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Guide to Knife Blade Steels

Your knife is only as good as the steel in its blade. A knife made of good steel will be sharp, stay sharp, and won't break on you. 

Steel is a mix of carbon and iron that is enriched with other elements to improve certain characteristics. There's a lot of blade steels to pick from, and each has its own set of advantages to consider. 

What to Look for in a Good Blade Steel

  1. Hardness and durability: You want a durable knife that won't bend because its steel is too soft. You don't want a steel that's so hard that it becomes brittle and chips over time either. A good mixture of these two qualities is best.
  2. Sharpness and edge retention: You want a knife that can get real sharp and stay sharp through repeated use. How hard a blade steel is also affects how sharp it can get. 
  3. Corrosion resistance: This determines whether your knife is stainless or not. Non-stainless steel knives need oil and maintenance to keep rust away. Stainless steel knives are more forgiving, but they can still end up rusting if neglected.

Manly uses D2, CPM154 and S90V steels for its knives.

D2 (1.2379)  is a steel normally used to create large industrial tools needed to cut and stamp softer forms of steel. Because of that it's incredibly tough and wear resistant. It's a bit more resistant to corrosion than carbon steel but it's not truly stainless.

CPM154 is high end stainless  steel and exhibits superior sharpness and edge retention than standard stainless steels. CPM154 is great for knives that will be used often. 

S90V is ultra premium steel that approaches the very pinnacle of wear resistance and edge retention. Blades made of that still offer exceptional edge retention and performance while still maintaining great strength and toughness.

For a comprehensive blade steel guide and steel composition charts visit: http://knifeinformer.com/discovering-the-best-knife-steel/