Blade materials are the steels used to make the blade of a knife or other simple instrument or hand weapon, such as a machete, a axe, or a sword.
The blade of a knife can be made with a variety of metal materials or in modern times with composite materials using ceramics and plastics but for specific work areas such as kitchen knives.
For custom and industrial knives, however, steel remains the material used and for this reason it is important to know its final characteristics to obtain the knife with the most suitable material for its use or to help a customer who wants to make one or the knives in the correct and best choice.
The most common are steel:
- carbon dioxide,
- for tools and
Other less common materials used in knife blades include: cobalt and titanium alloys, ceramics, obsidian and plastic.
The hardness of steel is usually referred to as a number on the Rockwell C (HRC) scale.
The Rockwell scale is a hardness scale based on the indentation resistance of a material, unlike other scales such as the Mohs scale (scratch resistance) used in mineralogy.
As the hardness increases, the blade becomes able to take and retain a better thread, but is harder to sharpen and more fragile (commonly called less “hard”).
Rolling a harder steel between a softer one is an expensive process that to some extent offers the advantages of both types (see Damascus steel).
Steel is an iron alloy composed mainly of iron and carbon, the latter in percentage not exceeding 2.06%.
Beyond this limit, the properties of the material change and the alloy takes on the name of cast iron.
- 5160, a spring steel. Popular steel to forge swords and large knives. High toughness and good wear resistance. Popular sword manufacturers using 5160 spring steel are Hanwei Forge and Generation 2. 5160 spring steel is mainly used on medieval type swords.
- 6150, a chromium-vanadium alloy. Similar to the 4140, the 6150 is a durable steel with good impact resistance that can be hardened in the mid-1950s on the HRC scale. Although it is a good material for swords or accepts, it is far from ideal for most knives due to its limited achievable hardness. Tolerates not ideal temperature control in forging and heat treatment (such as 5160). It probably doesn’t hold a sharp as well as 1095, but it’s durable and easy to sharpen.
- V-toku1 / V-toku2, steel bound with the original characteristics of W / Cr.
Grades of steel for tools used in cutlery: A, D, O, M, T, S, L, W. See also steel grades for AISI tools.
The following are tool steels, which are bonded steels commonly used to produce hardened cutting tools:
- A2, a steel that swaps wear resistance for toughness. It is used in bespoke combat knives by manufacturers such as Phill Hartsfield, Rob Criswell, Mike Snody and John Fitzen (Razor Edge US) and one of the last to standardize its steel field/survival knives for A2 tools is Aaron Gough of Gough custom, Canada. A2 was the standard reference steel used by Bark River custom knives. A2 is used as standard tool steel for Marc Godwin’s Black Wolf Knives hunting knife range, Japan
- A3, (No description available)
- A4, (No description available)
- A5, (No description available)
- A6, this type of tool steel hardens in the air at a relatively low temperature (about the same temperature as the degrees of quenching in oil) and is dimensionally stable. Therefore, it is commonly used for molds, forming tools and calibers that do not require extreme wear resistance but require high stability.
- A7, (No description available)
- A8, C 0.55% Mn .30% Yes .30% Cr 5.00% Mo 1.25% W 1.25%
- A9, (No description available)
- A10, this grade contains a uniform distribution of graphite particles to increase workability and provide self-lubricating properties. It is commonly used for calibers, pins, shears and punches.
- D2, is a high-carbon, high-chromium mold steel and is the highest carbon alloy tool and mold steel typically used in knife manufacturing. With a chromium content of 12.00%, some call it a “semi-stainless”, due to the lack of free chromium in solution, although it is defined by ASM and ANSI as stainless containing at least 11.5% by weight of chromium. It deserves the informal myth: “D2 knives hold a thread forever and are impossible to sharpen.” Although it is not as durable as premium carbon steels, it is much more durable than premium stainless steels. D2 knife blades were popularized by Jimmy Lile and later by Bob Dozier.
- O1, a popular forged steel. Good wear resistance and excellent cutting edge retention. Very durable, but not as much as 5160. It is most commonly used by Randall Knives, Mad Dog Knives and many other custom knife manufacturers.
