View Full Version : Powder steels

Eamon Burke
04-29-2011, 10:45 PM
So what is the difference, in final product, of a powder steel vs other steel(conventional? I dunno)?

Are the carbides big? Small? Neither? Is it cleaner in composition? Easier to work with? More prone to chipping?

I am having trouble finding knife-specific information about powder steels, and their alternatives and/or it's characteristics. Most of it is very engineering centered, which is fine by me, but it gets REALLY off topic and I have spent a lot of time reading about die size tolerences and cobalt alloys and whatnot.

*edit* I have a basic understanding of what it is, I.E. steel formed from powdered elements that are blended and heated/compressed. I just wanted to know more about what it does that is so different, and how it affects the steel for a knife.

Delbert Ealy
04-29-2011, 11:31 PM
Powder steel is very clean, and very consistant in composition. It improves steels like D2 which has a tendancy for chromium carbide clustering for knives by not allowing the carbides to gather in big clumps, it spreads them around evenly. It is most benificial in high alloy steels to ensure even distribution throughout the steel. This may contribute to toughness in the steel higher than that of the non-cpm variety.

04-30-2011, 02:14 AM
I think it forms a tighter matrix or something along those lines.

Eamon Burke
04-30-2011, 10:36 AM
So what's the downside?

04-30-2011, 12:05 PM
Spherical carbides fall out easily? I would say cost is the major downside.

05-01-2011, 10:38 AM
From what I’ve read, certain high wear resistant type steels have excellent edge retention - only with ok type edges. Something about their grain size or structure causes them to fall apart with thinner, more acute type edges. Supposedly powdering lets “can hold an ok edge for a long time” type steels take a more acute edge, but some users say the acute edge degrades rapidly.

05-01-2011, 02:06 PM
I micro bevel one side for durability, longevity purposes.

l r harner
05-01-2011, 03:57 PM
i have been invited to Carpenter steel for an all day tour and and lectures on all there knife steel. not only will i have more info on the PM steels and how they are made but i might even get to test some. i will also be stoping in to say hi to dave while im out there

Eamon Burke
05-01-2011, 04:13 PM
Sounds like a great opportunity!

lets us know how it goes!

l r harner
05-01-2011, 10:16 PM
Will do but I'm not site what all I will be able to talk about. Does look like ill have some new steel to play with