If you’re interested in knives, especially custom knives, you’ve probably come across 8Cr14MoV steel by now. And chances are, you’re here right now reading this because you want to know more about this very steel.
Well, it happened to me once too, and that’s why I did some research and compiled the information I could find on 8Cr14MoV into this post. So stay tuned and read on!
Table of Contents
What is 8Cr14MoV steel?
8Cr14MoV is a Chinese steel from the manufacturer Ahonest Changjiang Co. Ltd. that is used by Benchmade and CRKT, but possibly also by other knife manufacturers.
8Cr13MoV steel is very similar to 8Cr14MoV, is used by Spyderco. According to Benchmade, 8Cr14MoV is in the same league as AUS8 steel from Aichi.
8Cr14MoV is a stainless chrome steel with a high carbon content.
After heat treatment (which varies by manufacturing company) it gets high hardness, high wear resistance, and excellent corrosion resistance.
Many knife manufacturers use this steel to make inexpensive knives. Knives made from 8Cr14MoV steel may not offer the superior performance of premium steel knives, but they are good for their price.
Do not despise the performance of these knives because of their low price. In addition to knife manufacturing, this steel is also used in other industries, such as the production of medical instruments, and cutting tools.
Chemical composition 8Cr14MoV steel
|Chrome||13.5 – 14%||Improves wear resistance, heat resistance and scale resistance. It increases tensile strength because it acts as a carbide former. Use of rust-proof or stainless steel, as it increases corrosion resistance from a mass proportion of 12.2%. Reduction in weldability.|
|Carbon||0.75 – 0.80%||Increasing hardness and tensile strength. In larger quantities, increase in brittleness and reduction in forgeability and weldability.|
|Manganese||0.50%||Improves hardness and tensile strength.|
|Molybdenum||0.20 – 0.25%||Improves hardenability, tensile strength and weldability. Reduction in forgeability and ductility.|
|Phosphorus||0.035%||Increases tensile strength, hardness and corrosion resistance but also brittleness.|
|Sulfur||0.015%||Increases machinability but also brittleness.|
|Vanadium||0.10 – 0.15%||Increasing hardness, increasing wear resistance and improving tempering resistance.|
What hardness (HRC) does 8Cr14MoV steel have?
The hardness of 8Cr14MoV is 58-59 HRC, corresponding to the Rockwell C hardness scale. This hardness level is high enough to give the 8Cr14MoV blades good edge retention, sharpness and wear resistance.
Is 8Cr14MoV stainless or high-grade steel?
8Cr14MoV is a stainless steel but not a high-quality steel. To be considered stainless, it would need a chromium content of at least 10.5 – 13% dissolved in austenite or ferrite, depending on the definition (see here), which it fulfills with flying colors.
However, it is not formally a stainless steel according to the hard interpretation of the corresponding definition, since its phosphorus content (so-called iron companion) of 0.035% exceeds the specified limit of 0.025% (see here).
On the other hand, the proportion of the other iron companion, sulfur, is only 0.015% – which in total would still be just within the limits – so it would be easily arguable.
Properties of 8Cr14MoV steel
According to the chemical composition and hardness of 8Cr14MoV, it offers:
1. Edge retention
8Cr14MoV maintains its sharpness for a long time, which is one of the characteristics that distinguish knives made of this steel, considering their low price. Thanks to the high degree of hardness, which is due to the carbon and chromium in its composition, blades made of this steel remain sharp for a long time, even with frequent use.
2. Corrosion resistance
8Cr14MoV is a stainless steel with a chromium content of around 14% and therefore offers excellent corrosion resistance. Blades made from this steel can be used in damp, wet, and marine environments without worrying about stains or rust.
Because of this property, this steel is preferred for making kitchen and EDC knives. To further increase its corrosion resistance, care and maintenance are essential with regular use. At the very least, the blade should be cleaned and dried after use.
3. Wear resistance
The decent proportions of carbon, chromium, and vanadium in this steel give it a higher wear resistance than other budget steels.
