Search National Knives Blog

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What a Steel! Part 1 - Crucible Industries, LLC

Premium steels are revolutionizing the knife industry.  When premium steels are referred to, most often it is in reference to a high performance steel that maintains a cutting edge somewhere along the lines of forever.  Okay, forever is really stretching the truth quite a bit, but for those out there that don't often use a pocket knife, or a hunting knife, the possibility of literally going years between sharpening is possible.  Steel producers from all over the world are constantly challenging themselves to upgrade, not just out of competition, but because of demand.  Who creates this demand?  We (consumers) do.  For those out there that consider themselves steel junkies and are always looking at the latest and greatest, the mere thought of Spyderco releasing a knife with a blade in Crucible Industries CPM-S90V® stainless steel, gets the heart pumping and leads us to empty out the piggy banks and play the part of a laboratory experiment for little known drug companies for a few extra dollars so we can afford to add yet another knife to our collection.

Crucible Industries is headquartered in Syracuse, New York and produces some of the most popular and finest knife steels in the United States.  Crucible has been doing so since 1876 with roots going back to England a hundred years earlier.  With over 1000 patents, Crucible is a leader in the steel industry, not just for knives, but creating steel for just about any specialty and everyday use.  Crucible's premier line of steels are known as Crucible Particle Metallurgy®, or CPM® as it is most commonly referred to and are best known for their wear and corrosion resistance, toughness and their ease of grinding.

A list of CPM® stainless, high speed and tool steels most commonly used in knife manufacturing:

  • Offers easier grinding, polishing and better toughness over standard 154 CM and better edge retention (stays sharper longer) and resistance to chipping than 440C stainless steel. 
  • Contains 1.05% Carbon, 14.00% Chromium and 4.00% Molybdenum
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 55 and 62
  • Does not offer the wear resistance of CPM-S30V stainless steel.
  • Does offer the same toughness as CPM-S30V stainless steel.
  • Does offer better grind ability than CPM-S30V stainless steel.
  • Offers better wear and corrosion resistance and toughness versus 440C and D2.
  • Contains 1.45% Carbon, 14.00% Chromium, 4.00% Vanadium, and 2.00% Molybdenum
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 58 and 61.
Zero Tolerance Bayonet, 7-1/2" CPM-S30V Stainless Steel Blade, Ranger Green G-10 Handle ZT-9

  • Designed to be tougher than CPM-S30V stainless steel.
  • Contains 1.40% Carbon, 14.00% Chromium, 3.00% Vanadium, 2.00% Molybdenum, and 0.50% Niobium
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 58 and 61.
  • Offers the ability to withstand 20% more impact energy than CPM-S30V stainless steel.
  • Offers similar edge retention to CPM-S30V stainless steel.
Spyderco Native 5, 3" S35VN Stainless Steel Blade, Black G-10 Handle C41GP5

  • Designed to offer outstanding, long lasting edge retention.
  • Contains 2.30% Carbon, 14.00% Chromium, 9.00% Vanadium, and 1.00% Molybdenum.
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 56 and 59
  • Offers better corrosion resistance than 440C and 154CM.
  • Offers better toughness than 440C.
  • Designed to offer better corrosion resistance than 440C and CPM-S30V.
  • Contains 2.80% Carbon, 15.25% Chromium, 9.00% Vanadium, 3.00% Niobium, 2.25% Molybdenum, and 2.50% Cobalt.
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 58 and 61.
  • Designed to offer outstanding resistance to chipping and breakage.
  • Contains 0.80% Carbon, 7.50% Chromium, 2.75% Vanadium, and 1.30% Molybdenum.
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 58 and 60.
  • Offers better toughness than A2, D2 and CPM-M4 steels.
Zero Tolerance Military, 5-3/4" 3V Steel Blade, Matte Black G10 Handle 0100

  • Designed to offer more wear resistance and toughness.
  • Contains 1.42% Carbon, 4.00% Chromium, 4.00% Vanadium, 5.50% Tungsten, 5.25% Molybdenum, 0.30% (0.70%) Manganese, and 0.06% (0.22%) Sulfur.
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 58 and 66.
Spyderco Gayle Bradley, 3-7/16" M4 Steel Blade, Black Carbon Fiber Handle C134CFP

A list of other steels produced by Crucible Industries, LLC:

  • Designed as an upgraded 440C steel which offers better corrosion and wear resistance as well as better edge retention.
  • Contains 1.05% Carbon, 14.00% Chromium, and 4.00% Molybdenum.
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 55 and 62.
Benchmade Mini-Griptilian, 2.91" 154CM Steel Blade, Gray Handle, 555SGY-600 - Set

  • General purpose stainless steel
  • Contains >0.15% Carbon, 1.00% Manganese, 0.04% Phosphorous, 0.03% Sulfur, 1.00% Silicone, and 12.00% - 14.00% Chromium
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 51 and 55.

