Choosing the right steel for a knife is not an easy thing to do. There are just so many variables to consider, such as strength, toughness, corrosion and wear-resistance, and the ability to take an edge- to be sharpened. Stainless steel is a popular steel due to its ease of maintenance as well as its stronger resistance to rust, giving stainless steel knives the ability to be used in less-than-ideal conditions without having to worry about them losing their edge.Ultimate Knife Rust Test - Blade HQ
CPM S30V and c stainless steels are popular for these very reasons, offering quality stainless steel knife blades for superior knives. Recently, word has been spreading about another stainless steel, a so-called "super steel," by the name of ELMAX steel.
This composition allows for the metal to have a high wear resistance, high compressive strength, superior corrosion resistance, and a very good dimensional stability, or the ability to retain its size and form even after taking abuse. Although high wear and corrosion resistance are typically hard to find together in a knife blade, this steel's powder-metallurgy based production allows for its imperviousness to wear sideways shifting of the metal from its original positionand corrosion gradual destruction of metals.
ELMAX is produced through a hardening and corrosion resistant mold using this powder-metallurgy process, a process that Bohler-Uddenholm uses for many of their premium stainless steels.
Powder metallurgy is the method of blending fine powdered materials, pressing them into the desired shape, and then heating it to sinter, or bond, the material. This gives the knife the desired traits of superior edge retention and an ease of sharpening, which is often the reason that people are attracted to such stainless steel knives.
The steel's "Superclean" production process combined with small sized powder and carbides guarantee trouble-free grinding and polishing. When hardened to HRC, though the steel can actually be ground up to 62 HRC, the knife has a good edge holding ability as well as a less-commonly found impact resistance- which is much higher than other stainless steels- and grinds as easily as the CM steel, which is renowned for its easy grinding ability. What many love about this steel is how although it is a stainless steel, and has the better qualities of stainless steel, it also has qualities of a carbon steel alloy.
Carbon steel, unlike stainless steel, is easier to sharpen and achieve a good edge. Since then, it has become very popular, and is now available in single sheets as well as cut bars from distributors. Now it can be found in myriads of knives that are produced by various companies. In its TCC total cards cut test, which measures how many silica impregnated cards that a knife with each steel type can cut through at a time, ELMAX scored a This quality of this metal has led it to win several awards.
ELMAX knives can be used for multitudes of purposes, and can be found in knives in a wide range of categories. When you are outdoors, camping or hiking, you need a knife that can last and perform to the highest standards of durability, toughness, high wear, and corrosion resistance. Knives used for such outdoor purposes can often be found in less-than-ideal situations such as heavy rain, situations in which it would be risky to use most knives for fear of wear or corrosion.
With ELMAX, however, avid outdoorsmen can enjoy the stress-free convenience of a high-abuse taking, quality blade. In addition to survival, these metals are ideal for use in blades meant for hunting, fishing, and even kitchen work, where sharpness and robustness are critical features. Although ELMAX steel offers such quality features, it can be said that there are other knife steels that can out-perform it. It is tougher than other popular metals such as C and D2, as well as more wear resistant.
ELMAX is made with considerably more chromium, which adds to its corrosion resistance, yet again pushing it ahead of S30V. Its carbon content also gives it the edge in terms of sharpening. S35VN steel is a stainless steel designed to have an improved toughness over S30V, as well as being easy to polish, and does not wear as easily.
Bohler's M Superclean steel, unlike the previously mentioned steels, is extremely comparable to ELMAX, and many say out-performs it.It can be difficult to keep track of all the types of steel used in knives. This year there are a lot of new knives with steel types that many people are not familiar with.
I recently ran across a couple of knife steel comparison charts for some of these steel types that I thought I would share with you. Crucible Parts Metallurgy makes several very popular knife steels. It is also easier to machine and polish. Also, V 10V and V offer huge amounts of wear resistance, if you can get an edge on them in the first place; they are incredibly difficult to machine. Carpenter Steel makes knife steels that are gaining in popularity, especially in Spyderco models.
