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Spyderco H-1 folding knives?

Discussion in 'Knives and Cutting Tools' started by JDelage, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    The big difference is the H1 treated alloys can sharpen to and hold a cutting edge better than Titanium alloys. Stainless Steel is a complex material and still rusts. It rusts less with higher Nickel content, but that higher Nickel content makes it softer so can't attain a decent cutting edge. The stainless part of Stainless Steel comes from a micro thin layer of corrosion of the Chromium in the alloy. That thin layer of Chromium Oxide protects the ferrious part of the alloy from rusting.

    The Chromium Oxide layer is considered "self-healing" -- a scratch in the oxide layer is naturally repaired by creating more corrosion of the Chromium. The problem is that several things can interfere with that reformation; most notably micro particles of ferrous material (Iron). The H1 is a process that creates a thicker/tougher layer of Chromium Oxide at the factory. It can be scratched and can self-heal, but not to the level it left the factory and that scratch is subject to the same contamination problem that all stainless suffers.

    In the big picture, a little surface rust is easily removed. The problem happens if you let it get bad enough that pitting occurs. I have never seen a maintenance-free knife with a quality edge of any kind, let alone one used near salt water.
     
    EireDiver606 and drrich2 like this.
  2. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
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    Akimbo:

    Thank you for the sort of answer I've been casting about for for a few years! Do you see any advantages to titanium knives over H1 steel knives?

    Richard.
     
  3. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 DIR Practitioner

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    Victorinox knives are also very good, especially the serrated version. They only cost a few euros so typically, many commercial divers and skippers buy a bunch of them every year and throw them out if they start to rust. And who cares if you lose one, its like 3 euros.

    I disagree with Spyderco knives mainly because of their cost. Personally, I regard knives as disposable (Unless you are there to specifically cut something) especially in diving when in an emergency situation, you're more likely to not re-sheathe your knife, just dump it, and focus on the problem in front of you.
     
  4. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Like any tool, it depends on the job you use it for. Take the old BFK (Big Fricking Knife). They were about a foot long and made from 300 Series Stainless alloys -- more corrosion resistant than a modern chef's knife but not much sharper than a butter knife. The serrations could hack through Polypropylene line, slash through kelp, pry abalone and rock scallops, cut corrugated hoses on enemy diver's double hose regulators, and beat the crap out of most things in case you left your ball peen hammer onshore. Sharpen it with a file or grinder and you could probably get through a few strands of monofilament line. Fishing net? Forget about it!

    To a commercial diver, a knife is a cutting tool, first and foremost -- for entanglement and for everyday work. I suspect that entanglement is a recreational diver's #1 concern and monofilament fishing line is the primary culprit. A little line cutter with ceramic edges is a good choice for that. Concern over fishing nets is more complicated. The material can range from lots of monofilament to braided cordage with Stainless Steel wire. Spear fisherman need a knife that can cut monofilament and lobotomize their prey.

    What do you plan to use the tool for, how much effort are you willing to invest to maintain it, and how much weight and bulk are you willing to lug around? Life is all about choosing compromises that suck the least. :)
     
    FezUSA and EireDiver606 like this.
  5. vjb.knife

    vjb.knife Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: the Big Island of Hawaii
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    Spyderco H1 steel as stated earlier is extremely corrosion resistant. I am actually surprised to see the pictures with some minor rust. I use the yellow one at work around the shop and the submarine in the Pacific ocean every day and all I do is give it a rinse in fresh water at the end of the day. It has not had one sign of rust or corrosion in two years on the job. I also carry the orange one clipped to my BC on a Wichard snap shackle. And the same goes for it. This knife is the model that is issued to Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers.

    The disadvantages to H1 are that it will not take as keen of an edge or hold it as long as any high end knife steel. I think it is still acceptable for general use if you know how to properly sharpen a knife ( I use a Wicked edge sharpener, because there is nothing better). H1 is probably better than most Titanium or other non-steel knives unless you are talking about some really high end stuff like SM-100 or Haynes Alloy #25 (thousands of dollars).