  • Designed to be the toughest high Chromium cutlery steels
  • Contains 0.60%/0.75% Carbon, 0.04% Phosphorous, 16.00%/18.00% Chromium, 1.00% Manganese, 1.00% Silicone, 0.03% Sulfur, and 0.75% Molybdenum.
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 52 and 57.
  • Ideal for cutlery requiring a "mirror" finish.
  • Designed to offer higher hardness, good corrosion resistance and good edge retention.
  • Contains 0.95%/1.20% Carbon, 1.00% Manganese, 1.00% Silicone, 0.40% Phosphorous, 0.03% Sulfur, 16.00%/18.00% Chromium, and 0.75% Molybdenum.
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 54 and 59.
  • Ideal for cutlery requiring a "mirror" finish.
Spyderco Cat, 2-7/16" 440C Stainless Steel Blade, Black G-10 Handle C129GP

  • Designed to be tougher than D2 and CRUWEAR.
  • Contains 1.00% Carbon, 0.85% Manganese, 5.25% Chromium, 1.10% Molybdenum, and 0.25% Vanadium.
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 58 and 62.
  • Designed as an upgrade to D2 tool steel with better wear resistance and toughness.
  • Contains 1.10% Carbon, 7.50% Chromium, 2.40% Vanadium, 1.15% Tungsten, and 1.60% Molybdenum
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 60 and 65.
  • Offers a balance of toughness and wear resistance.
  • Contains 1.55% Carbon, 11.50% Chromium, 0.80% Vanadium, and 0.90% Molybdenum.
  • Ideal hardness (HRc) range is between 60 and 62
  • Known for it's ability to take a very sharp edge and hold it.
What do those ingredients mean to me?  Click here.


Crucible Industries, LLC. "What a Steel! Part 1 - Crucible Industries, LLC." ::Crucible Industries:: Home :: You & Us. Crucible Industries, LLC. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <>.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Spyderco Manix 2. Made in America. Made Right.

    Spyderco Manix 2, 3-3/8" Plain 154CM Stainless Blade, Black G-10 Handle C101GP2
    A great multi tasking folder that utilizes a ball bearing lock system, grippy black G-10 handles and a plain edge, 3-3/8" 154CM stainless steel blade.  The pocket clip is set up for right hand/left hand tip up carry and the knife features a lanyard hole.

    The Spyderco Manix 2 is Made in the USA in Golden, Colorado and is now in stock at National Knives for $69.99 plus shipping (starting at $3.99).


    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Spyderco Delica 4. Great Value. Great Knife.

    Spyderco Delica 4, 2-7/8" VG-10 Stainless Blade, Green Handle C11FPGR

    One of Spyderco's best selling knives of all time is the Delica.  With a multitude of variations, from handle material types to blade steels, there is bound to be one made that fits your needs.  The Delica shown here is shown with a green Fiber Glass Reinforced, or FRN, handle which is a lightweight and extremely durable material.  The color is optional, you can get this particular model with a blue, purple, gray, black, brown and of course, green FRN handle.  The blade steel is a higher end stainless steel made in Japan called VG-10 which will offer great corrosion resistance and excellent edge retention.  The grind on this particular model is referred to as a full flat ground which means that when the blade was ground, starting at the cutting edge and moving to the spine, the blade begins thing and gradually gets thicker.  This grind is well suited for low resistance slicing.  This also features a right hand/left hand, tip up or tip down black pocket clip which allows you to adapt it to your needs.

    This this particular model is $53.99 + shipping (starts at $3.99 for USPS Priority) at  You can also view other Delica models here.


    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    TOPS Tom Brown Tracker Knife

    TOPS Tom Brown Tracker, 4-1/4" Blade, Linen Micarta Handle TBT-010

    TOPS Knives are built tough.  These knives were designed to be used and used hard, to stand up in extreme conditions and have been proven in the hands of professionals from around the world.

