I have yet to meet or talk to a person seriously into their knives and who has strong experience with both AUS-8 and VG-1 tell me that there is a very big difference.
Facing facts... these two steels seem remarkably similar.
If you want to get technical, the composition of the steels are very similar, with VG-1 having a slightly higher carbon content. That being said, the higher carbon content to which we are talking about is NOT going to be giving you a blade with much of a noticeable difference at all when it comes to edge quality, infact... I would say it doesnt hold a better edge than AUS-8, but it doesnt hold a worse one either. Once you get into metalurgy, you realise carbon in the blade is not the whole story.
Even the most finicky of sharpeners have said that there is very little difference between the two, if anything the VG-1 is a smidge harder to sharpen than AUS-8 but holds its edge a smidge longer than AUS-8. By smidge, we are probably talking about a level of difference your average knife enthusiast is NOT going to notice, let along a general customer. This is also be due to heat treatments, and the RC values I have no doubt between manufacturers.
Cold Steel seem to do a good job on their heat treatments... I have seen far more issues with their blades in the last couple of years than I think I have seen throughout Cold Steels lifetime, but thats what happens when you get larger, and produce more blades, the error percentage increases with it, its just numbers.
I would not let the difference between VG-1 and AUS-8 influence your decision when it comes to a knife purchase. .
I have both, and I have yet to notice a difference between them. This is just one opinion though, and there are better blade sharpeners than myself around who might have various experiences between the two.
<message edited by Fah on Saturday, June 12, 2010 4:29 PM>