Steel Knives

Material selection is a critical decision with any knife. All materials have slightly different characteristics that we take into account when suggesting a material to our customers. Some are quite obvious, such as toughness and wear resistance but others might not be so apparent. Plus we have to decide how changing one characteristic affects the other characteristics that are important. Here is a list of all we consider:

Wear Resistance
What type of wear? A sliding wear or a more direct type of erosion? Many times corrosion looks like erosion, to the untrained eye.

Toughness
Does the knife need flexibility or the ability to "give"? Is impact toughness needed? Is there any side-loading?

Corrosion
What environment is the knife operating in? Is it a food application? Is some surface rust allowed? How long is the knife expected to run? Some knives are changed well before any corrosion has time to occur.

Availability
Sometimes a certain material may be optimum for an application but is so difficult to acquire that we will avoid it.

Cost
Is the cost per machine hour such that it is worthwhile to spend more money on expensive material that will last longer? How long does it take to change the knives?

Machinability
What are the special features of the knife that will be difficult to machine and thus raise the costs of certain materials?

Quality of Cut
How important is the quality of cut? Is a knife material needed that will allow for ultra-sharp edges?

Hardness
Does a higher hardness cause a potential problem when running against another part that is also hardened? Which one is less expensive or easiest to change and thus should be the "sacrificial lamb"?

With nearly 40 years of knife manufacturing experience, we are experts at helping you choose the best performing material for your knives. We invite you to talk to one of our Sales Engineers about your application!

The chart below lists most of our most popular raw materials along with how they compare with each other in terms of: Wear Resistance, Toughness, Cost and Availability. We have made products out of many different materials not listed including Copper, Diamond, Sapphire, and Aluminum.


STEEL SELECTOR      1 = Low     10 = High
MaterialWear ResistanceToughnessCostAvailabilityComments
CERAMIC101102VERY EXPENSIVE IN SMALL QTYS AND LARGER KNIVES. OFTEN A DIE CHARGE - VERY BRITTLE. COSTLY TO MACHINE.
TUNGSTEN CARBIDE91-399GRADES CAN BE MADE TOUGH TO VERY BRITTLE, AS NEEDED. SIZE OF GRAINS MATTER. COSTLY TO MACHINE.
FERRO-TIC7.5294MACHINEABLE CARBIDE. WAS POPULAR BUT OFTEN BEING REPLACED BY POWDERED METALS SUCH AS CPM'S*.
CPM*-15V8.528.53POWDERED METAL. HIGH WEAR RESISTANCE BUT WATCH OUT IN ANY IMPACT TOUGHNESS SITUATIONS.
CPM*-10V8387POWDERED METAL LIKE 15V, BUT SLIGHTLY LESS IN WEAR. MORE POPULAR AND AVAILABLE.
M-42 HSS7.5373HIGH SPEED STEEL. HIGHEST WEAR RESISTANCE IN HIGHER HEAT APPLICATIONS.
M-4 HSS7374HIGH SPEED STEEL. GOOD WEAR RESISTANCE IN HIGH HEAT APPLICATIONS.
A-76.5453LOWER COST ABRASION RESISTANT STEEL USED IN MANY CASES WHERE POWDERED METAL IS TOO COSTLY.
CPM*-3V6.5886POWDERED METAL WITH VERY GOOD TOUGHNESS AND HIGH WEAR RESISTANCE.
M-2 HSS6458HIGH SPEED STEEL. MOST POPULAR HIGH SPEED STEEL BUT SLIGHTLY LESS WEAR RESISTANT. MORE AVAILABLE.
CB-1
(VASCOWEAR,
PGK)
673-67GREAT COMBINATION OF WEAR RESISTANCE AND TOUGHNESS. GOOD FOR RECYCLING KNIVES
D-255210OUR MOST POPULAR AND AVAILABLE STEEL. ESPECIALLY LOW COST IF YOU CAN WAIT 5 MONTHS FOR STEEL.
A-24.572.58SIMILAR TO D-2 BUT NOT AS POPULAR. CAN OFTEN SUBSTITUTE D-2 AND LOWER COST WITH NO LOSS IN PERFORMANCE.
MOD. A-84.582-38CHIPPER KNIFE STEEL. NEAR D-2 BUT A BIT TOUGHER. D-2 IS MORE AVAILABLE AND SOMETIMES LESS COSTLY.
H-134846SHOCK RESISTING ALLOY STEEL. GOOD TOUGH STEEL IN HIGH HEAT APPLICATIONS.
S-74945SHOCK RESISTING ALLOY STEEL. TOUGHEST STEEL WE COMMONLY USE FOR KNIFE APPLICATIONS.
440-C SS4548MOST WEAR RESISTANT STAINLESS STEEL. GOOD FOR CORROSIVE APPLICATIONS.
420 SS3.553.58SLIGHTLY LESS WEAR RESISTANT THAN 440-C BUT LESS EXPENSIVE AND OFTEN MORE AVAILABLE.
L-63.5826GOOD, STANDARD ALLOY STEEL. OFTEN USED IN PLACE OF O-1 OR 52100 FOR STRAIGHT KNIFE APPLICATIONS.
STELLITE38108VERY EXPENSIVE, OFTEN INLAID - BEST CORROSIVE RESISTANT STEEL. VERY LUBRISTIC TYPE OF STEEL.
S-538.53.55SHOCK RESISTANT ALLOY STEEL. A TOUGH STEEL SOMETIMES LESS COSLTY AND MORE AVAILABLE THAN S-7.
521003527OFTEN CALLED BALL BEARING STEEL. LOW COST IN CERTAIN SIZES. MOST OFTEN USED FOR CIRCULAR KNIVES.
41401.5627ALLOY STEEL. QUITE TOUGH AND THUS GOOD FOR LARGE, SCRAP OR SHREDDER TYPE KNIVES.
51602.5614VERY LOW COST STEEL FOR NON-DEMANDING APPLICATIONS. SUSCEPTIBLE TO CORROSION.
SK-52528CARBON STEEL, OFTEN USED OVERSEAS FOR STANDARD KNIVES. VERY SIMILAR TO 1095 BUT SLIGHTLY LESS CARBON.
10952528CARBON STEEL QUITE POPULAR IN THE USA FOR LOW COST KNIVES. ALSO AVAILABLE IN OTHER CARBON GRADES.