What is Cronidur 30 steel

The best steel for knives

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What is the best steel for knives?

There are a thousand answers to this question, and each one could be correct from one point of view. A knife can serve several purposes and only its owner can decide whether the metal used is right for his particular situation.

  • Do you want a blade that holds a sharp edge?
  • How about a high resistance to corrosion?
  • Or do you want a knife that is strong enough that you can use it as a lever?

The following graphic provides a frequently updated overview of the common steels and their properties with regard to:

  • Rockwell hardness
  • Edge retention
  • Wear resistance
  • Corrosion resistance

The steels are sorted alphabetically within the following categories:

  1. Premium steels
  2. High-end steels
  3. Middle class
  4. Low-end steels

In the following knife steel table you will find the steel and a knife recommendation from me.

Properties like Rockwell hardness, edge retention, wear resistance and corrosion resistance visualized so that a comparison of the knife steels is possible.

and now for the graphical representation:

Which steel for which knife?

There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of steel alloys that are used to make knives. The exact alloy used by a manufacturer will reflect the intended use of the knife.

To put it more simply: before you decide on a steel, think about it - what do you want to do with the knife?

For a survival knife, for example, the same grade of steel will usually not be preferable as for a custom-made combat knife.

Therefore, the intended use of the knife will determine what the best steel is for a particular design and which is only a "good knife steel" or even completely unsuitable.

In addition, there are your own preferences, as well as the ability and patience to handle a whetstone, because every knife becomes blunt when used and has to be sharpened.

The properties of the steel determine how much patience you have to show to get the blade sharp again or to modify the cut.

When making knives - properties of a knife

When choosing steel for knife construction, a knife maker will usually weigh up the following properties of the steels and alloys against each other:

  1. Sharpness - how well can it be sharpened
  2. Edge retention - how well it keeps its sharpness
  3. robustness - Splinter resistance
  4. Strength and hardness - Resistance to deformation of the blade
  5. Corrosion resistance - Resistance to rust and acid

1. Sharpness

For many people, the ability of a blade to be sharpened is a crucial aspect of what makes a good knife steel. However, it should be noted at this point that the shape, the cut and the bevel angle of the blade also have a very large effect on the perceived sharpness of a knife.

2. Edge retention

The ability to get a sharp edge tells how long a knife can be used before it needs to be sharpened again.

All knives dull over time, but some blades dull faster than others. Knives that are more difficult to sharpen often hold their edge longer.

3. Robustness and toughness

The robustness of a steel describes the ability of the metal to withstand splintering and cracking under load.

Robust knife steel: 1095 Cro-van - Ka-Bar BK7 survival knife

As the title suggests, the Ka-Bar BK7 survival knife is a robust knife. It is a model version of the Becker Combat Utility knife.

Ka-Bar BK7 survival knife

Product features:

  • Total length: 32cm,
  • Blade length: 18.4cm,
  • Blade thickness: 5mm,
  • Weight: 380g,
  • Steel: 1095 Cro-Van

The Ka-Bar B7 knife is equipped with the Full Tang and, with the very robust 1095 Cro-van steel, offers a tough knife that is very durable and resistant.

4. Strength and hardness of the knife

The strength or hardness of a knife are terms that are often used interchangeably and what the Resistance of a metal to permanent deformation when cutting hard objects.

Robustness and strength tend to be inversely proportional to each other. In other words, the harder the steel, the more likely it will split or crack in use.

On the other hand, a very sturdy steel will not be very strong. This correlation is not true in all cases, but it is a good rule of thumb.

The hardest steels make the blade almost unusable after breaking off, while the bent blade of a softer steel can still be used.

Hard knife steel: N690CO - Fox Pro-Hunter hunting knife

The hard N690CO steel of the Fox Pro-Hunter hunting knife allows even hard material, such as bones, to be smashed and processed without creating notches on the cutting edge.

Fox Pro-Hunter hunting knife

Due to the relatively low weight of 239g, the above knife is not necessarily suitable for striking, but thanks to the hard steel N690CO it does not suffer any damage when the blade hits hard materials.

