154CM Steel Review: What Is It & Is It Good For Making Knives?

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High-quality steel is essential for a good knife.

Ask any knife enthusiast out there, and they will tell you that steel is one of the most important aspects of a blade.

And in the world of knives, one of the most well-known high-end recipes out there is 154cm.

The company Crucible developed 154cm in 1970 and it took the community by storm.

It was great steel for knives because it offered great edge retention, wear retention, and corrosion resistance all at the same time.

Any knife made out of this steel will be a high-quality blade, but it may also cost you a fair amount.

In this 154cm review, we take a closer look at the features and properties of 154CM.

And by the end, you’ll have a clear picture of the capabilities of this high-end steel and understand whether it’s the right pick for you.

Read on to learn more.

What Is It?

This knife is a cutting tool made of stainless steel, formed from three main elements: Chromium, Molybdenum, and Carbon. The 154CM was manufactured by an American manufacturer named Crucible Materials Corporation.

It stands out for its hardness, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance features. And this is one of the best knives on the knife market at the moment.

154CM Steel Knife Review

Since the time it was invented, this steel has been applied in many industrial fields. Making knives was one of these applications. Below we will review this type of cutting tool in detail.

Composition

Firstly, let’s talk about the knife composition.

Besides three essential elements Chromium (14%), Carbon (1.05%), and Molybdenum (4%), it also contains other important elements such as Silicon (0.8%), Manganese (0.5%), Vanadium (0.4%), Tungsten (0.4%), Sulfur (0.03%), and Phosphorus (0.03%).

The variety of chemical components gave the knife outstanding features of a cutting tool. Chromium provides tensile strength, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance. While Carbon and Molybdenum increase hardness, machinability, and strength.

Hardness

Are knives made of 154CM hard enough to use and sharpen? The answer is yes. The combination of Carbon, Chromium, and Manganese makes this mixed alloy very hard. Users can use it to cut anything and then sharpen it with a stone easily.

Positive features

Due to the components, these steel knives have many positive features to bring to users as following:

– Edge retention: The cutting tool is very hard due to the mixture of metal elements like Carbon, Manganese, and Chromium. The hardness is 61 HRC (Hardness Rockwell C)

-High wear resistance: The tool is high wear-resistant due to the high proportion of Chromium metal (14%). Therefore, users can use it for a long time before the blade needs to be resharpened again.

-Corrosion-resistant. Knives made of this material are very stable from either chemicals (sulfide, hydroxide, oxide) or electrochemical reactions.

– It is easy to sharpen. Although very hard, this cutting tool is easy to sharpen compared to its peers.

– One of its highlighted features is toughness. It means users can put a  high pressure or strong force on the knife while using it without making it deformed. Toughness is an important feature because we always have to put a force strong enough to cut things.

Negative features

154CM knives might be more expensive than knives made of other materials. A high-quality knife is a knife that has a reasonable proportion between hardness and toughness.

For this reason, other chemical components also were added to these steel blades like Chromium and other elements. These extra chemicals increase corrosion resistance, as well as the quality of the knife.  However, they made the tool more expensive than other ones.

Is It Good for Knives?

We can assure you the knife made from this steel will be the best knives in your knife collection.

It brings users great features that a cutting tool must have like toughness, necessary hardness, good wear resistance, and high corrosion resistance. Customers can experience 154CM high-end steel knives from either Benchmade or Ontario Black Bird brands.

In Comparisons With Other Types

The comparisons below illustrate how 154CM is different from other steels. As we can see, it provides more stable features than others like wear resistance, chipping resistance, corrosion resistance, and ease of manufacture.

But in this article, we will compare it to other types of steels following four feature criteria: Ease of sharpness, Corrosion resistance, Edge retention, and toughness.

Vs 440C

The difference is the edge retention, as 440C offers a half lower edge retention. However, 440C is easier to get sharpened, and it has better corrosion resistance. Both materials offer the same toughness.

Vs CPM 154

Although CPM 154 has the same composition, they still differ,  because CPM 154 was made by a powder metal process instead of a melted alloy like 154CM. Except for CPM 154 edges longer and more brittle, these two materials provide the same performance.

Vs S30V

The S30V performs slightly better than 154CM as its toughness is better, edge retention is longer. However, with S30V knife users should spend more effort to sharpen it. For easy tasks, S30V is a highly recommended option.

Vs VG10

These are similar steels. The thing that tells them apart comes from their composition. The VG10 steel has more Chromium to enhance its corrosion resistance and vanadium to increase its toughness.

Vs 1095

The 1095 steel gives higher toughness, but worse corrosion resistance, and lower edge retention. 1095 is easy to sharpen and also it is not very expensive to buy. However, to avoid getting corroded, users should take care of places to store the knives.

Vs D2

Because the amount of Chromium is only 13%, D2 is called “semi-stainless” steel. D2 is similar, as it also offers a good ability to resist corrosion, hardness, and good edge retention. However, its toughness is not as good as other types of steel. Therefore to get it sharpened, you should master some skills.

The Bottom Line!

In conclusion, a 154CM knife is one of the best cutting tools we have experienced. Although there are pros and cons about it, this item is still worth giving a try. If you have any opinion to add to this 154cm steel knife review, please don’t hesitate to share with us. Now, it’s time to shop!

Last Updated on August 12, 2021

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My name is David Strong. I'm a knife expert and a US Marine veteran. I used to fight in Iraq, so I gained lots of combat experience there, especially when it comes to combat, tactical, and outdoor knives. And this blog is where I share my expertise with you alongside my friend Andy.