- M2, is slightly harder than D-2. Being a steel for high-speed tools, it is able to maintain a hardened cutting edge at high temperatures generated in various machining processes. However, it is not used so widely in factory-made knives, as CPM M4 has become more popular. Custom knife manufacturers still use it for fine-cutting knives with very thin edges.
- M4, see high-speed CPM REX M4.
- T1 (No description available)
- T2 (No description available)
- S1, an impact-resistant medium carbon steel tool steel which combines moderate hardness with good impact resistance. Carbon content .40 – .55%.
- S7, a medium impact-resistant carbon tool steel with exceptional toughness and high strength, as well as medium wear resistance. It has maximum impact resistance and high compression resistance, which gives it good resistance to deformation during use, while maintaining good toughness.
- W1, a water-hardening tool steel. High carbon content.
- W2, a tool steel that holds the wire quite well but not very durable. It has a carbon content of 1.5. The most readily available W2 has a carbon content of no more than 1-1.1%. It can be left at high hardness levels (it can reach a hardness off of 67 Rc) and still be hard enough especially in larger knives with thicker spines since the core of the thick part of the blade does not reach full hardness due to the hardening nature depth of the steel. Bill Moran considered it almost as tough as 5160, but for a time he was unavailable. W2 is one of the carbon steels that can produce a nice Hamon in heat treatment.
- SK3, SK4, SK5 – Japanese carbon steels. SK stands for “Steel Kougu” which means “Steel Tool”. The lowest number indicates less impurities.
Steel for CPM tools
Crucible Industries produces Crucible Particle Metallurgy (CPM) tool steels using a powdered metal forging process.
- CPM 1V, a patented steel, very high toughness, many times higher than the A2 with the same level of wear resistance.
- CPM 3V, a proprietary steel, very high toughness, lower than CPM 1V, but higher than A2, and high wear resistance, better than CPM 1V. Used by several custom knife manufacturers and factories, including Jerry Hossom, Mike [Bark River] Stewart, Reese Weiland, Nathan Carothers, and Dan Keffeler. Great choice for swords and large knives.
- CPM 4V, a patented steel, high impact toughness and excellent wear resistance. Gaining popularity in Bladesports competition cutting knives.
- CPM 9V, a modification of CPM 10V with lower carbon and vanadium to improve toughness and thermal control resistance.
- CPM 10V (AISI A11), highly wear-resistant tool steel, toughness comparable to D2 tool steel. Currently used by some custom knife manufacturers, including Christopher “Big Chris” Berry. Phil Wilson has paved the way for the use of CPM 10V and numerous other CPM steels in sports knives.
- CPM 15V, a patented steel, extremely wear-resistant tool steel, thanks to the vanadium content of 14.5%. Found only in custom knives.
- CPM CRU-WEAR, a patented steel designed as a CPM upgrade of conventional Cru-Wear and D2 steels, offers better wear resistance, toughness and hardness.
Chrome steel is part of a class of non-stainless steels used for applications such as bearings, tools and drills.
- STEEL AISI 52100, ball bearings. In terms of wear resistance, a little better than that of O1 steel, however 52100 is also more durable. It has very fine carbides, which result in high cutting edge stability. Used by many custom manufacturers, Swamp Rat knives use 52100 steel under the name SR101. Also referred to as 100 Cr 6/102 Cr6 according to the ISO nomenclature and conforming to grade BS En31.
- SUJ2, Japanese equivalent to AISI 52100 steel.
- DIN 5401
Steels that do not fall into the category of stainless steels because they may not have enough of a certain element, such as chromium.
- V-Gin1, a fine-grained steel with Mo, V for cr’s best effect.
- V-Gin2, more Cr is added for better corrosion resistance.
- V-Gin3B, more Cr is added for better corrosion resistance.
Stainless steel is a popular class of material for knife blades because it resists corrosion and is easy to maintain.
However, it is not impervious to corrosion or rust.
For a steel to be considered stainless it must have a chromium content of at least 10.5%.
