List of blade materials

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Blade materials are those used to make the blade of a knife or other simple edged hand tool or weapon, such as a hatchet or sword.

The blade of a knife can be made from a variety of materials, the most common being carbon steel, stainless steel, tool steel and alloy steel. Other less common materials used in knife blades include: cobalt and titanium alloys, ceramics, obsidian, and plastic.

The hardness of steel is usually stated as a number on the Rockwell C scale (HRC). The Rockwell scale is a hardness scale based on the resistance to indentation of a material, as opposed to other scales such as the Mohs scale (scratch resistance) testing used in mineralogy. As hardness increases, the blade becomes capable of taking and holding a better edge, but is more difficult to sharpen and more brittle (commonly called less "tough"). Laminating a harder steel between a softer one is an expensive process that to some extent gives the benefits of both types.

Steel[edit]

Alloy steels[edit]

Main article: Alloy steel

Popular sword manufacturers that use 5160 spring steel are Hanwei Forge and Generation 2. 5160 spring steel is mainly used on Medieval type swords.[3]

Tool steels[edit]

Main article: Tool steel

Tool steel grades used in cutlery : A, D, O, M, T, S, L, W. See also AISI Tool Steel Grades.
The following are tool steels, which are alloy steels commonly used to produce hardened cutting tools:

and John Fitzen (Razor Edge US).[1][4]

CPM series

Crucible Material Corporation[12] tool steels produced using CPM process[13]

Chrome steel[edit]

Main article: Chrome steel

Chrome steel is one of a class of non stainless steels which are used for applications such as bearings, tools and drills.

Semi-stainless steels[edit]

Steels that did not fit into the stainless category because they may not have enough of a certain element, such as chromium.

Stainless steel[edit]

Main article: Stainless steel

Stainless steel is a popular class of material for knife blades because it resists corrosion and is easy to maintain. However, it is not impervious to corrosion or rust. In order for a steel to be considered stainless it must have a chromium content of at least 13%.[14]

The principle of stainless steel is that in an oxidizing chemical environment the oxide (chromium and sometimes nickel and other metal oxides) is stable, and when in a reducing (shortage of oxygen) environment at least one metal is stable. This usually works, except in an acid environment. In order to be hardenable, knife steel can contain limited chromium and very little nickel. So, even though stainless, hard knife steel has limited resistance to corrosion.

Austenitic stainless retains its non-magnetic crystal structure at room temperature, usually because it has high nickel content. It is therefore not hardenable by heat treating as typical hard steels are. So as knife steel it depends on other hardening methods such as alloying elements and cold working. It is highly corrosion resistant, except to stress corrosion cracking.

154CM/ATS-34 steels

These two steels are practically identical in composition.[15] They were introduced into custom knives by Bob Loveless circa 1972.

The latter two are considered premium cutlery steels for both folding knives and fixed blades.[7]

300 series

American stainless steel manufactured by Allegheny Ludlum steel Co and Crucible steel co.

400 series

The 400 series remains one of the most popular choices for knife makers because it is easy to sharpen and it is resistant to corrosion.

AUSx series

The AUS stainless steel series is produced by Aichi Steel Corporation, Japan. They differ from the AISI 4xx series because they have vanadium added to them. Vanadium improves the wear resistance, toughness, and ease of sharpening.[7]

CPM SxxV series

The SxxV series are Crucible Material Corporation[12] stainless steels produced using CPM process.[13]

VG series

Japanese stainless steels, manufactured by Takefu Special Steel.[31]

Due to small Vanadium content VG-10 has finer grain content compared to VG-1. Cobalt and Nickel improve toughness. Overall, it has better edge stability compared to VG-1. VG-10 is widely used in Japanese kitchen knives, several western makers use it in various folders and fixed blade knives, including Spyderco, Cold Steel and Fallkniven.[7]

CTS series

American stainless steels produced by Carpenter technology using vacuum-melt™ technology.

