Steel, Materials and Heat Treatment
Current steels used by Cold Steel:
CPM 3-V (Made in the USA)
- American CPM 3-V can take an extremely fine edge which is highly chip-resistant. In recent years, it has proved very popular with custom knife makers. Though costly, this modern tool steel is astonishingly tough and exceptionally wear resistant. It is a fine-grained powdered steel, with a very uniform microstructure giving it excellent impact resistance and fine edge holding performance, and making it perfectly suited for larger blades where extreme toughness is required.
CPM-S35VN (Made in the USA)
- An exceptional American super steel, CPM-S35VN is not only very tough and durable but it will take a fine razor sharp edge that will last a long time. An incredibly fine-grained powdered steel with a uniform microstructure, it offers very consistent performance. Durable, reliable, highly corrosion resistant and tough even when honed to a very fine edge, it is a good well rounded steel choice for high-end superior quality custom knives and tools.
- Japanese AUS 10A steel could be referred to as the “big brother” of AUS 8A; the latter of which we’ve been using in Cold Steel products for over three decades. AUS 10A is a high-performance stainless alloy steel boasting all the properties of AUS 8A and then some! It’s an excellent steel for working knives - tough, corrosion-resistant, easy to re-sharpen, and is known for better edge retention than AUS 8A, due to its higher carbon content.
- We have been using the same expertly heat treated Japanese AUS 8A steel for nearly 3 decades. This steel has tested amazingly well over the years and has proven to be an excellent steel for working knives - tough, corrosion resistant, with good edge holding and easy to re-sharpen.
VG-1 San Mai®
- VG-1 San Mai® is comprised of three layers of expertly laminated stainless steel combined into one blade. Hard high carbon steel is sandwiched between two layers of tough lower carbon steel, maximizing edge holding ability while still withstanding impact and lateral stresses. Produced in Japan in extremely limited edition, it is used on our most exclusive and collectible fixed blades.
- Through our research and development studies in our facility, Japanese VG-1 steel showed outstanding edge-holding ability and proven strength in point and edge durability tests. With good overall performance and proven durability, abrasion and corrosion resistance.
VG-10 San Mai®
- VG-10 San Mai® comprises of three layers of expertly laminated stainless steel combined in one blade. Hard carbon steel is sandwiched between two layers of tough lower carbon spring steel, thus maximizing edge holding ability while still being able to withstand impact and lateral stresses. Produced in extremely small production runs, San Mai® is used on only our most collectible high-end fixed blades, and is a registered trademark of Cold Steel worldwide!
- A-2 is an air hardening tool steel with excellent toughness and high wear resistance, these attributes make it an ideal choice for hard use fixed blades from hunting knives to combat and camp knives. A-2 has uses in industry such as blanking dies, wear inserts, and shear blades, plus many other applications. A-2 is considered a substantial upgrade in both toughness and wear resistance over O-1 and other carbon steels.
52100 High Carbon
- 52100 High Carbon is a hard wearing steel that’s an excellent choice for custom hunting and outdoor fixed blades. Often used by custom knife makers in forged blades that require toughness and wear resistance in unforgiving conditions.
1090 High Carbon
- 1090 High Carbon Steel is an excellent choice for larger fixed blades. It takes and holds a good edge while remaining tough enough to withstand even our brutal stress tests. A good all-round performance high carbon steel that is very forgiving under shock.
1055 High Carbon
- The carbon content and lean alloy of this shallow hardening steel make this a very sturdy material that avoids a lot of the brittleness commonly associated with higher carbon materials. Particularly suited to blades that require extreme impact resistance it is often seen in high durability large fixed blades and swords.
- 4116 is a fine-grained stainless steel from Germany often used in the Pharmaceutical Industry and in high end Kitchen Cutlery. Its carbon and chromium content is balanced for excellent corrosion resistance and strength. Capable of taking a very fine, sharp edge, it makes an excellent choice for outdoor hunting applications. Our 4116 Stainless Steel is sub-zero cryo quenched for markedly increased strength, hardness and durability and superior edge-holding potential.
- A tough and hard wearing air hardening tool steel that has good corrosion resistance, this German steel has been used for decades by both factories and custom makers to produce rugged knives for outdoor and hunting use.
SK-5 High Carbon
- Japanese high carbon SK-5 is traditionally used for making a variety of hand tools, including chisels and woodcutting saws. With good all-round toughness and excellent edge holding capabilities, as well as excellent abrasion resistance it has stood the test of time and seen use in many countries.
- Possessing very similar properties to AUS8A, 8Cr13MoV is a reliable steel for working knives. This high carbon stainless steel has proven itself to be tough and corrosion-resistant in our tests. Like AUS8A, it boasts good edge holding and is easy to re-sharpen.
Steels previously used by Cold Steel:
Carpenter CTS®XHP (Made in the USA)
- Carpenter American CTS® XHP is a high carbon, high chromium powdered alloy steel with very impressive edge holding abilities. With an extra fine, uniform grain structure it out performs its ingot-steel equivalents by a large margin. This high performance steel has been used in everything from superior custom kitchen cutlery to surgical tools. It can also be polished to a beautiful satin finish, making it an excellent choice for high end every day carry knives, especially those that require a very fine cutting edge.
CPM 20CV (Made in the USA)
- This finely grained, powdered American tool steel combines very forgiving hard use durability with vastly superior corrosion and wear resistance. A popular choice for high end custom makers, its edge holding abilities are frankly outstanding. An excellent choice for hard wearing knives that require a very sharp, long lasting edge.
Carpenter CTS®BD1 (Made in the USA)
- A performance stainless alloy steel from the USA that has seen extensive use in the Military and Defense Industry as well as in Surgical Cutlery and the custom knife industry. BD1 has earned an excellent reputation for edge retention and corrosion / stain resistance.
O-1 High Carbon
- O-1 is a high carbon, oil hardening tool steel. Popular with custom knife makers it is used both for stock removal and forged knives around the world. With the proper heat treatment it will take and hold a very fine edge while remaining very tough and durable. An ideal high carbon steel for tough edged weapons.