We all buy knives for different purposes and this makes us pick the steel that is most suitable for the purpose. You could be more worried about a blade’s ease of sharpening than you are of its hardness or your focus could be something entirely different like how well it can get polished.
If you have ever been keen on purchasing a knife with good edge retention, you must have heard of or come across Maxamet. The steel is very popular when it comes to edge retention and for good reason.
So what makes it well known for retaining an edge? Read on to find out.
Is Maxamet steel good for knives?
Maxamet steel is superior quality steel that is good for knives. It is manufactured in Philadelphia by Carpenter Technology Corporation. It is a very hard steel produced through powder metallurgy making it rank among the world’s top super steels. Its extremely high and odd levels of Vanadium, Tungsten, and Cobalt set it apart from other steels giving it high performance in hardness, edge retention, and wear resistance. It is great for kitchen knives and EDC knives although the blade will need extra care because it’s vulnerable to rust.
Composition of Maxamet Steel
Maxamet steel has a variety of components at different quantities with some coming in higher than those of normal steels. The steel is composed of:
Tungsten at 13.00% – Tungsten is a great addition that increases melting point temperatures while adding to the cutting and hardness levels of steel.
Cobalt at 10% – Cobalt enhances the strength of a blade and it’s resistance to corrosion and wear.
Vanadium at 6% – Vanadium just like Tungsten and Cobalt is in very high quantities in Maxamet. It provides tensile strength, hardness, and improves the functioning of other components.
Chromium at 4.75% – Chromium boosts hardness, strength, toughness, and makes the sharpness of steel last longer.
Carbon at 2.15% – Carbon builds hardness and resistance to corrosion and wear but too much of it lowers strength.
Sulfur at 0.7% – Sulfur increases machinability making steel easier to work with.
Manganese at 0.3% – Manganese adds strength, corrosion resistance, and grind-ability making it easier to sharpen.
Silicon at 0.25% – Silicon gets rid of oxygen during the formation of steel and gives steel more resistance.
Maxamet steel hardness
Like I mentioned before, Maxamet has very high quantities of Carbon, Vanadium, and Tungsten. This in turn gives it very high hardness.
On the Rockwell scale, the steel goes up to 70 HRC which is incredibly high making it one of the hardest steels around.
Properties of Maxamet Steel
Maxamet has a very interesting combination of components that give it great properties. It’s properties include:
The steel has a lot of Carbon with a hardness of 70 HRC which is very hard. This gives it extremely great edge retention maybe even the best you could find.
Maxamet lacks in corrosion resistance. This is due to its low amounts of Chromium.
Chromium offers that stainless steel factor which gives steel high corrosion resistance. At 4%, Maxamet has very low resistance to corrosion.
The steel contains a great combination of Tungsten, Carbon, and Vanadium giving it very good resistance to wear.
Maxamet is excessively hard. If steel is hard, the ease of sharpening becomes harder, taking more time and effort.
Due to its hardness, Maxamet will take you a good while to sharpen. However, it will be worth it because the sharpness will last a very long time without dulling.
The steel has remarkable machinability because of the high amounts of Sulfur in it. It is easy to shape and cut into the desired design.
When it comes to steel, toughness, and hardness do not go hand in hand most of the time. If steel is softer it is usually tougher and if the steel is harder it is usually less tough.
Being very hard, Maxamet lacks in toughness and it’s not considered as tough steel.
Is Maxamet steel stainless?
Seeing all its great properties you may wonder if the steel is also stainless. Can it rust? Well, actually yes.
Maxamet steel is not stainless. Even with other components being exceptionally high in the steel, it’s Chromium levels are at a mere 4%. This is very low and it wouldn’t make it resist rust as much.
For steel to be stainless it has to have 10.5% of Chromium. Maxamet will need good maintenance to keep rust away, with constant cleaning and ensuring it stays dry especially in humid environments.
Maxamet Steel Comparisons
Maxamet steel has a very unusual composition with its components being revolutionary and different from what the steel industry is used to. However, it still has some comparisons that may function better.
If you want to compare the steel, here are some of the closest comparisons:
S110V Steel – Though they both lack in toughness, S110V has much better corrosion resistance and is easier to sharpen. Maxamet on the other hand offers very high edge retention.
M390 Steel – Maxamet has greater edge retention while lacking in corrosion resistance, toughness, and ease of sharpness, all of which M390 is great at.
Elmax Steel – Elmax has high corrosion resistance, toughness, and is easier to sharpen. Just like with other comparisons, Maxamet has much better edge retention.
Maxamet steel is great knife steel providing qualities like extremely good edge retention and resistance to wear. The knife will hold an edge very well and some users even claim that its sharpness never wears out.
It’s perfect for EDC knives and tasks that require a lot of cutting because it’s sharpness is above average. If that razor sharpness is your priority, the knife will suit you perfectly.
However, the knife is not stainless and it can rust quite fast if not maintained well. Owning one will require constant care, cleaning, and ensuring that it remains dry to avoid rusting.