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Crafting knives are as old as civilization itself. From the earliest flint hand axes to modern kitchen knives, humans have always relied on sharp tools for survival and progress. Over time, knife crafting has evolved into both an art form and a science, with advancements in technology and techniques leading to more efficient and durable blades. At Shieldon, we take great pride in our long-standing tradition of crafting premier knife handles. Our skilled artisans use only the finest materials and techniques, resulting in beautifully crafted and functional tools that are built to last.

Steel Properties Comparison Tool

In order to better meet the needs of our customers for customized folding knives, fixed blade knives and multi-tools, we have collected popular steel properties to create the table below. By selecting the steel you want to know more about you can see a comparison of the properties.

Steel Elemental Composition Tool

Steel made up of different chemical elements will have different properties such as hardness and toughness. The following table gives you a better idea of the percentage of chemical elements in different steels.

Handle Comparison Tool

Handles made of different handle materials will have different characteristics and will differ in various aspects such as appearance and feel. The following table gives you a better understanding of the different materials used in grips.

Explore the Wide Range of Knife Steel Types

Discover the different types of knife steel available, each offering unique benefits for various uses. Learn about the best knife steel options to meet your needs, from durability to sharpness.


Tool Steel – The Backbone of Cutting Precision:

Tool steels are known for their hardness and durability, designed to offer top-notch cutting performance.

Popular choices in this category are

  • D2, known for its resistance to wear;
  • O1, valued for how easily it can be sharpened
  • Crucible’s CPM series, including the tough CPM-3V

For extreme durability, high-speed steels like M4 are preferred, as they provide superior edge retention.


Carbon Steel – The Epitome of Resilience and Ease:

Carbon steel is a reliable choice for extreme conditions, particularly favored for its use in survival knives and machetes due to its toughness and the ability to be easily sharpened to a very sharp edge.

Among its class, 1095 steel stands out, known for its simple yet effective blade construction and easy maintenance.

It’s important to note, however, that due to its lower chromium content, it requires consistent care to prevent corrosion.


Stainless Steel – The Harmony of Performance and Maintenance:

Stainless steel combines the durability of carbon steel with the rust-resistant qualities of chromium, creating blades that are both strong and resistant to corrosion.

This type of steel is perfect for everyday carry (EDC) knives and includes a wide range of options like the

  • 400 series,
  • 154CM,
  • AUS,
  • VG steels,
  • CTS
  • MoV families

Notable mentions also include the Sandvik and Crucible SxxV series.

For a steel to be considered true stainless, it must contain at least 13% chromium, which ensures it’s durable and performs well without sacrificing corrosion resistance.


Exploring Today’s Top Knife Steels

As we delve into the world of knife blades, it’s fascinating to see the variety of advanced steels shaping today’s market. While there are exceptionally high-grade materials like CPM-125V, CPM-10V, and K294, they are more of a collector’s rarity than a standard offering. Don’t be swayed by hierarchical steel rankings; they’re more of an art than a science, a way to group these materials by general performance after considering multiple factors.

