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Thread: Elmax vs D2

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    da garden isle

    Elmax vs D2

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    Hi Guys! If i had both elmax and a d2 knife with the same geometry with a 61rc how much difference will there be between the two knives? i am interested in knowing how Elmax is in comparison to D2, i am familiar with D2's perfomance and characteristics but not to familiar with Elmax steel, like how hard is it sharpen,edge holding, rust resistance e.t.c.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    NY state
    I'd always give the choice to a powder metal steel like Elmax. You'll get a sharper edge, easier to sharpen, better wear ,toughness .Corrosion resistance is excellent too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    South Central Indiana
    Elmax is MUCH more corrosion resistant, is easy to sharpen, and does hold a killer edge. However, my first choice is D2. I think it holds a better edge (sharper and more long lasting) and is easier to sharpen and keep sharp. The downfall with D2 is the fact it corrodes very easily. For me, its worth the maintenance hassle, but I won't even consider taking it near any coastal states.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Definitely Elmax for me. I like D2 but the corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening/edge retention of elmax is just about perfect for me. If you really like D2 but hate having to worry about corrosion (not that big of a problem with d2 IMO) I'd suggest you take a look at CTS-XHP. From what I hear it holds an edge like D2 but has the corrosion resistance of 440c. I've been using it in the Spyderco Techno and have been very impressed so far.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    I havnt had much experience with Elmax but I have worked with d2 and cpm-d2 quite extensively. I love cpm-d2 it takes a great edge and holds it very well. I work offshore on a 145ft mini supply vessel and my knife is exsposed to salt water a lot but I haven't noticed any rust or pitting since I brought it out here. I oil it regularly though. Elmax from what I hear is great stuff though. Hands down on paper it beats d2 easily. There is a reason d2 is still being used by many makers. Unlike other steels that come out and they are the next big thing, a few years go by and you don't hear about them anymore. D2 is still here

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    East Coast
    I like d2 pretty good. Excellent steel with a good price. I got an elmax blade coming so I will see how they compare.

    I have never had any problems with rust from d2 other than once when my spent a day soaked in sweat. But I got the rust off with my shirt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Central Florida
    I'd take Elmax. I've had both, but haven't enough personal experience to push one over the other. Certainly, I like the stainless aspect of the Elmax. I've had Elmax in a ZT 0551; I have it now in a custom fixed blade, and of course Dozier famously used D2. Both are excellent steels; you can't go wrong.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Columbus Ohio
    In my opinion and experience the only advantage Elmax has over D2 is the corrosion resistance.
    However, I've been around sweat, water, you name it, and I've never had an issue with D2 ever.
    It's a great steel and takes a finer edge than Elmax. It also holds its edge a little longer.
    This is just in my experience.

    However, Elmax is a great steel. Holds its edge for longer than most steels. And is highly resistant to corrosion.
    And fairly easy to sharpen.

    I just personally prefer D2.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Varies, usually somewhere on the West coast.
    I love D2.
    I'd take Elmax any day of the week.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    LI, NY
    For everyone worrying about D2's corrosion resistance (rather, the alleged lack of it), rest easy. I have several knives with CPM-D2 and haven't experienced any sort of rust/corrosion/staining at all. zero. I recently acid-washed several blades recently using muriatic acid, and the CPM-D2 in my Kershaw Rake was unaffected. The 14C28N spine on the other hand, developed some pitting. The whole blade was polished before the etching process. The S30V on my Spyderco PPT etched nicely, resulting in a dull grey finish in the same amount of time. I actually decided to halt the process because I didn't want the 14C28N to get pitted to the point where I'd have to do a lot of work to correct it. The CPM-D2 just got shinier.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Raleigh NC
    Elmax is a much cleaner steel with better grain structure. It also has excellent wear resistance up at rc 61 ( sort of tough to get this steel high RC's) . Aside from better wear, better edge quality, and more corrosion resistance it takes higher finishes better and doesn't get the famous orange peel texture D2 is known for. It also does better at higher edge polishes because of the cleaness and smaller particle structure.

    Still, D2 is no slouch. It can sure cut flesh, tendons, and clean game very well with the right finish, grind, and heat treat. They are both good with different strengths and weaknesses.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    FYI, D2 does not corrode easily. I have left a well used D2 knife sit over night after cutting an apple from time to time, no corrosion after 10 hours exposed to apple juice is a damn near stainless steel.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Roanoke, Virginia
    ^ Agreed. I edc a BM mini Bone Collector with D2 and have since April 2012. I have sweaty mitts, and in my experience, the corrosion resistance is relative to S30V (having formerly carried a CRK Seb). Sweat will create occasional superficial spots on both steels during my use, but it can easily be wiped off.

    At any rate, I really like D2. Especially with the edge geometry and flat grind that BM uses on the mini BC's.
    “Life is full of joy, pain, adversity, and outright mistakes. It's not these things, rather how we deal with and learn from these things that defines us." -HSN

  14. #14
    My only knife with Elmax (Zt0561) has a very poor edge retention, i used it juuuust a little on some simple tasks and the edge is gone ... maybe overheated during the sharpening ... i have to say that i don't care about all these super steels anymore... they all lose their edges pretty fast no matter what kind , in REAL life use imo.
    Heat treat IS key more important to me , super steels are more of a selling argument for us knifenuts .. imo

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