08-24-2017, 8:04 AM
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Is this a Cheng su is just as good as a Randall thread?
Not that I know of. I wasn't saying CS was as good as Randall, just that CS makes better knives than a CS Machete from South Africa. The last two CS fixed tantos and folding Talwars I got were pretty sweet. I love my Busse Team Gemini Light Brigade and SYKCO Regulators, but CS makes some great stuff for various budgets. I don't even know what steel Randalls are made of. What is it?

Last edited by crufflers; 08-24-2017 at 8:14 AM..
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Old 08-24-2017, 8:13 AM
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It seems to me that there are three or four tiers when referring to the cost of knives. The lowest tier would be knives that run from $5-$80. Then $80-$400, then $400–$1,000 and finally $1,000 and 'the sky is the limit.' Just recently on the Nordic Knives website was the first edition of a model made by Bob Loveless. It was priced at $50.000! I have knives from all the groups and the main differences are edge retention and fit and finish, but not always. One maker that I favor makes blades that one of his competitors called "crude and unfinished," but the simple fact is that they cut far better than the ones made by the maker throwing out the insult.

Some of them are expensive due to their rarity, some because their makers have passed away and they were expensive even while he was alive. Some are expensive due their quality and 'what the market will bear.' Some are expensive due to custom features, materials used, and other oddities. I have users and display–only from the top tier. Just about universally all can be sharpened to the same degree but the more expensive ones tend to hold their edge longer and take more abuse. Cutting ability is not just a matter of sharpness. It also has to do with edge geometry and design.

If you want to see knives tested, take a look at the TV show "Forged in Fire" on the history channel. Some of those tests are brutal, such as batoning blades repeatedly against a 12 penny nail, or slamming then into a steel 55 gallon drum. Such tests have to do more with "what the material does to the blade, than what the blade does to the material." Often they cut through the carcasses of various animals.

It's strange, but the pride of ownership sometimes does not carry over from firearms to knives. A good friend of mine EDC's a $4,000 Nighthawk 1911, but his knife is a only a second tier folder, and that, at the lower end of the tier.

But the question raised by the OP, "Are expensive knives really better?" is quite subjective. Is my buddy's Nighthawk "better" than a Rock Island? I'd say "yes" and I have several custom 1911's made by old school smiths.

A couple of members have spoken about using cheap knives and if they break, they just dump and replace them. That's fine as long as you are 'in town' and your next knife is a phone call or a short drive away. But if you're in the wilderness, on the job and don't have the time to replace it, there may be issues. Most knives, even the top tier ones, are broken from abuse, not use. There's a recent thread on the Blade Forum about a guy who broke a Busse knife, one of the toughest out there, by using it as a pry bar when a trailer hitch jammed on the ball, and he tried to lever them apart. Knives aren't pry bars and anyone who habitually uses one that way, is asking for trouble. I have a small business sharpening knives and I've seen several that have been broken by people using them as pry bars. I've never seen one broken any other way. (BTW, batoning through wood is a form of prying). MOST of the knives I've seen that were broken were from the lowest two tiers. Of course, it may just be that those with the higher tier knives know better than to use them as pry bars. The broken Busse was on loan.

When I was working I'd often be asked by another officer if I had a knife. After a few times of having them damage my knives, I learned to ask "What are you going to cut?" Often they wanted to pry something open, or use it as a screwdriver.
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Old 08-24-2017, 8:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigger hammer View Post
Some of them are expensive due to their rarity, some because their makers have passed away and they were expensive even while he was alive. Some are expensive due their quality and 'what the market will bear.' Some are expensive due to custom features, materials used, and other oddities. I have users and display–only from the top tier. Just about universally all can be sharpened to the same degree but the more expensive ones tend to hold their edge longer and take more abuse. Cutting ability is not just a matter of sharpness. It also has to do with edge geometry and design.
IMHO, it is fun to find a new maker that hasn't hit it so big yet that the books are closed and the prices are nuts. I like stuff by Danijel/Malanika, Jeff Haze, Black Roc, Hard Edge Knives, J Garrison (Gimmejr), etc... also love Scrap Yard, Busse, Swamp Rat and Mineral Mountain Hatchet Works. I've used plenty of cheap china made fixed blades like CRKT's, "Smith and Wesson", etc... You can tell a huge difference between crappy 400 series/mystery alphabet stainless steel with mystery heat treat and good stuff like INFI, 3V, SR-101, S7, A2, 5160, S35VN, Elmax, M4, S110V, etc...

One thing that sets off red flags with me is if you read a maker's page and all they talk about is design and don't even tell you what steel the blade is made of. That's all flash and marketing hype BS.

Last edited by crufflers; 08-24-2017 at 8:50 AM..
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Old 08-24-2017, 12:45 PM
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Here ya go!

One of the cheapest vs not so cheap
https://youtu.be/NxiKauGzoLM
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