List of blade materials
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The blade of a knife can be made from a variety of materials, the most common being carbon steel, stainless steel, tool steel and alloy steel. Other less-common materials used in knife blades include: cobalt and titanium alloys, ceramics, obsidian, and plastic.
The hardness of steel is usually stated as a number on the Rockwell C scale (HRC) . The Rockwell scale is a hardness scale based on the resistance to indentation of a material, as opposed to other scales such as the Mohs scale (scratch resistance) testing used in mineralogy. As hardness increases, the blade becomes capable of taking and holding a better edge, but is more difficult to sharpen and more brittle (commonly called less "tough"). Laminating a harder steel between a softer one is an expensive process that to some extent gives the benefits of both types (see Damascus steel).
- 5160, a spring steel. Popular steel for forging swords and large knives. High toughness and good wear resistance. Popular sword manufacturers that use 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 4140, 6150 is a tough steel with good impact resistance that can be hardened to the mid-50s on the HRC scale. While a good material for swords or hatchets, it is less than ideal for most knives because of its limited attainable hardness . Tolerates less than ideal temperature control in forging and heat treating (As does 5160). Probably does not hold an edge as well as 1095, but is tough, and easy to sharpen.
- V-toku1 / V-toku2, alloyed steel with W /Cr's original characteristics.
- A2, a steel that trades wear resistance for toughness. It is used in custom made fighting knives by makers such as Phill Hartsfield, Rob Criswell, Mike Snody and John Fitzen (Razor Edge US) and one of the latest to standardise his camp/survival knives in A2 tool steel is Aaron Gough from Gough custom, Canada. A2 was the standard baseline steel used by Bark River Custom Knives. A2 is used as the standard tool steel for Black Wolf Knives range of Hunting Knives by Marc Godwin, Japan
- A3, (No description available)
- A4, (No description available)
- A5, (No description available)
- A6, this grade of tool steel air-hardens at a relatively low temperature (approximately the same temperature as oil-hardening grades) and is dimensionally stable. Therefore, it is commonly used for dies, forming tools, and gauges that do not require extreme wear resistance but do need high stability.
- A7, (No description available)
- A8, C .55% Mn .30% Si .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 machinability and provide self-lubricating properties. It is commonly used for gauges, arbors, shears, and punches.
- D2, is a high carbon, high chromium die steel and is the highest carbon alloy tool and die steel typically used in knife making. With a chrome content of 12.00%, some call it a "semi-stainless", because of the lack of free Chromium in solution, even though it is defined by ASM and ANSI as stainless which contains at least 11.5% by weight of chromium. It deserves the informal myth: "D2 knives hold an edge forever, and are impossible to sharpen." While not as tough as premium carbon steels, it is much tougher than premium stainless steels. D2 knife blades were popularized by Jimmy Lile, and later by Bob Dozier.
- O1, a popular forging steel. Good wear resistance and excellent edge retention. Very tough, but not as much as 5160. It is most commonly used by Randall Knives, Mad Dog Knives, and many other custom knife makers.
- M2, is slightly tougher than D-2. As a high speed tool steel, it is capable of keeping a tempered edge at high temperatures generated in various machining processes. However, it isn't used as widely in factory production knives, as CPM M4 has become more popular. Custom knife makers still use it for knives intended for fine cutting with very thin edges.
- M4, see High speed CPM REX M4.
- T1 (No description available)
- T2 (No description available)
- S1, a medium carbon shock-resistant steel tool steel which combines moderate hardness with good impact toughness. Carbon content .40 - .55%.
- S7, a shock-resistant medium carbon tool steel, with outstanding impact toughness and high strength, along with medium wear resistance. It has maximum shock resistance and high compression strength, which gives it good deformation resistance in use, while retaining good toughness.
- W1, a water hardening tool steel. High carbon content.
- W2, a tool steel that holds its edge quite well but not very tough. Has a carbon content of 1.5. 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 attain a quenched hardness of 67 Rc) and still be quite tough especially in larger knives with thicker spines as the core of the thick portion of the blade does not attain full hardness because of the shallow hardening nature of the steel. Bill Moran considered it to be almost as tough as 5160, but it was unavailable for a period of time. W2 is one of the carbon steels that can produce a nice Hamon in heat treating.
- SK3, SK4, SK5 - Japanese carbon steels. SK stands for "Steel Kougu" meaning "Steel Tool". The lower number indicates fewer impurities.
CPM Tool Steel
- CPM 1V, a proprietary steel, very high toughness, several times higher than A2 with same level of wear resistance.
- CPM 3V, a proprietary steel, very high toughness, less than CPM 1V, but more than A2, and high wear resistance, better than CPM 1V. Used by several custom knives makers and factories, including Jerry Hossom, Mike Stewart [Bark River], Reese Weiland, Nathan Carothers, and Dan Keffeler. Makes good choice for swords and large knives.
