Steel Type Properties

AUS-8 and AUS-6 are high-grade chromium Japanese steels that boast a good balance of toughness and strength, edge holding ability, corrosion resistance, and cost. Typical Rockwell hardness is 56-58.

440A and 440C are high-grade cutlery steels that are very similar to AUS above. The 440A contains the least amount of carbon and is more stain-resistant than 440C, which contains the most carbon and is typically harder. Many knives are made of 440 stainless, due to its toughness and relatively low cost.

VG-10 is a well-known, high-end Japanese steel, and is considered premium. It contains vanadium, which is renown for its toughness. The steel is specially designed for high-quality blades used in cutlery. VG-10 can be sharpened to a fine edge that is very durable and can maintain a hardness of Rc 60 without becoming brittle.

CPM S30V is a powder-made stainless steel developed by Crucible Materials Corporation for its wear and corrosion resistance. Considered to be one of the superior steels ever made, its chemistry promotes the formation and even distribution of vanadium carbides, which are harder and more effective at cutting than chromium carbides. In addition, vanadium carbides give the steel a very refined grain, which further contributes to the sharpness and toughness of its edge.

154CM is an American-made premium grade stainless steel, originally developed for tough industrial applications. It combines three principal elements: carbon, chromium, and molybdenum. Known for its best all-around qualities, it offers great corrosion resistance with good toughness and edge quality. Typical Rockwell hardness is 57-59.

D2 is a high-performance tool steel alloy commonly used in knives and tools. It is not considered stainless steel, as its chromium content is one percent less than the required classification.

8Cr13MoV is a Chinese stainless steel with a high performance-to-cost ratio, often compared to AUS-8. Tempered around the Rc56 to Rc58 range.

san mai means layered steel. It contains a very hardcore steel that is encased in softer, more resilient outer layers (there are many combinations of steel used in san mai). Its greatest advantage is that it gives a blade an extremely hard edge, while maintaining flexibility.