Ultra-Premium Steels

  • CPM S110V: Renowned for its exceptional wear resistance and edge retention, CPM S110V stands out as a top choice for demanding knife applications. Despite its rarity and manufacturing challenges, its ability to maintain a sharp edge over prolonged use makes it highly desirable for enthusiasts and professionals alike. While sharpening can be more difficult due to its hardness, the longevity and performance it offers justify the investment for those seeking unparalleled durability in their blades.
  • CPM S90V: With its high carbon and vanadium content, CPM S90V is a stalwart in durability and edge retention. Its triple vanadium content compared to other steels like Elmax or S30V ensures extended sharpness even under heavy use. While sharpening may require patience, the payoff in terms of longevity and performance makes it a favorite among those who prioritize edge retention above all else.
  • M390: Engineered with third-generation powder metal technology, M390 from Bohler-Uddeholm excels in both hardness and corrosion resistance. Chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, and tungsten combine to deliver exceptional sharpness and edge retention, making it ideal for high-demand applications. While sharpening is more manageable compared to S90V, it still demands effort, but the resulting mirror-like finish and enduring performance make it worth the investment.
  • ZDP-189: Hitachi’s ZDP-189 impresses with its remarkable hardness and edge retention, thanks to substantial carbon and chromium content. Achieving a hardness of around 64 HRC, blades made from ZDP-189 maintain sharpness exceptionally well, although sharpening can be challenging. However, its slightly reduced corrosion resistance due to carbon content doesn’t detract from its overall performance, making it a top choice for those who prioritize edge retention above all else.
  • Elmax: European Uddeholm’s Elmax offers a unique blend of wear and corrosion resistance, combining stainless steel properties with carbon steel-like performance. With impressive edge retention and ease of sharpening, it’s considered a versatile all-around knife steel suitable for various applications. Its rust resistance ensures longevity, making it a popular choice among users who seek a balance between performance and maintenance.
  • CPM-20CV: Developed as Crucible’s answer to M390, CPM-20CV boasts excellent wear resistance, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. Its high chromium content enhances its ability to withstand corrosion, making it suitable for outdoor and marine applications. Similar to the M390, it offers a remarkable balance of performance characteristics, making it a preferred choice for those seeking durability and longevity in their blades.

Premium Steels

  • CTS-XHP: CTS-XHP offers excellent edge retention and a hardness of about 61 HRC. While it outperforms S30V in edge retention, sharpening requires more effort. Resembling D2 steel, it boasts good corrosion resistance but can be challenging to sharpen and prone to brittleness.
  • CPM M4: Known for its toughness, CPM M4 excels in edge retention among carbon steels. Produced using Crucible’s patented process, it offers stability. However, it’s not stainless and needs proper maintenance to prevent patina formation.
  • CPM S35VN: Developed as an improvement over S30V, CPM S35VN offers enhanced machinability and sharpening ease while maintaining toughness. It’s a top choice for mainstream knife steels, providing excellent performance.
  • CPM S30V: Crucible’s S30V steel is renowned for its superb edge retention and rust resistance. It’s a popular choice for high-end knives, offering a balanced combination of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. Despite the emergence of the S35VN, the S30V remains a favorite in the knife industry.

High-end Range

  • 154CM: Known for its enhanced edge retention and corrosion resistance compared to 440C, 154CM is a favorite among pocket knife producers like Benchmade. It sharpens well and offers satisfactory toughness for various applications. Its powdered form, CPM 154, boasts finer carbides for improved edge durability.
  • ATS-34: Similar to 154CM, ATS-34 is a Japanese steel prized for its excellent edge retention. While not as corrosion-resistant as 440C, it’s favored by knife creators for its performance.
  • D2: Slightly below full stainless classification, D2 offers notable corrosion resistance and superior edge longevity. However, it’s harder to sharpen and requires expertise for fine edges.
  • VG-10: With added chromium for rust resistance and vanadium for increased toughness, VG-10 is embraced by respected knife makers like Spyderco. Known for its hardness and sharpness, it offers respectable toughness.
  • H1: Developed for supreme rust resistance by Japan’s Myodo Metals, H1 steel is virtually immune to corrosion. While its edge retention is lower, it’s ideal for diving knives and is considered a premium material.
  • N680: Exceptionally resistant to rust due to its high chromium content and 0.20% nitrogen, N680 is perfect for saltwater exposure. It offers decent edge retention and is a more affordable alternative to H1.

High Mid-Range

  • 440C: Once a top US steel, 440C remains a reliable choice, especially for mass-produced pocket knives. It’s tough, wear-resistant, and excels in stain resistance. While not as corrosion-resistant as some newer steels, its high carbon and chromium content make it relatively easy to sharpen.
  • AUS-8: Made in Japan, AUS-8 offers better rust resistance than 440B but with slightly lower hardness. While not as durable as higher-end steels, it’s easy to sharpen to a sharp edge.
  • CTS-BD1: Engineered for Spyderco, CTS-BD1 offers similar performance to AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV but with improved retention and corrosion resistance due to higher chromium content. While not as wear-resistant as steels like 154CM, it’s easy to sharpen.
  • 8Cr13MoV: Originating from China, this steel provides a cost-effective solution with higher carbon content than AUS-8. With optimized heat treatment, it offers balanced performance suitable for various applications.
  • 14C28N: Developed by Swedish Sandvik, 14C28N boasts improved corrosion resistance over its predecessor, 13C26. With added chromium and nitrogen, it offers notable rust resistance, making it a popular choice for knives.