Steels 154CM / ATS-34
These two steels are practically identical in composition. They were introduced to custom knives by Bob Loveless around 1972.
- 154CM is manufactured by Crucible Industries. It is widely used by Benchmade Knife Company and many others.
- CPM 154 is identical to 154CM in composition, however it is manufactured by Crucible using the CPM process, offering all the advantages of Particle Metallurgy technology.
- ATS-34 is manufactured by Hitachi Metals.
The latter two are considered premium cutlery steels for both folding knives and fixed blades.
American stainless steel produced by Allegheny Technologies, North American Stainless and Crucible Industries.
Since the 300 series is not hardenable (non-martensitic), they are mainly used in entry level immersion knives and used as outer layers in a San Mai blade.
- The 300 series is amagnetic.
- 302 is an austenitic chromium-nickel alloy used for blenders and mixers.
- 303 is an austenitic stainless steel specifically designed to show better workability.
- 303 SE is a chromium-nickel austenitic steel to which selenium has been added to improve workability and non-wear characteristics.
- 304L is a low-carbon chromium-nickel austenitic steel designed for special applications.
- 316L is a low-carbon chromium-nickel austenitic steel with higher corrosion and heat resistance qualities.
- 321 is a chromium-nickel austenitic steel with a high chromium content of 18.00%.
- The 400 series remains one of the most popular choices for knives because it is easy to sharpen and is resistant to corrosion.
- The 400 series is magnetic.
- 410 is a hardenable straight chrome stainless steel that combines superior wear resistance with excellent corrosion resistance.
- 416 is very similar to 410 with the addition of sulfur to improve workability.
- 420 has more carbon than 410, but less than 440. As such, it is softer than 440, but has greater toughness.
The 420 series contains different types with various carbon content between 0.15% and 0.40%.
This type of steel is widely used to make high-end razor blades, surgical scalpels, etc.
It gets about HRC 57 after proper heat treatment.
420HC (420C) is a higher carbon 420 stainless steel. HC stands for “high carbon content” and can be brought to a harderness greater than normal 420 and should not be mistaken for it.
Buck Knives and Gerber Knives widely use 420HC. 420A (420J1) and 420B (420J2) are cheap and highly corrosion-resistant stainless steels.
Knife manufacturers use this material in cheap knives, even in diving knives due to its high corrosion resistance.
The 440 series has three types: 440A, 440B and 440C.
440A is a relatively inexpensive and highly corrosion-resistant stainless steel.
In China, Ahonest ChangJiang Stainless Steel developed 7Cr17MoV, a modified 440A, adding more vanadium.
440B is almost identical to 440A, but has a higher carbon content range than 440A.
440C is considered a high-end stainless steel.
It is very corrosion resistant and is one of the most common stainless alloys used for the production of knives.
The once ubiquitous 110 Folding Hunter was made of 440C before 1981. 440C has the highest carbon content in the 440 group.
Böhler n695 is equivalent to 440C.
Typically it can be assumed that the knife blades specified as “440” are grade 440A of lower hardness.
The AUS stainless steel series is produced by Aichi Steel Corporation of Japan.
They differ from the AISI 4xx series because they added vanadium.
Vanadium improves wear resistance, toughness and ease of sharpening.
In the league name the added “A” indicates that the alloy was ricotta .
- AUS-6 (6A) is comparable to 440A with a carbon content close to 0.65%. It is a low-cost steel, with slightly higher wear resistance than the 420J.
- AUS-8 (8A) is comparable to 440B with a carbon content close to 0.75%. AUS-8 is often used instead of 440C. SOG knives widely use AUS-8.
- AUS-10 (10A) is comparable to 440C with a carbon content close to 1.10%. It is slightly more durable than 440C.
SxxV CPM Series
The SxxV series are Crucible Industries stainless steels manufactured using the CPM process.
- CPM S30V , at the bottom end of SxxV steels, has a carbon content of 1.45%. However, the S30V is still considered a better choice for knife production. CPM S30V is used in a wide range of ZT knives.