Carpenter steels are named a little differently than other steels, but it is easy to get used to. Once again, these values are relative to one another. But you can use this chart by taking an alloy with which you are familiar, such as C stainless, and move up or down the diagram with respect to the desired characteristics of an alloy.
Bohler Uddeholm Steel is also gaining popularity with new knives coming out this year. Elmax steel is gaining popularity as a super steel because it has lots of edge retention with good toughness. Excellent in salt water. Toughness and edge retention like Elmax. It hardens and tempers to HRC. Here are the toughness results, as measured by Bohler Uddeholm. The dark blue plotted line is the Rockwell C Hardness measured for each steel tested.
Remember the higher HRC rating, the lower the toughness will be. Then you can make general comparisons between the different steels. Great post!
The charts are very helpful. CA, AZ and NV customers can buy high quality industrial knives as well as receive industry grade professional sharpening services from us.
Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Your email address will not be published. Knife Steel Comparison Charts. Related posts. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. All rights reserved.Please share the result here. Thank you. Hi ok I did clean up the blade and the problem was resolved.
I used some fine grade wet and dry and metal polish. I also used a ceramic stone on the edge, just a few times. As this situation did not arise again, it may have been possible that these were evidence of "impurities" however: I'm not a metallurgist and secondly did not have the surface examined by one.
Suffice it to say I am satisfied with the knife. If however, the problem which I saw did not resolve itself then I'd be wanting a good explanation from the manufacturer, ie LionSteel. The holes present on the blade are a proof that in that place was decarburized steel.
There has intervened grinder to achieve a healthy layer with no dimples. In the affected area of carbon out of steel. It's a mistake and not a problem of production of steel. Possibly protective stailess foil have been affected in the area during the heat treatment. Yes now that I read this new post of yours, it is quite possibly the case. In any case after I cleaned by little abrasion this surface affected, the problem did not return. Thanks for your informed comments and visiting this site.
Hey how is the blade holding up to date in regards to corrosion and the chipping of the steel? Still a good knife? Considering getting one but would like to hear your long term opinion first thanks and wondering is the black finish would be the go if corrosion is still a problem. Thanks for any info you can provide and keep up the awesome reviews. Wednesday, 6 August Neither Sleipner or D2 are corrosion resistant steel grades and are considered to have a similar behavior in contact with water.
The lower Cr content of Sleipner compared with D2 does not affect the corrosion resistance in any significant way since it is the Cr content in solution in the base steel that determines that. You cannot just look at the Cr content of a steel to determine how corrosion resistant it will be.
You have to take into account also the carbon C content and other alloying elements. In both D2 and Sleipner almost all the Cr is tied up in the carbides that give the steel its wear resistance.
But both have approximately the same amount of Cr remaining in solution. The extent of corrosion here is perhaps a little worse than I would expect after only a few minutes in water but the extent of attack is also affected by other factors like for example the surface finish and how the steel has been heat treated.
In this case it seemed like the surface finish of the knife in the photo was a little rough aside from the grinding which could have contributed to the fast attack. It could also be due to the heat treatment since that will affect both Cr content in solution and also how the carbides are distributed which can in turn affect the speed of the corrosion attack.
Doc 30 September at Thermal Treatments. The wear and toughness properties of CPM 3V make it an excellent alternative to shock-resistant steels such as S7 or A9, where they typically wear out too quickly, but where grades such as A2, CruWear, or CPM M4 tend to fail by breaking or chipping. CPM 3V offers the highest impact toughness of any tool steel with this range of wear resistance. CPM 3V.
CPM M4. Physical Properties Modulus of Elasticity It is designed to provide maximum resistance to breakage and chipping in a high wear-resistance steel. Nominal Composition.