    Starting with the "working end" of the knife, the blade, it is noted that the overall shape of the blade is not of a traditional design, then again this is not a traditional knife by any means.  This knife is designed to be multifunctional and can be used to saw, chop, carve, split, scrape, etc.  Built of 1095 high carbon steel and hardened to HRc 58 allows this knife to be abused with limited concern of breakage.  It is easy to keep sharp and is willing to take a shaving sharp edge given the correct amount of attention and experience. 

    The Linen Micarta handles finish off this 11-7/8" (302 mm) knife and wrap themselves around the full tang and provide excellent grip, with or without gloves and offer several hand placement positions for a multitude of tasks.

    You can purchase this knife here for $239.20 with free USPS Priority shipping to all 50 U.S. states and APO/FPO addresses.


    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    When it comes to keeping your knives sharp, do you shy away from all in one kits?

    In my last post, I wrote of the Spyderco Sharpmaker and it's relative ease of use.  Some of you might prefer an alternative method of sharpening, whether it be a different manufacturer's kit, the use of bench stones or ?.  The only kit National Knives currently carries is the Spyderco Sharpmaker, in fact most of National Knives sharpening products are produced by Spyderco

    Here are some of Spyderco's Bench Sharpening Stones. 

    Spyderco Bench Sharpening Stone, 2" x 8" x 1/2", Fine Grit 302F

    Spyderco Bench Sharpening Stone, 2" x 8" x 1/2", Medium Grit 302M
    Spyderco Bench Sharpening Stone, 2" x 8" x 1/2", Ultra Fine Grit 302UF
    These stones will take care of most sharpening tasks, but take a bit of time and practice to find a perfect technique.  One advantage to using bench stones over a kit, is the user can sharpen their knife to whatever angle they prefer, where as kits may limit the angle.

    Purchasing a set of these stones, if one so chooses, can get a bit pricier than a kit.  The 302F and 302M (top two) are $39.99 each + shipping (starting at $3.99 and .99 for each additional item) and the 302UF is $51.99 + shipping (starting at $3.99). 

    These sharpening stones do not require the used of any type of lubricant, they are autoclave save, dishwasher safe and can be easily cleaned using a plastic scouring pad and an abrasive cleanser.  The high alumina ceramic used to make these is produced in the United States.


    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    Keeping those knives, scissors, etc. sharp

    A dull knife will make any job more challenging than a sharp knife will.  A dull knife can potentially cause more injuries as you will exert more force when cutting than you would if you were using a sharp knife.  A knife is a tool made to simplify your task, you can relate a dull knife to a coin and a sharp knife to a flat edge screwdriver, both can potentially get the job if unscrewing/screwing done, just one (the sharp knife/flat edge screwdriver) is going to make it a whole lot easier and is going to require a lot less effort on your part.  Your pocket knives, hunting knives, kitchen knives, scissors of all varieties, lawn mower blades and more, they all perform better when properly sharpened. 

    You say that you don't know how to properly sharpen a knife?  Good news!  Spyderco manufactures the Triangle Sharpmaker, model 204MF which is a relatively inexpensive kit that is very easy to use and gets your knives back in to proper working order.  It comes with a "How To" DVD and instruction manual, 2 - fine grit triangle rods and 2 - medium grit triangle rods, 2 - brass safety rods and a base that doubles as a storage container for the rods.

    Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker Sharpening Set, Instructional DVD 204MF
    National Knives sells this kit for $51.99 + shipping (starting at $8.99).  Replacement fine and medium rods are available for $11.49 + shipping (starting at $3.99) and are sold individually.  For those that have knives in poor shape and need to remove a lot of metal fast, you can purchase the optional diamond rods for $41.99 + shipping (starting at $3.99) for a set of 2 rods.  If you are really looking for a professional edge Spyderco also manufactures an ultra fine rod that polishes up the edge of your knife.  The fine, medium and ultra fine stones are made of high alumina ceramic, can be cleaned with a plastic scouring pad and a powdered abrasive cleaner and are autoclave safe.  The diamond rods should be rinsed in fresh, clean water.

    This kit is capable of sharpening both plain edge knives and serrated edge knives, but also has the capability of sharpening pointed items like fish hooks, darts, awls and more.