- The CPM S35VN is a martensitic stainless steel designed to offer greater toughness than the CPM S30V. It is also easier to work and polish than the CPM S30V. It is used in many high-end kitchen knives, including those from New West Knifemakers.
- CPM S60V (formerly CPM T440V) (out of production), very rich in vanadium. CPM S60V has a carbon content of 2.15%. It was a rare steel, but both Spyderco and Kershaw Knives offered knives of this steel, Boker still offers folders made with CPM S60V.
- CPM S90V (formerly CPM T420V) has less chromium than S60V, but has almost twice as much vanadium. The carbon content of S90V is also higher, around 2.30%.
- The CPM S110V has greater corrosion resistance than the S90V and slightly better wear resistance. The additional corrosion resistance while maintaining all the advantages of S90V makes this steel extremely desired for kitchen cutlery.
- CPM S125V, online information is not available as of August 2014, contact Crucible Industries sales for information. It contains 3.25% carbon, 14% chromium and 12% vanadium, as well as other alloy elements. Exceptionally high wear resistance, which makes it difficult to process and process knives. Initially used only in custom knives, it has been used by larger manufacturers more recently in very limited quantities.
Japanese stainless steels series, produced by Takefu Special Steel.
- VG-1 , Takefu stainless steel. Popular steel in Japanese kitchen knives.
- VG-2, medium carbon Mo stainless steel blade.
- VG-5, the synergistic effect of Mo and V makes carbide finener.
- VG-7 / VG-8W, strengthens the substrate and improves tempering performance.
- VG-10 (B/N), Takefu stainless steel, composition similar to VG-1 but also contains cobalt and vanadium. Good resistance to wear and rust.
- San-mai, a composite steel used to make high-end knives. The core is VG-1 and the outer layers are 420j for good rust resistance.
Due to the small vanadium content, VG-10 has a finest grain content compared to VG-1.
Cobalt and nickel improve toughness.
Overall, it has better edge stability than VG-1. VG-10 is widely used in Japanese kitchen knives, several manufacturers use it in various folders and fixed-blade knives, including Spyderco, Cold Steel, and Fallkniven.
American stainless steel CTS series manufactured by Carpenter Technology using vacuum-melt technology.
- CTS-BD1, high-carbon chrome steel that provides stainless properties with high hardness and excellent wear resistance.
- CTS-20 (CV), offers superior edge retention and surface finish, the ability to be machined until you get a thin edge and constant batch-to-batch thermal treatability.
- CTS-40C (CP), a high-carbon chrome stainless steel with powder metallurgy designed to provide stainless properties with maximum hardness.
- CTS-TMT, a hardenable martensitic stainless steel that combines better corrosion resistance than Type 410 stainless steel with a hardness of up to 53 HRC and better formability over 17Cr-4Ni.
- CTS-XHP, a powder metallurgy alloy, hardens in the air, high in carbon, high chromium content, resistant to corrosion. It can be considered a high-hardness 440C stainless steel or corrosion-resistant D2 tool steel.
CrMo / CrMoV SeriesSee Chinese and American stainless steels; manufacturers are unknown except for the 14-4CrMo which is manufactured by Latrobe Specialty Metals.
(The following are sorted by the first number.)
- 14-4CrMo, produced by Latrobe Specialty Metals. A wear-resistant martensite tool stainless steel that has better corrosion resistance than 440C stainless steel.
- 2Cr13, belongs to the 420 series, very simple. EN 1.4021 / DIN X20Cr13, widely used in cheap cutting tools, 50HRC max after heat treatment.
- 3Cr13, in the grade 420 series, contains 420A 420B 420C 420D. The steel 3Cr13 is 420B, EN 1.4028 / DIN X30Cr13, 52HRC About after heat treatment.
- 3Cr13MoV, obtained by adding multiple molybdenum and vanadium elements to the formula 420J2-3Cr13.
- 4Cr13, EN 1.4034 / DIN X46Cr13, stainless steel 420C, gets about 55-57HRC.
- 4Cr13Mo, EN 1.4419 / DIN X38CrMo14, developed based on GB 4Cr13 / DIN X46Cr13 adding molybdenum.