- CPM 4V, a proprietary steel, high-impact toughness and a very good 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 heat check resistance.
- CPM 10V (AISI A11), highly wear-resistant tool steel, toughness comparable with D2 tool steel. Currently used by a few custom knife makers, including Christopher "Big Chris" Berry. Phil Wilson pioneered the use of CPM 10V and numerous other CPM steels in sporting knives.
- CPM 15V, a proprietary steel, extremely high wear-resistant tool steel, thanks to 14.5% Vanadium content. Found only in custom knives.
- CPM CRU-WEAR, a proprietary steel designed as a CPM upgrade to conventional Cru-Wear and D2 steels, it offers better wear resistance,toughness, and hardness.
Chrome steel is one of a class of non stainless steels which are used for applications such as bearings, tools and drills.
- AISI 52100, ball bearing steel. In terms of wear resistance, a little better than that of the O1 steel, however 52100 is also tougher. It has very fine carbides, which translates into high edge stability. Repeated heat forging and heat cycling results in a very fine grain structure. Used by many custom makers, Swamp Rat knives uses 52100 steel under the name SR101. Also referred to as 100 Cr 6/102 Cr6 as per ISO nomenclature and confrorms to BS grade En31.
- SUJ2, Japanese equivalent to AISI 52100 steel.
- DIN 5401
Steels that did not fit into the stainless category because they may not have enough of a certain element, such as chromium.
- V-Gin1, a fine-grained steel with Mo, V for the best effect of Cr.
- 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. In order for a steel to be considered stainless it must have a chromium content of at least 10.5%.
- 154CM / ATS-34 steels
- 154CM is produced by Crucible Industries. It is used extensively by Benchmade Knife Company and many others.
- CPM 154 is identical to 154CM in composition, however it is produced by Crucible using CPM Process, bringing all the benefits of Particle Metallurgy technology.
- ATS-34 is produced by Hitachi Metals.
The latter two are considered premium cutlery steels for both folding knives and fixed blades.
- 300 series
American stainless steel manufactured by Allegheny Technologies, North American Stainless and Crucible Industries. Because the 300 series is non-hardenable (non-Martensitic), they are primarily used in entry level dive knives and used as the outer layers in a San Mai blade.
- The 300 series is non-magnetic.
- 302 is a Chromium-Nickel austenitic alloy used for blenders and mixers.
- 303 is an austenitic stainless steel specifically designed to exhibit improved machinability.
- 303 SE is an austenitic chromium-nickel steel to which selenium has been added to improve machinability and non-galling characteristics.
- 304L is a low carbon austenitic chromium-nickel steel designed for special applications.
- 316L is a low carbon austenitic chromium-nickel steel with superior corrosion and heat resisting qualities.
- 321 is an austenitic chromium-nickel steel with a high chromium content of 18.00%.
- The 400 series remains one of the most popular choices for knife makers because it is easy to sharpen and it is resistant to corrosion.
- The 400 series is magnetic.
- 410 is a hardenable, straight-chromium stainless steel which combines superior wear resistance with excellent corrosion resistance.
- 416 is very similar to 410 with the addition of sulfur to improve machinability.
- 420 has more carbon than 410, but less than 440. As such, it is softer than 440, but has a higher toughness.
420 series contain several types with various carbon content between 0.15% and 0.40% this steel grade is widely used to make high-end razor blades, surgical scalpels, etc. It obtains about 57 HRC after suitable heat treatment.
420HC (420C) is a higher carbon content 420 stainless steel. The HC stands for "high carbon" and it can be brought to a higher hardness than regular 420 and should not be mistaken for it. Buck Knives and Gerber Knives use 420HC extensively. 420A (420J1) and 420B (420J2) are economical, highly corrosion resistant stainless steel grades. Knife manufacturers use this material in budget knives, also in diving knives due to its high resistance to corrosion.
440 series has three types: 440A, 440B, and 440C. 440A is a relatively low-cost, highly corrosion-resistant stainless steel. In China, Ahonest ChangJiang Stainless Steel developed 7Cr17MoV, a modified 440A, by adding more vanadium. 440B is almost identical to 440A, but has a higher carbon content range compared to 440A. 440C is also highly corrosion-resistant, but is capable of having a very high hardness. The hardenability of 440C is due to it having the highest carbon content in the 440 group. Because of this, 440C is one of the most common stainless alloys used for knife making. The once ubiquitous American Buck Model 110 Folding Hunter was made of 440C before 1981. Böhler n695 is equivalent to 440C. Knife blades specified as being "440" can typically be assumed to be the lower-hardness 440A grade.
