Was M390 used in knives later than 20CV?

superpog

Basic Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
78
Was curious about the history of M390, 20CV, 204P, so did some search online. M390 was out back in 1988 per Larrin Larrin in this thread. And found people discussed 20CV around 2005 in this thread, suggesting 20CV was out more than 15 years later than M390. And earliest discussion of 204P seems also from Larrin in the same 2005 20CV thread, but the time of his post was Jan 2010. And I found 204P description in spydiwiki that it's a 2nd gen PM version of 20CV here.

In that 2005 20CV thread, it seems there had been knives using 20CV since around 2005, but I couldn't find any threads about M390 knives before 2010. I only find this thread saying M390 is available in US and that is 2010.

It is a bit interesting as if I covered the right history, then the original M390 was >15 years older, but used in knives later than 20CV... Maybe this is just US markets due to the availability of M390? Or the real history is different...

BTW, place holder for the M390 brother's picture. I have M390 and 20CV, and I am waiting for my 204P para 3, will post a pic of them three once I get it :)

CMqgx8a.jpg
 
Last edited:

Larrin

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
4,307
Definitely availibility was a big part of it. You would have had to work really hard to get some M390 and you would have had to know about it before attempting to get it. Latrobe came out with 20CV and started pushing it to knife companies. Now the steel continues to be made by Crucible of course.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
313
Man it's crazy the good steel out now..


Before I took a break from knives, s30v was the latest and greatest.

Fast forward to today and boy, things escalated quickly!

Pretty soon we will have s240vn
 

22-rimfire

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2005
Messages
19,385
I don't believe these steels were created for knives. Hence, it takes a while before anyone uses or tries it. I have always had trouble putting dates (years) on the modern steels. Seems almost a pointless exercise.
 

Larrin

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
4,307
If custom knives count: I found out that M390 was discussed by German knife makers as early as 2001. I found a thread that old on messerforum.net - a German knife forum that was pretty popular in the 2000s.

Link: https://www.messerforum.net/showthread.php?61-B%F6hler-M-390
The steel was of course listed on Bohler's website in 2001 and well before. If it was used in any knives prior to 20CV it probably would have been in European custom knives. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a small handful out there. But even in that thread they don't seem to be pointing to anyone who has actually used it yet.
 

superpog

Basic Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
78
Definitely availibility was a big part of it. You would have had to work really hard to get some M390 and you would have had to know about it before attempting to get it. Latrobe came out with 20CV and started pushing it to knife companies. Now the steel continues to be made by Crucible of course.
Latrobe's 20cv seems to be the origin of both CPM-20CV and CTS-204P. I found some old news that Crucible and Latrobe had a partnership early 2010, so I assume CPM-20CV got its "CPM" since then? When I look for CPM-20CV datasheet, the datasheet is dated 2016, however, the filename is 2010 :) And Carpenter actually acquired Latrobe in June 2011, and I assumed CTS-204P was out after the acquisition. But clearly CTS-204P was out before that, do you know when was CTS-204P out? So if "CPM" 20cv got its name after 2010, then 204P is earlier than the "CPM" 20CV?

Sorry about the strange questions though:p
 

superpog

Basic Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
78
Man it's crazy the good steel out now..


Before I took a break from knives, s30v was the latest and greatest.

Fast forward to today and boy, things escalated quickly!

Pretty soon we will have s240vn
Yup, it's interesting to me to have more and more steel options. My current collections are all different steels except for M390/20cv/204p.

But I am not optimistic about s240vn to come out soon. It took them more than 10 years(?) to advance from S35vn to S45VN, seems more than a century away from S240VN :D:D
 

Larrin

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
4,307
Latrobe's 20cv seems to be the origin of both CPM-20CV and CTS-204P. I found some old news that Crucible and Latrobe had a partnership early 2010, so I assume CPM-20CV got its "CPM" since then? When I look for CPM-20CV datasheet, the datasheet is dated 2016, however, the filename is 2010 :) And Carpenter actually acquired Latrobe in June 2011, and I assumed CTS-204P was out after the acquisition. But clearly CTS-204P was out before that, do you know when was CTS-204P out? So if "CPM" 20cv got its name after 2010, then 204P is earlier than the "CPM" 20CV?