Product features:

  • Total length: 22.5cm
  • Blade length: 11cm
  • Weight: 239g
  • Steel: N690CO

5. Corrosion resistance

Corrosion resistance is simply the metal's ability to resist stains and rust.

In addition to the rust-resistant material, when making knives you can also give the metal a coating to improve certain aspects of the metal. For example, an antioxidant coating could be used to increase corrosion resistance.

Types of steels

The most popular knife manufacturers, above all the traditional knife makers from Solingen, use different types of steel in their production. Most of these steels can be classified into three classes of steels:

  1. Tool steel,
  2. stainless steel (or stainless steel)
  3. or carbon steel.

There are many other types of steel out there, but these aren't that commonly used for blades.

1. Tool steel

Tool steel is a general type of steel, the quality of which ranges from average to very good. Although not as popular as stainless steel in everyday life, tool steel is used in many knife blades.

2. Stainless steel

Stainless steel is probably the most popular type of steel used in modern knife manufacturing. It has a chromium content of at least 13%, which means that it offers a high level of corrosion resistance.

Contrary to popular belief, stainless steel will rust and discolor if it is left in a harsh environment for long enough. Normally, however, the steel should not corrode.

There are many different stainless steel alloys, such as the popular ones:

Stainless steel: 7Cr17MoV - Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival knife

The Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival knife is made of the high quality and rust resistant 7Cr17MoV stainless steel. In contrast to the Bear Grylls Ultimate with combi-blade tested here, the black-coated drop-point blade does not have a serrated edge and thus offers more work surface for "normal" work.

Except for the missing serrated edge, the features of the two Bear Grylls knives, including the steel used, are identical.

Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival knife

Product features:

  • Total length: 25cm
  • Blade length: 12cm
  • Weight: 400g
  • Steel: 7Cr17MoV stainless steel

The knife was designed as an all-round survival knife and fulfills this purpose brilliantly. Whether woodworking, making a fire, preparing food or clearing thin wood - the Bear Grylls knife is a very decent survival knife, despite all the Bear Grylls (anti) hype.

3. Carbon steel / carbon steel

Carbon steel blades are popular with people who want a sturdy knife. Carbon steel knives are easy to sharpen, hold this sharpness well and are very robust.

Carbon steel, like the C60 - C105 or 1095 steel, has been very popular in the manufacture of knives over the past few years. However, the carbon steel lacks corrosion and rust resistance.

It can happen that stains appear on carbon blades when cutting highly acidic vegetables, fruits and especially citrus fruits. Therefore, a knife made of carbon steel should be wiped dry with a cloth after use.

Carbon steel: 1095 - Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Parang Machete

The Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Parang Machete made of 1095 carbon steel is a carving knife for those who like things a little more brutal and have nothing against something larger and heavy in their luggage.

The 1095 carbon steel of this machete is extremely sharp and the weapon is well suited to clearing small growths and clearing the way from the undergrowth.

Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete

Product features:

  • Total length: 49.5cm
  • Blade length: 34cm
  • Weight: 719g
  • Steel: 1095 high carbon steel

The Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete is a compact and well-balanced tool that, if well cared for with oil, will also be of use to its owner for a very long time. The machete can also be used successfully in the home garden.

It is also said that a machete can also be used against zombies ... But see our article Machete - A weapon?

Books on the best steels

Knife blades and steel

There are a number of books on the market that deal with steels and especially knife steels.

From the abundance of information material, two books stand out: “Knife blades and steel: Technological consideration of knife edges” and “Steel key pocket book 2016”.

You should almost put them next to each other while reading and look at them together, as “Knife Blades and Steel” raises theoretical questions and tries to answer them, while the “Steel Key Pocket Book 2016” comes up with the necessary details and tables.

Steel Key Pocket Book 2016

Sometimes a bit tough to read, but there is definitely interesting and readable information and you can decide for yourself what the best blade steel for a knife is with the given data and the intended use for the knife.

Conclusion

So, if you're still wondering what the best steel for a knife is, the answer is "it depends." It all depends on how you want your blade to perform. Take a look at the knife tests on SurvivalMesserGuide.de before you buy a knife and decide whether the steel will meet your requirements.