How Good is D2 Tool Steel?

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

  1. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
  2. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    I watched Mr. Buck baton a 5/16" bolt in half with one of his company's sheath knives. That was forty years ago at a knife show. No idea what the steel was but I doubt it was D2. He was very careful to have the knife at a right angle to the bolt. Tap, tap, tap. The bolt was in two pieces. He did not suggest that any of the spectators try it at home.
  3. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    Brother Thomas Linton.

    I find that as D2 is semi stainless and thus more closely related to carbon steels on the spectrum of carbon to stainless the steel retains some of the properties of carbon steel. Most pronounced is the fact that despite misconception it doesn't seem to chip when heat treated properly. Unfortunately it does not seem to retain carbon steel's ability to be sharpened up easily. If you see the video in my last post there are very few stainless steels I would do that with. (3v isn't considered stainless is it?)
  4. Sierrawoodsman


    Nov 9, 2014
    I recently got an Ontario Rat model 1 in Aus-8. Absolutely love this knife so far. I saw that it also came in D2 steel for only a few dollars more, so I got a second one in D2. I've only had the D2 version for a week. So I have yet to form a long term conclusion on it, but I did come across this video testing both versions:
    Was able to bring it to razor sharpness using the work sharp with a fine purple belt. Any of you guys have this knife in D2 for a while ,and have any opinions?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Bloefield likes this.
  5. Frisky


    Dec 1, 2010
    I think Queen Cutlery might be partly responsible for the notion that D2 takes a crappy edge and holds it forever. I bought a 2007 Queen Light Hunter that had never been used or sharpened. It had a lousy, obtuse edge. Just plain crap! I bought some DMT diamond hones and brought the edge angle way down with the coarse hone, then used finer hones and finished with my butcher's steel. It went from being unable to even begin to slice paper, to a paper slicing, hair shaving, toothy skinner! I can't wait to use it skinning a deer next season. Really a nice knife once you correct the edge. No rusting, and the Queen mirror finish is beautiful.

  6. chumaman


    Nov 13, 2012
  7. shqxk


    Mar 26, 2012
    I was thinking the same. Ankerson test has too many variation to be taken seriously.

    Blade design
    Geometry not just the behind edge thickness or edge angle but the overall geometry
    The robe being use
    Implicit bias

    And many others factor can influence the test result. I would rather believe in multiple blind test like CATRA or what Aaron Gough has done over it.
    Superdave1 likes this.
  8. chumaman


    Nov 13, 2012 If you see

    by Pavol ...No name Chinese D2 .....1mm edge thickness :eek: 30° ...2316 cuts...Amazing stupid result :( ...against all custom or production ... :D
    compare other D2 results on list....and what I see what Nathan do with HT....and similar HT on my customs....D2 is overall must see :thumbup:
  9. The Mastiff

    The Mastiff

    Apr 21, 2006
    I'm not sure how seriously Jim A. takes himself? He's pretty down to earth and a great guy who I'm fortunate to call a friend. You can find all the faults with his work you want to but keep in mind he earns nothing but blisters and a sore back from his work. He does work at being as consistent as he can be. Outside a lab there is only so much one can do. Especially when he is covering the costs himself and not making any money from his work.

    Perhaps I'll take you as serious as I do Jim after you complete a few more hundreds/thousands of hours work along with medium house size mountains of sliced cardboard and rope. All the while having people giving you helpful suggestions and requests for new tests while holding down a job and vital family obligations. :)

    evilgreg likes this.
  10. chumaman


    Nov 13, 2012
    Mr.Ankerson do great job and open one big page :thumbup:
  11. shqxk


    Mar 26, 2012
    Its not about how good he is as a person or how much money he has spent on this without profit but I talked about the possible variation of the method.

    I know it can be pretty excited seeing X steel got Y result but from science point of view this kind of test cant be taken as reference of performance for each steel.
  12. helobite


    Aug 26, 2008

    Exactly my experience. I have lots of Queen knives with D2 blades, and if you take the time and effort to put an edge on them, they are sharp! I have lots of D2 bladed knives and am very happy with all of them.

