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# 0-9


This is a carbon, martensitic stainless steel with moderate corrosion resistance, good strength and the ability to obtain and keep excellent hardness (RC 55-57) and wear resistance.
Carbon-0.45-0.50%, Manganese-0.40%, Chromium-14.50-14.80%, Vanadium-0.10%, Molybdenum-0.60%

1070, 1095

Simple tool steels with 7/10 of 1 percent of carbon or .95 Carbon and little else in the alloy. Makes good springs, knives, tools etc. Much used in old time production knives. Still the steel of choice for combat knives made by Ka-Bar.

1095 Cro-Van

An easy to sharpen carbon steel used in knife making. Proven to be one of the most popular steels used in KA-BAR knives.
Carbon-0.95-1.1%, Manganese-0.30-0.60%, Chromium-0.40-0.60%, Nickel-0.25%, Vanadium-0.161%, Molybdenum-0.06%. Rockwell 56-58


14-4CrMO is a wear resistant, martensitic stainless tool steel that exhibits better corrosion resistance than 440C. The combination of the high carbon and molybdenum contents results in the formation of hard, wear-resistant molybdenum carbides in the microstructure of the steel. The molybdenum carbides provide superior wear resistance and edge retention for cutting tools and knives. C-1.05, Mn-0.50, Si-0.30, Cr-14.00, Mo-4.00.

12C27 Through 14C28N

Sandvick steels made in Sweden are well known for the purity of its iron within a steel. Sandvick 12C27 is a standard knife steel has 0.60% Carbon (C), 0.40% Manganese (Mn), 13.5% Chromium (Cr), and 57-59 Rockwell hardness. Sandvick 14C28N is a a higher quality knife steel with 0.62% Carbon (C), 0.60% Manganese (Mn), 14% Chromium (Cr), and is typically 57-60 Rc. Kershaw upgraded their very popular Leek knife model to 14C28N. 


A high-carbon, high-alloy, space-age, stainless steel first used for knives by R. W. Loveless about 1972. At that time it was vacuum melted. After a few years the quality declined and makers followed Loveless to the Japanese just-alike ATS-34, using the same formula. The quality has been restored and this steel is not only being used by makers, it is also being used in high-end production knives.

Carbon 1.05%, Manganese 0.5%, Chromium 14.0%, Molybdenum 0.4 - 0.55%.


A highly wear resistant, powder metallurgy stainless tool steel with a unique combination of high wear resistance, high corrosion resistance, good impact toughness, and excellent polish ability. 20CV contains 20% chromium and 4% vanadium, which is the highest level of chromium in any high vanadium stainless tool steel available today. These qualities make 20CV well suited for a wide variety of industrial and custom knife applications. Carbon-1.90%, Manganese-0.30%, Chromium-20.00%, Vanadium-4.00%, Molybdenum-0.60%.


This is a stainless steel. It has a much lower Carbon content, which will reduce it's hardenability and edge retention capabilities significantly. However, it is a tough steel, good for machete sized blades, or potentially good for inexpensive "last ditch" knives which only need to be sharp the first time and don't need to hold an edge with use.

0.32% Carbon, 12.00-14.00% Chromium, 1.00% Manganese, 0.04% Phosphorous, and 1.00% Silicon with a 54-56 Rc.


3V High Carbon Non-Stainless Steel - an extremely tough steel. Benchmade has been testing 3V, and we have reports of getting up to 30 degrees of flex in the Boost Pry blade and straightening back to true (not all 3V blades will have the right thickness and grind for prying). Very impressive stuff. Also has excellent edge retention, which is not normal for high toughness steels.

CPM 3V is a high toughness, wear-resistant tool steel made by the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process. It is designed to provide maximum resistance to breakage and chipping in high wear-resistance steel. CPM 3V is intended to be used at 58/60 HRC in applications where chronic breakage and chipping are encountered in other tool steels, but where the wear properties of high alloy steel are required. Carbon-0.80%, Chromium-7.50%, Vanadium-2.75%, Molybdenum-1.30% Rockwell 58-60.


One of the newer steels catching on, CPM-15V steel has a colossal amount of vanadium carbides in it. Vanadium Carbides are extremely hard and add a lot of wear restistance to a steel. Before, adding this much vanadium to a steel would have made it extremely brittle, but with the addition of the Partical Metalurgy process and changes in how it is forged and heat treated, the vanadium carbides are small enough to give the steel reasonable toughness. You can compare the toughness of CPM-15V to the very popular CPM-20CV and M390 stainless steels. 

CPM-15V is a non-stainless high carbon steel. 

Typical Chemistry:
Carbon (C) 3.40%, Manganese (Mn) 0.50%, Silicon (Si) 0.90%, Chromium (Cr) 5.25%, Vanadium (V) 14.50%, Molybdenum (M) 1.30%, and Sulfur (S) 0.07%. You can see Crucible's data sheet for CPM-15V here.


A mild stainless, the knife makers choice for bolsters and guards; not suitable for blades but will take just enough hardening to make it suitable for engraving.


