Razor Edge Holding + Steel Information Needed

Jul 20, 2018
Hey everyone,

I am considering purchasing a folding knife and am looking for some steel advice before I commit to a knife. I already have a knife in M4 steel so ideally, I would prefer other choices.

That being said, I have two questions--what is the best semi/ or stainless steel that gets and holds a razor edge for a while?

How about carbon steel?

Essentially I am looking for a well-balanced steel that is tough, holds a razor edge for a decent amount of time and is not a pain to sharpen.

edit: Steels that are readily available...production knives etc
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Elmax. M390. Cts 204p. 20cv. S35vn. These will provide a balance of toughness and edge retention in a stainless steel blade.
I'd say Vanax SuperClean is the best balanced steel -- holds a great edge, fine grained and easy to sharpen, toughest of the powder stainless steels and super stainless.

But hard to find in EDCs, other than Shirogorov.
Thank you everyone for the input. How about available steels that meet this criteria on production folders? I don't have the means to acquire all these nitrogen based steels.
Your criteria: stainless, holds a razor edge, not a pain to sharpen: Sandvik steels, like 14c28n. Southern grind Bad monkey uses this steel. Reel steel also use it. Reel steel knives will cost less than the SG, if you want something cheaper just to test. 12c27 is also in the same family.

It’s though for a stainless, it’s very stainless, is easy to sharpen and takes and holds a razor edge. It does not have the wear resistance like the cpm steels, m390/cts204p/20cv, but it can take lower angles without chipping. And after you have set your bevels right and finished on a high grit, 5 passes on a strop or stone will get it back to razor sharp if you do it regularly.