Steel formulations are like recipes for a particular main course. Every cook seems to have their own selection of ingredients. Steel manufacturers are no different. The chemical make-up of their products can vary slightly from one maker to another. Even an old favorite, like D2 tool steel, can have a somewhat different chemical composition depending on its point of origin.
In its simplest form, D2 consists of 1.55 percent carbon, 11 to 12 percent chromium, 0.90 percent molybdenum and 0.80 percent vanadium. However, this same steel from different manufacturers will have slightly different alloying components in varying amounts. Nevertheless, all market their product as “D2” tool steel.
Over the years, I’ve used various D2-bladed knives on several hunts. Without exception, the steel has provided superior performance. While it doesn’t have quite enough chromium to be considered stainless, nevertheless, D2 is highly resistant to surface corrosion. When sharpened properly, the steel seems to have a somewhat more aggressive edge than almost any of the stainless blade steels. Furthermore, edge-holding is outstanding, with D2 possessing solid working edge qualities.