All around steel

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by JamesofArc, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. JamesofArc


    Apr 19, 2016
    So let's say I want to start a knife company. It will be a fairly simple line up. A few pocket knive options. A few hunting knive options and a few survival knife options. Just really simple stuff.

    What would be the best steel to use in these knives. One steel for all.

    These will be cut out with lazer cut blanks then CNC machined then hand finished with a heat treat and a seperate normalization.
  2. Richard Coyle

    Richard Coyle Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 12, 2019
    I think you would do well with something like m390 or maybe cts-xhp. Just my opinion though
  3. Eversion

    Eversion Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Apr 9, 2020
    Chris Reeve knives do this with S35VN (perhaps S45VN in the future, we'll see). M390 or it's near identical variants, 204P and 20CV, will probably do, as well.
  4. 91bravo

    91bravo Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    M4 or good ol 1095 if it were my choice!
  5. danbot

    danbot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    I like CPM 154 for an all around steel. Takes a great polish too!
    Will you be using the pre-order business model? :eek:
  6. JamesofArc


    Apr 19, 2016
    After I win the lottery I will be buying my own laser jet and cnc grinder then lock myself in a building and make a knife company.
    Evan Mattherson, danbot and 91bravo like this.
  7. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    Sure you will ! And I will, too !
    For a start, you should balance quality of end product with ease of machining. I wouldn't attempt "special" steels but stick with well performing (and easy to process) stainless steels. AEB-L, 12C27, 14C28N, N690, K110 and there are many more to consider. It will please a broad range of customers while still performing to the requirements of knife nuts.
    NebulaMask, willc, Currawong and 3 others like this.
  8. danbot

    danbot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Now that's a solid plan! :thumbsup:
    000Robert likes this.
  9. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    He stole MY plan !
    broadscotch and danbot like this.
  10. soc_monki

    soc_monki Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 5, 2019
    420hc! Works for Buck!
  11. fielder


    Jan 25, 2011
    14c28n is a good all rounder.
    jstn, Therom, sabre cat and 3 others like this.
  12. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    12C27 would work for me.
    steelhog and Therom like this.
  13. pnsxyr

    pnsxyr Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 29, 2013
    If you wanted me to pick one steel for everything - folder, smaller fixed blade, bigger fixed blade, kitchen knives, I'd say AEB-L with a heat treatment favoring higher hardness on folders, smaller fixed blades, and kitchen knives, and favoring slightly lower hardness and greater impact toughness on larger fixed blades. If we can pick a different steel for folders, then S35VN around 60-61 HRC or RWL-34/CPM-154 @ 61-62 HRC would be high on my list, personally.
    danbot, Currawong and jbmonkey like this.
  14. Shorttime


    Oct 16, 2011
    Another vote for 154CM, here! Mainly because AEB-L is not as widely known outside the enthusiast community.

    Make sure your heat treat is right and consistent. Same for your inspection process before they go to the warehouse.
    sabre cat, jbmonkey and gazz98 like this.
  15. gazz98

    gazz98 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Another vote for 154CM or CPM 154. Not too cheap, not too expensive. A good, all around, mid tier steel. 14c28 was my second choice.
    danbot and jbmonkey like this.
  16. Korean Hog

    Korean Hog Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 12, 2017
    First choice from me would be S35VN.
    Seems to be readily available and I've seen a good handful of new, nearly one man operations using S35VN in the types of blades you listed.
    Second choice would be CPM-154.
    Both of these steels have been good all around users for me in terms of edge holding, toughness, rust resistance, ease of sharpening, etc.
    Assuming the blades you build have good geometry and a good heat treatment process I don't think you'd go wrong with either.

    S35VN seems better for marketing, many people seem to view it more favorably than CPM-154 or 154CM.
    Never had a problem with either one, but sometimes the 154 CM or CPM is looked at as "old" or "outdated"
    Betcha a lot of folks that would potentially buy 'em, won't even really use them enough to notice much difference, but with all the
    info on steel performance out there, the performance increases from one alloy to the next are known.
    The letters CPM sell better than CM. s35vn is a known "CPM" steel as well.

    Pretty sure it's a cheaper, but I've always liked knives made from 5160, 1095, and 52100 carbon steel
  17. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    Hmmmmmmm. The main stumbling block is going to be deciding on a steel that would work well for pocket knives (folders), as well as hunting and survival knives (fixed blades).

    For the hunting and survival knives I’d say any good, reliable carbon steel would get the job done. Something like 1095.

    For pocket knives it sorta depends on the type you would intend to make. Slipjoint guys would be fine with 1095. Those who buy “tactical” type knives might bitch about the corrosion.

    If I were looking for one steel to do it all and get minimal complaints from every end of the spectrum I think I might go with CPM3V.
    danbot, Smiling and jbmonkey like this.
  18. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    One steel for all knives fixed and folders? A few I would consider ... Cruwear, M4, D2, maybe 1095 or 3V.
    91bravo likes this.
  19. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 1, 2013
    AEB-L is also an excellent culinary steel.
    The knife makers joke is, How do you make a One Million dollars making knives ??? You start with Two Million! To the OP, Knife making is a Brutal business . Labor intensive & costly . Always has been. Always will be! I hear of many that are going to launch a knife company. Good Luck!:)
  20. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    It is a little outdated but CPM 154 would work well. That is my vote.

    the big ? Is why limit yourself to one steel?
    danbot and 000Robert like this.

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