Composition of K390 steel
Top uses of knives made with K390
Knives are indispensable tools of everyday life, exhibiting their significance in various activities such as cooking, camping, hunting, or practicing martial arts. The efficiency of a knife is heavily reliant upon the type of steel used in its manufacturing. Over the years, the quest for the perfect knife steel has been ongoing, and in this panorama, one Knife Steel stands out: the K390.
In this article, we will explore the history of K390, delve into its composition, and analyze how its unique properties make it an ideal choice for high-performance knives.
K390: The Beginning
K390, produced by Bohler Uddeholm, an Austria-based company, is the result of meticulous research and a drive to develop a steel that offers state-of-the-art performance. Originally introduced to cater to the needs of the plastic molding industry, this cold work tool steel has gradually gained recognition as the ultimate knife steel.
Bohler Uddeholm, known for its commitment to providing high-quality tool steels, has an impressive portfolio, featuring various types of steel for different applications. Among its offerings, K390 stands out and has been adopted by several renowned knife makers who vouch for its exceptional qualities.
Composition of K390
K390 exhibits unique features as a result of its carefully designed composition. Here is the metal composition in K390 steel:
- Carbon: 2.47%
- Chromium: 4.20%
- Cobalt: 2.00%
- Manganese: 0.40%
- Molybdenum: 3.80%
- Silicon: 0.55%
- Tungsten: 1.00%
- Vanadium: 9.00%
Features of K390
1. High Carbon Content – The carbon percentage in K390 is significantly higher than in other types of steel, such as 1095 steel (which typically has around 0.95% carbon). The increased carbon content directly impacts the steel's hardness, which in turn affects its ability to retain a sharp edge over prolonged use. The high level of hardness – around 62-64 HRC – in K390 knives is ideal for high-performance cutting tools that require superior edge retention.
2. High Vanadium Content – K390 steel has 9% vanadium, which is much higher than most other steels used in knife making. This high vanadium content, coupled with its high carbon content, significantly increases its wear resistance. This means that K390 knives require minimal maintenance to maintain their sharpness, making them perfect for heavy-duty applications or situations where sharpening may not be an option.
3. Balancing Elements – Chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, and cobalt in K390's composition contribute to its overall strengths. Chromium enhances corrosion resistance, while molybdenum and tungsten increase the steel's toughness. Cobalt, on the other hand, helps boost the wear resistance and hardness of K390.
Despite its impressive features, K390 is not without its shortcomings. The most significant drawback is its low corrosion resistance, primarily due to its high carbon content. As a result, K390 knives must be appropriately cared for and stored to ensure they don't corrode or rust.
Applications of K390 Steel
K390 steel is suitable for various applications where high performance is a must. It's commonly used in hunting, survival, and tactical knives, as well as bushcraft and culinary knives. Many renowned knife manufacturers such as Spyderco, Benchmade, and Bark River Knives have incorporated K390 steel in their product lineups, a testament to its growing popularity and trust among knife enthusiasts.
K390 is undoubtedly one of the top choices when it comes to knife steel. Its exceptional hardness, wear resistance, and edge retention give it an edge over other knife steels in the market. Although it may require a bit more care and maintenance, the performance it offers makes it worth the effort. For knife users who require remarkable cutting efficiency, K390 steel is an investment that will undoubtedly provide long-term satisfaction.