Mo/MoV series

Chinese and American stainless steels; the manufacturers are unknown with the exception of 14-4CrMo which is manufactured by Latrobe Specialty Metals.
(sorted by first number.)

They are produced as per customers' requests. For 6Cr14MoV grade, the hardness could be HRC 60. It is good at making razors, surgical instruments.

  • 14-4CrMo Manufactured by Latrobe Specialty Metals. A wear resistant, martensitic stainless tool steel that exhibits better corrosion resistance than type 440C stainless steel.
Sandvik series[34]
DSR series

Daido stainless tool steels used for kitchen knives and scissors.

Other stainless

Several steel alloys have carbon amount close or above 3%. As usual those steels can be hardened to extremely high levels, 65-67HRC. Toughness levels are not high compared to CPM S90V steel, however, they have high wear resistance and edge strength, making them good choice for the knives designed for light cutting and slicing works.

Hi-speed steel[edit]

CPM REX series

Stain-proof steels[edit]

The steels in this category have much higher resistance to elements and corrosion than conventional stainless steels. They are used in knives designed for use in aggressive, highly corrosive environments, such as saltwater, areas with high humidity like tropical forests, swamps, etc.[37][dubious ]

Carbon steel[edit]

Main article: Carbon steel

Carbon steel is a popular choice for rough use knives. Carbon steel tends to be much tougher and much more durable, and easier to sharpen than stainless steel. They lack the chromium content of stainless steel, making them susceptible to corrosion.[7]

Carbon steels have less carbon than typical stainless steels do, but it is the main alloy element. They are more homogeneous than stainless and other high alloy steels, having carbide only in very small inclusions in the iron. The bulk material is harder than stainless, allowing them to hold a sharper and more acute edge without bending over in contact with hard materials. But they dull by abrasion quicker because they lack hard inclusions to take the friction. This also makes them quicker to sharpen. Carbon steel is well known to take a sharper edge than stainless.

10xx series

The 10xx series is the most popular choice for carbon steel used in knives. They are very durable.

V-x series
Aogami/Blue-Series

a Japanese exotic, high-end steel made by Hitachi. The "Blue" refers to, not the color of the steel itself, but the color of the paper in which the raw steel comes wrapped.

Shirogami/White series

Is the 'purest' carbon steel and sees use in high end yanagiba from various manufacturers.

Other proprietary steels
Other carbon steel

These steels did not exist in a series.

Unassigned steels[edit]

The group of these steels is unknown at this time. Please move them to their proper group and provide a description.

Common blade alloying elements[edit]

Carbon (C)
Chromium (Cr)
Cobalt (Co)
Copper (Cu)
Manganese (Mn)
Molybdenum (Mo)
Nickel (Ni)
Niobium (Nb)
Nitrogen (N)
Phosphorus (P)
Silicon (Si)
Sulfur (S)
Tungsten (W)
Vanadium (V)

Ceramics[edit]

Main article: ceramic

Ceramics are harder than metals but more brittle. Ceramic knives can be sharpened with silicon carbide or diamond sandpaper but chip when sharpened on a hard stone or lap. Good for those who do not sharpen their own knives.

The harder ceramics may be used in composite form to make them workable.

Aluminum oxide ceramic(Al2O3)[edit]

Marketech AO series

Zirconium dioxide (ZrO2)[edit]

Very hard and strong, but expensive. Used by Böker.

Glass[edit]

Artificial glass is used to slice thin samples of soft biological materials for transmission electron microscopes. Glass breaks to form an edge that is sharper than can be ground or lapped onto a metal blade.[citation needed]

Other materials[edit]

These materials did not fit into the aforementioned steel or ceramic types.