The AUS stainless steel series is produced by Aichi Steel Corporation of Japan. They differ from the AISI 4xx series because they have vanadium added to them. Vanadium improves the wear resistance, toughness, and ease of sharpening. In the alloy name the appended 'A' indicates the alloy has been annealed.
- AUS-6 (6A) is comparable to 440A with a carbon content close to 0.65%. It is a low cost steel, slightly higher wear resistance compared to 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 uses AUS-8 extensively.
- AUS-10 (10A) is comparable to 440C with a carbon content close to 1.10%. It is slightly tougher than 440C.
CPM SxxV series
- CPM S30V, on the lower end of the SxxV steels, it has a carbon content of 1.45%. However, S30V is still considered to be a superior choice for knife making. CPM S30V is used in a wide range of ZT knives.
- CPM S35VN is a martensitic stainless steel designed to offer improved toughness over CPM S30V. It is also easier to machine and polish than CPM S30V. It is used in many high end kitchen knives including those by New West Knifemakers.
- CPM S60V (formerly CPM T440V) (discontinued), very rich in vanadium. CPM S60V has a carbon content of 2.15%. It was an uncommon steel, but both Spyderco and Kershaw Knives offered knives of this steel, Boker still offers folders made from CPM S60V.
- CPM S90V (formerly CPM T420V) has less chromium than S60V, but has almost twice as much vanadium. S90V's carbon content is also higher, around 2.30%.
- CPM S110V has higher corrosion resistance than S90V and marginally better wear resistance. The additional corrosion resistance while retaining all the benefits 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 elements in alloy. Exceptionally high wear resistance, making it difficult to process and machine for knife-makers. At first only used in custom knives, it has been utilized by larger manufacturers more recently[when?] in very limited quantities.
- VG series
Japanese stainless steels, manufactured by Takefu Special Steel.
- VG-1, Takefu stainless steel. Popular steel in Japanese kitchen knives.
- VG-2, middle-carbon Mo stainless blade steel.
- VG-5, synergic effect of Mo and V makes carbide finer.
- VG-7/VG-8W, strengthens substrate and improves tempering performance.
- VG-10(B/W), Takefu stainless steel, similar composition to VG-1 but also contains cobalt and vanadium. Good wear resistance and rust resistance.
- San-mai, a composite steel used to make high-end knives. The core is VG-1 and the outside layers are 420j for good rust resistance.
Due to small vanadium content VG-10 has finer grain content compared to VG-1. Cobalt and nickel improve toughness. Overall, it has better edge stability compared to 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.
- CTS series
American stainless steels produced by Carpenter Technology using vacuum-melt technology.
- CTS-BD1, high-carbon chromium steel that provides stainless properties with high hardness and excellent wear resistance.
- CTS-20(CV), offers superior edge retention and surface finish, an ability to be machined to a fine edge, and consistent heat-treatability from lot to lot.
- CTS-40C(CP), a powder metallurgy, high-carbon chromium stainless steel designed to provide stainless properties with maximum hardness.
- CTS-TMT, a hardenable martensitic stainless steel that combines improved corrosion resistance over Type 410 stainless with hardness up to 53 HRC and improved formability over 17Cr-4Ni.
- CTS-XHP, a powder metallurgy, air-hardening, high carbon, high chromium, corrosion-resistant alloy. It can be considered either a high hardness 440C stainless steel or a corrosion-resistant D2 tool steel.
- CrMo/CrMoV Series
Chinese and American stainless steels; the manufacturers are unknown with the exception of 14-4CrMo which is manufactured by Latrobe Specialty Metals.
(The following are sorted by first number.)
- 14-4CrMo, manufactured by Latrobe Specialty Metals. A wear-resistant, martensitic stainless tool steel that exhibits better corrosion resistance than 440C stainless steel.
- 2Cr13, belongs to 420 grade series, very basic. EN 1.4021 / DIN X20Cr13, widely used in economic cutting tools, 50HRC max after heat treatment.
- 3Cr13, in 420 grade series, it contains 420A 420B 420C 420D. 3Cr13 steel is 420B, EN 1.4028 / DIN X30Cr13, 52HRC Approx after heat treatment.
- 3Cr13MoV, made by adding more elements molybdenum and vanadium to the 420J2-3Cr13 formula.
- 4Cr13, EN 1.4034 / DIN X46Cr13, 420C stainless steel, it obtains about 55-57HRC.
- 4Cr13Mo, EN 1.4419 / DIN X38CrMo14, developed based on GB 4Cr13 / DIN X46Cr13 by adding molybdenum.
- 4Cr14MoV, EN 1.4117 / DIN X38CrMoV15, good enough to make kitchen knives.
- 5Cr15MoV, some knives manufacturers define as 5Cr13MoV, the hardness could be 55–57 HRC. It's 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 which does not contain molybdenum and vanadium, is superior to make razor blades, surgical scalpels, etc.
