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Cowry-y steel...

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by dannyv, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. dannyv

    dannyv Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 18, 2003
    I saw a Japanese maker using this steel almost exclusively in his high end knive. maybe you know Who I am talking about. Can anybody tell me more about this steel? Not the maker.
  2. Temper


    Oct 30, 2002
    Fallkniven use it in their Idun model

    this is what thay have to say about it.

  3. Larrin


    Jan 17, 2004
    That's Cowry-X, not Cowry-Y.
  4. severtecher

    severtecher Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 24, 2002
    The "X" is 3 % carbon and I think the "Y" is about 1.3% carbon.
  5. Temper


    Oct 30, 2002
    Huh, thanks for the heads up. I erroneously thought the OP had made a typo. :)
  6. dannyv

    dannyv Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 18, 2003
    I find the X even more interesting! Is it the same as the ZDP-189? They both have the same carbon content.
  7. untamed


    Jan 7, 2003
    Got a link to this Japanese maker?
  8. dsvirsky


    Aug 2, 1999
    A number of Japanese makers use Cowry Y. In all likelihood, the maker you are referring to is Koji Hara (www.knifehousehara.com), although Kansei Matsuno (http://www.ne.jp/asahi/kansei/knives/) is another fine maker whose knives show up on the various internet dealer sites.

    Cowry Y (CP-4) is a powdered metallurgical steel produced by Hitachi (although I have read that production of this steel is discontinued, it's still on Hitachi's website). It takes a great mirror polish. Knife maker Ken Onion once stated (on another forum) that Cowry Y took the best edge of any steel he had worked with.
  9. Naphtali


    May 20, 2002
    I just acquired a Russell K87CW one-hand knife with Cowry X Damascus blade. The blade, like Fallkniven's Indun NL5cx is made by Hattori-Japan. One difference between the blade materials is that Russell's -- and those brand named HATTORI -- use [equivalent] AISI 420 steel for softer lamination material rather than VG10. Since purposes for softer laminate material are identical, all blades made from Cowry X Stainless Damascus should perform similarly. Any difference in edge retention or ductility at core HRc should be nominal.
    "Stainless" Damascus, though, appears to be a misnomer. According to Carpenter Technology, martensitic steel is defined as stainless when chromium content is twelve times carbon. Cowry X, by this definition is not stainless -- 20 percent chromium, 3 percent carbon, and .3 percent vanadium. It appears to be "stain resistant" to a slightly greater degree than does generic D2.

    This is neither good nor evil. I abandoned my personal corrosion test on a Carbon V aka 50100-B after four years, having acquired the previously mentioned Russell knife.

    I expected a [folding] knife, carried in my pocket constantly, used in food preparation, and NEVER LUBRICATED, to become a corroded hulk. Didn't happen. Blade discolored immediately. And then nothing. It performed with no problems, no significant additional corrosion. All I would do is strop it on a pant leg maybe once a week. I sharpened it as needed. But I cannot understand why no corrosion.
    Getting back to Cowry X blades, Fallkniven offers one. Hattori, under its own brand name offers four or five outdoorsman's-hunting knives and many kitchen knives made of their Cowry X-and-420 Damascus steel. Prices are significantly lower than Fallkniven's. Hunting knife shapes are similar to stag handled Randalls. Selection of shapes is more restricted.

    Are other manufacturers or custom makers also offering Cowry X? Dunno.
    One last thing, a small number of vintage blades, made for Morseth, were found recently in storage by Brusletto. Ragweed Forge is selling them. Shape is nearly identical with my Harry Morseth general purpose knife. I bought ten.

    Except for lower innate corrosion resistance, these blades should perform competitively with Cowry X Damascus in any version. They have a fifty year history of edge retention with ductility at HRc 62-65. When these are gone, . . .
  10. Danbo

    Danbo Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Nov 28, 1999
    Ken Onion keeps threatening to make me a little neck knife out of Cowry steel. That would be nice! :)
  11. lambstr


    Jan 27, 2009
    Sog uses Cowry-Y steel in their $3500 Koji folder model
    This is what http://japan-blades.com/how-to said about it:
  12. KenOnion

    KenOnion KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 21, 1999
    Great stuff!! I love it !! It is clean, polishes beautifully takes a wicked edge and holds it nicely. I bought the last 150 lbs of it because It was discontinued and almost impossible to get. I paid alot for it and am glad I got it while I could. It is a pleasure to work with and hold a super keen edge very well.
  13. AMRaider


    Sep 5, 2007
    From http://japan-blades.com/how-to:

    Cowry-Y is a powdered metallurgical steel produced by Daido Steel in Japan and it not available in the United States. This steel is capable of a higher hardness without being brittle. The resulting edge has extremely good edge retention and can get better finish if you prefer mirror finish on your knife blade. Cowry-Y contains 1.25 of Carbon, 14.5 of Chromium, 3.0 of Molybdenum, 1.0 of Vanadium, 0.3 Nb in HRC62-64

    Is this steel difficult to heat treat? On paper it looks almost like a powdered metal version of BG42, which I have heard can be a hassle.

    From Latrobe's data sheet on BG42:

    1.15% Carbon
    14.5% Chromium
    4.0% Molydenum
    1.2% Vanadium
    0.5% Manganese
    0.3% Silicon

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