Historical[edit]

This natural glass chips sharper than other stones but is more brittle.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Knife Steel Composition And Name Conversion Chart". zknives.com. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  2. ^ V-toku1/V-toku2
  3. ^ "Steel types for swords". schoolofswords.com. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  4. ^ Pacella, Gerard (2002). 100 Legendary Knives. Krause Publications. p. 126. ISBN 0-87349-417-2. 
  5. ^ Oberg et al. 2004, pp. 466–467.
  6. ^ A-10 Tool Steel Material Information, archived from the original on 2010-12-25, retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Talmadge, Joe (2005). "Knife Steel FAQ". Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  8. ^ Hartink, A.E. (September 30, 2005). Complete Encyclopedia of Knives. Lisse, The Netherlands: Chartwell Books. p. 448. ISBN 978-1-85409-168-0. 
  9. ^ T1
  10. ^ T2
  11. ^ S1
  12. ^ a b c d "Crucible Material Corporation". Crucible Material Corporation. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Crucible Particle Metallurgy". Crucible Material Corporation. Archived from the original on 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2008-07-03. .
  14. ^ Goddard, Wayne (2000). The Wonder of Knifemaking. Krause. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-87341-798-3. 
  15. ^ 154Cm vs. ATS-34 compositions
  16. ^ "Crucible CPM 154 Data Sheet". Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "Hitachi Metals Ltd.". Hitachi Metals Ltd. 
  18. ^ "Crucible 303SE Data Sheet". Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  19. ^ "Crucible 304CL Data Sheet". Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "Crucible 316L Data Sheet". Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  21. ^ "Crucible 321 Data Sheet". Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  22. ^ "Stainless Steel - Grade 420". A To Z of Materials. 2001. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  23. ^ a b c d "Stainless Steel - Grade 440". A To Z of Materials. 2001. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  24. ^ "CPM S30V". Crucible Service Centers. 2003-11-01. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  25. ^ Gardner, James (2005), "Duel of the Titans: two exceptional folders exemplify state-of-the-art", Guns Magazine 27 (6): 145–151 
  26. ^ Mayo, Tom. "Technical and General Info". Mayo Knives Hawaii. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  27. ^ "Crucible S35VN Data Sheet". Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  28. ^ Ward, C. (2008), "An Edge in the Kitchen", Harper Collins, p.33-34, ISBN 978-0-06-118848-0
  29. ^ "Crucible CPMS90V Data Sheet". Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  30. ^ "Crucible CPMS110V Data Sheet". Crucible. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  31. ^ a b "VG-1 Stainless". Custom Tacticals. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  32. ^ Forum discussion at bladeforums.com of 8Cr13MoV blade steel here.
  33. ^ Forum disscussion: 8Cr13mov seel VS 440C steel, 03-22-2012
  34. ^ "Sandvik knife steels -- Sandvik Materials Technology". Sandvik Materials Technology. Retrieved 2013-03-07. 
  35. ^ Swedish stainless razor steel is an interesting one, because it's a very pure, fine grained alloy. zknives.com, Kitchen knife steel FAQ
  36. ^ http://www.crucible.com/eselector/prodbyapp/highspeed/cpm121.html
  37. ^ "H1 Steel". zknives.com. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  38. ^ Spyderco website/TOPS website
  39. ^ Martin Knives bushcraft knife - Bushcraftliving.com Discussion Forum › Cutting Tools, 16 posts - 8 authors - 26 Nov 2008:
    "I used the knife for every camp chore I could think of as well as splitting wood for kindling and carving a spoon and fork."
  40. ^ KABAR Knives - Best Glide Aviation Survival Equipment, Discussion Forum
    "KABAR Knives were the official fighting knife of the USMC. The most famous fixed blade knife in the World - "the KA-BAR" - was designed to serve our troops during World War II and is still doing its job with honors, more than 50 years later."
  41. ^ Cotterell, Maurice. (2004). The Terracotta Warriors: The Secret Codes of the Emperor's Army. Rochester: Bear and Company. ISBN 1-59143-033-X. Page 102.

External links[edit]