Pete of the Cedric & Ada YouTube channel uses an established, repeatable method to measure edge retention. To date, he has put more than 40 steels to the test on his channel – everything from high-end powder metallurgy steels to butter knife blade steel. We reached out to Pete for his assessment of how budget blade steel measures up to more expensive options.
Pete chooses edge retention as the key criteria to measure folding knife steel. “I want the fine slicing to last as long as possible,” he says. His cut tests, performed using a standardized edge bevel, cutting medium, and method, measure this characteristic, end when the knife can no longer cut printer paper. The testing medium is abrasive sisal rope, and Pete readily admits that this is a harder cut than most. But he finds that steels which fail to make 60-70 cuts in his testing translate to poor EDC options. “Knives that land below the 60 mark generally frustrate me when I carry them extensively as a daily user,” he says.
This metric rules out the standard budget steels on the market today: heat treat plays an important role in the performance of any steel, but in testing, Pete has found that AUS-8, 8Cr13MoV, and 440C all fail to meet the 60 cut mark. To put that in perspective, a modern super steel like CTS-XHP gets all the way to 242 cuts on Pete’s test. “A lot of marketing materials still claim that AUS-8 and 8Cr13Mov are high carbon steels with superior edge retention. This just isn’t true, and hasn’t been for a long time,” Pete says. Knives with these steels are far from unusable, but Pete believes the time has come for makers to offer better options – even at lower price points.
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