Unless you have a background in metallurgy, going down the rabbit hole on best steel types for blades can put your average person to sleep, with a quickness. We take care of that on our end and provide the end user with blades made with arguably the best steel on the market. And if you are going to spend your hard-earned money on a new knife, it’s important for you to know if you are getting the best blade for your dollar.

Though our blade steel changes from time to time, rest assured we are adapting to newfound research and the needs of the user. Working backwards, let’s dive into the steels we use here at Toor Knives.

I’ll do my best not to bore you to tears…

CPM Steel, short for Crucible Particle Metallurgy, revolutionizes steelmaking by producing higher alloyed grades of exceptional quality compared to conventional methods. This innovation caters specifically to high-alloy tool steel and high-speed steel needs.

So, what sets CPM Steel apart? For starters, it provides a host of benefits to both tool manufacturers and end users alike. Manufacturers enjoy enhanced machinability, thanks to sulfur enrichment, facilitating smoother production processes. The steel's grindability is top-notch, offering a stable base for coatings, and its predictable size change during heat treatment ensures consistent results.


From an end user perspective, CPM Steel shines in resharpening scenarios, exhibiting excellent grindability. Tool performance remains reliably consistent over time, with enhanced wear resistance and toughness, resulting in fewer instances of chipping. Furthermore, CPM Steel grants access to higher alloy grades, unlocking a new realm of possibilities for end users that wouldn't be attainable otherwise.

CPM Steel is a special alloy crafted by melting two or more metals together until they form a smooth liquid. This liquid is then sprayed through a nozzle using high-pressure gas, creating tiny spherical droplets that quickly solidify into powder particles. Each particle acts like its own mini-metal bar, with small carbides and consistent composition.

After screening, the resulting powder is placed into sealed steel containers and subjected to high temperatures and pressure, a process known as hot isostatic pressing (nerd stuff). This method creates a fine-grained and evenly structured microstructure throughout the steel. For high-carbon grades, carbides are evenly spread throughout the material. If greater toughness is needed, the steel can undergo standard milling processes or be used as is after hot isostatic pressing.

So, let’s get to the steels we use.

Our Steel Choices


CPM MagnaCut stands out as a special stainless steel for tools, crafted through powder metallurgy. Unlike traditional designs, it removes chromium carbide from its heat-treated structure. By incorporating small, tough vanadium and niobium carbides, it strikes a balance between toughness and wear resistance, akin to non-stainless steel CPM 4V. Its absence of chromium carbide also enhances its resistance to corrosion. This steel offers a great blend of qualities ideal for knives. We use this steel on a case-by-case basis (think collaborations and such).

CRUCIBLE REX® M4 High Speed Steel

REX M4 is a type of high-speed steel made for tools, with a focus on lasting durability. Thanks to its rich vanadium and carbon content, it's particularly resistant to wear and damage in tasks like forming punches, die inserts, and fast cutting. In this case, the application of this steel is being used for blades. This steel is specifically engineered to perform well with abrasive materials, outlasting even M2 or M3 types. This is the blade steel of our 2024 SOF Series Blades.


CPM 154 is a refined version of Crucible’s 154 CM steel, made using the CPM manufacturing method. This process ensures that carbides are evenly spread throughout the material, making CPM 154 easier to grind and polish compared to traditional 154 CM. Additionally, it boasts improved toughness while maintaining similar heat treatment response and wear properties. Compared to 440C steel, CPM 154 offers superior corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and hot-hardness, along with higher toughness. For knife makers, it provides enhanced edge retention and resistance to chipping compared to 440C. This is a more user-friendly steel (think sharpening), which is why we have used it in the past for out Outdoor Series and Frontline Series blades.


CPM 3V, created through the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process, is engineered to withstand breakage and chipping exceptionally well, making it an ideal choice for highly demanding tool steel applications. Compared to other steels like A2, D2, CPM Cru-Wear, Z-Wear PM, and CPM M4, it offers superior impact toughness, nearing the levels of shock-resistant grades like S7. Despite this toughness, CPM 3V maintains excellent wear resistance, high hardness, and stability for coatings. With a recommended hardness range of HRC 58-60, it can effectively replace high-alloy tool steels in situations where frequent breakage and chipping occur due to wear. We use this steel in our SOF, Outdoor, and Frontline Series.


CPM S35VN is a type of martensitic stainless steel engineered to enhance toughness compared to its predecessor, CPM S30V. It's also easier to work with and polish. By adjusting its chemical composition to include niobium carbides alongside vanadium and chromium carbides, CPM S35VN achieves a toughness boost of about 15-20% without compromising wear resistance. This increased toughness translates to better resistance against edge chipping. Also, because both vanadium and niobium carbides are more effective than chromium carbides in resisting wear, CPM stainless blade steels like S35VN offer improved edge retention compared to conventional high-chromium steels like 440C and D2. Fun fact for the knife nerds, Chris Reeve Knives has also played an essential role in developing S35VN. This steel has been a staple in our SOF Series and folding blades.


CPM CRU-WEAR is a type of air-hardening tool steel that can be heat-treated to reach a hardness level of HRC 60-65. It's designed as an upgraded version of conventional Cru-Wear and D2 steels, offering improved wear resistance, significantly higher toughness, and the ability to achieve greater hardness. While both D2 and CPM CRU-WEAR contain carbides for wear resistance, CPM CRU-WEAR contains more vanadium carbides, which are harder and more effective at resisting wear than chromium carbides found in D2. Additionally, CPM CRU-WEAR's higher achievable hardness is due to its sufficient tungsten and molybdenum content, which triggers a secondary hardening response not seen in D2. Its tempering temperature range is also higher, making it compatible with a wider range of surface treatments. Lastly, being made through the CPM process, CPM CRU-WEAR is less prone to chipping and breakage compared to conventionally produced tool steels. You will start to see more of this steel in our Frontline Series.


D2 is a type of tool steel known for its ability to harden in air, containing high amounts of carbon and chromium. When heat-treated, it can reach a hardness level of HRC 60-62. Its microstructure is rich in carbides, contributing to its impressive resistance against abrasion. Because of this quality, D2 has been a popular choice for cold work applications demanding exceptional wear resistance for quite some time. Additionally, it's relatively easy to machine when in its annealed state. Like other air-hardening tool steels, D2 also shows minimal distortion during the hardening process. This blade steel gets a bad rap because it is associated with China (ours isn’t) with names like D-poo. But when it comes to purpose build applications, it’s one of the best for hard use. Which is why we choose this steel for our Axes.

We source our steel from Niagara Specialty Metals located in New York.

You don’t have to take our word for it. You can find all of this information at crucible.com

May 21, 2024

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