    I was told by a Spyderco Tech that H1 is work hardening,which means that when use is harsh and sharpening is frequent like my knives, they will gain hardness.

    I work as a diver and use my knife regularly to cut various rope and fishing line off of the boats and the submarine. I also cut boxes open, cut gasket and filter material, etc.

    Spyderco%20H1-L.jpg
     
    drrich2 and FezUSA like this.
  6. vjb.knife

    vjb.knife Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: the Big Island of Hawaii
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    There is a huge difference between a knife made from 300 series Austenite stainless steels and other more suitable hardenable steel which may not be as corrosion resistant but can be hardened and will take and hold a useful edge. Marine stainless steel like 316L is a horrible choice for a knife blade but it will look good. I would rather clean the rust off of a sharp knife than not have to clean a dull one. To clean the rust you can VERY CAREFULLY use muriatic acid which is easy and does a great job.
     
    EireDiver606 and FezUSA like this.
  7. Kharon

    Kharon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
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    My Spyderco takes a superb edge and holds it. I'm only testifying to the Spyderco Dragonfly Salt 2 - it is H1 and sharpens to a razor edge and holds it forever unless abused. I call bushwah on H1 being a bad choice.
     
  8. vjb.knife

    vjb.knife Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: the Big Island of Hawaii
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    I am afraid you have not completely understood my posts. H1 is not the marine grade stainless steel type that I am referring to in my previous post, these steels are very different and are very poor performing as knife steels. H1 is a relatively hard steel and is suitable as a diving knife, in fact as shown a few posts ago I also use two Spyderco H1 knives in and around the water where I work as a diver. What I will say is that the main reason I use it is that it is almost completely corrosion proof, or as close to that term as any steel that I have seen. It will in fact take a pretty nice edge and hold it for a reasonable amount of use, otherwise I would not use it at all and it would be in the trash can. The disadvantage is that it does not hold an edge or take as keen of an edge as some of the top end knife steels being used today in regular knives, period. Bohler M390 (one of my favorites), 20CV, CTS-204P, etc. are steels that will out perform H1 in every way except corrosion resistance. I use the H1 knives a lot at my job and I cut a lot of material on a daily basis. As I said they are ok, but I have to sharpen them on a regular basis, and I do this on a pro level Wicked Edge sharpener, so they are set up as good as it gets. I am sorry but to say that H1 will take a razor edge and hold it forever is just not true, and I believe that Spyderco would agree with that statement. You should try a knife made from some of the top choices in steel if you think that an H1 knife is razor sharp and lasts forever, you would be amazed. Also having a knife professionally sharpened makes a huge difference. I can set an edge on a knife within 0.1 degree of the desired angle and achieve a 2000 grit finish that looks like a mirror compared to the fairly accurate edge delivered on a new Spyderco knife with a 400 grit edge. The cutting ability is like night and day. Also, If you have a serrated edge on you knife it would be best to have a professional resharpen it when required. It is very easy to completely ruin the edge on these if not is not done properly. I use ceramic rods that are made with the exact Spyderco serration pattern running the length of them, which makes the task relatively easy. Have a good day.
     
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  9. Rich Keller

    Rich Keller Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Long Island NY
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    I have never had an issue with the knife hanging too low. It is not very long and is clipped to a side ring on my harness so it is within my bodies profile.
     
  10. vjb.knife

    vjb.knife Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: the Big Island of Hawaii
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    If you are having trouble opening a Salt or other standard Spyderco knife then check out the Spyderco Autonomy (orange knife in this picture), which opens with the push of a button. It is also made of H1 steel. It is the same knife issued to Coast guard rescue swimmers and works very well. It should be noted that it is probably illegal to own in most states, so look that up if you are worried about it and decide from there.

    Spyderco%20H1-L.jpg
     
    drrich2 likes this.

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