Lower Mid-Range

  • 440A: Similar to 420HC but with slightly more carbon, 440A offers enhanced wear resistance and edge retention at the expense of corrosion resistance.
  • 420HC: Considered superior to other variants in the 420 series, 420HC is harder due to its higher carbon content. With effective heat treatments, it boasts improved edge retention and corrosion resistance, making it a popular choice for budget-friendly knives and multi-tools.
  • 13C26: Sandvik’s alternative to AEB-L, 13C26 prioritizes hardness and wear over corrosion resistance. While similar to 440A, it’s commonly used in razor blades and offers comparable performance.
  • 1095: A popular choice among carbon steels, 1095 features about 1% carbon, offering toughness and ease of sharpening. While lacking in corrosion resistance, it’s cost-effective and ideal for heavy-duty knives. Manufacturers often coat 1095 knives to prevent rust, or simple oil treatment can be effective.


  • 420J: Despite its limited carbon content and softer blade, 420J steel offers high flexibility and remarkable stain resistance. However, it dulls quickly, and wear resistance is not its strong suit. Knives made with this steel are typically affordable and mass-produced.
  • AUS-6: A Japanese alternative to the 420 series, AUS-6 is a soft, low-carbon steel with reasonable corrosion resistance. It’s suitable for general use, offering decent performance at an entry-level price point.

Understanding the Chemistry Behind Steel

At Shieldon, we recognize the importance of steel not just as an alloy of iron and other elements, but as a fundamental component of superior craftsmanship.

Our commitment to precision is evident in our efforts to offer a detailed analysis of the chemical composition of various steel types.

These elements are key in determining the distinctive characteristics of each steel type, ensuring our clients make informed decisions based on the specific attributes of the steel they choose.


Carbon (C) – Essential for Steel’s Hardness

Carbon stands out as the backbone of steel’s hardness and overall strength. It is the critical element that transforms iron into steel, facilitating an optimal balance between toughness and edge retention.

By carefully adjusting carbon levels, Shieldon ensures its steels offer unmatched durability and performance.

For instance, in our high-carbon steel knives, the enhanced carbon content significantly improves their ability to maintain a sharp edge over prolonged use, making them ideal for demanding tasks in both culinary and outdoor applications.


Chromium (Cr) – Key to Corrosion Resistance

Chromium is key for making steel resist rust and corrosion. By adding the right amount of chromium, Shieldon steels become highly resistant to moisture, making them ideal for use in wet environments.

The presence of chromium is particularly beneficial in kitchen knives, as it prevents rusting from exposure to acidic food substances, thereby prolonging the knife’s life and maintaining its aesthetic appeal.


Molybdenum (Mo) & Vanadium (V) – Enhancers of Toughness and Wear Resistance

Molybdenum and Vanadium are integral in boosting the steel’s toughness and its ability to endure wear and tear.

These elements contribute to maintaining the steel’s structural integrity even under extreme conditions, making them indispensable in crafting tools destined for high-stress applications.

Knives with molybdenum and vanadium can handle cutting through tougher materials without losing their edge or suffering damage, exemplifying Shieldon’s commitment to producing tools that are as durable as they are reliable.


Nickel (Ni) – Strengthener of Steel

Although the impact of Nickel on steel’s toughness might be a matter of debate, its benefits cannot be understated.

Nickel enhances the steel’s strength, especially its resistance to cracking under low temperatures.

This makes nickel-alloyed steel particularly valuable for outdoor gear intended for use in cold environments.

