I recently purchased a foldable knife for my everyday use. It is D2 tool steel. It is very sharp out of the box.
Anyone have a particular opinion of this material as far as sharpening condition and keeping the edge?
D2 is an excellent steel that has been around for many years. Keep in mind however that not all D2 is the same, not all knives are the same, and the quality of a knife is more than just the steel. I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering and worked for many years with tool and die makers and machinists who used D2 to great effect.
There are a number of good knives on the market today which use D2. The Medford Praetorian is available with a D2 blade and no one will doubt its quality for example. But I’d hesitate to count on a thirty dollar Chinese eBay knife regardless of the steel.
I haven’t kept up with all the steels available for knives as I’m in software engineering now and spend less time researching metals, but it is my understanding that D2 will not keep its edge as long, but it’s easier to put an edge on it. I saw the same phenomena decade ago when stainless first started being used. It wouldn’t rust like D2, but it was the dickens to sharpen.
My purse EDC knife is a Zero Tolerance 0450CF in S35VN. My pocket carry (when I’m not in a dress) and utility knife is a ZT 0350 in S30V. I didn’t buy either because of the steel. I’ve sharpened both and they do fine. I bought them because they fit my needs, one is a very lightweight slim knife for my EDC purse carry. The other is a heavy “tool” knife.
I’ve got three or four Kershaw Cryo’s in 8Cr13MoV that are just sprinkled about for utility purposes, A Kershaw Launch 1 auto in CPM-154, a “Tom Brown” survival knife custom made in Damascus that lives in my get home bag, and a few “field and stream” Cabellas specials that are “extras” or “throwaways”. I’ve given my daughter (who is a bit of a collector) and my son a few dozen knives over the years including autos, handmade fixed blades etc. They’ve all been good quality and I’ve never had a failed knife in almost sixty years of carrying them EXCEPT a busted blade on a Buck 110 about twenty five years ago!
I also have a couple of “Home Depot” brand knives that are also scattered about in tool bags, get home bags, my truck console etc. I’d like to have a few dozen ZT’s scattered about like that, but cost is a factor. So my carry knives are the two to three hundred dollar ZT’s and I scatter “extras” about as a knife is a good tool to have available. I do the same with multi-tools. I carry a Leatherman Skeletool CX in my purse, but have about a dozen others in various sizes and brands including one that has a dedicated 1911A1 bushing wrench (in my 1911 range bag) that are in my console and glove box, tool bags… you get the point.
If your knife is a quality knife you’ll probably be happy with it. Take a look at the videos of torture tests on Microtech knives vs counterfeit knives to see what I mean. D2 might dull a bit faster, but it’ll clean up to an edge quicker. And no matter what the blade steel is, manufacturing quality of the steel as well as heat treat and manufacturing quality and components in the rest of the knife are probably more important.
I included a link below to a discussion of knife steel. You can TOTALLY geek out on this stuff and lots of folk spend LOTS of money on collecting knives. Lots of “safe queens” in these collections. I just use them as tools. I use my ZT 0450 to pop the zerk fitting covers off my trailer hubs for example.
There is something to be said for getting “exactly” the “right” tool, but D2 will do the job if it is manufactured and heat treated right.
Thanx for the reply Kate!
I liked that video. Way to abuse a knife
I hold to NCIS Gibbs rule #9; Always carry a knife. However, IMHO the best tactical pocket knife for the money is the Zero Tolerance (ZT) line. That said, I’ve never been one to go with an uber blade as an EDC.
My ECD is a 2.5 inch cheap WarTec assisted opening knife I paid $10 for a couple of years ago. If I lose or break it, I have several more to take it’s place without regret or tears. It’s sharp as hell, does what I need it to do in my day, and is deceivingly non-threatening even at a second glance.
Not that I don’t have various uber knives well designed to exceed any hiking, hunting or apocalyptic scenarios… I just don’t see the need within my daily routine to impress the masses with the flash, whoosh & clack of deploying steel. I’ll leave that to the youngsters with something to prove.
D2 steel is a good steel. Blade shape, grind, and use will play a huge factor in deciding if it fits your application. One of my favorite knives is a lowly 420HC (Buck 112)… not counting my 89 cent box cutter. I’ll often grab it before my fancy S90V, M4, etc. knives, also because of the ease of sharpening. IMO, if you become handy with a sharpener, learn how to find and work off the burrs, use the knife as a knife and not a screwdriver, and have realistic expectations you will do fine.
I’ll add, that if you are planning on doing a lot of cutting on cardboard or fiberglass, just about any steel will dull rather quickly (hence knowing how to sharpen). Also, very shallow grinds with thick blade stock might have more resistance through certain material.
Quick dirty answer it dulls faster, but it sharpens and holds a good edge. Depending how deep you want to get into it, I can give you some sites to visit and such. I collect Damascus, most to look at but my EDC Kerambits, I use hard and have custom made.
There are a lot of good brand knives out there just to name a few; Spyderco, KERSHAW, SOG. Just to name a few. All good EDC knives.
Smoke, thanx for the reply.
I recently got a 3.5 inch blade pocket knife for my EDC. It isn’t an expensive one compared to what’s out there. So, yes I agree with your approach to carrying a blade.
First time I’ve owned a D2 steel blade. It was shaving sharp out of the box. I use it on a daily basis for mundane chores at work as well as at home.
As for personal defense, if I ever had to use it (God forbid) it will not be the knife that lets me down.
Avoid Chinese steel. I buy American, and even some of the “American” knife companies use Chinese steel in some of their knives, so be careful. You can do a quick Internet query of the type of steel to find where it is made. Like Texas Kate, I like ZT. I also have a CRKT - yes, I carry two - that is also American steel. American steel does cost more, but I am willing and able to pay for it. Not only is the quality better, but support of US companies is important to me.
Here is a reference of some steel types available, including D2, the first is edge retention, the other, toughness:
The images above and this statement following, are from the link below. “D2 has good wear resistance, hardness, and adequate toughness.”
What I have also read is that there is a large variance in the lots of D2 steel produced, so some may have better properties than others, and it is dependent upon the knife maker for quality control.
@Rockmonster - I wanted to share a video that the gentleman who made my
knife. This is how he sharpens all the knives that he custom makes and the blade
comes very very sharp and doesn’t lose it’s edge very easily. He made me a
persian fighter blade which I try very hard not to use and abuse. The video I
am giving you is just a suggestion. Mike.
Thanx for that video Mike.
I use the old whetstone for sharpening. The more I do the better I get at it.
I’m kinda afraid of using a wheel for the very caution he brought up: grinding too much metal off the blade.
D2 is a great budget steel but can take some abuse. The knife community refers to it as the “working steel”. If you ever wonder what the steel consists of and how well it holds an edge, corrosion resistance, etc., here is a great chart that I refer to constantly!
So much to consider!!!
For me, I try to make the best choice between price and quality. Unfortunately price usually determines my choice.
Great site, thanx!!!
@Rockmonster Yeah blade steels really vary on their performance but at the end of the day, it also depends on the heat treat so sometimes when I’m looking at some sort of high end steel, I typically want to find a knife from a well reputable manufacturer. I am a knife addict and I can talk about them for days. My wallet tells me to shut up but I can’t help it😂
I hear you brother!!!
#BuyLocal #BuyAmerican #BanMadeInChina
My edc knife is the Kershaw emerson I got from joining uscca