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Blade Steels We Use

Your knife is only as good as the steel in its blade. A knife made of good steel will be sharp, stay sharp, and won't break on you. 

Steel is a mix of carbon and iron that is enriched with other elements to improve certain characteristics. There's a lot of blade steels to pick from, and each has its own set of advantages to consider. 

What to Look for in a Good Blade Steel

  1. Hardness and durability: You want a durable knife that won't bend because its steel is too soft. You don't want a steel that's so hard that it becomes brittle and chips over time either. A good mixture of these two qualities is best.
  2. Sharpness and edge retention: You want a knife that can get real sharp and stay sharp through repeated use. How hard a blade steel is also affects how sharp it can get. 
  3. Corrosion resistance: This determines whether your knife is stainless or not. Non-stainless steel knives need oil and maintenance to keep rust away. Stainless steel knives are more forgiving, but they can still end up rusting if neglected.

Manly uses German D2, Swedish Sandvik 12C27, Crucible CPM154 and CPM S90V steels for its knives.

D2 (1.2379)  is a steel normally used to create large industrial tools needed to cut and stamp softer forms of steel. Because of that it's incredibly tough and wear resistant. It's a bit more resistant to corrosion than carbon steel but it's not truly stainless.

With a chromium content of 12%, D2 – a tool steel – can certainly be classified as a stainless steel. Since its chromium content is right on the threshold, however, a little more care for the D2 wouldn't go amiss. As an upper-tier conventional steel, D2 offers great edge retention and stability, though sharpening it takes a little effort.

Origin:         Germany
Carbon (%):     1,5
Chrome (%):     12
Molybdenum (%): 1
Vanadium (%):     1
Manganese (%):     0,6
Nickel (%):     0,3
Silicon (%):     0,6
Rockwell (HRC): 59-61

Sandvik 12C27 is a pure fine grain knife Swedish steel with excellent corrosion resistance.  After our heat treat the Sandvik 12C27 WASP has razor sharp blade with excellent edge retention and toughness.

Origin:              Sweden
Carbon (%):          0.6
Chrome (%):          13.5
Manganese (%):   0,4
Silicon (%):          0.4
Rockwell (HRC):  60

CPM154 is high end stainless  steel and exhibits superior sharpness and edge retention than standard stainless steels. CPM154 is great for knives that will be used often.

CPM154 is the "Crucible Particle Metallurgy" version of CM154 offering the typical advantages of a CPM steel, including a very fine and homogeneous structure and increased alloy components. It is often used by custom knife makers in the US. Its composition and performance are absolutely identical to the powder-metallurgical RWL34.

Origin:         USA
Carbon (%):     1,05
Chrome (%):     14
Molybdenum (%): 4
Manganese (%):     0,5
Silicon (%):     0,3
Rockwell (HRC): 58-61

CPM S90V is ultra premium steel that approaches the very pinnacle of wear resistance and edge retention. Blades made of that still offer exceptional edge retention and performance while still maintaining great strength and toughness.

CPM S90V is a "Crucible Particle Metallurgy" stainless steel, widely regarded as a "super steel" for its properties and performance. CPM S90V is a stainless steel to which vanadium and carbon have been added for exceptionally good wear resistance. The wear and corrosion resistance of CPM S90V make it an excellent candidate to replace D2 or other tool steels in applications where improved corrosion resistance is also of benefit.

Origin:         USA
Carbon (%):     2.3
Chrome (%):     14
Molybdenum (%): 1
Manganese (%):     0,5
Vanadium (%):     9
Rockwell (HRC): 60-61

For a comprehensive blade steel guide and steel composition charts visit: http://knifeinformer.com/discovering-the-best-knife-steel/