  13. The Mastiff

    The Mastiff

    Apr 21, 2006
    I have seen no tests done here that would actually stand up to the standards required to be called science. Exciting? Not really. Can you learn or discern anything from his work though? I'd think so. Would it pass peer review? No. No one around here has put that much time and resources into it. Most of us have other things we find more important including Jim. Outside the work done by the steel company metallurgists and maybe some stuff done by the knife company's with CATRA, engineers, labs and other dedicated resources. Still, we have what we have and I am grateful for all sincere efforts.
  14. Littlebabycarrot


    Jan 1, 2018
    I have 2 3.5 inch folding knives in d2 that i got in the last 6 months after using mainly 440c/b/a Aus8, Buck's 420HC, and carbon steel the previous years. My experience was (after getting used to how hard d2 is to grind) that i have far less trouble getting d2 to take a wicked sharp edge than softer steels. Im sure my technique lacks with my cheaper knives that i dont carry anymore, but ive never had to destress an edge of d2 or my 154cm knife in between stones. But then i did just fine with those steels before i got used to anything with a higher rockwell rating. I can still get the softer steels to take a nice working edge but i have an insane amount of trouble getting a polished edge without microbeveling or convexing(with which i have no issue but sometimes you want a mirror finish on the whole bevel without convexing it.
    I dont use my knives too heavily, although i do a lot of cutting against metal and dont see much chipping but some of the time i have microbevels(some on purpose, even). The chipping the i have seen is a minimal loss of metal, and i would prefer it to chip rather than roll or deform: i have no evidence but would guess steel that chips rather than bends might be slightly less stressed and hold a rehoned edge longer(i almost never hone out chips)
    If i had to go with a one-stone option for maintaining d2 for all applications(which isnt feasible) id pick the XXF dmt plate. They say you cant set a bevel with one in the literature that accompanies the product, but until it is broken in, you certainly can(i did, but i had no really decent coarse stone). It gives a fine edge that cuts hanging hairs but still has some tooth to it. These plates also seem to respond well to pressure. More pressure at the end for a coarser edge.
  15. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    It's good enough for Bob Dozier. (And me.)
  16. Rich S

    Rich S

    Sep 23, 2005
    D2 is my favorite steel. Takes and holds a great edge. Doesn't really tarnish easily - would have to leave it in salt water for days for it to tarnish and start to rust. Care for your blade and it will take care of you.
  17. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    Some of the above comments suggest that it is a matter of the maker/sharpener - not the steel.
    Mo2 and DeadboxHero like this.
  18. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I agree. Bob doesn't use a lot of other steels with his knives and if he felt that he could get a significant upgrade in performance with another steel, he'd do it or at least offer it as an option if you special order one of his knives.

    I compare this to Bark River's use of A-1 on their standard knives, but they have moved to other steels in recent years. My guess is that it's a market or competition thing as BRKT knives are priced fairly close to the lower end of handmade knife pricing.

    You need to consider what you intend to use a knife for when choosing steels. Frankly a lot of the custom makers still use older carbon steel and their knives are quite good overall.
  19. dkb45

    dkb45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 16, 2012
    I love D2. Fantastic steel for a small fixed blade or folder. Edge retention that competes with the low end of PM steels, toughness that exceeds most stainless steels, but is towards the low end of carbon and tool steels. It's been around forever for a reason.

    I wouldn't buy anything over around $150 in D2 because there are better options in the price, but a more budget knife in D2 is perfectly fine for me. Just don't trust the sub-$30 Chinese knives claiming to be in D2, it's cheap but not that cheap.
  20. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    A supposition or Bob has told you so?

    "D2 Steel
    The steel Bob uses is D2, which is one of the most outstanding knife steels available today. It is a high carbon, high chrome tool "
    steel which is often used for the steel cutting dies in tool and die shops. With 1.5% Carbon, 1% Molybdenum, 12% Chrome, and 1% Vanadium, this air hardening steel (at 60-61Rc.) takes a razor edge, and holds it!

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