Steel composition and information guide

Choosing the right steel is important when buying a knife and that decision should always reflect on the knifes intended use. Hunting, survival, bushcraft and combat knives require a high carbon steel for strength and edge retention whereas a decorative or collectible knife may require a rust resistant stainless steel that can be polished to a high finish.

CrMOVA is a steel used by Aitor and ATK Fixed Blades

CrMOVA Composition: C -0,75 / MN – 0,5  / SI – 0,36 / P – 0,02 / S – 0,015 / CR – 17,01 / VA – 0,17 / MO – 5,15

CrMOVA Extra Information:
Chromium Molybdenum steels are widely used in the oil and gas industries, in fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. These steels contain 0.5 to 5% Cr and 0.5 to 1.5% Mo, and with Aitor & ATK includes vanadium. The chromium provides improved oxidation and corrosion resistance, the molybdenum increases strength at elevated temperatures and Vanadium increases the strength, wear resistance, and increases toughness.  Other uses for CrMOVA High quality tools, High end chef knives, Surgical equipment, and high end heated machinery.

4,40C is the steel used by ATK Folding Knives, Alpino Knives, Fox

4,40C Composition: C -1,20 / MN – 1,0  / SI – 1,0 / P – 0,040 / S – 0,030 / CR – 18,00 / VA – 0,00/ MO – 0,75

4.40C Extra Information:
440C stainless steel is a high carbon martensitic stainless steel. It has high strength, moderate corrosion resistance, and good hardness and wear resistance. Grade 440C is capable of attaining, after heat treatment, the highest strength, hardness and wear resistance of all the stainless alloys. Its very high carbon content is responsible for these characteristics, which make 440C particularly suited to such applications as ball bearings and valve parts. ATK folding knives also have some of the blades coated in Titanium.

Other uses for 4,40C
Rolling element bearings, Valve seats, High quality knife blades, Surgical instruments and Chisels.

AISI 420 Stainless Steel is used by Puma Tec

AISI 420 Composition: C -0,15 / MN – 1,0  / SI – 1,0 / P – 0,40 / S – 0,030 / CR – 16,00 / VA – 0,00/ MO – 0,00

AISI 420 Extra Information:
Alloy 420 is a hardenable, martensitic stainless steel that is a modification of Alloy 410. Similar to 410, it contains a minimum of 12% chromium, just sufficient enough to give corrosion resistant properties. Alloy 420 has higher carbon content than Alloy 410 which is designed to optimize strength and hardness characteristics. It has good ductility it the annealed condition but is capable of being hardened up to Rockwell hardness 50 HRC, the highest hardness of the 12% chromium grades.

Other Uses for AISI 420:
Cuttery, Knife blades, Surgical instruments, Needle valves, Shear blades, Scissors and Hand tools.

BOHLER N690co is used by FKMD

BOHLER N690co Composition: C – 1.030 / MN – 0,44  / SI – 0,48 / P – 0,018 / S – 0,0010 / CR – 16,46 / MO – 0.43  / Co – 1,50

BOHLER N690co Extra Information:
Austrian Steel manufacturer conventionally produces stainless knife steel. Great value in a corrosion resistant knife steel with excellent edge holding capabilities. Additions of chromium and vanadium enhance edge holding capability, while cobalt and carbon help to retain high hardness. Hardens and tempers to 57-59 HRC and 60-62 HRC with deep freeze. For maximum toughness, harden and temper to 57-59 HRC. For maximum wear resistance, harden and temper to 60-62 HRC.

Other uses for BOHLER N690co:
Heavy duty machinery parts, Some ship components and Heavy duty tools.

BOHLER N695 is used by Cudeman Knives

BOHLER N695 Composition: C – 1.030 / MN – 0,44  / SI – 0,48 / P – 0,018 / S – 0,0010 / CR – 16,46 / MO – 0.43

BOHLER N695 Extra Information:
An improved 440C, BOHLER N695 is a conventionally produced Chromium stainless steel with high hardness, wear resistance and good corrosion resistance in the hardened and tempered condition.  Rolled as our other alloys using cross rolling technology for maximum stability and uniformity in plate and sheet stock.

Other uses for BOHLER N695:
Rolling element bearings, Valve seats, High quality knife blades, Surgical instruments and Chisels.

SANDVIK 12c27 is used by Le Thiers

SANDVIK 12c27 Composition: C – 0.6 / MN – 0,4  / SI – 0,4 / P – 0,025 / S – 0,010 / CR – 13.5 / MO – 0.00

SANDVIK 12c27 Extra Information:
Sandvik 12C27 is Sandvik’s most well-rounded knife steel with excellent edge performance allowing razor sharpness, high hardness, exceptional toughness and good corrosion resistance.Sandvik 12C27 is our main knife steel for hand-held knives, high-end ice skate blades and ice drills. Continuous improvement over a period of 45 years has evolved Sandvik 12C27 into the high performing steel grade it is today. The composition is tighter, the purity level is much higher and the fine carbide microstructure of today is far from how Sandvik 12C27 knife steel of the sixties looked. With a hardness range of 54-61 HRC, high toughness, scary sharpness and good corrosion resistance.

Common uses for SANDVIK12c27:
Hunting knives, Pocket knives, Camping knives, High-end chef’s knives and Tactical knives.

VG10 is a unique steel used by Japanese manufaturer MCUSTA

VG10 composition: C – 1.0 / MN – 0,4  / Co – 0,2 / Ma – 0,5 / S – 0,010 / CR – 15.0 / MO – 1.00

VG10 Extra Information:
VG-10 is a popular knife steel used extensively by Mcusta. VG-10 is short for V Gold 10, and is manufactured exclusively by Takefu Special Steel in Japan. VG-10 is quite unique in it’s composition using Molybdenum, Cobalt and Vanadium in the mixture. VG-10 is typically hardened to anywhere from RC 58-61. We can´t argue with the Japanese when it comes to steel production.

Uses for VG10:
Exclusivly for high end knives, also some high end Damascus blades have a internal structure made from VG10.


3 thoughts on “Steel composition and information guide

  1. I must admit guys it´s nice to see for once someone who has had the decency to lay out a correct steel table on there website. I have been buying knives ever since I was a young lad and know a little about steels and I have seen so much bullshit around when selling knives. Cheers guys for not cheating the ignorance.

  2. I am confused. The information that is usually published about Puma Knives steel is all over the place. I have been told by Puma in Germany that 440C is not good for knives because most people would not be able to resharpen them. Other people say 440C is easy to sharpen. $20 is considered by most people to be poor quality knife steel but Puma Management have told me it is the perfect knife steel. They said they have used it to make handmade knives in Solingen for over 50 years. What is the truth? If Puma management tell me that 440C is not good for normal use knives then why does every man and his dog say that Puma knives are made from this steel.

    1. The truth is that there is so many steels out there being used for knives at this moment Jim and it is quite confusing. There is various grades of 440 steel and all of them have a percentage of carbon. 440C is high in carbon and that makes the blade harder to sharpen but it also has it´s advantages like the blade retention is longer.

      Puma made in Solingen uses all sorts of steels, Puma IP which is made is Spain uses 440C and AN58 which is a steel composed by Nieto is Spain which does not exist on the common steel chart. Puma Tec is a chinese manufactured that tends to use 440A, 440B and 420 AISI steel in their knife production which have a low carbon content making them easier to sharpen.

      Which of these steels are the best? At the end of the day it´s about your needs, Carbon Steel also requires more maintenance because the higher the carbon the easier it will rust. Our new range of knife sharpeners should help you keep your blade in tip top condition Jim, you can find them here on our website.

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