Typical Applications. Stamping or Forming Tools. Industrial Knives and Slitters. Plastic Injection and Extrusion Feedscrews. Salt bath heat treatment will ensure maximum attainable toughness for a given hardening treatment.
The higher austenitizing temperatures can be used to obtain higher hardness, at a slight decrease in impact resistance. The lower austenitizing temperatures provide the best impact toughness.
Austenitizing Temperature. As Quenched. Wear Resistance CPM 3V offers substantial improvements in tool wear life when compared with conventional tool steels such as A2 and D2. Mechanical Properties. Treatment 1.
BEST KNIFE STEEL COMPARISON AND CHARTS
Toughness 2. Adhesive 3. Temperature Range. Coefficient of Thermal Expansion. Machinability and Grindability Machinability in the annealed condition is similar to D2 and Cru-Wear. Grindability will be similar as well. Similar grinding equipment and practices are acceptable.But what is the best knife steel? Is blade steel a mystery to you? Is Crucible still just a play by Arthur Miller in your mind? Does Bohler-Uddeholm sound like a stinky cheese to you?
In a hurry? All you have to do is click to be taken to that section. When it comes to getting the job done there are four main factors that determine steel quality. The goal of many knife users is to find the best steel to fits their needs. A knife with great edge retention will vaporize cardboard even after months of carry. Toughness is key on hard-use camp knives and fixed blades. Prioritize Corrosion Resistance if you take your knives to high humidity environments. Sharpenability is pretty self-explanatory, but softer steels can be touched up in the field on that big elk hunt.
A tough blade steel resists chips and total failure when subjected to beating, impact, twisting, and torsion. Tough blade steels are ideal for camping and hard-use. Where a normal steel would chip, these knives can sustain intense batoning sessions, power through staples, and glide through steel strapping. Are you in a humid, wet, and salty environment?
Do you frequently use your knife to meal prep acidic ingredients like citrus or tomatoes? Certain steels are so good at resisting rust and corrosion that they can be left abused and salty without ill-effect. Carbon steels will pit and rust aggressively in wet environments if not properly cared for. Knives prone to corrosion can be protected with a thin coat of mineral oil.
Maybe one of the most frequently overlooked aspects of blade steel is sharpenability. Touching up certain steels with your sharpening stone is an easy, pain-free process whereas harder steels can make for an all-day affair to bring them back to sharp. Being able to field sharpen your knife can be the difference between life and death in the wilderness.
An easy to sharpen knife will generally not exhibit excellent edge retention. Heat treat, blade geometry, the job at hand, and the sharpening of the blade all play a massive role in the performance of the steel. Heat Treatment is the process of hardening and tempering the blade steel through heat.
This increases the strength of the edge tremendously. A well-done and consistent heat treat goes a long way towards the performance of a knife. Low hardness increases toughness at the cost of edge strength.Customer Service phones are back on, and Blade HQ is still fulfilling orders at full speed!
Thank you for the support and stay safe! Knife Glossary. So in essence, steel would have more wear resistance, but would also be less tough. Is not very corrosion resistant. Contains: 0. This change in composition gives this steel a better edge retention. Ultimate combination of hardness and corrosion resistance Sandvik 14C28N is the latest development in Sandvik's range of knife steels.
Optimized chemistry provides a top grade knife steel with a unique combination of excellent edge performance, high hardness and good corrosion resistance. This new grade matches the previous highest achievable hardness without affecting the microstructure.
Blade re-sharpening is therefore easy. At the same time, edge stability in terms of microchipping and edge folding or rolling is also good. With a recommended hardness range of HRC, Sandvik 14C28N is ideal for knife applications which place very high demands on edge sharpness, edge stability and corrosion resistance such as chef's knives, pocket knives, hunting and fishing knives. Like most of Sandvik's knife steel grades, Sandvik 14C28N is fineblankable enabling efficient production.
