Is muela steel good enough for recovery?

Nov 17, 1999
Hello Folks.

Is the quality of the steel of a muela knife good enough to make a new handle for it?
What is it actually? It says Molybdenum-Vanadium. Now, in 420 steel these are not present. What steel is in reality?

thanks in advance.
I read somewhere that the blade steel is 440A. I guess it depends on the heat treat.

Hello Bart
I hope that I can help answer your question. I have two knives made by Muela. The first is a large bowie with a nine and one half inch blade. The blade is almost one quarter of an inch thick, and has the traditional clip point. The blade of the knife is well exsecuted. It also has the words "Molibdeno Vanadio" etched onto the flat. This means that there is vanadium and also molebdinum to be found in the composition of the steel. I do not know the content of either element, but I do know that they are both elements that are commonly considered to be desirable in many high alloy blades. The second knife that I own by Muela is a Buck 110 lockback replica. Its blade is similarly stamped. Both knives have been used extensively. The bowie has been used to quarter many a duck and chicken over the fourteen years that I have owned it and the lockback was used out in the field while I was a student of anthropology at the University of Houston. The Anthropology department there is embarassingly underfunded, therefore the students and the professor had to supply all of the tools for an on site excavation. These excavations were being performed with small tools that could be used to disturb as little of the context as possible. My lockback was employed for several weeks to sever and remove the roots of a nearby oak when it was not possible to go around them. After using the folder as a prybar, shovel, chisel,etc... I was amazed that there were no scratches on the blade, the blade never broke or even bent out of true. There was no damage whatsoever on the cutting edge other than having dulled during the course of the dig. Assuming that the blade of your knife is made of the same steel as the two that I own I would assume that you have a very worthwhile blade indeed. By the way, the workmanship on the handles of both of my blades is poor in appearance. However they have held up to a great deal of abuse and neglect without any signs of deterioration over the years. If you want something that will look better than what you've got now, by all means replace the handle material. If you can deal with the way it looks and just want something that can be abused with the peace of mind of knowing that it can take it, I would recommend that you leave the handle the way it is. Either way, I believe that you have a very worthwhile blade. If you do decide that you are going to put a new handle on it please post your progress. I would be interested to know the results of your efforts. Enjoy your knife.
The german representation (Bocker) says:
The Muela "molybdeno/vanadino" is "like" 440-C.
The blade of my muela is "bluer" than 440-C, so probably there ist less chromium in it.
But: it is a very strong steel of excellent edge holding quality. Quite hard, but easy to sharpen.

My Muela bowie was a gift. It was given to me by my crew. I have taken it hiking and camping every time I've gone since. It has taken some abuse(understatement). If the handle on mine needed replacing I'd do it in a hartbeat. You have an excellent blade IMHO if you like it keep it. Make a new handle for it and get some more use out of it. It's a Muela it should give you many more years of service.

air cut through by steel,
the blade stops.
from silent stone,
death is preordained. FUDO 1627