D2, when do you want it?

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Jul 16, 2004
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I'm seeing knives with D2 blades in all sizes. But I'm wondering where this steel would excell. Large blades? Small blades? Also, at what Rc does it offer the best edge holding for something like a pocket knife?
 
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D2: When do i want it? NOW!

Ka-Bar hardens their D2 knives to 59-60 HRC if that says anything.

I love D2. Better edge retention than common Stainless steels, and better corosion resistance than common Hi-carbon steels. It is ideal for any blade that wont get much maintenance, but still needs to stay sharp and clean.
 
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For me, in knives under 5” with blade design and geometry designed for lots of effective slicing. Around 61RC seems to be a good hardness.
 
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hi knifeclerk, I really like D2 bladesteel. It is best for the smaller knives and holds an edge a very long time. It is very wear resistant. It is not considered to be great on the larger knives where heavy chopping or prying is going to occur. In the smaller knives (maybe up to 6" or so) it performs awesome provided the steel was heat treated by someone reputable. Most makers treat to about 58 or 59 Rc. There are some very good makers out there that do an awesome job with D2. It is also often called a semi-stainless steel because it has 12% chrome, and stainless steel has to have at least 13% to be considered stainless.
 
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I am aware of the common attributes of D2. But I am becoming confused by it slowly. A customer brought in a Benchmade grip. in D2 that was suffering from chips on the edge. I have mostly been used to seeing D2 in smaller knives around 2-4 inches. But now I'm seeing BM make larger fixed blades out of D2. And they are replacing 154cm with D2 on their 710 line. What the hell?

Also, for a mid-sized folder, does 59rc seem like a reasonable hardness where it won't chip?
 
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Well it could be a heat treat problem but what was the knife used for to cause all the chipping? I just looked at Bob Dozier's website. He is one of the best makers using D2 and he heat treats 60-61 Rc on all his blades, blades 2.5" up to one I saw that was 6". The 59 Rc you talk about seems reasonable to me (I'm no expert). I have seen other makers treat at 58-59Rc. Again, D2 is "generally" not considered good for larger combat type knives that will have blade to blade contact, or a knife that will be used to pry. I love D2 for a hunting knife. Hope this helps.
 
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I've made large camp style knives of 8" in D2 and never had a problem with it. I'd suggest 60-61rc for knives up to 6 inches and 58-59rc for knives over. D2 makes a fantastic cutting edge that will cut all day but with the "explosion" of D2 on the market I fear that people are going to over sharpen it esp., if they are looking for a polished edge. As Bob Dozier has said "D2 takes a terrible edge but cuts all day" or something similar. The best way to sharpen D2 is to use a diamond stone and remember it has large carbides which form the aggressive edge. Those carbides form the aggressive edge which has good wear resistance. Whilst D2 is tough it is not as tough as A2. The problem with mass produced knives in D2 is the attention to heat treatment if you don't get it right you will not get the benefits of this great knife steel.
 
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Funny you should ask.

I've noticed that D2 is becoming too common. Improper heat treat is probably going to damage it's reputation.

I had heard that it was best for blades up to the 6-inch range, but I've seen makers I respect make larger blades.

Kinda waitin' for Mr. Stamp and various makers to chime in on this one (in addition to JDBLADE - who makes good points above).
 
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D2 is still my favorite steel for a folder or small fixed blade. My Benchmade 806d2 cuts all day long, and it gets alot of use.
 

Cliff Stamp

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Knifeclerk said:
But I'm wondering where this steel would excell. Large blades? Small blades? Also, at what Rc does it offer the best edge holding for something like a pocket knife?

D2 is a steel desiged for very high wear resistance, with little toughness and a very low machinability. It is best suited for knives meant to cut things and not take impacts. Considering the hardness, you can't judge the knife by this alone, there are many ways to get to the same hardness. In general D2 can be tempered low which runs it harder (62/64 hrc) or high (58/60 hrc). The low temper has better corrosion resistance and compression resistance, the high temper has better toughness and wear resistance. Then there is the matter of how it is quenched and if cold treatments were used.

-Cliff
 
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My experience with D2 consists of Bob Dozier and Charles May only. I have to say I am very pleased with them. I have been tossing the idea around about getting a Benchmade Grip in D2, but I might get the Ritter Grip in S30V. I still can't decide.
 
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