A stainless spring steel much used in inexpensive production knives from Taiwan. Very useful in tantos and other knives. Also should be outstanding for axe heads. If you use this steel you must have an analysis as it can range in Carbon content from 0.15 to 0.6%, the balance is 1.0% Manganese and 12-14% Chromium.


An improved form of 420 that works well with high production tooling; much used by Buck, Gerber, etc. Carbon 0.5-0.7%, Manganese 0.35-0.9%, Chromium 13.5%.


A stainless steel that has a low carbon and high chromium content making it a shock absorbing steel that bends instead of breaking. 420J2 has excellent resistance to corrosion and fair edge holding capability. The Rockwell hardness is seen at 54-56. A common use is as liner material for folding knives. It has a low hardness and wear resistance for a cutlery stainless steel but is fairly tough and very corrosion resistant.
Carbon-0.15%, Manganese-1.0%, Chromium-12.00-14.00% Rockwell-49-53. Also commonly used in fish Fillet knives.


A high-carbon stainless steel with about .7% Carbon, used in most American production knives and in some handmade knives as well; works well through tooling. 0.60 to 0.75% Carbon, 1.0% Manganese, 16.0-18.0% Chromium and 0.75% Molybdenum.


0.75-0.95% Carbon, 1.0% Magnesium, 16-18% Chromium, and 0.75% Molybdenum.


The most popular high-carbon stainless used by custom knifemakers for many years. First used by Gil Hibben about 1966. This is a great steel when properly heat-treated. It cannot, however be heat-treated with a blow-torch or welding torch.

0.95 - 1.20% Carbon, 0.40% Manganese, 17.0% Chromium, 0.50% Vandium, 0.50% Molybdenum.


An air-hardening alloy with high carbon and high chromium content. It is corrosion resistant and can be described as a high hardness 440C stainless steel or corrosion resistant D2 steel. Possesses corrosion resistance equivalent to 440C. Carbon-1.60%, Manganese-0.50%, Chromium-16.00%, Nickel-0.35%, 
Vanadium-0.45%, Molybdenum-0.80%


A popular non-stainless steel with forgers. It is essentially simple spring steel with chromium added for hardenability. It has good edge holding, but is known especially for its outstanding toughness. It is capable of a relatively wide range of Rockwells. Often used for swords (hardened in the low 50s Rc) because of its toughness, and is also used for hard use knives hardened up near the 60s Rc for better edge retention. 
Carbon-0.56-0.64%, Manganese-0.75-1.00%, Chromium-0.70-0.90%


A ball-bearing steel used by forgers. It is similar to 5160 (though it has around 1% carbon vs. 5160?s-0.60%), but holds an edge better. It is less tough than 5160 however. It is used often for hunting knives and other knives where the user is willing to trade off a little of 5160?s toughness for better edge holding.
Carbon-0.98%-1.10%, Managanese-0.25-0.45%. Chromium-1.30%-1.60%

6061 Aircraft Alloy

Probably the most commonly available, heat treatable aluminum alloy. Used in the manufacture of heavy-duty structures requiring good corrosion resistance, in general structural and high pressure applications, wire products, and in pipelines. Capable of being hot forged. Easily cold worked and formed in the annealed condition. Stamping, bending, spinning, deep drawing are accomplished using standard methods. Machinability in the harder T4 and T6 tempers is good. In other words, it makes great folder handles, fixed knife pommels, screws, etc.


A Chinese spring steel made to give good wear resistance and toughness. It can be compared to 1065. It has a medium carbon content of 0.62-0.70%, and a high amount of Manganese at 0.90-1.20%. These improve the toughness and resilience, and helps the hot-working characteristics of the steel which makes it a good opitons for forging sword blades. It also has minute amounts of 0.17-0.37% Silicon. 


8Cr13MoV is a very prevalent Chinese stainless steel. A.G. Russell Knives, CRKT, Kershaw, and many other makers use it extensively. The steel composition is comparable with Japanese AUS-8. With our heat treat, our customers have told us that it holds an edge really well and it is easy to restore the edge when it finally dulls. Some folks look down upon 8Cr13MoV due to it's prevalence in affordable knives - but the fact of the matter is that for the price, it performs well and above what might be expected. The reason it is so prevalent is that it does a good job. Certainly you can find cheaper steels, but for performance per dollar 8Cr13MoV is one of the best options. As the name implies it has 0.80% Carbon, 0.40% Manganese, 13% Chromium, 0.20 Nickel, 0.10% Vanadium, 0.15% Molybdenum, and has a typical Rockwell of 58-59.


9Cr13CoMoV, a Chinese stainless steel, seems to perform slightly better than Japan's AUS-8 (which has slightly more cobalt) and is fast gaining a very favorable reputation as a top quality steel. As the name implies it has 0.85-0.95% Carbon, 0.80% Manganese, 17-18% Chromium, 0.60 Nickel, 0.07-0.12% Vanadium, 1.00-1.30% Molybdenum, and has a typical Rockwell of 58-60.