It has a carbon content of 1. Holds an edge well and is a hard steel. It has pretty good toughness for how hard the steel is as well. It is tougher than C. This steel often gets compared to ATS because the two are so similar. Similar in composition to HC. However rumor has it that it has increased wear resistance. The low carbon content means that this steel is very soft, and doesn't hold an edge well.
It is low quality, low cost material. Many cheap knives tend to be made of this material because of its cost. Blades made from this material need to be sharpened frequently, and often chip.
On the bright side, all stainless steel is extremely rust resistant.The products in the KnivesShipFree inventory represent dozens of different steels -- stainless steels and carbon steels, tool steels and "super" steels -- and we know that can be a bit overwhelming when all you're trying to do is choose a knife. That's why we put together this handy quick-reference guide, arranged in alpha-numerical order.
What it is: 13C26 is a Sandvik stainless steel commonly used in razors and kitchen knives. Who uses it: Buck Knives. What it is: 14C28N is a Sandvik stainless steel commonly used in razors and kitchen knives. Who uses it: Kershaw. What it is: 19C27 is a Sandvik stainless steel commonly used in heavy-use sporting knives. Who uses it: Canal Street Cutlery. What it is: Crucible CM is a high-quality stainless steel, one of the most popular modern corrosion-resistant steels.
Disadvantages: Can be relatively difficult to sharpen compared to carbon steels and softer stainless steels. Advantages: Easy to sharpen, extremely corrosion-resistant the most corrosion-resistant of the series stainless steels.
Who uses it: Lon Humphrey Custom Knives. What it is: is a plain carbon steel, very common in folding and fixed-blade knives designed for everyday use. What it is:often called "spring steel," is a carbon steel commonly used in large knives. What it is: A2 is a carbon tool steel, known for its toughness and ease-of-maintenance.
Wright Handmade Knives. What it is: CPM 3V is a "Crucible Particle Metallurgy" carbon tool steel, widely regarded as a "super steel" for its properties and performance. Disadvantages: Relatively more difficult to sharpen than predecessor steels like A2.
The Ultimate Guide to Knife Steel
What it is: CPM 4V is a "Crucible Particle Metallurgy" carbon tool steel, widely regarded as a "super steel" for its properties and performance. Who uses it: Bark River Knives. Advantages: Outstanding edge holding and corrosion resistance, requires little maintenance. What it is: CPM is the "Crucible Particle Metallurgy" version of CM stainless steel, and is widely regarded as a "super steel" for its properties and performance.
What it is: CPM M4 is a "Crucible Particle Metallurgy" carbon tool steel, widely regarded as a "super steel" for its properties and performance. Disadvantages: Relatively difficult to sharpen, can be prone to chipping in certain applications. Who uses it: Benchmade. What it is: Crucible Cru-Wear is a tool steel with tremendous wear resistance and excellent overall toughness.
What it is: D2 is a carbon tool steel with a relatively high chromium content, prompting some to call it a "semi-stainless" steel. Not as tough as the best carbon steels, it's tougher than most stainless steels. Advantages: Wear resistance, rust resistance compared to other carbon steels.
What it is: Elmax stainless steel, a powder-metallurgy material produced by Bohler-Uddeholm, is widely regarded as a "super steel" for its properties and performance. Advantages: Toughness, extremely high wear resistance and corrosion resistance. What it is: M stainless steel, a powder-metallurgy material produced by Bohler-Uddeholm, is widely regarded as a "super steel" for its properties and performance.
Who uses it: BenchmadeZero Tolerance. What it is: N is a stainless steel produced by Bohler-Uddeholm, commonly used where corrosion resistance is important. Who uses it: Arno Bernard Knives. What it is: O1 is a carbon steel popular with bladesmiths for hand-forged knives.
Advantages: Wear resistance, edge stability and relative toughness although not as tough as many tool steels. What it is: Sleipner is a high-chromium carbon tool steel, made by Bohler-Uddeholm and used by LionSteel. Disadvantages: Can be relatively difficult to sharpen compared to other carbon steels.