- 7Cr17MoV, 440A modified with more vanadium elements. The benefits of vanadium (V): increases strength, wear resistance, and increases toughness; the recommended hardness about 55/57 HRC.
- 8Cr13MoV & 8Cr14MoV, similar to AICHI AUS-8, an excellent value-priced steel for its performance.
- 9Cr13MoVCo, 9Cr14MoV. Chinese-made steels that are similar to 440B but with a higher carbon, cobalt and vanadium content to add more strength to the blade. Uses include high-end barber scissors, hunting knives, etc.
- 9Cr18MoV, 440B modified, a higher end Chinese stainless steel used mostly in high-end barber scissors and surgical tools.
- 9Cr19MoV, used in items such as the Ultimate Pro Bear Grylls Survival knife.
- 99Cr18MoV, 440C modified. Developed by Jaktkit and Ahonest Changjiang in cooperation. Uses ESR technology and hot forging. This improves its work performance, especially toughness, and edge-holding ability.
- Sandvik series
- 6C27, a common knife steel grade 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 improved corrosion resistance.
- 12C27, a grade with high hardness and good wear resistance. Takes very keen edge with moderate edge retention.
- 12C27M, another Swedish stainless razor steel. A very pure, fine-grained alloy. A grade with good wear resistance and good corrosion resistance, well suited for the manufacture of kitchen tools.
- 13C26, also known as a Swedish stainless razor steel. Generally the same properties as Sandvik 12C27, but with slightly higher hardness but less corrosion resistant. The Swedish steel maker Uddeholm AB also makes a virtually identical razor steel composition known as AEB-L, which they patented in 1928. Swedish razor steel is a very pure, fine grained alloy which positively affects edge holding, edge stability and toughness.
- 14C28N, designed by Sandvik at Kershaw's behest to have the edge properties of 13C26 but with increased corrosion resistance by adding nitrogen and chromium. Available in Kershaw knives (as of 2012) and in other brands.
- 19C27, a grade with very high hardness and wear resistance.
Daido stainless tool steels 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.
High-chrome / high-vanadium stainless steel
- The following Powder Metallurgy steels contain very high levels of Chromium, which at 18–20% produces a steel matrix that is highly corrosion resistant. 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 edge holding.
- M390 – Bohler M390 Microclean. Third-generation powder metallurgy technology steel. Developed for knife blades requiring good corrosion resistance and very high hardness for excellent wear resistance. Chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, and tungsten are added for excellent sharpness and edge retention. Can be polished to an extremely high finish. Hardens and tempers to 60–62 HRC, where it best balances edge holding and toughness. Due to its alloying concept, this steel offers extremely high wear resistance and high corrosion resistance.
- CPM-20CV – essentially Crucible's version of M390.
- CTS 204P – essentially Carpenter's version of M390.
- Elmax – Produced by Bohler-Uddeholm, Elmax is a through-hardening corrosion resistant mold steel using third-generation powder metallurgy process. Often said to be superior to CPM S30V and CPM S35VN for edge retention and ease of sharpening. Used in most of the 2013 and forward Microtech knives. Elmax is very similar to M390, CPM 20CV, and CTS 204P, but has somewhat lower Vanadium content, and lacks any Tungsten content.
- Other stainless
- ATS-55, produced by Hitachi Metals. Has lower molybdenum content than ATS-34, is less wear-resistant than ATS-34 and has been reported to be also less rust-resistant than ATS-34.
- BG-42 Slightly higher in carbon, chrome and moly than ATS-34. Must be forged and heat treated at very high and exact temperatures. Can be used at very high hardness, such as RC 64–66. Not supposed to be brittle, but high alloy steels usually are. Very expensive and hard to work. It is a martensitic stainless high speed steel that combines the tempering, hot hardness and hardness retention characteristics of M50 high speed steels, with the corrosion and oxidation resistance of Type 440C stainless. Although often used for aerospace bearings and other critical applications, its excellent wear resistance and corrosion resistance makes it a superior choice for use in cutlery applications.
- Kin-2, Medium-carbon Mo, V stainless blade steel.
- 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 carbon amount close or above 3%. As usual those 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 edge strength, making them good choice for the knives designed for light cutting and slicing works.
- Cowry-X is produced by Daido steel using PM process. Contains 3% carbon, 20% chromium, 1.7% molybdenum and less than 1% vanadium. Other elements are not published or may not even exist. Used by Hattori knives in their kitchen knives KD series.
- ZDP-189 is produced by Hitachi steel using PM process. It contains 3% carbon and 20% chromium and contains tungsten and molybdenum. Used by several custom knife makers and factory makers including Spyderco and Kershaw in the limited run of the Ken Onion Shallot folders. The Henckels Miyabi line markets this steel with the name "MC66".