Knives and tools designed with nickel in their composition exhibit greater resilience against temperature-induced brittleness, offering reliability to those who venture into the chilliest of outdoor conditions.


Cobalt (Co), Manganese (Mn), Silicon (Si) – Making Steel Even Stronger

Cobalt, manganese, and silicon work like magic ingredients that make steel harder and more stable. These elements help ensure that knives and tools don’t bend or break easily, making every Shieldon product reliable and long-lasting.

They boost the steel’s capability to become hard without becoming brittle, which is crucial for tools that face heavy-duty use.


Nickel (Ni) – Keeping Steel Tough in the Cold

Nickel is like the superhero of steel when it comes to keeping it tough in freezing conditions. This element makes sure that knives and tools can withstand low temperatures without cracking.

That makes nickel-added steel perfect for adventurers and workers who need dependable tools in the coldest parts of the world.


Niobium (Nb), Tungsten (W), Nitrogen (N) – The Detail Enhancers

These elements are the behind-the-scenes heroes that improve the little details, making steel even better.

Niobium, tungsten, and nitrogen refine the steel’s structure, making knives sharper, more resistant to rust, and ensuring they last longer. Shieldon’s use of these elements is all about keeping their promise of offering top-notch quality.


Copper (Cu), Aluminum (Al), Boron (B) – Perfecting Steel’s Performance

Copper, aluminum, and boron take steel’s performance to the next level. They help fight off rust, make the steel easier to shape, and improve its overall strength.

It’s like they fine-tune the steel to perform better under any circumstances, ensuring Shieldon tools are not just good, but exceptional.


Lead (Pb), Selenium (Se), Tantalum (Ta), Zirconium (Zr) – Specialized Role Players

These elements might sound rare, but in the world of steel, they’re specialists. Lead, selenium, tantalum, and zirconium give Shieldon blades abilities that standard steel doesn’t have, like being easier to work with and enhancing durability.

Each one adds a unique benefit, making the steel tailored for specific, high-performance applications.


The Interactive Guide to Knife Steels

Our easy-to-use chart compares various steel types, focusing on key traits:

  • Hardness: Measures a steel’s strength and resistance to bending. Higher values on the Rockwell C scale (HRC) indicate greater durability.
  • Toughness: Determines a steel’s ability to withstand impacts without damage. It’s crucial for ensuring a knife’s long-lasting performance.
  • Wear Resistance: Indicates how well a steel can handle abrasive forces without wearing down. Chemical composition influences this trait alongside hardness.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Reflects a steel’s ability to resist rust and degradation from moisture and salt exposure. However, high corrosion resistance may slightly compromise edge performance.
  • Edge Retention: Measures how long a blade stays sharp with regular use. It’s a balance between wear resistance and maintaining sharpness.

Choosing the right steel involves balancing these characteristics. While harder steels offer better durability, they might be prone to chipping, while tougher ones may not hold their edge as well.

Shieldon's Handle Materials


Titanium is a top choice for knife handles because it’s both light and strong. This special material doesn’t get damaged by water or rust, making it great for use anywhere, from the kitchen to outdoor adventures.

Knives with titanium handles are not just tough; they’re also designed to look good and feel just right in your hand.

When we talk about titanium in knife handles, we’re talking about a metal that is as strong as some steels but much lighter.

This means your knife won’t feel heavy when you use it, which is a big plus. Also, titanium doesn’t react with sweat or water. This is important because it means your knife handle won’t start to wear out or look old quickly.



Aluminum is a prime pick for knife handles for folks who want something sturdy yet not heavy. This material shines with a modern, sleek vibe that catches the eye. Its lightness is a big win, making knives easy to handle, whether you’re cooking up a storm or out on an adventure.

When we say aluminum handles, think lightweight without giving up on toughness. They have this cool, futuristic look that makes any knife stand out. Plus, aluminum is strong. It can take a beating without bending or breaking.


Besi tahan karat

Stainless steel is a go-to for knife handles, especially if you’re looking for something that feels substantial and lasts a long time.

