I just read an article in American Handgunner about Diamond Blade Knives and friction forging. Seems I recall reading another in Blade Magazine awhile back neither are online. I did find a older article online. I'll post quote it rather than try to describe them myself since I have never handled one.
Diamond Blade Knives as been on the market now for a few years does anyone have one or have any experience with them? What is your take. I am thinking the folder may be a good EDC option. ThanksOriginally Posted by Tom TurpinAt last, a true innovation: Friction Forged knives from DiamondBlade hold their edge
by Tom Turpin
A short while back, I was invited to the Tejon Ranch in California to do a bit of wild pig hunting and the stars of this show were the DiamondBlade knives. For once, I found something truly new and innovative, not to mention an improvement on everything I have tried before. Be still my heart, but I was and truly am impressed, probably for the first time in 10 years or so. Here's why.
DiamondBlade, LLC is the result of a merging of talents between Hobie Smith's MegaDiamond and MegaStir companies--both concerned with manufacturing synthetic diamonds and other ultra-hard materials for oil field drilling bits and other specialty tools, and Charles Allen's Knives of Alaska, a manufacturer of high quality outdoorsmen's knives.
This merger began a 4-year research process involving engineers, metallurgists and materials PhDs from BYU, as well as manufacturing experts from all the companies involved. Their research resulted in the issuance of US Patents for the technology. The major functional difference between Knives of Alaska and DiamondBlade LLC knives is the patented process called Friction Forged.
All the intricacies and technical details of the process can be found on DaimondBlade's Web site. All I'll say is the steel used in DiamondBlade knives is the old standby steel, D2. The Friction Forged process does not result in a new steel, but a new way of working with old steel. Many knifemakers have used D2 for years now and, conventionally heat-treated, it is very good. However, the talents mentioned above found a way to improve the qualities of the steel immeasurably.
Condensed down to laymen's language, what happens is that a specially designed tool made of Polycrystalline Cubic Boron Nitride (PCBN), spinning at a high rate of speed, is brought under heavy pressure in contact with what will become the cutting edge of the billet of D2 steel. The friction from the contact brings the steel edge to a plastic state, but not molten. As the PCBN tool is moved along the surface of the steel edge under computer control, the steel is continuously forged. By doing so, the properties of the steel are substantially changed, and significantly for the better.
After the Friction Forging treatment, the spine of the knife blade will measure in the mid-40s on the Rockwell C scale, while the cutting edge will measure in the area of 65 to 68 C on the Rockwell scale. For those unfamiliar with the Rockwell hardness tester, 65 to 68 C is very, very hard indeed. In addition, the grain size in the molecular structure of the steel is reduced substantially, on the order of 10-fold, from 5 microns for D2 steel heat-treated normally, to .5 microns for the friction forged D2 steel.
The very hard cutting edge is not prone to chipping and cracking, as is the case with steel that hard. In fact, I saw Charles Allen bend a blade into an "L" shape without cracking the cutting edge.
Once it is sharp, it will stay sharp a very long time. This is why Allen and his colleagues chose the Tejon Ranch and its burgeoning population of feral hogs, to test the knives. For those unfamiliar with the ways of the hog, feral or domestic, their hide is similar in consistency to a very thick grade of sandpaper. Hogs love their mud baths, and the residue stays in their skin. When skinning such an animal, the edge holding ability of the knife is really put to the supreme test. The DiamondEdge blades passed with flying colors. One of our guides used one of the knives to gut and skin several hogs, with no apparent dulling of the blade. That is unheard of.
Wayne Goddard, a well-known and respected custom knifemaker, assisted Allen in the design of one of his blades. Wayne figures if a hunter dressed out one or two deer a year with his Friction Forged DiamondBlade knife, he could go for 30 years or so and never have to sharpen it. I guess we'll have to wait awhile to see if Wayne is correct, but I wouldn't bet against him.
These blades come out of the box razor sharp. They are so sharp they are a little scary. My first move after checking out a blade was to run it completely through the sheath when trying to put it back where it belonged. That's my one and only criticism, but sheath quality has been resolved. Their solution was to rivet the leather together rather than sewing it and, more importantly, installing a Kydex liner in the sheath to surround the blade. I no longer need to worry about shoving the razor-sharp blade through the sheath and into my leg.
At the present time, there are four different blade designs available. I suspect there will be more designs in the future. They are also available in three different handle materials--stag, presentation grade desert ironwood and black micarta. These knives are not inexpensive, running about $370 each for three of the models, and $390 for the other. For guys like me who hate sharpening a knife, and frankly I never get them really sharp anyway, these knives represent a bargain. This curmudgeon thinks they are the neatest product to come along in the outdoor field in many a moon. If you get a chance to try them, I feel confident you will agree.
Diamond Blade Knives
3100 AIRPORT DRIVE
DENISON, TX 75020