- 4Cr14MoV, EN 1.4117 / DIN X38CrMoV15, good enough to make kitchen knives.
- 5Cr15MoV, some knife manufacturers define 5Cr13MoV, the hardness could be 55–57 HRC. It is widely used to make kitchen knives, high-end scissors, folding knives, hunting knives, etc.
- 6Cr13MoV, also written as 6Cr14MoV. The patented name applied by Ahonest Changjiang Stainless Steel Co., Ltd. Similar stainless steel grade 6Cr14 (6Cr13) / 420D that does not contain molybdenum and vanadium, is superior to make razor blades, surgical scalpels, etc.
- 7Cr17MoV, 440A modified with multiple vanadium elements. The advantages of vanadium (V): increases strength, wear resistance and increases toughness; the recommended hardness is about 55/57 HRC.
- 8Cr13MoV and 8Cr14MoV, similar to AICHI AUS-8, a steel with an excellent price for its performance.
- 9Cr13MoVCo, 9Cr14MoV. Chinese-made steels similar to 440B but with a higher carbon, cobalt and vanadium content to add more force to the blade. Uses include high-end barber scissors, hunting knives, etc.
- 9Cr18MoV, modified 440B, a high-end Chinese stainless steel mainly used in barber scissors and high-end surgical instruments.
- 9Cr19MoV, used in objects such as the Ultimate Pro Bear Grylls Survival knife.
- 99Cr18MoV, 440C modified. Developed by Jaktkit and Ahonest Changjiang in collaboration. It uses ESR technology and hot molding. This improves its working performance, in particular the toughness and sealing capacity of the cutting edge.
- 6C27, a common knife steel with good corrosion resistance and low hardness, mainly used in applications where the need for wear resistance is low.
- 7C27Mo2, generally the same properties as Sandvik 6C27, but with better corrosion resistance.
- 12C27, a grade with high hardness and good wear resistance. It takes a very sharp edge with moderate edge retention.
- 12C27M, another Swedish stainless steel for razor. A very pure fine-grained alloy. A grade with good wear resistance and good corrosion resistance, suitable for the production of kitchen utensils.
- 13C26, also known as Swedish stainless steel for razor. Generally the same properties as Sandvik 12C27, but with a slightly higher but less corrosion-resistant hardness. Swedish steel producer Uddeholm AB also produces a virtually identical razor steel composition known as AEB-L, which they patented in 1928. Swedish razor steel is a very pure fine grain alloy that positively affects wire tightness, wire stability and toughness.
- 14C28N, designed by Sandvik at Kershaw’s behest to have the edge properties of the 13C26 but with increased corrosion resistance through the addition of nitrogen and chromium. Available in Kershaw knives (since 2012) and other brands.
- 19C27, a grade with very high hardness and wear resistance.
Stainless steels for Daido utensils used for kitchen knives and scissors.
- DSR1K6 (M), similar to AUS-6 and VG2
- DSR7F, used for high hardness cutting parts.
- DSR1K7, a steel known to exist. No further information is available.
- DSR1K8, a steel known to exist. No further information is available.
- DSR1K9, a steel known to exist. No further information is available.
- DSR10UA, used for small scissors.
- DSR1K11, a steel known to exist. No further information is available.
Stainless steel with a high chromium/vanadium content
The following powder metallurgy steels contain very high levels of chromium, which at 18-20% produces a highly corrosion-resistant steel matrix.
They also contain relatively high levels of vanadium (3.0% to 4.0%), producing a high volume of vanadium carbides in the steel matrix, associated with excellent abrasion-resistant cutting edge tightness.
- M390 – Bohler M390 Microclean. Third generation steel powder metallurgy technology. Developed for knife blades that require good corrosion resistance and very high hardness for excellent wear resistance. Chromium, molybdenum, vanadium and tungsten are added for excellent sharpness and edge retention. It can be polished for an extremely high finish. It hardens and tempers up to 60–62 HRC, where it balances at its best sharpness and toughness. Thanks to its alloy concept, this steel offers extremely high wear resistance and high corrosion resistance.
- CPM-20CV – essentially crucible version of M390.
