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the-endless-search-for-the-perfect-knife (spelling updated)

Bewerten​ "Endless" Knife � Rolf Hatterscheid

As a small boy back in the Bronx, I was always interested in finding something of "lasting" value. Steel bolts, hammers and sturdy things interested me. Anything that seemed well made, solid, enduring and indestructable. Well, as Cub Scout time came, I also discovered knives. On my birthday, I received a very nice hunting knife from a German relative in the "old country". Wow, was I impressed. It had a bolted on real stag handle with threaded aluminum pommel and brass guard, with a leather metal capped sheath,seemingly a standard for young boys back then. Although my Dad showed me how to keep it reasonably sharp, I soon learned that knives start to lose their beauty when neglected, which led to my first attempts to remove the light rust stains which came about from storing the knife in it's sheath without cleaning it properly first - no stainless (thank God). Stainless was not popular for serious knives back then anyway. Sandpaper did the job, albeit taking a lot of the finish off the blade but without removing any of the joy of ownership. The handle did loosen up a bit but that was no real problem - just tightened the pommel bolt.

Although I always seemed to have a reasonable knife available in the next years, I sort of lost sight of many of my earlier boyhood outdoor activities, being in the middle of New York City and all as well as being concerned with getting an education and, long range, good job. When I finally graduated from college and was getting regular paychecks, one of the very first acquisitions I made was a serious folding knife, viz. a Gerber folding hunter with contoured walnut handle and leather belt sheath. I carried that knife just about everywhere, despite it's large size. Being stainless and having learned a few things about knife care, this knife did not have to endure any real abuse and I have it still.

Fast forward to the present finds me with a collection of knives of all kinds, each bought according to the principle: If it appeals to me I'll have it (within the restrictions of my often very limited budget).

Also, I seem to be searching for that "everlasting" knife, one with qualities that make it:

*Rustfree or non-corrodible

*Unbreakable - not that I abuse my knives, just like the thought

*Super sharp - holding the sharpness as long as possible

*Good looking

Sounds like I was looking for Arthur's sword doesn't it? As usual in life, all things are a compromise and I soon found that all these qualities can hardly be found in a single item, let alone always be desirable.

Up to now, with respect to the blades themselves, I have found the following materials with special qualities:

*Stellite� 6K or 6BH = Non steel (cobalt basis with high chrome,nickel,molybdenum,tungsten components). Requires no hardening. Non-magnetic. This is a Cobalt Chromium alloy.

*Talonite is a Cobalt Chromium alloy, UNS R3006, that has been treated with a new hot rolling age hardening process. Talonite is the same composition as alloy Stellit� 6BH, except for the hot rolling and age hardening.

*Beta Titanium is a special Titanium for knife blades with RC = ca. 46 (Used by Mission Knives)

*Titanium sandwiched 1095 steel from Tygrys .

Matt Kluczynski of Arizona had developed a patented process to "weld" the 1095 steel core and the titanium sides. Unfortunately this fantastic material is no longer being offered. Unfortunately he no longer markets it.

*CPM 420V = Powder metalurgical stainless steel from Crucible. Now has a "new:" designation I think CPM60V.

These materials certainly fulfill the "eternal" characteristics I enjoy. As a matter of fact, those old bronze knives I have seen in the museuums do quite well considering that they have often been buried for hundreds of years !

As for handle materials, I have collected knives with a really wide variety of them, from camel bone to carbon fiber. The ones which fulfil the "eternal" characteristics are:

*G10 is a fiberglass reinforced expoy resin

*Carbon Fiber is a woven matt of carbon fibers embedded in clear or colored epoxy

*Titanium - yes this also a prime handle material

*Kevlar� reinforced Hytrel� is a practically bulletproof material (Kevlar is used for military and police protection) used by Mission Knives.

*Micarta� is a paper, wood or cloth (sometimes linen) composition in epoxy.

*Zytel� is a synthetic castable material

These materials have in common that they are practically indestructible and impervious to just about anything.

Having said that, those museum knives often had remnants of wood attached, also not so bad for being buried all that time.

Now I am by no means someone who doesn't appreciate a nice Sambar stag handle on a knife. I do however tend to agree with Bob Loveless that Micarta� will allow a knife to easily survive 200 years and that anything less can be a waste of funds.

In addition, ‘stabilization’ of natural materials by treatment under vacuum with various fluids can lead to an extension of usability.® Rolf Hatterscheid 2011/2015
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