This material stands out for its tough nature and ability to resist rust, making it perfect for both kitchen enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.

When we talk about stainless steel in knife handles, we mean a blend of materials that is heavy, strong, and doesn’t get damaged by water or air.

Knives with stainless steel handles are symbols of durability and strength. They have this classic look and hefty feeling that many knife lovers prefer.

A great example of this would be a chef’s knife that is used daily in the hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen, or a survival knife that withstands the elements outdoors. Stainless steel handles have a weight that offers balance to the knife, improving control and precision during use.



Zinc is good for knife handles because it’s tough, not too heavy, and doesn’t cost a lot. It has a nice weight that makes a knife feel solid in your hand, but it’s still affordable. This means you get a strong and reliable tool without spending too much money.

For example, a pocket knife with a zinc handle can be a great tool for everyday carry. It’s heavy enough to handle tasks well but won’t empty your wallet. Zinc handles are strong and can last a long time, even if you use your knife a lot.



Copper handles are really special because they change color as they get older, giving your knife a cool, unique look. Plus, they help keep germs away by themselves, which is great for keeping things clean.

Copper is a good pick if you want a knife handle that looks better with time and helps stop bacteria from growing. It’s not just about looks; it’s also practical.

For example, if you have a chef’s knife with a copper handle, it won’t just make your kitchen look classy; it’ll also help reduce the spread of germs as you prepare food.



Epoxy handles are perfect for anyone who puts their tools to the test. They’re super tough against all kinds of weather and rough conditions, keeping your knife in top shape no matter what you throw at it.

Think of taking an epoxy-handled knife on a camping trip. It could end up getting wet, dropped in mud, or left out in the sun, but it’ll still be just as good as when you packed it.

Epoxy makes sure your knife handle won’t crack, fade, or break, keeping you ready for action.



Rubber handles are all about giving you a strong grip and feeling comfortable, even when it’s raining or your hands are wet. They’re perfect for anyone who needs their tool to be reliable and easy to hold onto, no matter the situation.

Think about using a knife with a rubber handle while you’re fishing. Your hands might be slippery from the water, but you’ll still be able to hold onto your knife properly. This means you can cut bait or ropes without worrying about the knife slipping.



Nylon is really strong for its weight, which makes it perfect for when you need something tough but not heavy. It adapts to different uses, so whether you’re in the city or out in the wilderness, a nylon handle is reliable.

An example of this would be a multi-tool knife used for camping. It’s tough enough to handle the outdoors but light enough not to weigh you down.


TPR (Thermoplastic Rubber)

TPR is like a mix of rubber and plastic, giving you a handle that’s easy to hold onto and lasts a long time. It’s great for when you need to keep a tight grip on your knife, like when you’re working with slippery materials.

A kitchen knife with a TPR handle would be perfect because even with wet hands, you can chop veggies without slipping.


PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

PVC is good against water and chemicals, which means it doesn’t get damaged easily. This makes it a budget-friendly option for lots of different jobs.

For example, a utility knife with a PVC handle can be used for tasks around the house or workshop and won’t get ruined by spills or stains.


Polyetherimide (PEI)

PEI can handle a lot of heat and tough use, making it great for knives that get used a lot.

Because it’s so strong, a professional chef’s knife with a PEI handle would be able to withstand the high temperatures and busy conditions of a commercial kitchen without getting damaged.


Raffir Composite

Raffir composite makes knife handles look cool with its unique colors and patterns. It’s strong and doesn’t get hurt by water, making it perfect for fancy knives that you want to show off.

Imagine having a hunting knife with a Raffir handle; it wouldn’t just be strong for outdoor use but also look special.


Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

ABS is a tough plastic that’s great for knives because it can take a beating and still help you keep a tight grip.

It’s a smart choice if you want a knife handle that lasts long and works well for everyday tasks. A good example is a camping knife with an ABS handle, which would be reliable for all kinds of outdoor adventures.



Micarta handles a mix of strong and classy, giving you a great grip and a look that gets better with age.