- CTS 204P – essentially Carpenter’s version of the M390.
- Elmax – Produced by Bohler-Uddeholm, Elmax is a deep-hardened corrosion-resistant mold steel using the third-generation powder metallurgy process. It is often said to be superior to CPM S30V and CPM S35VN for edge retention and ease of sharpening. Used in most Microtech knives from 2013 onwards. Elmax is very similar to M390, CPM 20CV and CTS 204P, but has a slightly lower vanadium content and lacks any tungsten content.
Other stainless steel
- ATS-55, produced by Hitachi Metals. It has a molybdenum content lower than ATS-34, is less resistant to wear than the ATS-34 and has also been reported to be less rust-resistant than the ATS-34.
- BG-42 Slightly higher in carbon, chromium and molybdenum than the ATS-34. It must be forged and heat treated at very high and precise temperatures. It can be used at very high hardness, such as RC 64-66. It should not be fragile, but highly bonded steels are usually. Very expensive and difficult to work with. It is a high-speed martensitic stainless steel that combines the characteristics of hardening, hot hardness and maintenance of the hardness of the M50 fast steels, with the resistance to corrosion and oxidation of stainless steel Type 440C. Although it is often used for aerospace bearings and other critical applications, its excellent wear and corrosion resistance makes it a superior choice for use in cutlery applications.
- Kin-2, Medium Carbon Mo, Stainless Steel Blade V.
- BNG10, a steel known to exist. No further information is available.
- Co-Special, a steel known to exist. No further information is available.
Several steel alloys have a carbon amount of close to or greater than 3%.
As usual, these steels can be hardened to extremely high levels, 65-67 HRC.
Toughness levels are not high compared to CPM S90V steel, however they have high wear resistance and sharp strength, making them a good choice for knives designed for light cutting and slicing work.
- Cowry-X is produced from Daido steel using the PM process. It contains 3% carbon, 20% chromium, 1.7% molybdenum and less than 1% vanadium. Other items are not published or may not even exist. Used by Hattori knives in their KD kitchen knife series.
- The ZDP-189 is produced by Hitachi steel using the PM process. It contains 3% carbon and 20% chromium and contains tungsten and molybdenum. Used by several custom knife manufacturers and factory manufacturers including Spyderco and Kershaw in the limited print run of Ken Onion Shallot folders. The Henckels Miyabi line markets this steel under the name “MC66”.
- R2 is a PM steel produced by Kobe Steel Japan (Kobelco). It is also known as SG2 (Special Gold 2) when it is marked with Takefu Specialty Steel.
- SRS-15 a high-speed tool steel (HSS) where 15 represents 1.5% C. One of the first known Japanese “super steels”. The manufacturer is unknown. There is also an SRS-13 with 1.3% of C.
CPM REX Series
- CPM REX M4 HC (AISI M4) is a high-speed tool steel produced by Crucible using the CPM process. M4 has been around for a relatively long time, lately it has become part of customized and high-end production knives. Popular steel for use in Bladesports competition cutting knives.
- CPM REX 121, is a new high vanadium and cobalt bearing tool steel designed to offer a combination of maximum wear resistance, reachable hardness and red hardness available in high-speed steel.
- CPM REX 20 (HS) is a super fast cobalt-free steel produced by the CPM process.
- CPM REX 45 (HS) is an 8% cobalt modification of high-speed M3 steel produced by the CPM process. As of September 2018 this steel has been used in some limited edition knives of Spyderco.
- CPM REX 54 HS is a high-speed steel with cobalt bearings designed to offer an improvement in the red hardness of the popular M4 grade, while maintaining anti-usura properties equivalent to M4.
- CPM REX 66 (HSS) is a super fast steel made with the CPM process.
- CPM REX 76 (HSS) is a super-fast steel produced by the Crucible Particle Metallurgy (CPM) process. It is thermally treatable at HRC 68-70. Its high carbon, vanadium and cobalt content provides abrasion resistance comparable to that of T15 and a red hardness higher than that of M42.
