How Good is D2 Tool Steel?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by MythrilBlades, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. MythrilBlades


    Jan 18, 2017
    When compared with other steels like s30v how does D2 tool steel compare? Is there too much of a fluctuation in the various metal percentages of D2 for us to concretely say there is one true version? I would like to know if D2 would make a good survival and bush knife. Chime in with your knowledge everyone!
  2. SW-EDC

    SW-EDC Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 4, 2015
    D2 has been around a very long time and proven.
    I like it personally.
    Strong and hard..not the easiest to sharpen but strong.
  3. Thetimefarm


    Jul 28, 2015
    I haven't tried much D2 stuff, but from what I know it's a decent middle of the road steel. It's harder to sharpen and holds a decent edge, but for the price it's pretty good. Personally I would choose well heat treated Aus-8 or S30V over D2, simply because I think all steels have trade off's and for my usage D2 isn't a good fit. But for the right price and the right use it's a fine steel. What I wouldn't do is buy an expensive D2 knife *coughMedfordcough*, a 400 dollar fixed blade in D2 is way too much, I wouldn't spend more than 100 bucks on a D2 knife. When it comes to out door and bushcraft use I wouldn't choose D2 since it's not really true stainless and not really true carbon, and it's hard to put an edge on in the field. I generally carry O1 in the field because I can throw a steep angle on it then strop it back to shaving sharp after a day or two out. So basically if you like a very hard steel and don't want to spring for S30V it's a decent choice, but if you want something cheap and easy I think theres better stuff out there.
  4. likota


    Jul 20, 2016
    My experience is that it is a solid performer but it is not meant for very fine edges like the zero scandi grind on the Enzo Trapper. I had to put a microbevel on mine. However, D2 performs very well on more robust edges like on the Viper Borr.
    D2 can and will rust if you do not take care of it but it is usually not a big deal. It is almost a stainless steel but not quite.
  5. DeadboxHero

    DeadboxHero Triple B Handmade, Custom Knives Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 22, 2014
    Depends on what grit you like your edge and what you use to sharpen and if you make good edges. D2 prefers to be toothy so if you like a polished edge for better push cuts on wood then no D2 is not as good. S30V gets a bad rap but it's a superior alloy to D2. It just costs more and some find it more difficult to sharpen, but that difficulty sharpening all depends on the variables I listed above.
    In the end, I would focus on design over which knives have a certain steel.
  6. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    I like D2. It's very hard and is still "pretty stainless". 12% chromium prevents it from being categorized as a true stainless steel. But none of my D2 blades have ever formed even the slightest bit of rust or discoloration and I live right on the water.
  7. marcinek

    marcinek Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    Depends on what you think "good" means and what characteristics you think makes a good "survival and bush knife" (whatever that means) steel.

    Maybe if you could expand a bit, we could hep more.
  8. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    how good D2 is depends. is it D2, CPM-D2 (powdered version) or PSF27 (cast version)
    whats the heat treat and HRC? what geometry is the blade and what are your cutting tasks? chopping, slicing etc?

    D2 is not stainless and it can be chippy. higher hardness D2 imho is hard to sharpen unless you have the right stones.

    is it good? all steel is decent. if i have the choice i wouldnt choose D2, but thats just me. there are many good knives made with D2 tho.
  9. 666mademedoit


    Jul 13, 2013
    D2 does everything I need it to do as an EDC, I wear a Dozier K-41 Sub Compact around my neck daily usually under a t shirt. No rust issues yet after roughly 10 months...
    I've thinned the edge down to roughly 10-12° a side, I have then polished the bevels on a home made strop loaded with Autosol metal polish.
    It works great whittling with push cuts but still slices like a demon on anything else!
  10. FullMetalJackass

    FullMetalJackass Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2016
    I love D2, it's a great steel and not hard to sharpen as long as you use low grit stones.
    You can strop it to mirror with less risk to roll the edge as it is so dang hard too!

