I was reading through a previous discussion about "Who Produces Stockman's Today?" and I now I'm curious about who uses the best steel?  Lots of companies make pretty knives, but if I want a Stockman that is going to be my every day workhorse, that can "take a licking and keep on ticking", that will take a great edge and hold a great edge - who uses the best steel in a production Stockman today?

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This is a very good question.  I dont have a user in this model so I am interested in what steels are available from the different manufactures

I carried this one for a long time and was real happy with it. I'm not sure if it was the best but it was the best I could afford at the time. I still carry a case every day.

Lee, was it chrome vanadium?

yep it was.

Queen makes a torched stag stockman which is very nice looking in D2 Steel. This steel has a hardness of 59-60 Rc To the best of my knowledge I think queen is the leader. Now several companies produce 440A or 440C but not quite the same hardness and edge retention. Some like Moore Maker might offer a high carbon steel like 1095 but the numbers probably come in around 57-58Rc. It is easier to resharpen though!

So far, I'm VERY happy with my new stainless Case knives (and their CV).

Steve, I recently decided to pay attention (buy) to traditional pocket knives.  One reason I strayed from them in the past few years is because I never had a knife that stayed sharp as long as I wanted it to.  I'd get a knife arm hair shaving sharp and by the end of a work day it needed a touch up.  Now, I own knives that perform FAR better regarding edge retention.  So, getting back into these knives has had me looking at blade steel they use.  The D2 in Queen has my interest and I've ordered one.  The CV in Case knives is pretty good and I'm hoping the D2 will out perform it.  I judge edge retention by cutting cardboard.  This way I can get a pretty good idea in just a few minutes.  I like this more than just seeing how many days I can wait between sharpenings.  This is not very informative because I never know what I will be cutting from one day to the next.  There are several things that contribute to edge retention including how you sharpen it. Edge angle, finishing grit, etc.  so the Rc hardness isn't the be-all end-all of blade quality from what I understand. I'm no expert and sometimes just have to go by what I read.  Personally, I don't want a knife with 440A in my pocket.  440C is ok.  I had a Gerber with 440A.  I am pretty sure that was the steel but not 100% sure.  Either way, it got dull trying to cut air.  I gave it to my son several years ago. I told him the problem but he liked the way it felt in his hand.  After a week or so he said "man, that thing sure gets dull fast".   We laughed and he bought another knife. :)  As you said the better steels do take more time to sharpen unless you invest in faster cutting stones.  I'm sure we all know they aren't cheap.  But, once the investment is made they last a lifetime unless maybe you sharpen for a living and use them for several hours each day.  If that's the case expense isn't a problem because knife sharpeners are rich. lol  I think that's a joke. :)  Getting long winded. Sorry.

Dear Data, Now I have two steels to compare and answer your question. Between my Buck 301 and my Case SS Large Stockman, I bet all my chips in the Case steel in terms of sharpening and edge retention. I have the idea to sharpen my Stockman knives with different angles for each blade as follows:

- Sheepfoot - 40 degree

- Clip - 30 degree

- Spey - 20 degree

Case American Workman Large Stockman accepts the challenge and with few work I reach the angles and extreme cutting power in each angle, but was a pain to convince Buck to accept anything more or less 15 degree each side (30 degree edge). I spent about 2 1/2 hours resharpening it to make the change, while Case less than 1/2 hour, and the final result in Case was very better.

Buck wins in finish and details (like each blade with its own spring, easier opening...), but Case steel is far superior to me.

Data, I saw this old post about cutlery steel. This is what, two local woodcarvers, cane makers, a taxidermist and 3 trapper/hunters told me. For factory made , traditional modern knives,carbon steel,  number one is GERMAN EYE, with Case XX next, then Bulldog Brand. For stainless steel, Queen Steel, Case XX next. I have to agree with them, as they wear the blades to nothing, sharpening them! For old vintage knives, REMINGTON UMC, then CASE TESTED XX until 1964. The Seki Japan folders such as KERSHAW, KAI, Spyderco and others are as sharp a factory edge I have seen. The Chinese steel in those modern versions, including the Blackjack, Colt, SOG, Spyderco and others are now on par, with the Japanese. The early Chinese steel was very soft.

This knife kinda started this collection phase for me, I have always carried and used daily Case Knives.  They are great, but this Boker stockman is a really fine knife.  sharpens well holds a edge, as well as carbon can.  I carried this for a few months and never had any complaints.  As I get more Boker USA knives I am also impressed with there quality, they really sharpen up well and hold a good edge.

Hi Brian, I carry one very similar in the Boker USA line, rough black handles and all! I like the edge holding ability, just a little below my two German Eye stocks, and German Boker stockman from the '70s. I can hone the Boker USA  master blade and sheepfoot on a razor shrop with paste and get a unbelieveable sharp edge. That's a great knife!

Thanks Rick the more boker USA's I pick up the more I like them. My problem now is which one to carry. I have a couple German Eye's but they where quite a bit more expensive, and with perfectly good stable of already used bokers, its been hard to convince myself to carry them. My boker usa jack knife that I just picked up is riding in the pocket now.


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