First of all, I’d like to apologize for the lack of new articles here and on other media. The past year has been crazy with traveling and new things in my personal life that caused me to write less than I wanted to.
I recently received a Spyderco Manix 2 in S110V to try out the steel. According to online reviews, video’s and social media posts, this is one of the better knife steels used by Spyderco lately. I know online reviews don’t always mirror real world usage, so I’d try it out myself.
What is CPM S110V?
In short, this is a pretty new high wear resistance stainless tool steel from Crucible. I’ll spare you all the technical mumbo jumbo as you can look that up on Crucible’s website, but the important part of the alloy is the addition of Niobium
This addition makes for very hard, fine carbides. The steel can be hardened up to 64HRC (Spyderco’s blade is 62HRC)
Out of the box
Spyderco’s edges out of the box have always been shaving sharp power buffed edges… That is until recently. Over the past year I’ve received several knives from them made in Golden Colorado that had significant issues. Angles that were far too steep, under and over-ground blades and uneven bevels. The knives from Taichung in Taiwan were all in perfect condition though. Maybe Spyderco changed something in the production of these knives lately, but they tend to be hit or miss when it comes to the actual edge.
Mine was sharp out of the box, but had serious grind issues. The entire blade was ground askew, so to make the bevels even on both sides, one side was ground at a steeper angle. At this point I was angry enough with the level of fit and finish that I decided to sharpen the blade immediately instead of using it until the factory edge went dull. Measuring the edge with and angle cube showed that the right side of the blade was ground at 19° and the left side at 15° to make an even bevel.
On top of that, the heel was over ground with a steeper edge that the rest of the blade and there was black crud in the pivot and lock area.
This can be summarized rather easily: Surprisingly easy. All in all I had no problems regrinding the blade and polishing it with diamond plates and Shapton stones. I had my Shapton Glass stones nearby in case the knife would have given me any issues at lower grits, but sharpening the blade at 15° went fairly quickly (akin to 154CM).
I used the following progression:
- Atoma 140
- DMT Coarse
- Shapton Pro 1000
- Shapton Pro 2000
- Shapton Glass 4000
- Shapton Glass 8000
- 0.5µ CBN (Precise Sharpening)
- 0.25µ Monocrystalline diamond spray (Hand American)
As you can see, the right side has a slightly larger bevel.
A week’s worth of use
I’ve been using this knife almost exclusively for a bit over a week now. Daily cutting tasks range from opening mail, cutting up cardboard, cutting zip ties and some very light kitchen work. In all, I’ve been disappointed with the steel
At 15° per side, it became evident quickly that the edge wasn’t holding up. After cutting 3 cardboard boxes, the edge was clearly microchipped to the point I could feel the blade jump when dragged over my finger nail. It still shaved, but also ripped paper apart when performing a test with phonebook paper. At that point I went back to the Edge Pro and added a microbevel with the 4k and 8k glass stones and finished with the same CBN strops. It seemed to fixed the issue as I tested cutting cardboard again without any chipping.
A few days later I did feel more chipping where my S35VN, M390 and 3V blades never had that issue. The chipping was less that D2 and S30V, but it was still very much noticeable. I’m having serious doubts this steel will hold up well at anything less than 20° per side.
Luckily I didn’t spend a whole lot on this knife at the Manix 2 is fairly cheap. Now these issues could be because of Spyderco’s HT, I don’t know. At 62 HRC particle breakout is higher than at 60 HRC, and maybe having the final hardness a tad lower would be better.
I learned a few things from this knife:
- Spyderco needs to get back on track with QC. This is a disappointment considering they used to be pretty much perfect
- S110V needs a well supported edge as one would see in convex edge, or need a 20° microbevel in order to hold up to daily tasks
- As soon as the initial hair popping edge is gone, a working edge stays for a long time. It’s like S30V, but on steroids.
I’ll be refinishing the edge and trade or sell this knife fairly soon.