- R2 is a PM steel made by Kobe Steel Japan (Kobelco). It is also known as SG2 (Special Gold 2) when it is marked by Takefu Specialty Steel.
- SRS-15 a High Speed Tool Steel (HSS) where the 15 represents 1.5% C. One of the earliest known Japanese "super steels". The maker is unknown. A SRS-13 with 1.3% C also exists.
- CPM REX series
- CPM REX M4 HC (AISI M4) is a high speed tool steel produced by Crucible using CPM process. M4 has been around for a relatively long time, lately entering custom and high end production knives. Popular steel for use in Bladesports Competition Cutting knives.
- CPM REX 121, is a new high vanadium cobalt bearing tool steel designed to offer a combination of the highest wear resistance, attainable hardness, and red hardness available in a high-speed steel.
- CPM REX 20 (HS) is a cobalt-free super high speed steel made by the CPM process.
- CPM REX 45 (HS) is an 8% cobalt modification of M3 high speed steel made by the CPM process. As of September 2018 this steel was used in some limited-run production knives from Spyderco.
- CPM REX 54 HS is a cobalt-bearing high speed steel designed to offer an improvement in the red hardness of the popular M4 grade, while maintaining wear properties equivalent to M4.
- CPM REX 66 (HSS) is a super high speed steel made by the CPM process.
- CPM REX 76 (HSS) is a super high speed steel made by the CPM (Crucible Particle Metallurgy) Process. It is heat treatable to HRC 68-70. Its high carbon, vanadium and cobalt contents provide abrasion resistance comparable to that of T15 and red hardness superior to that of M42.
- CPM REX 86 (HSS) is a super high speed steel made by the CPM process. It has a combination of high attainable hardness capability (68-70 HRC), red hardness, and abrasive wear resistance for difficult machining applications while still maintaining good fabricating and toughness characteristics. The composition is designed to provide a balance of vanadium-rich MC and tungsten-molybdenum-rich M6C primary carbides.
- CPM REX T15(HSS) is a super high speed steel made by the CPM process. It is a tungsten type high speed containing high vanadium for excellent abrasion resistance, and cobalt for good red hardness, and is used for cutting difficult to machine materials where high frictional heating is encountered.
- Maxamet is marketed by its manufacturer as a middle-ground between high-speed steel and cemented carbide. Carpenter claims Maxamet has improved hardness and wear resistance over high-speed steels while being tougher than cemented carbides. As of early 2018, it is used in several production knives from Spyderco.
Super stainless steels
The steels in this category have much higher resistance to elements and corrosion than conventional stainless steels. These steels are austenitic and non-magnetic. They are used in knives designed for use in aggressive, highly corrosive environments, such as saltwater, and areas with high humidity like tropical forests, swamps, etc. These steels can contain 26% to 42% chromium as well as 10% to 22% nickel and 1.5 to 10% of titanium, tantalum, vanadium, niobium, aluminum silicon, copper, or molybdenum etc., or some combination thereof.
- H1, produced by Myodo Metals, Japan. Used by Spyderco in their salt water/diving knives. Benchmade used it as well, later replaced with X15TN.
- X15Tn, French steel patented by Aubert&Duval, originally designed for medical industry and jet ball bearings.According to the company data sheet It meets EN 1.4123 standard (designation X40CrMoNV16-2) and UNS42025.This is a Martensitic stainless steel, with a high nitrogen content, remelted for optimum structure and properties. Used by Benchmade in their salt water/diving knives.
- N680, Bohler-Uddeholm steel, is also a Martensitic stainless steel, very similar to X15TN. Used by Benchmade in their salt water/diving knives.
- N690CO an Austrian stainless steel hardened to the high Rc50 range. Currently found in Spyderco's Hossom knives and the recently discontinued Italian-made Volpe. TOPS knives also used it in their C.Q.T magnum 711 knife. Also used extensively by Fox Knives Military Division, Extrema Ratio, Böker and Steel Will Knives.
- Vanax, produced by Uddeholm, is a relatively new, 3rd generation powder metallurgy blade steel in which carbon is largely replaced by nitrogen. This results in a steel with extreme corrosion resistance, excellent edge holding, yet it is fairly easily resharpened while containing a relatively high carbide volume for abrasive cutting edge retention.
- LC200N (aka Z-FiNit) produced by Zapp Precision Metals, is a high nitrogen alloyed tool steel which exhibits superior corrosion resistance combined with high toughness even at hardness up to 60 HRc. Spyderco uses this steel in several of their knives.
Carbon steel is a popular choice for rough use knives. Carbon steel used to be much tougher, much more durable, and easier to sharpen than stainless steel. They lack the chromium content of stainless steel, making them susceptible to corrosion.