Sorry about the strange questions though:p
It looks like Carpenter started listing 204P in 2009, as it doesn't appear in March 09: https://web.archive.org/web/20090318072938/http://www.cartech.com:80/ssalloys.aspx
But it appears as Micro-Melt 20-4 in the next available archived page in July: https://web.archive.org/web/20090724045148/http://www.cartech.com:80/ssalloys.aspx
By January 2010 it was renamed to CTS-204P: https://web.archive.org/web/20100107063714/http://www.cartech.com:80/ssalloys.aspx

So 204P predated the acquisition of Latrobe by Carpenter in 2011. Latrobe has never had powder metallurgy production facilities. So Crucible was making Duratech 20CV for Latrobe which Crucible started selling themselves as CPM-20CV after Carpenter acquired Latrobe.
 
Joined
May 30, 2014
Messages
1,074
If I recall correctly M30 hit the knife scene first; or at least in mass produced production knifes. I recall ZT doing smaller batches of it years ago. It has been my favorite edc blade steel. Takes a very sharp edge and keeps a working edge for a while.
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
106
The steel was of course listed on Bohler's website in 2001 and well before. If it was used in any knives prior to 20CV it probably would have been in European custom knives. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a small handful out there. But even in that thread they don't seem to be pointing to anyone who has actually used it yet.

You might be right, but I think that one of those guys ("bert", Norbert Leitner from www.69nord.at) already had some experience with M390.

However, I looked a bit further and found out that Dietmar Kressler (a well known German knife maker during that time) built a M390 knife in 1999.
Proof: There is an excerpt from the German knife magazine "Messer Magazin" linked on is homepage:

http://www.kresslerknives.com/messermagazin.htm

The knife is on the bottom left side of the document.

Oldest production knife I found so far is the IWA Knife of the Year 2010: The "Linder Handlelight BÖHLER M390 Powderit". But I think there should be something even older as 2010 was the year where M390 became "mainstream" and was already used by companies such as Kershaw or Benchmade.
 

superpog

Basic Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
78
It looks like Carpenter started listing 204P in 2009, as it doesn't appear in March 09: https://web.archive.org/web/20090318072938/http://www.cartech.com:80/ssalloys.aspx
But it appears as Micro-Melt 20-4 in the next available archived page in July: https://web.archive.org/web/20090724045148/http://www.cartech.com:80/ssalloys.aspx
By January 2010 it was renamed to CTS-204P: https://web.archive.org/web/20100107063714/http://www.cartech.com:80/ssalloys.aspx

So 204P predated the acquisition of Latrobe by Carpenter in 2011. Latrobe has never had powder metallurgy production facilities. So Crucible was making Duratech 20CV for Latrobe which Crucible started selling themselves as CPM-20CV after Carpenter acquired Latrobe.
Thanks so much! I don't think I could find this information by myself, it's professional :)
 

Larrin

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
4,307
You might be right, but I think that one of those guys ("bert", Norbert Leitner from www.69nord.at) already had some experience with M390.

However, I looked a bit further and found out that Dietmar Kressler (a well known German knife maker during that time) built a M390 knife in 1999.
Proof: There is an excerpt from the German knife magazine "Messer Magazin" linked on is homepage:

http://www.kresslerknives.com/messermagazin.htm

The knife is on the bottom left side of the document.

Oldest production knife I found so far is the IWA Knife of the Year 2010: The "Linder Handlelight BÖHLER M390 Powderit". But I think there should be something even older as 2010 was the year where M390 became "mainstream" and was already used by companies such as Kershaw or Benchmade.
Good find on the 1999 custom.

2010 does appear to be the approximate time when M390 started ramping up in production knives in the US. Maybe Bohler started pushing the steel in significant quantities in the right sizes shortly before then.
 
Top