AR-RPM9 - New PM Steel from Artisan?

Chronovore

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With competition heating up in the "decent" budget knife category, Artisan is doing something interesting. They've unveiled a new and proprietary budget knife steel using powder metallurgy. It already looks like they'll be using it in their CJRB line with the upcoming Ria. They've got a fixed blade coming out soon too.

Here is the article from Knife News:

https://knifenews.com/artisan-creates-proprietary-powder-metallurgy-steel-for-budget-knives

I'm curious to find out more about this.
 

Chronovore

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Russel from Artisan was recently on Knife Center's YouTube channel discussing the new steel. Supposedly, the goal was to create something with a good balance between desirable qualities in an EDC steel with performance somewhere between D2 and 14C28N. It sounds like they're keeping the ingredients a secret because they're still waiting for the Chinese equivalent of their patent to be finalized.

 

gazz98

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I don't own an Artisan blade and no plans to buy one but nothing wrong with a new steel that *hopefully* takes the best qualities of D2 and 14C28 (which I both like). I'll be curious to see if they can hit the $30-50 retail price point like many current D2 and 14C28 bladed knives.

Curious what Larrin Larrin has to say about the specs if/when they come out.
 
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Chronovore

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I don't own an Artisan blade and no plans to buy one but nothing wrong with a new steel that *hopefully* takes the best qualities of D2 and 14C28 (which I both like). I'll be curious to see if they can hit the $30-50 retail price point like many current D2 and 14C28 bladed knives...

That seems to be the plan. Artisan's website has their Sea Snake in this steel listed at $53. For reference, that price is in line with several of the D2 CJRB knives on their website. Given that those same D2 knives are around ten dollars less at regular dealers, I imagine it'll be the same story. We'll have to wait and see, both for street prices and the steel formula.
 
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Nice that they're differentiating themselves with the new lock and now this steel. When they first came on the scene, I kinda thought they'd just be another forgettable brand. Definitely interested in trying out their new stuff
 

Chronovore

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Now it looks like they've got four knives announced for this steel. They've got that Sea Snake fixed blade, new versions of the Ria, the Maileah, and the Pinkerton-designed Arroyo. Besides powdered metallurgy for the masses, it looks like they've been listening to those of us who've been clamoring for thinner blade stock. All four of these new knives keep it under 0.12".

I'll definitely be trying one of these once they get out to our favorite dealers.
 
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Artisan makes a decent blade from a good price honestly. I’m more a fan of bestech but that’s just my quirk.
 

soc_monki

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They keep the formula “secret” so it can be whatever cheap stainless they get the best price on for the latest production run.

The idea of a patent in China is...amusing.

The problem with that line of thinking is that when these knives come out and people start testing it, if it changes formula from batch to batch then they will be called out on it. I doubt artisan is going to take that risk.

But I agree on the patent. The government doesn't care about patents of other countries, I wonder if they'll even enforce their own!
 

Chronovore

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They keep the formula “secret” so it can be whatever cheap stainless they get the best price on for the latest production run.

The idea of a patent in China is...amusing.

You really think this whole thing is a scam?

There is a history of junk manufacturers, counterfeiters, etc. coming out of China. There are still bad companies out there. However, we've also seen a real Renaissance in Chinese knife manufacturing. We've got plenty of good and apparently trustworthy companies on the scene now. WE and their budget brand Civivi are probably the best examples.

I don't have a lot of experience with Artisan but they seem to have a good reputation. If nothing else, they seem to be in that category where we don't have to question the steel stamps. I have tried a couple of their CJRB knives. They haven't been on par with with what I've had from Civivi or Bestech. They've also cost a bit less. (I think both were around $35.) While not great, I do think they demonstrate potential. I'm curious to see how this goes.
 

John_0917

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You really think this whole thing is a scam?

There is a history of junk manufacturers, counterfeiters, etc. coming out of China. There are still bad companies out there. However, we've also seen a real Renaissance in Chinese knife manufacturing. We've got plenty of good and apparently trustworthy companies on the scene now. WE and their budget brand Civivi are probably the best examples.