Carbon steels have less carbon than typical stainless steels do, but it is the main alloy element. They are more homogeneous than stainless and other high alloy steels, having carbide only in very small inclusions in the iron. The bulk material is harder than stainless, allowing them to hold a sharper and more acute edge without bending over in contact with hard materials. But they dull by abrasion quicker because they lack hard inclusions to take the friction. This also makes them quicker to sharpen.
- 10xx series
The 10xx series is the most popular choice for carbon steel used in knives as well as katanas. They can take and keep a very sharp edge.
- 1095, a popular high-carbon steel for knives; it is harder but more brittle than lower carbon steels such as 1055, 1060, 1070, and 1080. It has a carbon content of 0.90-1.03% Many older pocket knives and kitchen knives were made of 1095. It is still popular with many bushcrafters and survivalists due to its toughness and ease of sharpening. With a good heat treat, the high carbon 1095 and O-1 tool steels can make excellent knives.
- 1084, carbon content 0.80-0.93%. Often recommended for novice knife makers or those without more advanced heat treating equipment due to the ease of heat treating it successfully in such conditions, yet also used by many professional bladesmiths for various kinds 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 a spring temper to reduce breakage. It has a carbon content of 0.48-0.55%
- V-x series
- V-1/V-2 Chrome is added to improve quenching performance.
- V-2C, Pure carbon steel, with impure substances completely removed.
a Japanese exotic, high-end steel made by Hitachi. The "Blue" refers to, not the color of the steel itself, but the color of the paper in which the raw steel comes wrapped.
- Aogami/Blue-Num-1 A steel with higher tensile strength and sharpening ability than blue-2.
- Aogami/Blue-Num-2 A steel with higher toughness and wear resistance than blue-1.
- Aogami/Blue-Super A steel with higher Toughness, tensile strength and edge stability than all other steels in its series.
- Aogami/Super blue The same steel as Blue-Super A
- Shirogami/White-1 Hardest among the Hitachi steels,but lacks of toughness.
- Shirogami/White-2 Tougher than S/W-1 but as not much Carbon content, thus slightly less hard.
- Kigami/Yellow-Series Steel
- "Better" steel compared to SK series, but worse than both, Aogami and Shirogami. Used in high end tools and low/mid class kitchen knives.
- Other proprietary steels
- INFI, a unique steel used in Busse knives. It is a tough steel, that 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 steel composition by removing Nitrogen, but added 0.63% Silicon for toughness, and the Cobalt and Nickel components were dropped.
- Other carbon steel
These steels did not exist in a series.
- Shiro-2, Cr and Ni are added for better quenching and ductility.
The group of these steels is unknown at this time. Please move them to their proper group and provide a description.
- 4116 Krupp is a German steel which is cryogenically quenched during the hardening process. Used in many entry level knives by Henkels, Wusthof and other German makers hardened to 54-56 RC. High stain resistance but mediocre edge retention. .45-.55 carbon, .1-.2 vanadium, 14-15 Chromium, .5-.8 Molybdenum.
In 2017 it made inroads in mid priced (between 7Cr17Mov and 440C San Mai) Chinese made knives, usually in larger, 9-12" chef's knives and cleavers tempered to RC 56-60 with improved edge retention. Sometimes referred to as 1.4116. Thyssen-Krupp names their steels using standard convention, i. e. removing .1 from w-Nr 1.4116.
- Acuto 440. manufactured by Aicihi Cr 0.80-0.95 Si 0.35-0.50 Mn 0.25-0.40 P under 0.040 S under 0.030 Cr 17.00-18.00 Mo 1.00-.25 V 0.08-0.12 contents. specifically designed to meet resistance to corrosion and wear in stainless has not compared to many carbon steels. Its performance tests yields great results and not used frequently with label its seems. its edge retention is close to AUS 10 with better corrosion resistance. It is SuperSteel from Aichi newer than aus10 and implications suggest a modified version of this steel in global knives, due the Yoshida-shimonakano group is Aichi steel, Toyota, global knives, many more. many knife manufactures use versions of Asus6-10, and sus440a and sus440c, which also are all aicihi steel. many modify to name other, sometimes such as molybdenum vanadium steel. very nice knife material for stainless, top line.<http://www.atm-fukaumi.co.jp/en/products/>
- BRD4416 stainless steel
- X55CrMo14 or 1.4110 Swiss Army knife Inox blade steel used by Victorinox.
Common blade alloying elements
- increases edge retention and raises tensile strength.
- increases hardness and improves resistance to wear and abrasion.
- reduces ductility as amount increases
- provides hardenability.
- increases hardness, tensile strength, and toughness.
- increases resistance to corrosion, heat and wear.
- more than 11% makes it "stainless", by causing an oxide coating to form.
