Elmax

Josh Rider

Stuff maker
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Sep 2, 2014
Messages
2,423
B/U must be really pushing this stuff trying to get back in the good graces of the American market. When I called around trying to find it, a rep was willing to sell me one bar at a very good price. I didn't buy it at the time after talking to AKS, but I was very surprised at the extent this rep was willing to go just to sell the stuff. I'm a nobody from nowhere and the rep called several times leaving messages about selling the steel to individual knife makers. I think (and hope) they learned from their mistakes and I'm glad AKS stood up and decided to no longer carry it until they fixed the problem. I'm looking forward to buying some from Alpha Knife Supply when they get it back in.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 1998
Messages
1,437
I did an entire run of my Mini Thorn Nova in Elmax: http://wilkins-knives.com/mini-thorn-nova. I bought sheet of Elmax steel from Uddeholm here in Germany with enough extra to surface grind the can off from both sides before grinding. It did seem like a drag to have to pay the very steep per kilo price charged for Elmax knowing part of what I was paying for was "junk" steel I would have to grind off and throw away. If Uddeholm has indeed decided to start grinding the "can" off themselves before sale, that is a big plus. Still, I doubt I will use Elmax again, as my experience has shown that the knives I make from Becut (also a German Niobium alloyed stainless) perform every bit as good if not better than Elmax and allow me to offer an excellent knife at a lower price. Customers like lower prices!
 

navman

Gold Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Messages
843
I remember several years ago talking at length with Chuck about the HIP cladding issue with regards to M390, which ultimately convinced me to switch to CPM-20CV. However if BU has indeed addressed the HIP cladding issue with their cutlery steel line-up, would it be possible to reintroduce M390 to the AKS inventory? Purely cosmetic, but M390 seemed to come to a finer finish as opposed to 20CV.
 

Alan Davis Knives

Knife Maker
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jun 28, 2010
Messages
2,240
The HIP can was the problem. The HIP can is the can the steel powder is put into and then HIP'ed into a billet. The can is 304 stainless steel. After the billet is formed, the billet is rolled into sheets and the can remains on the outside of the sheet. Nathan posted they were removing .010" per side. We found some can to be up to .017" thick. Sometimes the HIP can caused warping during heat treating.

We felt it was not proper for Bohler Uddeholm (BU) to charge for blade steel and require suppliers/knifemakers to remove the 304 SS HIP can. After we found out about the can, we had all the sheets we purchased blanchard ground. We contacted all the knifemakers who had purchased Elmax with a can and replaced it with ground steel. If we did not contact you, you did not get bad steel. Other suppliers were not having the steel ground. We were getting calls from upset knifemakers blaming us for the can when they had bought Elmax from other sources.

We discussed the problem many times with BU. When they refused to change, we decided the issues were significant enough to stop stocking the steel.

Now we've been told the HIP is being removed after the billet is formed. We will see.

Important lesson to be learned is manufacturers and suppliers MUST be held accountable for the materials they sell. We don't expect atta-boys for doing our job. We do expect knifemakers to hold suppliers accountable when they sell bad/non-standard/poor quality/out of spec materials.

Chuck



Thanks Chuck, it is nice to know ya'll have our backs! The Elmax I purchased from you is blanchard ground.
 
Joined
Oct 13, 2011
Messages
1,773
^ it isn't a simple steel at all.

And while I agree with Chuck the can is a problem, I wouldn't say it's a quality problem. It is the cleanest most consistent material I've ever used. But, if you've ever struggled to get the wrapper off a piece of taffy and accidently ate a piece of paper you'll understand the frustration.

i quit trying to remove the wrapper and just chew the whole sticky mess... hell on the fillings :grumpy:
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
901
The HIP can was the problem. The HIP can is the can the steel powder is put into and then HIP'ed into a billet. The can is 304 stainless steel. After the billet is formed, the billet is rolled into sheets and the can remains on the outside of the sheet. Nathan posted they were removing .010" per side. We found some can to be up to .017" thick. Sometimes the HIP can caused warping during heat treating.

We felt it was not proper for Bohler Uddeholm (BU) to charge for blade steel and require suppliers/knifemakers to remove the 304 SS HIP can. After we found out about the can, we had all the sheets we purchased blanchard ground. We contacted all the knifemakers who had purchased Elmax with a can and replaced it with ground steel. If we did not contact you, you did not get bad steel. Other suppliers were not having the steel ground. We were getting calls from upset knifemakers blaming us for the can when they had bought Elmax from other sources.

We discussed the problem many times with BU. When they refused to change, we decided the issues were significant enough to stop stocking the steel.

Now we've been told the HIP is being removed after the billet is formed. We will see.

Important lesson to be learned is manufacturers and suppliers MUST be held accountable for the materials they sell. We don't expect atta-boys for doing our job. We do expect knifemakers to hold suppliers accountable when they sell bad/non-standard/poor quality/out of spec materials.

Chuck

And this is why I only buy from AKS. A lot of suppliers could care less or have the knowledge to go out of their way to help the maker.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2003
Messages
1,017
The HIP can was the problem. The HIP can is the can the steel powder is put into and then HIP'ed into a billet. The can is 304 stainless steel. After the billet is formed, the billet is rolled into sheets and the can remains on the outside of the sheet. Nathan posted they were removing .010" per side. We found some can to be up to .017" thick. Sometimes the HIP can caused warping during heat treating.

Elmax is a great steel. But the can has bitten me in the a$$ more than once. Thank you for being our ambassador, Chuck. I'm very glad to hear this may not be an issue going forward.

IMG_9750-X2.jpg
 
Joined
May 18, 2009
Messages
1,831
I've just got to say, Alpha is one of the best. I plan on buying most of my steel from them when its time to re-stock.
 
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