A great all purpose high carbon steel. 52100 is as time tested and proven as it gets. Used for decades in the production of ball bearings, it can take a beating. The extremely fine grain structure of 52100 provides excellent toughness and edge stability. We spring temper the spines of all of our 52100 blades for extra toughness. 

Toughness- 8.5

Edge Stability- 8.5

Wear Resistance- 2

Stain Resistance- 1

3V is currently the king of hard use steels. With the correct heat treat, its edge stability is second to none. 3V can support an extremely thin edge which lends to excellent edge geometry and cutting performance. It stands at the top of the heap of toughness while also having very good wear resistance

Toughness- 10

Edge Stability- 10

Wear Resistance- 4.5

Stain Resistance- 6

Z-Wear PM

Z-Wear is a new steel produced by Zapp that is designed to have excellent toughness and wear resistance. While more will be known after the steel becomes more main stream, it appears in our testing to have more edge holding than 3V while being slightly less tough. Z-wear can take a thin edge like 3V and hold it a long time. It falls into a new class of steels along with Vanadis 4E that are bridging the gap between 3V and M4. 

Toughness- 8.5

Edge Stability- 9

Wear Resistance- 6

Stain Resistance- 6


10V is an old CPM steel that was originally designed for use in the paper and cardboard industry for shear blades. It features a huge amount of Vanadium carbides and stands at the top of the heap for edge retention. While other steels like 15V and CPM121 REX have far more carbide content and wear resistance, this carbide content does not translate to real life edge retention in a knife. Our 10V is ground thin and hardened to 64.5 for maximum edge retention. 10V also is an extremely aggressive cutter which makes it ideal for cutting abrasive and difficult materials. With the introduction of MAXAMET, 10V may be dethroned as the king of ultra high wear knife steels, but until more testing is done, 10V remains the pinnacle of edge retention in a knife.  

Toughness- 4

Edge Stability- 6

Wear Resistance- 10

Stain Resistance- 2


80CRV2 is a fairly new steel that is an upgrade from 5160. It has more carbon and a dash of vanadium for increased toughness and edge holding over 5160. Its a great steel for hard use. 

Toughness- 9

Edge Stability- 7.5

Wear Resistance- 2

Stain Resistance- 1



M390+CPM 20CV

Bohler M390 and its Crucible made counterpart CPM 20CV are excellent high wear stainless steels. They are used primarily in utility knives that need alot of edge retention while being stainless.

Toughness- 7

Edge Stability- 8.5

Wear Resistance- 6.5

Stain Resistance 9

NITRO V is a new stainless steel that is an improved version of AEB-L. With the addition of Nitrogen and Vanadium, NITRO V offers increased edge stability, stain resistance, and edge holding. We will know more about where it ranks after further testing. 

Toughness- 7.5

Edge Stability 8.5

Wear Resistance- 2

Stain Resistance- 9

A tried and true classic, AEB-L is a very old steel that is used in razor blades. It also makes a fantastic knife. AEBL has extremely fine grain and despite being 12% chromium, it forms no chromium carbides, meaning that there is no reduction in toughness vs. a carbon steel of similar makeup.


Toughness- 7.5

Edge Stability- 8

Wear Resistance- 2

Stain Resistance- 8

Handle material

Canvas micarta is a great all around handle material that is very grippy and has good toughness.It is made from canvas cloth. Micarta has long been the go to material for hard use knife handles and for good reason. 

TeroTuf is a new material that has really grown on us. TeroTuf is made from polyester cloth and polyester resin.It is extremely grippy, even when wet and is the toughest handle material we've tested. Its ugly, but for a hard use knife, it might be the best material out there. 

G10 is a fiberglass laminate material. It is very strong, has good toughness, and great dimensional stability. It comes in a huge variety of colors and dresses up well. G10 is best used in smaller knives as it does not absorb shock well and can be hard on the hands. Its also very heavy. 

Stabilized Wood

Stabilized wood is natural wood that has been treated with resin at extremely high pressure. The resin works its way through the wood and results in a heavy, plastic like material that still has all of the beauty of natural wood with greater toughness, strength and dimensional stability. It requires a little bit more care than a true composite, but is the way to go if you want a beautiful handle that can stand up to the elements.