Knife Edges Under Magnification

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Original Edges On Factory And Custom Knives

Phil Wilson's hunter

 - This is a new custom knife that I just got from Phil. Took over 3 years to complete this project due to different reasons, but once we agreed on details the blade was ready in less than 2 months, which is very fast for cutsom knife.
Phil Wilson CPM 10V Hunter Phil Wilson CPM 10V Hunter
What's important for me in this knife is the steel. Crucible CPM 10V, which is one of the most wear resistant steels on this planet, surpassed only by one or two others, but those are very difficult to use as a knife blade. As per my request Phil hardened the blade to 64HRC. To see what the whole knife looks like check out its gallery here. The intent was to make light cutter optimized for edge holding. Hence the very thin, flat ground blade. And the edge is rather coarse, since cutting is expected to be more slicing than pushing. Under 32x magnification this is what we get. Picture one shoes the edge closer to the hilt. And that's coarse I'd say. Of all the edges I've photographed so far that one is the most saw tooth like thay any other. Picture two shows the mid-section of the edge. And you can see the tip of the blade on this picture. Overall, the edge lookc coarse with unarmed eye and what does it look under magnificatino you can see for yourself. THe important difference with other coarse stuff you've seen on other pages, let's say Benchmade Gaucho or Cuda is that this CPM 10V knife cuts like crazy. It can shave in both directions, although will miss a hair or two in opposite direction, has no problems slicing through the free hanging paper and so on. At this point, this pictures proove that the looks can be very deceiving :) Even under 32x magnificaiton. On the other hand I'm photogtraphing those edges from the side, not the top, so dullness isn't something very visible here, but deformations and serrations are. You'll see a lot more of that on edge degradation study, article coming soon, so check back later.

Benchmade Gaucho

 - Medium folder from Benchmade. Really interesting and original blade geometry,
Benchmade Gaucho
which was the reason I decided to buy this tanto. Gaucho uses 154CM steel, hardened to 59-61HRC. In general, despite of all my love to Benchmade folders, their factory edges have not too good of a reputation. For me the experience was closer to 50/50. Some edges were very sharp, nice satin finish, others were plain dull and very rough. As you can see this one is the later. Even with 16x magnification the edge looks very rough. Apparently the blade was sharpened on the rough belt and never made it to finer belts. I have no other explanation for the edge so rough. As for its sharpness it is a match for its looks, sort of. It is dull in other words. Despite of its toothy looks. For those who sharpen themselves, and I see no reason why anyone doesn't NIB edge doesn't really matter, but still, it'd be nice of Benchmade and any other large factory to put a decent edge to begin with.

Camillus CUDA Aftermath

 - This giant folder from Camillus is one of my favorites in terms of looks. Uses D2
Camillus CUDA Aftermath
steel. Factory edge was pretty decent, for the factory edge that is. It could shave with some difficulties, but still, it did shave. However, is you take a closer look, let's say at 16x magnification the picture is not much different from the knife edge above. I am referring to the roughness of the edge. However on Aftermath's edge you can clearly see secondary bevel, and I have nothing to do with it. I think it's rather a fluke, because I am having hard time believing that a large knife maker such as Camillus would spend time putting secondary bevel on their mass production knives, even if it is their top of the line, 300$+ knife. One way or another, that secondary bevel is the reason this knife can cut more or less. Otherwise, roughness is pretty much the same as with Gaucho above, except that the Gaucho can't cut anywhere close to decent.

Benchmade Sequel

 - Nice, little folder from my favorite folder makers. This one is made out of 154CM stainless steel.
Benchmade Sequel
Like I said, my experience with Benchmade folder edge sharpness was mixed. Sequel was a good one for that matter. It came with nice satin finish edge that could shave, slice through free hanging paper, etc. As you can see from the picture the edge is quite smooth, and the blade finish is very nice. Actually the blade itself is satin finish, close to mirror polished. Still, even under 16x magnification you can see scratches and rough spots on the edge, but to be fair you can see a lot more on mirror polished edges too. It was very easy to polish this edge to full mirror later on. All I had to do was spend 15 minutes with 0.3 micron AlO abrasive film on mousepad.

Himalayan Imports Bowie

 - This brute was made by Bir-Gorkha Kami Kumar. I already have a few Kukris by him, he's a master in his field.
Himalayan Imports Bowie By Kumar
15 inch long (OAL) knife is made of 5160 spring steel, which is differentially tampered. Edge hardness should be around 60HRC. To see the knife in all its beauty check out Bowie gallery. I think it's a beauty, especially considering that it was made by hand using the most primitive tools. No modern technology is available in Nepal for Kamis making those knives. yet the results are just fascinating. Well, you can se for yourself.
As for the edge, standard convex edge, preferred for choppers from Bir-Gorkha. Looks pretty smooth, but under magnification it is quite rough. Given the intended use I wouldn't expect shaving sharp edge on this knife anyway. But it's pretty decent. Can slice through free hanging paper with some difficulties, but still can. No shaving though. However, this blade is mainly for real rough cutting and chopping, probably more chopping, so the stronger edge is probably more desired. For now the edge is in NIB condition, but once I get time I will sharpen it to mirror polished finish, which is much better for chopping.