- carbide inclusions reduce wear, but bulk material is softer.
- increases strength and hardness, and permits quenching in higher temperatures.
- intensifies the individual effects of other elements in more complex steels.
- increases resistance to heat and corrosion.
- increases corrosion resistance. (?)
- increases hardenability, wear resistance, and tensile strength.
- deoxidizes and degasifies to remove oxygen from molten metal.
- in larger quantities, increases hardness and brittleness.
- increases or decreases corrosion resistance depending on type and grade of steel or stainless steel.
- increases strength, hardness, hardenability, and toughness.
- improves machinability and resistance to corrosion.
- Adds toughness.
- Improves corrosion and heat resistance.
- Reduces hardness.
- Too much prevents hardening by heat-treatment.
- Restricts carbide grain growth.
- Increases machinability.
- Creates hardest carbide.
- Increases strength, heat, corrosion resistance and toughness.
- Used in place of carbon for the steel matrix. The Nitrogen atom will function in a similar manner to the carbon atom but offers unusual advantages in corrosion resistance.
- Improves strength, machinability, and hardness.
- Creates brittleness in high concentrations.
- Increases strength, heat and corrosion resistance.
- Deoxidizes and degasifies to remove oxygen from molten metal.
- Improves machinability when added in minute quantities.
- Usually considered a contaminant.
- Increases corrosion and heat resistance, strength, ductility and toughness.
- Adds strength, toughness, and improves hardenability.
- Retains hardness at elevated temperature.
- Improves corrosion and heat resistance.
- increases strength, toughness, heat, and corrosion resistance plus reduces weight.
- increases hardness and wear resistance if nitrogen or carbon are at the surface of the alloy.
- Increases strength, wear resistance, and increases toughness.
- Improves corrosion resistance by contributing to the oxide coating.
- Carbide inclusions are very hard.
- Increases chip resistance.
Ceramics are harder than metals but more brittle. Ceramic knives can be sharpened with silicon carbide or diamond sandpaper but chip when sharpened on a hard stone or lap.
The harder ceramics may be used in composite form to make them workable.
Aluminum oxide ceramic(Al2O3)
- Marketech AO series
- AO 95, (No description available)
- AO 98, (No description available)
Zirconium oxide (ZrO2)
Very hard, strong and corrosion resistant, but expensive. Used by Böker.
- Stellite and Talonite
- Titanium and titanium alloys are often used in diving and EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) knives due to its excellent corrosion resistance and non-magnetic properties. Some titanium blades have a carbide or nitride edge attached instead of a raw titanium(alloy)edge.
- Copper beryllium
- Damascus steel, either pattern welded steel or the ancient crucible steel (wootz, pulad, bulat)
This natural glass chips sharper than other stones but is more brittle.
- Other hard stones such as flint and chert.
- Chromium, used by the Qin Dynasty to coat and harden weapons.
- "Knife Steel Composition And Name Conversion Chart". zknives.com. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- "Steel types for swords". schoolofswords.com. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
- "TSS/VSP1，VSP2". e-tokko.com.
- "Crucible A2 Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Pacella, Gerard (2002). 100 Legendary Knives. Krause Publications. p. 126. ISBN 0-87349-417-2.
- Oberg et al. 2004, pp. 466–467 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFObergJonesMcCauleyHeald2004 (help).
- A-10 Tool Steel Material Information, archived from the original on 2010-12-25, retrieved 2010-12-25.
- "D2 cold work high carbon, high chromium die steel: is the highest carbon alloy tool and die steel... typically used in knife making. It has 12% chromium so it doesn't resist corrosion as well as high chromium tool steels (like 440C and ATS-34) and can rust if continually exposed to corrosive moisture, acidic fluids (like orange juice or blood).... However, it is fairly corrosion resistant with minimal care."
- D2: Stainless or Not Stainless? Since very little D2 is made with 11% or less, and that is not the ANSI standard chromium content for D2, and 12% is the standard, D2 is then a stainless steel.
- D2 can be made extremely hard and wear resistant, and very tough, and that is, "why there is a huge industrial following." So D2 steel is renowned for its edge holding ability, but is difficult to sharpen.
- Talmadge, Joe (2005). "Knife Steel FAQ". Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- Hartink, A.E. (September 30, 2005). Complete Encyclopedia of Knives. Lisse, The Netherlands: Chartwell Books. pp. 448. ISBN 978-1-85409-168-0.
- "MatWeb - The Online Materials Information Resource". matweb.com.
- "ASTM A213 T2 Alloy Steel, Chromium Molybdenum". matweb.com.
- "S1" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-26. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- "Crucible Industries Products". Crucible Industries.
- "Crucible Particle Metallurgy". Crucible Material Corporation. Archived from the original on 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2008-07-03..
