Why Are Knives Made of Such Weird Sounding Stuff? (1 of 3)

Previous Article: Why Can’t Guys Just Have One Knife for Everything? (Intro and knives made of non-ferrous materials)

Part II – Knives Made of Metals and Alloys

~~~

I’m going to skip the history of metal in knives and jump to the info on current metal/metal alloys available to the average “Joe” or “Josie.”   But, first, a word from our trivia sponsors!

Interesting Knife Trivia

Originally, knives made of metals had serious corrosiontn_j0405970 problems. When knife materials were created that helped reduce rusting, they named these knives “stain less” steel. The emphasis was on “less.”  Today, we refer to knives that don’t seem to corrode as “stainless,” with the emphasis on the “stain.”

Actually, ‘stain-less’ (emphasis on ‘less’) is more accurate. The 2 things that keep knives ‘stainless’ – are regular use and maintenance. Even stainless steel knives can develop rust; I’d rather you didn’t ask me how I know this!

Four Main Steel Types of Knife Blades

There are an almost infinite number of steel combinations, which makes for lots of confusion. However, there are 4 main, modern steels used for knife-making: carbon steels, compound steels, stainless steels and Damascus steels.

Carbon Steels

Also known as ‘high carbon steels,’ these blades are a combination of iron and carbon.

Advantages: Excellent sharpness values, holds its edge well and is easy to resharpen.

Disadvantages: Easy to rust, easy to stain.

Compound Steels

Other elements have been added to carbon steels, to make Compound Steels. They always have less than 13% chromium (added to reduce corrosion). In general, these are strong steel blades with a good edge. They retain their edges well and are easy to resharpen.

A-2: Has fair corrosion resistance; used in some military knives.

D-2: Has high chromium, so more resistant to rusting (but not stainless). Can be hard to sharpen.

M-2: Not used as much as A-2 or D-2. Maintenance is necessary to avoid rust.

Next Subject: Stainless Steels

~

Notice: I don’t sell Gerber any more but left this up as an information source.

~
This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

~~~

Please note: I’ve added:  (1) Subscription button for feeds, click on RSS Posts for my postings (top of right column) and (2) Subscription link to get my postings via email, click on Sign Me Up! (top right).

Advertisements
Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 4:09 pm  Comments Off on Why Are Knives Made of Such Weird Sounding Stuff? (1 of 3)  
Tags: ,

Why are Knives Made of Such Strange-Sounding ‘Stuff?’ (2 of 3)

Stainless Steels

As a group, these are the most common blade materials used by manufacturers. Because they do not need as much maintenance, the most innovation is occurring in this category (note there are at least 12 combos).

ATS-34 and 154-CM: Currently considered to be the best stainless steel for blades.  The only downside seems to be the fact that it takes more patience and work to resharpen these blades.

ATS-55: This steel is manufactured without molybdenum, which makes it less expensive than the ATS-34. It seems to have the same hardness as the ATS-34; and has an excellent edge.

BG-42: One of the newer alloys; lots of knife makers are starting to use it. Said to be as good as ATS-34.

440C (also AUS-10): Although this combo has been surpassed by ATS-34, it is still the fave material for most knife makers. This surgical steel quality blade gets and keeps a good edge, plus it is easy to sharpen.

440A and 440B: These have qualities similar to the 440C. The differences are: slightly less hard steel, but with better corrosion resistance than the 440C’s. (high chrome content, less carbon content in A & B)

420: This is an average grade of steel with excellent stainless qualities. Its edge-retaining qualities are average. You find knives with this # in economy lines, plus diving knives and presentation knives.

Next Time: New Alloys Tied to a Knife Maker

~

Notice: I don’t sell Gerber any more but left this up as an information source.

~
This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

~~~

Please note: I’ve added:  (1) Subscription button for feeds, click on RSS Posts for my postings (top of right column) and

(2) Subscription link to get my postings via email, click on Sign Me Up! (top right).

Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags:

Why are Knives Made of Such Strange-Sounding ‘Stuff?’ (3 of 3)

New Alloys Tied to a Knife Maker

As new combinations have arrived on the scene, certain knife makers have adopted them as “their” blade of choice.  So, the remaining 6 alloys are mostly used by a particular manufacturer, rather than being seen in the display case of various craftsmen.

Of these, the CPM‘s are the most interesting. Through Crucible Particle Metallurgy (CPM), the components are reduced to a powder, combined and compressed, before returning the blade to its solid state.

CPM 440V AND CPM 420V: Spyderco has adopted this alloy. Advantages: good corrosion resistance and holds an edge well. Disadvantages: Considered to be harder to sharpen.

CPMS30V: Custom knife craftsman, Chris Reeve, likes and uses this alloy. It is a “tough” steel and very rust resistant.

RWL-34: An upgraded ATS-34, with better edge strength and better at keeping its edge. More likely to be used by a custom knife maker.

The next alloy comes in a variety of names: AUS-6, AUS-8, 425-M, Sandvik 12CV-27. KA-BAR uses this in some applications; it’s a great choice. Similar to the 440-A and 440-B. It’s high carbon, high chrome, and offers good rust resistence.

G-2 or GIN-1: Very similar to ATS-34, Spyderco used it for some of their knives and tools.

VG-10: Another of the newer alloys. This one has more molybdenum and more cobalt than the others. These additions increase the knife’s hardness, without making it brittle. Its layers of steel have better rust resistance than most. Used by: Spyderco, some Japanese craftsmen and Fallkniven. In “Only Knives,” they call this “’super steel’ because it’s so ridiculously hard and holds a sharp edge for a long, long time.”

Damascus Steel

Prepare yourself to be dazzled by the beauty of these knives.  They are not as corrosion resistant as the stainless steels above, but they make up for much with their outstanding looks. They also don’t come cheap. These knives are a combo of two steels that are pattern-welded.

The knife on the left is about $500; while the one on the right is about $800. If you’d like to drool too, head over to:   http://purvisknives.com/gallery.html.


As you can see, the variety of material for knife blades is amazing, and improvements are emerging all the time.

Since you know what you want your knife to be able to do, check the advantages and disadvantages carefully to find the blade(s) that will serve you best.

~

 

Notice: I don’t sell Gerber any more but left this up as an information source.

~
This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm  Comments Off on Why are Knives Made of Such Strange-Sounding ‘Stuff?’ (3 of 3)  
Tags: