D2 or A2? Which is better?


Chief Master Sergeant USAF (ret) 1975-2000
Platinum Member
Nov 15, 1998
Knife gurus of the forum...please enlighten me on which steel is better for ability to take a scary razor sharp edge and hold it the longest between D2 and A2 with all other factors being equal? Same blade geometry, same quality of hardness, etc...please expand on your answer.
Wow, I was about to post the same topic.
Please enlighten us.

I personally like D2 better because it is almost a stainless while still being a higher carbon tool steel. Both are great steels when heat treated properly.
I use D2 and A2 for making dies and other tooling at my full time job and have been heat treating these steels to a given Rc hardness spec. for years. Lately I've been cryo treating them also.
I make mostly hunting knives with an occasional fighter usually to customer specs. I make all my hunting knives from D2 because I feel it holds an edge better on this type of knife and is more stain resistant than A2. The only thing bad about it is it's tough on belts.
I use A2 on the larger knives mainly because my customers request it. They see famous makers like Phil Hartsfield using it.I guess it has better shock resistance than D2. I like it because it's easier to grind!!
As far as which can be made the scary sharpest?? I think D2 with a thin edge will hold up longer than A2 with a thin edge...
I just finished a 10" tanto in A2 that will pluck hair with out touching the skin...... Tough call!!! I say.....overall.....HMMMM...D2!!!
I've generally heard that A2 takes a sharper edge than D2 and most anything else. It may not be quite as abrasion resistant as D2, but it is tough.
All things being equal, A-2 will take a finer edge but D-2 will hold it longer. It is dang close though! As said above, D-2 is more corrosion resistant but A-2 is tougher. Both are great steels.

I was going to post and say exactly what Rob Simonich did. Except I'll add that when I go to knife shows, the sharpest knives in the place are invariably at Bob Dozier's table, and he works in D-2. D-2 may not take quite the edge A-2 does, or maybe it's just a little more difficult to get it there, but there's no arguing with Bob's results!