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.

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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)  
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