I don't have a lot of experience with Artisan but they seem to have a good reputation. If nothing else, they seem to be in that category where we don't have to question the steel stamps. I have tried a couple of their CJRB knives. They haven't been on par with with what I've had from Civivi or Bestech. They've also cost a bit less. (I think both were around $35.) While not great, I do think they demonstrate potential. I'm curious to see how this goes.

I find it highly unlikely that a foundry in China has come up with a new alloy (PM no less) that is unique and novel and is able to be sold at the prices AC charges.

Spy27 is an actual proprietary steel and even that is based on an existing alloy (VG10).
 
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soc_monki

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I find it highly unlikely that a foundry in China has come up with a new alloy (PM no less) that is unique and novel and is able to be sold at the prices AC charges.

Spy27 is an actual proprietary steel and even that is based on an existing alloy (VG10).

I believe they can. It's not like China doesn't have the manufacturing capability to almost single handedly make all the electronics in the world, and have a thriving steel industry, and automotive industry. As much as you or I or anyone else wants to believe, they are not in the dark ages, and have probably been working on PM steel for a while. In all honesty I'm surprised we haven't seen PM steels from them already considering the technology was introduced in 1970, 50 years ago.
 

Larrin

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There is both sprayform and powder metallurgy steel production in China and there are also patents on high wear resistance stainless steels from Chinese companies. Getting a Chinese company to make a PM knife steel is far from crazy.
 

Chronovore

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Michael Emler has talked about it in his live streams. He is the designer of their new Sea Snake. He has been testing prototypes of both the Sea Snake and the Ria in this new steel. He seems to be very impressed with the performance so far. To summarize what I picked up listening to his stream, AR-RPM9 offers decent edge retention, has great corrosion resistance, and responds very well to stropping.

As of a couple of weeks ago, Artisan is still pursuing IP protection for the formula within China. Knives using this steel are supposed to reach American retailers sometime this month.
 

Chronovore

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Artisan released the composition of AR-RPM9. If you have an Instagram account, you can see the video here. (This finally pushed me to make an account over there.) The video cuts off before listing the "rare earth" content. I posted to ask for clarification. Anyway, here is what we know for now:

0.9% Carbon
18% Chromium
1.0% Molybdenum
0.45% Manganese
0.1% Vanadium
0.3% Cobalt
0.2% ~ 0.8% Silicon
< 0.4% Nickel

This is interesting. Minus the cobalt, this ingredient list falls somewhere between Actuo 440 and 9Cr18Mov. Given my experiences with the former from Kizer's budget line and 9Cr18Mov from both Civivi and Real Steel; I'd definitely be interested in exploring a fine-grained PM steel in that ballpark.
 
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you'd think with all the trouble of getting a patent, they'd come up with something with more than 0.1% vanadium...
if the other rare earth is Nb, then it could be more interesting... but if its just a pm version 9cr18mov then I don't get it

I wouldn't pay a premium for it, personally
 

Chronovore

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you'd think with all the trouble of getting a patent, they'd come up with something with more than 0.1% vanadium...
if the other rare earth is Nb, then it could be more interesting... but if its just a pm version 9cr18mov then I don't get it

I wouldn't pay a premium for it, personally

It's not the same as 9Cr18Mov. It's got similarities to 9Cr18Mov and Acuto 440. It's also got a little cobalt and maybe a little rare earth content. From Artisan's discussion of the steel, they were focused on getting the balance just right for what it is. That seems to be the notable thing here. It's a PM steel that'll be available in several budget knives. It looks like they'll be competing with the D2 knives from Civivi, Bestech, etc.

This is just spitballin' on my part but I can imagine the reasoning. In a portion of the market dominated by Chinese D2, there have been calls for stainless alternatives. We already have some decent options. Looking at what works in a few of them, trying to nail the recipe, and applying it with a superior process could lead to something very good for this part of the market. If nothing else, I'll be glad to find out.
 
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