- CPM REX 86 (HSS) is a super fast steel made with the CPM process. It has a combination of high achievable hardness capacity (68-70 HRC), red hardness and abrasive wear resistance for difficult machining applications, while maintaining good manufacturing characteristics and toughness. The composition is designed to provide a balance between vanadium-rich MC and tungsten-molybdenum-rich M6C primary carbides.
- CPM REX T15 (HSS) is a super fast steel made with the CPM process. It is a type of high-speed tungsten containing high vanadium for excellent abrasion resistance and cobalt for good red hardness, and is used for cutting hard-to-work materials where high friction heating is encountered.
- Maxamet is marketed by its manufacturer as a middle ground between high-speed steel and cemented carbide. Carpenter says Maxamet has improved hardness and wear resistance compared to high-speed steels while being more durable than cemented carbides. Since the beginning of 2018, it has been used in several spyderco-made knives.
Super stainless steels
Steels in this category have much higher resistance to elements and corrosion than conventional stainless steels.
These steels are austenitic and amagnetic.
They are used in knives designed for use in aggressive and highly corrosive environments, such as salt water, and areas with high humidity such as tropical forests, swamps, etc.
These steels can contain 26% to 42% chromium and 10% to 22% nickel and 1.5 to 10% titanium, tantalum, vanadium, niobium, aluminium silicon, copper or molybdenum etc. or a combination thereof.
- H1, produced by Myodo Metals, Japan. Used by Spyderco in their saltwater/diving knives. Benchmade also used it, later replaced with X15TN.
- X15Tn, French patented by Aubert & Duval, originally designed for the medical industry and jet ball bearings. According to the company’s data sheet it meets the EN 1.4123 (Designation X40CrMoNV16-2) and UNS42025 standards. This is a martensitic stainless steel, with a high nitrogen content, recast for optimal structure and properties. Used by Benchmade in their saltwater/diving knives.
- The N680, Bohler-Uddeholm steel, is also a martensitic stainless steel, very similar to the X15TN. Used by Benchmade in their saltwater/diving knives.
- N690CO an Austrian hardened stainless steel for the rc50 high range. It is currently found in Spyderco’s Hossom knives and the recently discontinued Italian-made Fox. TOPS knives also used it in their CQT magnum 711 knife. Also widely used by Fox Knives Military Division, Extrema Ratio, Böker and Steel Will Knives.
- Vanax, produced by Uddeholm, is a relatively new third-generation powder metallurgy blade steel, in which carbon is largely replaced by nitrogen. This results in a steel with extreme corrosion resistance, excellent cutting edge tightness, but is quite easily resized while containing a relatively high volume of carbide for abrasive cutting edge retention.
- The LC200N (also known as Z-FiNit) produced by Zapp Precision Metals, is a tool steel with a high content of bound nitrogen that shows superior corrosion resistance combined with high toughness even at hardness up to 60 HRc. Spyderco uses this steel in many of its knives.
Carbon steels have less carbon than typical stainless steels, but are the main element of alloying.
They are more homogeneous than stainless steels and other high-alloy steels, having carbide only in very small iron inclusions.
Bulk material is harder than stainless steel, allowing them to maintain a sharper, sharper edge without bending in contact with hard materials.
But they get clogged by abrasion faster because they lack hard inclusions to withstand friction. This also makes them faster to sharpen.
10xx SeriesThe 10xx series is the most popular choice for carbon steel used in knives and katanas.
They can take and maintain a very sharp edge.
- 1095, a popular high-carbon steel for knives; it is harder but more fragile than low-carbon steels such as 1055, 1060, 1070 and 1080. It has a carbon content of 0.90-1.03% Many pocket knives and older kitchen knives were made from 1095. It is still popular with many bushcrafters and survivalistsdue to its robustness and ease of sharpening. With good heat treatment, high-carbon 1095 and O-1 tool steels can make excellent knives.
- 1084, carbon content 0.80-0.93%. Often recommended for novice knives or without more advanced heat treatment equipment for the ease of heat treating it successfully in such conditions, but also used by many blades professionals for various types of knives as it can make excellent knives.
- 1070, carbon content 0.65-0.75% Used in machetes.
