About Our Steel

Performance requirements, price range, and finishing methods all play a key role in selecting the best steel for each of our tools—and that’s a job we certainly don’t take lightly.

A knife’s steel is its lifeblood.

Imagine a day in the life of a mechanic’s knife: it’ll get put through the ringer. His knife will encounter all types of solvents and moisture. Durability, stain resistance, and ease of sharpening found in 420J2 or AUS 4 steel are perfect here.

On the other side of the spectrum, someone with an eye on a CRKT® Titanium M16® expects an alloy steel like AUS 8—something that’s much harder and has great edge-holding ability.

We know that blade steel is more than just an alloy of iron, other metals, and carbon. It’s the lifeblood of every single knife we offer and we go the extra distance to make sure what you get is exactly what you’re looking for.

We use stainless steels from many international suppliers. The chart below shows the equivalent qualities of comparable steels that we use. Note that the final hardness level is not only a factor of composition, but depends on heat treatment and quenching, to which we pay great attention.

Stainless Steel Alloy Specifications

SteelHRCCCRMNMONIPSIVCO
AUS 4 55-57 0.40-0.45 13-14.5 1 -- 0.49 0.04 1 -- --
AUS 8 58-59 0.70-0.75 13-14.5 0.50 0.10-0.30 0.49 0.04 1 0.10-0.26 --
65Mn 52-56 0.62-0.70 ≤0.30 0.90-1.20 -- -- ≤0.020 0.17-0.37 -- --
420J2 52-55 0.26-0.40 12-14 1 -- -- 0.04 1 -- --
440A 55-57 0.65-0.75 16-18 1 0.75 -- 0.04 1 -- --
12C27 Sandvik 59-61 0.6 13.5 0.40 -- -- 0.025 0.40 -- --
1.4116 55-57 0.45-0.50 14.5-14.8 0.40 -- -- 0.02 0.40-0.60 0.10-0.25 --
1.4034 56-58 0.47 13.5 1 -- -- -- 1 -- --
6168CrV 59-61 0.65-0.75 0.30-0.35 0.60 -- -- 0.08 0.20 0.10-0.15 0.25
YK-30 57-59 1.05 0.5 1 -- 0.25 0.03 0.40 -- --
SK 5 57-58 0.80-0.90 -- 0.50 -- -- 0.03 0.35 -- --
3Cr13 52-55 0.26-0.35 12-14 1 -- -- 0.04 1 -- --
5Cr15MoV 55-57 0.5 15 0.336 0.63 -- 0.025 0.407 0.1 --
8Cr13MoV 58-59 0.8 13 0.40 0.15 0.20 0.02 0.50 0.1 --
8Cr14MoV 58-59 0.8 14.07 0.16 0.22 0.22 0.029 0.45 0.14 --
9Cr18MoV 58-60 0.95-1.20 16-18 0.80 0.75 -- 0.04 1 -- --
ACUTO + 59-60 0.90-0.95 17-18 0.50 1.30 to 1.50 -- 0.04 0.50 .10 to .25 --
O1 Tool Steel 57-59 0.85-1.00 1-1.4 -- -- -- .10-.50 .4-.6 -- .4-.7
Bohler Udderholm Sleipner 60-61 0.9 7.8 0.5 2.5 -- -- 0.9 0.5 --

Benefits of Elements of Stainless Steel

ElementIncreases
Edge
Retention
Increases
Hardness
Increases
Harden-
ability
Increases
Toughness
Increases
Tensile
Strength
Increases
Impact
Strength
Increases
Wear and
Abrasion
Resistance
Increases
Corrosion
Resistance
Carbon x x     x   x  
Chromium   x   x x   x x
Manganese     x   x   x  
Molybdenum   x x x x   x  
Nickel   x           x
Silicon         x      
Vanadium   x     x x