There are a lot of things that go into the design of a good knife. Blade shape, handle geometry and grip materials contribute to the overall functionality of a knife. At the heart of every knife, however, is the steel used in its construction.
154 CM steel is a popular steel used in many modern blade designs. Originally designed for heavy industrial applications, knife makers quickly realized its potential as a blade material. It first caught on in the early 1990s and has become a popular go to material for affordable and tough knives.
The Science Behind the Steel
Before diving into why it’s so popular, a moment should be taken to look at the science behind this particular steel. Steel, in its purest form, is an alloy most commonly created by combining iron and carbon. However, steel has come a long way since its discovery, and there are now many variations of steel alloy available depending upon the application.
In this case, manufacturers added chromium and molybdenum to produce a tough steel while maintaining anti-corrosive properties. This new steel also held a good edge making it an ideal material for knife blades.
A Popular Choice
Since its introduction, 154 CM steel has become more affordable making it the premium steel of choice for many knife manufacturers. Already knowing a bit about the science behind the steel, it’s easy to see why. However, here is a more detailed breakdown of the reasons why this steel is so popular.
Creating a corrosion resistant steel is a balancing act between toughness and rust resistance. This steel contains more carbon and less chromium than stainless steel. This means it isn’t as rust resistant as say 440 steel, but it is tougher.
Holds an Edge
Again, because of the greater carbon content of this steel, it is able to hold an edge better than many other steel alloys. Granted, it’s not better than a carbon steel blade, but you also don’t get the same level of corrosion resistance with carbon steels.
Due to improvements in manufacturing, and its wide spread popularity, it’s now an affordable steel with many of the same properties as more expensive alloys. This is why it has become a staple of the sport knife industry.