The Best Knife Blade Material: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to choosing the best pocket knife, the type of steel used in the blade is an important factor to consider. Different types of steel are created by varying the types of additive elements, as well as the way in which the blade is rolled and heated. Heat treatment is a part of the knife manufacturing process that is designed to help harden the steel of the blade for use. Stainless steel is one of the most popular materials for knife blades due to its durability and resistance to corrosion.

Stainless steel is a metal alloy generally made of at least 11% chromium, iron, nickel, molybdenum and carbon. However, there are many different grades and compositions of stainless steel that vary with the properties used to manufacture the material. Carbon steel, more specifically steel with a high carbon content (0.8% and more), is suitable for the manufacture of blades. The high amount of carbon present in steel provides the toughness, strength, edge grip and corrosion resistance needed in a large knife.

Series 10 steels are the most commonly used in the manufacture of blades; the “10” indicates that it is smooth carbon steel with a maximum of 1% manganese, and the last two digits indicate the carbon content (1045 has 0.45% carbon). Other materials used for knife blades include CPM-S90V, CPM-S110V, CPM-10V and Bohler K390. Both the CPM-REX 121 and the Maxamet belong to this category. As a side note, pure tungsten carbide blades (from brands like Sandrin) can have very high levels of edge retention, but they're not made of steel.

Titanium blades are not normally made, but titanium is extremely resistant to corrosion and is used for saltwater applications.When it comes to performance, other factors such as how thick the edge is, how blunt the knife was at the beginning, the nature of the heat treatment, and what you use to sharpen the knife are also important. For example, a video comparing an ESEE 1095 knife at 55-57 Rc and a MagnaCut knife at 62.5 Rc shows that both with the same cutting angle can have different results. Shock resistance alone does not impair the performance of the blade, but when it comes to other features, it is more useful in a small knife such as a folder.In conclusion, when choosing a pocket knife it's important to consider not only what type of steel is used in its blade but also other factors such as heat treatment and edge geometry which may mean more to blade performance than specific steel used in its blade.

William Mlynek
William Mlynek

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