3 Things You Should Know About Kershaw Blade Steels

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Precision Heat Treatment

Heat treatment is a process used to alter the microstructure of steel to bring out its best performance characteristics. The key parts of the process are hardening and tempering. Hardening does what it sounds like: makes steel harder. But it can also make steel more brittle. No good in a knife. To solve the problem, the steel is tempered. The steel is raised to a specific temperature and left to “soak” in the heat for a precise period of time. The result is a balance between hardness and durability—but it’s a delicate balance that takes skill and experience.

With over 40 years of experience and a collaborative relationship with our steel suppliers, Kershaw is a heat-treat master. Perfecting heat treatment is key to performance and has always been a top concern for Kershaw.



High-Performance & Value

Our collaborative work with steel suppliers such as Sandvik Steel, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of stainless steel, has resulted in benefits for knife users. To produce high-performance 14C28N steel, Kershaw partnered with Sandvik to increase nitrogen in the formula, enabling the steel to provide both excellent corrosion resistance and the ability to be hardened to 58-60 Rockwell. Sandvik calls 14C28N the overall highest performing knife steel in the world that still maintains excellent manufacturing productivity benefits.

While no longer exclusive to Kershaw, 14C28N is an outstanding steel that is used in some of our most popular pocketknives.

See knives that feature 14C28N.



8Cr13MoV + Heat-Treat Mastery = Top Performance

Kershaw also uses a variety of other steels in our knives. Learn more about our steels. One we use in our value-priced knives is 8Cr13MoV. Basically the equivalent of AUS8A, a Japanese steel, 8Cr13MoV is a top-of-the-line Chinese steel. But the key to blade performance is manufacturing quality. That’s where Kershaw’s expertise comes in. Blade Magazine’s Web Chatter column opined, “as with any steel, 99 percent of its performance qualities are the result of the heat treatment used and its Rockwell hardness. I personally think Kershaw has the best heat treatment to exploit 8Cr13MoV's potential.” The result is that even our value-priced knives offer high-performance characteristics: the ability to take and hold an edge, strength, and hardness.

See knives that feature 8Cr13MoV.


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