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Discussion Starter #42
I use diamond plates for anything stainless or modern. I find many of these knives won't reliably take an edge with conventional stones.

The issue is that Vanadium and Chrome carbides are very close to the hardness of the sharpening stones. Conventional high carbon "stainless" steels form a matrix that's sort of like pudding with rocks in it. What ends up happening is that conventional stones can't really cut the carbides so you wear out the steel matrix around the carbides until the carbide lumps pop out. That's why they take forever to get mostly sharp, the fine keen edge disappears fast, and then they run half-sharp forever.

If you look at the 420HC stuff Buck and Case uses - it's actually fairly low carbon. That and their special heat treatment keeps it from forming much in the way of carbides - so you can sharpen it. Edge wise - it's on par with the older 1060 and 1075 carbon steel used in knives. Push much past that and you are in Diamond Only territory.

The other thing for me is geometry. I find many knives today are just way too fat. No pocket or hunting knife needs a 1/4" thick blade! They don't cut well because they are designed to pry rusty nails out of old fence posts. Go with a more traditional thinner blade and they cut quite well. It's sort of evident when you look at boys and men's knives from pre-wwii vs today. The blades are thinner. Less bulky. They cut much easier.
 
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