- 1060, used in swords. It has a carbon content of 0.55-0.65%
- 1055, used in swords and machetes often heat treated to achieve a spring temperament to reduce breakage. It has a carbon content of 0.48-0.55%
- V-1/V-2 Chrome is added to improve power-off performance.
- V-2C, pure carbon steel, with impure substances completely removed.
Aogami / Blue-Seriesun exotic and high-end Japanese steel produced by Hitachi. “Blue” refers not to the color of the steel itself, but to the color of the paper in which the raw steel is wrapped.
- Aogami / Blue-Num-1 A steel with greater tensile strength and sharpening capacity than blue-2.
- Aogami / Blue-Num-2 A steel with greater toughness and wear resistance than blue-1.
- Aogami / Blue-Super A steel with greater toughness, tensile strength and edge stability compared to all other steels in its series.
- Aogami / Super blue The same steel as Blue-Super A
Shirogami / White-series
- Shirogami / White-1 The hardest of hitachi steels, but lacks tenacity.
- Shirogami/White-2 Harder than S/W-1 but with little carbon content, so slightly less hard.
Kigami Steel / Yellow-Series
- Steel “better” than the SK series, but worse than both, Aogami and Shirogami. Used in high-end tools and middle/low class kitchen knives.
Other steels of property
- INFI, a unique steel used in Busse knives. It is a durable steel, which resists both wear and corrosion relatively well. Prior to 2002, INFI contained 0.5% carbon, 0.74% nitrogen, about 1% cobalt, and about 0.1% nickel. In 2002, Busse changed the composition of steel by removing nitrogen, but added 0.63% silicon for hardness and cobalt and nickel components were eliminated.
Other carbon steel These steels did not exist in a series.
- Shiro-2, Cr and Ni are added for better tempering and ductility.
The group of these steels is unknown at this time. Move them to the appropriate group and provide a description.
- 4116 Krupp is a German steel that is cryogenically hardened during the quenching process. Used in many entry level knives by Henkels, Wusthof and other Hardened German manufacturers at 54-56 RC. High spot resistance but poor edge retention. .45-.55 carbon, .1-.2 vanadium, 14-15 chromium, .5-.8 molybdenum.
In 2017 it broke into medium-priced Chinese-made knives (between 7Cr17Mov and 440C San Mai), usually in larger 9-12″ chef knives and tempered mannaie at RC 56-60 with improved edge retention. Sometimes referred to as 1.4116. Thyssen -Krupp names its steels using the standard convention, i.e. removing .1 from w-Nr 1.4116.
- Acute 440. produced by Aicihi Cr 0.80-0.95 Yes 0.35-0.50 Mn 0.25-0.40 P below 0.040 S under 0.030 Cr 17.00-18.00 Mo 1.00-0.25 V 0.08-0.12 content. specifically designed to meet the corrosion and wear resistance in stainless steel has no respect for many carbon steels. Its performance tests give excellent results and are not frequently used with labels apparently. its edge retention is close to AUS 10 with better corrosion resistance. It is Aichi’s SuperSteel more recent than aus10 and the implications suggest a modified version of this steel in global knives, since the Yoshida-shimonakano group is Aichi steel, Toyota, global knives, many more. many knife manufacturers use versions of asus6-10 and sus440a and sus440c, all of which are made of aicihi steel. many modify to name a few others, sometimes such as vanadium steel at molybdenum. very nice knife material for stainless steel, top line. < http://www.atm-fukaumi.co.jp/en/products/ >
- BRD4416 Stainless Steel
- X55CrMo14 or 1.4110 Swiss stainless steel blade knife used by Victorinox.
The choice of steel in cutlery is very important and knowing the properties and characteristics of steels allows you to build blades suitable for specific use.
Surely there are more common steels in cutlery as a use as very high quality steels used for high-end knives.
I recommend reading the book Knife Engineering: Steel, Heat Treating, and Geometry, it is in English.
The book is an in-depth exploration of the effects of different steels,
This book provides classifications for toughness, edge retention and corrosion resistance for all popular knife steels.
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