Story of INFI

This is from August 6, 1998: an email Jerry wrote, talking about his new steel.......

Interesting facts about INFI:

Although the hardened INFI knives are 60 - 62 Rc

we have yet been able to chip an edge. The edge can be dented or disalligned but its high level of malleability at such high hardness has never been duplicated by any other steel that we are aware of or have tested. We have bent INFI 35 degrees in a vise and it springs back to true. Why? What is the benefit to the customer? Not only does this test demonstrate the enormous toughness and lateral strength of an INFI blade but because our hardness is homogenous and not differential it demonstrates the amount of lateral strength and "spring" that the edge has as well. Many knives, which are differentially tempered, are done so because the steel being used does not possess great levels of inherent lateral strength at high hardness. In other words, if the entire knife were left at the same hardness as the edge the knife would be brittle in comparison to the same knife when differentially tempered. Carrying this thought even further, it tells us that if the knife is brittle or possesses low levels of lateral strength at high hardness then the edge must possess these same characteristics even when differentially treated because the edge is at the higher and more brittle hardness. The other question that arises is which hardness will the point be at on a differentially treated blade? There are only two choices; it is either the high brittle hardness, like the edge, or the softer spring temper, like the spine. Neither one offers optimal performance for the tip of the knife, which is often the most, used portion of the blade. INFI does not suffer from this malady because it is the only knife steel ever tested that has achieved such high levels of lateral strength with a homogenous hardness of 60 – 62 Rc. No other steel has even neared this performance level.

INFI's high level of chip resistance makes this the easiest steel to resharpen by hand that I have ever encountered. I personally fall into the category of the "hand sharpening challenged". I've heard tales of those who can sharpen ball peen hammers to a razor's edge on an Arkansas stone in less than 5 seconds flat. My experiences have always been to the contrary. The spine of the knife is usually sharper than the edge when I'm finished applying my magic stone sharpening technique. One of the great beauties of INFI is that simply stropping away from the edge (the way a barber strops a straight edged razor) on a ceramic stick is basically all that is required for INFI. Since you're not chipping steel off the edge there is no need to grind any steel away. This feature of INFI will, likewise, allow you to keep the same overall profile of the knife for a much greater period of time. Cool, huh?

Stainless?†Not supposed to be. However,†INFI has demonstrated very high levels of stain resistance in many different climates. Uncoated blades have been tested for more than a year in Alaska and have made their way into the wilds of British Columbia, the High Sierras and the tropical rain forest. No rust in Alaska or British Columbia! No rust in the High Sierras, even when exposed to great quantities of blood and left in the wet grass overnight. The tropical rain forest, which has been known to rust plastic (just kidding), did offer the toughest of the environmental exposures and a light speckling of oxidation did occur but was easily removed in the field with a hand rubbing of sand and water. No pitting was reported. Now I'm sure that salt-water exposure would offer some different results. The point is that although INFI is not a stainless it is certainly not a rust aggressive steel as many of the high carbon steels have proven to be. Couple this with our coating and you've got yourself a fairly maintenance free knife.

How does it compare to other steels? Simple question, complex answer.INFI represents what I have always dreamed of in a knife steel. Tougher, by an enormous margin, than any other steel I've ever tested.†Unparalleled edge holding under high impact and in cutting tests. Shock resistance that begs you to "bring it on". An ease of resharpening that you have to see to believe. Higher levels of lateral strength at high hardness than have ever been achieved by any other steel. We have published our test results and our testing methodology. We have video taped all of these tests and play the video at the knife shows we attend. We encourage all knifemakers to duplicate our tests. We also encourage other knifemakers to supply us with their testing criteria and videotape of their test results so that we might perform the same tests on our INFI blades. We love testing knives! We destroy more knives in a year than most custom knifemakers manufacture in the same period of time. The only competitor's performance results that we will publish will be those that have been supplied to the public or to us privately by other makers. We will only publish the name of our competition if they give us permission to do so. If you want to know how another maker's knife will compare to a Busse Combat knife ask the other maker to duplicate our tests. We will gladly duplicate their tests.

Will you notice the difference between our knives and our competitions? I don't know. Most consumers will never take a knife to its limit. Many of the high performance knives on the market surpass the abilities of human abuse and cannot be taken past those limits without the assistance of leverage devices and insane behavior. There are some out there, however who have some real issues, who's primal urges cause them to run screaming through the forests. Who seek therapy in the wilderness and only find some resolve after cleaving down a patch of trees (dead ones of course) large enough to constitute a small rain forest. For those of you who can relate to this sort of behavior and think it beats the heck out of golfing, then we make the knife you've been looking for. If you're the type of person who wants more horsepower than you'll ever be able to use, then here we are waiting for you with a knife and a guarantee,

Are we the only knife you should ever buy? I hope not. There are an enormous number of fine knives and knifemakers in the market place. We salute those companies who strive for performance and not cosmetics. Some achieve both. The overall performance of knives has greatly increased over the past 15 years. Some companies and makers achieve better performance through better design, some through better construction, and some through the use of better materials. Some have achieved one or two and, rarely, some have achieved all three. I believe that Busse Combat has achieved all three and we are not the only ones. On the other hand there are many designs that confuse me, many choices of materials used that seem like a waste, and construction choices from handle construction to blade grind that seem to have been based solely on cost of manufacture. However, if there is one thing I've learned, it is that the more I learn the more I realize I don't know. Are there absolutes in design, construction, and material choice? You better believe I think so, but these are only based on my personal experiences and therefore are nothing more than opinion. I learned through too many years of graduate school and academic study that even though my opinions are supported heavily by facts they are still nothing more than opinions. I believe that knife manufacturers who strive for performance should keep an open mind.

Are we excited about INFI? Oh yeah! In fact it is difficult to contain ourselves. We have invested a lot of time and money in this project. We were prepared to invest more until we got it right. Luckily, more than ten years and countless bucks later we hit the jackpot! Lucky us, lucky you. With a steel like INFI it's easy to understand why we offer the toughest guarantee in the business.†We guarantee against any and all major damage, including the handles, including accidental damage forever. We highly encourage gross abuse as it is covered by OUR warranty.†The only thing we do not cover is intentional damage. For example, let's say you cut your Busse Combat knife in half with an acetylene torch. We probably wouldn't cover that . . . unless it was accidental, in which case we would send you new knife. I have rambled for too long here. Thanks for bearing with me and stay tuned to our website for more info in the future on INFI."

Your friend,

Jerry Busse