Blades made from this steel can withstand abrasion and harsh applications, meaning you can count on knives made from 8Cr14MoV stainless steel to serve you well for a long time.
8Cr14MoV is a hard steel, but not so hard that it is difficult to sharpen. With simple sharpening tools, you can quickly give this steel a sharp edge again.
If you’re looking for a budget knife that doesn’t need to be sharpened excessively often, and if it does, it’s easy to sharpen, you probably won’t be disappointed with 8Cr14MoV steel and similar grades.
The toughness of a steel is critical to how it responds to harsh applications that would cause chipping or breakage. 8Cr14MoV has good toughness thanks to the chromium and molybdenum in its composition.
However, on a scale of to, knives made of 8Cr14MoV steel can only be moderately stressed overall. They are best suited for normal cutting work. Rough abuse such as hammering and very hard cutting work, however, puts undue stress on the blade, which can lead to breakage and/or splintering within a short time.
Is 8Cr14MoV a good knife steel?
8Cr14MoV is a good knife steel for a small budget. It offers balanced hardness, toughness, wear resistance, edge retention, and high corrosion resistance.
The low price might lead you to believe that 8Cr14MoV knives are of low quality, which is not true. On the contrary, an 8Cr14MoV knife will serve you well for a long time – provided you know and respect its limitations and give it regular care.
Comparison: 8Cr14MoV and other knife steels
1. 8Cr14MoV vs. 8Cr13MoV
8Cr14MoV and 8Cr13MoV are both Chinese steels that are nearly identical in chemical composition and have the same hardness, sharpness, toughness and wear resistance. In theory, 8Cr14MoV should contain about 1% more chromium than 8Cr13MoV steel (14 vs. 13 in the designation). But this is not the case, the main difference between the two steels is that 8Cr13MoV contains 1% nickel, which is completely absent in 8Cr14MoV.
2. 8Cr14MoV vs. AUS 8
8Cr14MoV is a Chinese steel, while AUS 8 is a Japanese steel that is also considered high-end due to its higher carbon content. More carbon leads to a more robust cutting edge, better wear resistance and higher hardness.
However, toughness is the same for both. In terms of corrosion resistance, AUS 8 steel contains more chromium in its alloy composition, which means it offers better corrosion resistance.
3. 8Cr14MoV vs. D2 steel
The main difference between 8Cr14MoV steel and D2 steel is that 8Cr14MoV is stainless steel, while D2 steel is considered semi-stainless steel. Therefore, 8Cr14MoV far surpasses D2 steel in terms of corrosion and stain resistance.
On the other hand, D2 steel is better than 8Cr14MoV steel in terms of edge retention and wear resistance because it contains a higher percentage of carbon in its alloy composition.
8Cr14MoV steel is softer than D2 steel, offers better toughness, and is less prone to splintering or breaking than D2 in hard applications. The higher toughness of 8Cr14MoV steel is comparable to AUS 8 steel and Vanadis 8 steel.
What are the equivalents of 8Cr14MoV steel?
The closest equivalent to 8Cr14MoV steel is probably 8Cr13MoV from the same manufacturer. The composition is almost identical, but 8Cr13MoV contains 1% nickel which 8Cr14MoV completely lacks. Furthermore, 8Cr13MoV contains twice as much silicon as 8Cr14MoV. Although the designation suggests that the chromium content of 8Cr13MoV is lower than that of 8Cr14MoV, this is not the case.
The Japanese AUS 8 steel could well be called the equivalent of 8Cr14Mov, the differences in properties and composition are not so dramatically different, but they are different. One must never forget that 1:1 comparisons are always difficult. It is a question of tendencies. The question is whether a knife user will actually notice a big difference between an AUS-8 blade and one made of 8Cr14MoV (except in price).
Conclusion: Is 8cr14mov good knife steel?
8Cr14MoV is a great knife steel in the entry-level range. For well under 30 euros, you get a high-quality knife that leaves little to be desired in terms of manufacturing quality and aesthetics. On the other hand, of course, as always – “you get what you pay for”, which means that you should be realistic in your expectations and always give the knife some care.