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View Full Discussion @JonasHeineman, I think Bob Loveless used 154CM not ATS-34 for all the reasons you stated. In the early 1990’s this was the top premium steel and was useful in small and large blades. It took a great cutting edge at high hardness, which is a top priority in small knives. Benchmade and others took it on as their top steel offering. When Crucible stopped making it, Hitachi‘s copy, ATS-34, became the ‘go-to-steel’. Damasteel made their copy, using the same alloying elements but with a superior powdered-steel process (versus Hitachi’s ingot-steel ATS-34) and named it after Bob (Robert Waldorf) Loveless, hence RWL-34. When Crucible came back to the market, it was with an improved PM process and it was renamed CPM154. Despite modern methods and newer premium steels on offer today, that whole ATS-34/RWL-34/CPM154 ’family’ of alloys with over 1% Carbon, 4% Molybdenum, around 14% carbon, and sometimes trace Vanadium and Tungsten, and with modern powdered metal (PM) processes and decent heat treats, etc., produces a steel with very fine grain structure, great polishability/finishing, decent toughness, good stain-resistance, relative ease of sharpening, and great edge-holding at relatively high hardness on a fine edge. It is a pretty well-balanced package, considering the needs of knife makers and users/collectors. Anyway, that is my take on the steel issue from what I’ve read or remembered. I’d like to hear what others remember of the era in question. PS: We were very fortunate to have Bob Loveless (especially considering the obstacle of making it out of junior high alive despite the middle name Waldorf, lol!!!)... :)
154CM is a great blade steel. I have a benchmade I used all through active duty in the Navy and for years as an electrician. This knife just keeps cutting and cutting. I used this knife like I stole it, borderline abuse
Pardue design: nice practical blade shape... It looks like you could have had another dozen tours on that same blade before it’s worn down to a blunt nub!
Right. This knife was used hard and held up to everything. I try to not abuse my knives but this one might need therapy from the abuse. Lol. I have 3 knives, this benchmade a Kershaw and a spyderco that take the brunt of the work. The rest get used for opening packages occasionally cutting up an apple or steak. I almost always have two knives I carry. My work and play knives.
When I got this benchmade I wasn't collecting knives and didn't know about all the different blade steels used. I did notice a difference in steel quality when I got this knife. This thing cut through everything and held an edge for a ridiculously long time and I didn't need diamond stones to sharpen it. This was the knife that opened my eyes and started my curiosity in different steel alloys. This was my first.
Yeah...there’s always some trigger that gets us sucked-in to this! With me, it was axes, especially throwing, and moving to throw knives...and then the testosterone kicked in. That and—for some reason, likely extreme stress (long story)—there was a sudden resurgence of memories of my training and...etcetera...at the peak of Cold War tensions. Having started training in 1983, it was eight years after the fall of Saigon so training methods hadn’t shifted away from turning everyone into young psychopathic killers. It didn’t go exactly as planned. Knives are somehow comforting, like a talisman, or even just the feeling that when there is a knife in my hand then I know what I’m doing. Does that make sense? Geez, it’s 3:00am here. I don’t know how or why I’m writing this, lol! I just love knives and find their presence at hand comforting. And useful! I carried knives all my life: very useful tools.
I do know what you mean. I grew up in a multigenerational military family. Grest great grandfather, great grandfather, both grandfathers, father, multiple uncles, aunts, cousins basically a lot of military minded influences from a very young age. My first memories are of me and my father going through weapons safety, handling operation and maintenance. Also I was reloading with my father and grandfather from before I was in school. Anyways it feels like firearms, specifically 1911 .45 pistols and bolt actions Winchester and Remington rifles and S&W revolvers really feel familiar and like there an extension of me. Therapy for me is stripping down a .45 and giving it a detailed cleaning and inspection. All this has trickled down into knives.