    One of my D2 knives spent 3 month buried in the snow (puppy took it and hid it, then returned it...), there was just a tad of rust that disappeared after an oil treatment.
    Not a steel you can get a razor out of, but you will get an awesome outdoors edge that last forever.
    SteelJunkee likes this.
  11. bdmicarta


    Feb 16, 2012
    It is a good steel and I like it. One of my first D2 user knives was the Stryker in the photo below. I bought it used and it came with the polished edge, very sharp. And it has stayed very sharp for a long time during my use. So I don't doubt that the steel can take a very good edge. The knife has not rusted or gotten any patina in quite a few years of carry. I have knives with a lot of fancy steels, and I'm carrying a knife with S110V today. I would be happy if the only steel I could get was D2.


    There are 2 problems with D2:
    1. It is not a new steel. Internet warriors* think that to be good a steel has to be new.
    2. It is not expensive. Internet warriors* think that it has to be expensive to be good.
    I've talked to a lot of knifemakers and people that compete in chopping contests. They know about D2 and they think it is good. Internet warriors, the people that read the internet but never use their knives, think it is mediocre because there are newer and more expensive steels on the market. No doubt there are better steels on the market but D2 is no slouch.
    JeffreyC and evilgreg like this.
  12. gazz98

    gazz98 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    I love D2. My BM Adamas, Rat 1s, and Boker Caracal all have it. You probably do need diamond stones to sharpen (which I do) though. I didn't get too far with arkansas/water stones.
  13. ATJ999

    ATJ999 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 12, 2013
    D2 is decent. But for Bush/survival knife I would go with CPM 3V or Cru-wear/PD1. They are tougher, hold a better edge, and have pretty good stain resistance.
  14. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
  15. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    In a larger knife that might get involved in chopping, I prefer 5160 or 1084, or even 1095, over D2 - or any other steel with lots of large carbides - due to ease of sharpening and damage repair. I guess I flunked Internet Warrior 101.
    19-3ben and Cutfinger like this.
  16. perchjerk


    May 27, 2009
    Bob Doziers d2 blades are some of my favorite. He's got the heat treat down and his blades hold an edge for a very long time. I feel d2 has a bad wrap for how hard it is to sharpen. Its all about using the right medium to sharpen. Diamond stones work best for me. Might take slightly longer than my other blades but nothing major. I do love the sharpening process so that may be part of the reason i'm not bothered by the difficulty of d2.
  17. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    One of my favorites.
    William Nease made a kwaiken for me from D2 and he said he forgot how sharp this steel gets.
  18. unklfranco


    Apr 2, 2011
    Like anything else, the quality of a D2 steel knife depends on the maker/design. One of my all time favorite knives was the Benchmade Adamas (D2 steel). The factory edge was one of the best I've experienced at ANY price level. This knife just fell through paper effortlessly. Very impressive.
    I eventually traded it off because A) I lived in a very humid place. B) The scales should have been G10 or Micarta with no coating. C) Although it was very heavy, I would have kept it if the scales were micarta. I still may replace it but I want to see a hard use test on an OKC Rat 1/2 in D2 or any Cold Steel CTS XHP knife first before. I don't want to wind up with a new stack of knives just because I wanted to feel some D2 love.
  19. mete


    Jun 10, 2003
    Sharpness is defined by the minimum radius that the steel can be sharpened to. The powder steels do better than D2.The D2 carbides will break out as the edge is worn leaving a saw tooth edge.
  20. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    D2 is a great steel. I find that it is awesome because it is semi stainless, so stainless enough while having properties of a carbon steel. There is CTS XHP which is supposedly like stainless D2.

    Theres a video of someone on youtube putting the edge of their blade on a penny, hitting the back of the blade with a hammer until the penny folds in half abit, then testing the edge on paper. The edge didn't chil at all and sliced the paper with no catches. that really impressed me!

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