They are made by pressing layers of material together with resin. If you had a chef’s knife with a Micarta handle, it would not only look elegant in the kitchen but also provide a secure grip, even if your hands are wet.



Kraton is like rubber but even better for knife handles because it’s super grippy and comfy. It’s perfect for when you need to use your knife a lot and don’t want it slipping out of your hand. Think about a survival knife with a Kraton handle; it would be easy to hold onto in any condition, from cutting wood to preparing food in the wild.



G10 handles are crafted from a high-pressure fiberglass laminate, a procedure that leads to a handle that’s not only lightweight but also extremely tough. Its non-slip texture ensures a firm grip in all conditions. Ideal for outdoor gear, G10 is perfect for those who hike, camp, or engage in any activities where the elements are a factor. Its durability and range of colors also make it a stylish choice for everyday carry knives.


Fiber Karbon

Carbon Fiber is valued for its high strength-to-weight ratio and its sleek, contemporary appearance. This material is typically found in more premium knives, intended for those who appreciate a blend of performance and aesthetic appeal. Whether used in a chef’s knife for its lightweight properties or in a collector’s item for its unique look, carbon fiber adds a touch of class to any blade. Its use is more suited to indoor or light outdoor tasks due to its cost and appearance preservation.



Zytel, a nylon resin, provides exceptional toughness and resistance to wear without a heavy price tag. This material is suitable for a wide range of uses, from heavy-duty outdoor knives that might be used in camping or survival situations to utility knives for everyday tasks around the house. Its durability ensures longevity, even in the toughest conditions.



Acrylic handles stand out with their high gloss and the potential for a broad palette of colors. While they offer a beautiful appearance, they’re best reserved for light-duty knives or collector’s pieces that won’t see heavy use, as they can be prone to scratches. Acrylic handles are perfect for display pieces or for adding a pop of color to your kitchen countertop.



Lightweight and ultra-durable, paracord handles are all about functionality and customization. Often seen in survival knives, they provide an excellent grip, even in wet conditions, and can be unwound in emergencies for use as rope. Their versatility and practical features make them a go-to choice for outdoor adventurers.



Leather handles exude a classic charm and provide a natural, comfortable grip that improves with age. Suitable for hunting knives or elegant display pieces, leather combines aesthetics with function. The warmth and individuality it brings make it a favored material for those who value tradition and the tactile experience of their tools.



Bone handles offer a glimpse into the artisanal craftsmanship of knife making. Each handle showcases unique patterns and textures, providing not only a good grip but also a piece of history and art.

They are often used in knives meant for collection or light use, as they add character while being durable enough for everyday tasks.



Wooden handles bring a touch of nature’s beauty to a knife, with each type of wood offering its own distinct properties and grain patterns. From rugged, outdoor-ready knives that benefit from the toughness of hardwoods to elegant kitchen utensils that showcase the fine grain of exotic woods, wooden handles are as versatile as they are sustainable.



Mother-of-pearl handles are synonymous with luxury and refinement. Used in knives that often serve as family heirlooms or ceremonial gifts, they feature iridescent colors and a smooth texture that stands out from all other materials.

While not meant for the rough and tumble of outdoor use, these handles elevate the aesthetics of any blade they adorn, making them perfect for display or light, careful use.

Other Key Factors to Consider

It’s important to know that blade steel choice, while significant, isn’t the only factor in a knife’s performance. Searching for the ideal steel type can lead enthusiasts into a maze of technical details.

Yet, a knife made from premium steel doesn’t automatically outperform those from lower-ranked steels. The heat treatment and blade design play a crucial role in its effectiveness.

Furthermore, with today’s material science advances, most modern steels will satisfy the majority of users. It might be more useful to focus on a knife’s ergonomics, usability, and features. These aspects can greatly affect your satisfaction, often more than the type of steel.

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Kami siap membantu di setiap tahap proyek pisau OEM Anda. Kirimkan pertanyaan dan anggaran Anda kepada kami dan kami akan menghubungi Anda kembali 24 jam.