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)