To make an edged product that can succeed in a highly competitive market, many cutlery companies consider blade steel that is affordable (competitive consumer price point), corrosion resistant (low consumer maintenance) and fine blankable (lower production cost). As long as a particular steel falls within these parameters, manufacturers will embrace something new if it offers a marketable and competitive edge.
The Swedish steel firm Sandvik has recently developed, in partnership with Kershaw Knives, the new 14C28N stainless steel. Reportedly, the steel offers excellent edge performance (read that as edge retention), high hardness (up to Rockwell 60) and good corrosion resistance. From a manufacturer’s standpoint, this steel has an edge on the competition: it can be fine-die-blanked and still offer better end-user performance.
These enhanced attributes of 14C28N can be found in its chemical formulation. As listed in the Kershaw catalog, this steel contains: 0.62 percent carbon, 14 percent chromium, 0.56 percent molybdenum, 0.03 percent phosphorus, 0.015 percent sulfur, 0.25 percent silicon and 0.08 percent nitrogen. Obviously, with such a low carbon content one would not expect high hardness. However, this is overcome by adding nitrogen, which increases both hardness and corrosion resistance. Interestingly, this also gives the steel a slightly greater carbide volume for better wear resistance than Sandvik’s 13C26 stainless.