- "Crucible CPM 1V data sheet" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM 3V data sheet" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM 4V data sheet" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM 9V data sheet" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM 10V data sheet" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM 15V data sheet" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "CPM CRU-WEAR data sheet" (PDF).
- A941 - Standard Terminology Relating to Steel, Stainless Steel, Related Alloys and Ferroalloys. ASTM International, Book of Standards Volume 01.01.
- Zvi. "Composition Comparison Graph For The Knife Steels Crucible 154CM, Hitachi ATS-34, Hitachi ATS34 Version 4.35". zknives.com.
- "Crucible 154CM Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible Industries LLC. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM 154 Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Hitachi Metals Ltd". Hitachi Metals Ltd.
- "Crucible 303SE Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Crucible 304CL Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Crucible 316L Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Crucible 321 Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Stainless Steel - Grade 420". A To Z of Materials. 2001. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
- "Stainless Steel - Grade 440". A To Z of Materials. 2001. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- "CPM S30V" (PDF). Crucible Service Centers. 2003-11-01. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Gardner, James (2005), "Duel of the Titans: two exceptional folders exemplify state-of-the-art", Guns Magazine, 27 (6): 145–151
- Mayo, Tom. "Technical and General Info". Mayo Knives Hawaii. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- "CPM S35V Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible Industries LLC. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
- "Crucible S35VN Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Ward, C. (2008), "An Edge in the Kitchen", Harper Collins, p.33–34, ISBN 978-0-06-118848-0
- "Crucible CPMS90V Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM S110V" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPMS110V Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Crucible Contact Information". Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "VG-1 Stainless". Custom Tacticals. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
- Zvi. "Ahonest Changjiang 99Cr18MoV Knife Steel Composition Analysis Graph, Equivalents And Overview Version 4.35". zknives.com. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
- "Sandvik knife steels -- Sandvik Materials Technology". Sandvik Materials Technology. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
- Swedish stainless razor steel is an interesting one, because it's a very pure, fine grained alloy. zknives.com, Kitchen knife steel FAQ
- "Crucible CPM REX M4 HC (HS) Data Sheet" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM Rex 121" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible Selector - CPM® REX® 121(HS)". crucible.com.
- "Crucible CPM Rex 20" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM Rex 45" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM Rex 54" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM Rex 66" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM Rex 76" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM Rex 86" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Crucible CPM Rex T15" (PDF). Crucible Industries. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "CarTech Micro-Melt Maxamet Alloy". Carpenter Technology Corporation. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
- "H1 Steel". zknives.com. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "Srzzl X15TN X49CrMoVN16-2". aubertduval.com/.
- BÖhler Uddeholm. "Knife steels brochure from Böhler". bohler.de.
- Spyderco website/TOPS website
- "ZAPP LC200N data sheet" (PDF).
- "Sword Steels – Complete Guide". Medieval Swords World. 2019-07-20. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
- Martin Knives bushcraft knife - Bushcraftliving.com Discussion Forum › Cutting Tools, 16 posts - 8 authors - 26 Nov 2008:
"I used the knife for every camp chore I could think of as well as splitting wood for kindling and carving a spoon and fork."
- KABAR Knives - Best Glide Aviation Survival Equipment, Discussion Forum
"KABAR Knives were the official fighting knife of the USMC. The most famous fixed blade knife in the World - "the KA-BAR" - was designed to serve our troops during World War II and is still doing its job with honors, more than 50 years later."
- Fundamentals of Physical Metallurgy by John d. Verhoeven
- Eckstine, Roger (20 April 2012). Shooter's Bible Guide to Knives: A Complete Guide to Hunting Knives, Survival Knives, Folding Knives, Skinning Knives, Sharpeners, and More. Skyhorse Publishing Company, Incorporated. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-62087-309-0.
- Maryon, Herbert (1948). "A Sword of the Nydam Type from Ely Fields Farm, near Ely". Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. XLI: 73–76. doi:10.5284/1034398.
- Maryon, Herbert (February 1960). "Pattern-Welding and Damascening of Sword-Blades—Part 1: Pattern-Welding". Studies in Conservation. 5 (1): 25–37. doi:10.2307/1505063. JSTOR 1505063.
- Maryon, Herbert (May 1960). "Pattern-Welding and Damascening of Sword-Blades—Part 2: The Damascene Process". Studies in Conservation. 5 (2): 52–60. doi:10.2307/1504953. JSTOR 1504953.
- Cotterell, Maurice. (2004). The Terracotta Warriors: The Secret Codes of the Emperor's Army. Rochester: Bear and Company. ISBN 1-59143-033-X. Page 102.
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- Free Ebook - Metallurgy of Steel for Bladesmiths and Others Who Heat Treat and Forge Steel – by Professor Verhoeven