This Les George folder features a hollow-ground AEB-L blade, opening stud and an integral liner locking mechanism. The quality of Chad Nichols’ work is also seen in the highly patterned carbon steel Damascus bolsters and G-10 handle scales. Photos Courtesy Chad Nichols
Knifemakers are always in search of the best and latest “super steel.” They strive to find blade steel that’s highly resistant to corrosion (blade maintenance is a chore), possesses enhanced edge retention (knife sharpening is challenging), and resists chipping and breakage (knife owners are hard on blades). Unfortunately, such a quest never seems to have an endpoint.
The Swedish steel company Bohler-Uddeholm has introduced to the tactical market a blade steel originally designed for the manufacture of scalpels and razors. Of course, when new steel is produced, regardless of its designated purpose, knifemakers are going to experiment. Prominent among those who have experience with AEB-L steel are noted makers Devin Thomas, Chad Nichols and Gerome Weinand.
Devin Thomas, who has extensive experience with the steel, said, “AEB-L possesses many of the characteristics of carbon steels, which includes greater ease of sharpening, edge retention, and toughness, while offering excellent stain resistance. I’ve even heard the term ‘stainless 52100’ used by several makers when referring to the steel.”
Chad Nichols also uses AEB-L as a component in his Damascus steel work. “The steel is really easy to work with. And it looks great when paired with other grades of stainless,” Chad said. When asked about AEB-L, Gerome Weinand echoed the opinions of both Thomas and Nichols, adding, “The steel is less prone to have a wire edge when sharpened.”