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How does Elmax stack up vs other high performance stainless?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Biginboca, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. Biginboca

    Biginboca Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 17, 1999
    Title says it all, what is the consensus on elmax vs the more commonly used stainless steels like s30v, s90v, 154cm, vg10, etc ?

    Is elmax a "super steel"?

    I haven't come across much discussion or product using this steel.
  2. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002

    ELMAX is a Super Steel, very corrosion resistant with great edge holding and excellent toughness.

    It will hold an edge longer than all the steels you listed except S90V.
  3. Biginboca

    Biginboca Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 17, 1999
    Thank you for that answer. Can anyone name a more common steel that compares to elmax in edgeholding? Or an approximate ranking of elmax edgeholding vs some of the other newer steels (zpd189, cts-xhp, m390, d20cv, etc)? I would like a bit more of an idea of where it falls in edge retention.
  4. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Here is a link to my testing thread. :)

  5. Tsujigiri


    May 25, 2009
    ELMAX seems to rank surprisingly low based on what a lot of people have said about the steel. I know you said that you didn't rank the Phil Wilson ELMAX, but what ELMAX knife did you use in the chart?
  6. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    ZT 0551 at 60 HRC.

    ELMAX is ranked right were it should be for a factory blade at 60 HRC.

    You have to look at the steels that ranked higher than ELMAX and the HRC's.

    Once we get into those we are talking about very high alloy content and or very high percentages of vanadium for the most part.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  7. Tsujigiri


    May 25, 2009
    Good point, there are a lot of rare supersteels in there. I just didn't expect it to end up in the same category as CPM-154. Is RC 62 a ridiculously high hardness for that steel? As in, a hardness that only a custom maker would HT CPM-154 to because production companies would be too worried about chipping?
  8. Ankerson

    Ankerson Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002
    Yes 62 HRC is on the high side for CPM-154 and we will never see a production blade near that.

    I used my Demko Custom because the blade grind and edge thickness is in line with most of the factory blades.
  9. Noctis3880

    Noctis3880 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 22, 2009
    I doubt that's the case. High hardness like that would require cryo quenching and long tempering times. It's probably not as cost effective or time effective from a mass production standpoint, and there might be more "rejects" that didn't make it through the heat treat.

    I don't think Andrew Demko would use a chippy steel in a hard use knife, and toughness is said to be the same as S30V according to the datasheet.

    While the results are interesting, I think Elmax still deserves considerable respect as a steel with production heat treatment that matches the performance of a custom heat treated steel:thumbup:. I'd be eager to see some more knives produced in that steel, but with a custom(and more expensive and time consuming) heat treatment.
  10. Biginboca

    Biginboca Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 17, 1999
  11. FrozenTurtle


    Mar 14, 2017
    How does Elmax compare to CTS-XHP? I want them to be on even ground so same rockwell or whatever rockwell is their sweet spot and also edge geometry. Which is better suited for blades 5 inches or above? I want to compare things like impact strength, toughness, and strength. Also rust resistance and ductility or just any advantages one has over the other. Is there any other American alternatives to Elmax steel? Thank you very much and yes I know you said this years ago but I don't know how to start a thread about this question.
  12. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    If you look at the composition of Elmax vs M390 it becomes apparent that Elmax is basically a toned down version of m390. There is an app for phones available that lets you compare and look at the composition of virtually any steel. Just search Knife Steel in your App searcher on your phone. In many ways M390 is a souped up Elmax. Elmax still being an amazing steel. Personally I prefer it to s30v, although I like s35vn alot. (All of which is purely anecdotal.)

    If you see how m4 is basically m2 on steroids then M390 is Elmax on steroids.
  13. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Knife Reviewer, Collaborator, Sharpener Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 22, 2014
    Elmax is unique, there is not an American equivalent, it fits in between CPM S35vn and CPM 20cv
  14. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    I find Elmax, for me, falls into a group of steels along with CPM-154, S30V, CTS-XHP and S35VN . They are all among my favorites as, at the hardnesses they're typically run at, they all keep an edge long enough for my needs, but I don't find them terribly tedious to reprofile. Looking at the testing Ankerson and others have done I would rate Elmax at the top of the group, as the most desirable, but I have my doubts as to whether I could tell too much difference between any of those steels in real life use.
  15. sfrigon1


    Oct 2, 2016
    I put elmax with 20cv and m390 these three are very similar in all aspects. Jmho if I had to choose one it would be elmax ,for fixed blades it is the perfect all around steel
  16. Cursum Perficio

    Cursum Perficio Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    I also tend to group Elmax with M390/CTS 204P, based on my very subjective using of them.
    The edge holding seems better than S30V/XHP, and the edge maintenance of Elmax is quite similar to these.

    I really like Elmax in my Para2 and 0562.

    S90V rocks for it's definitely superior edge holding, but it's also harder to sharpen to a fine edge.
  17. T. Erdelyi

    T. Erdelyi Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 3, 2001
    I have that app, I use it all the time, it's pretty comprehensive and it always updates new information.
  18. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    I like Elmax a lot. It is just one of many fine steels that I enjoy. S90V still ranks #1 "with me" and I have a ZT 0095S90BLK with that steel. Given that this folder is a relatively thin blade, it is a wonderful slicing machine.
  19. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    It depends on WHICH Elmax that you are talking about as it supposedly acts like a different steel at 61-62 Rc compare to say 59 Rc. I have been told that it gets within no less than 85%of the crazy abrasion resistance of M390, but is still a fair big tougher. There are a few other steel types out there that act differently and some folks would say better at higher hardness levels with modified heat treatments.
  20. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Knife Reviewer, Collaborator, Sharpener Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 22, 2014
    haha isn't that the case with every steel? Microstructure , Microstructure, Mircostructure !

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