N680 steel is stainless steel produced by BOHLER. It has Chromium and Molybdenum as its main components. It also has additional Vanadium and Nitrogen in its composition, making it extremely corrosion resistant. If you are in the market for a knife to be used in wet environments and especially around salty water, look into the varieties of N680 steel knives.
What’s more, the chemical composition of this N680 steel gives it a refined edge such that it gains a sharp edge faster. Also, it is easy to work with, making it a top choice for many knife makers.
Due to its excellent corrosion resistance and edge holding capabilities, N680 is used in making cutting tools, different shapes of blades, and knives for the meat processing industry. It is important to note that N680 is not categorized as high-end steel but nitrogen steel. However, its rust resistance abilities are lower compared to other nitrogen steels.
N680 Steel Chemical Composition
- Carbon C 0.54%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 17.30%: Chromium Increases hardness, tensile strength and corrosion resistance of a blade.
- Nitrogen Ni 0.50%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
- Molybdenum Mo 1.10%: Increases hardenibility by forming strong carbide
- Vanadium V 0.10%: Improves machinability and hardness.
- Manganese Mn 0.40%: Improves machinability.
- Silicon Si 0.45% : Increases strength and heat resistance.
- Nickel Ni 0.50%: Forms hard carbide in combination with other elements
Properties of N680 steel
N680 steel hardness is 57-59HRC as per the Rockwell hardness scale. This level of hardness is high with improved corrosion resistance because of the additional Nitrogen in its composition.
N680 Corrosion resistance
As we have severally mentioned, N680 offers extreme levels of corrosion resistance. This is associated with the high amounts of chromium in its composition in addition to the Nitrogen elements. The blades made from this steel do not rust even with constant exposure to corrosive environments.
Therefore, if you are looking for a knife to be used in humid and salty environments, you are in the right place because the varieties of N680 knives will not disappoint. And yes, the knives will not rust even if you leave them in water overnight.
N680 Edge retention
N680 steel remains sharp for a long time, but there are better steel types in edge retention out there like Sleipner steel and CPM M4 steel. We can describe its edge retention as decent because it is enough to make knives to be used in the meat processing industry.
However, if you are keen on a blade that holds an edge for the longest time, this might not be the best option for you.
N680 Wear resistance
N680 offers excellent wear resistance. Its blades will serve you for long without deforming. There are knife steels with better wear resistance out there, but this is not to say that our steel of the day offers the worst.
N680 offers great toughness but is not as great as other high-end steels. Knives made from N680 do not break or chip easily even when constantly used for tough applications.
The fine grains in N680 alloy and Vanadium in its composition make it easy to work with and resistant to breaking and chipping.
Sharpening N680 Steel
N680 steel is easy to sharpen because it is not very hard steel (58HRC). You will quickly get a razor-sharp edge with this steel, irrespective of your sharpening skills or abrasive tools used.
Working with N680 knives will give you the required experience if you are a beginner learning knife sharpening.
N680 steel comparison with other steels
N680 vs S30V
N680 offers unbeatable corrosion resistance while S30V shines in edge retention and toughness. S30V steel is also much harder due to the presence of much more vanadium carbides in its alloy.
N680 vs H1
Both N680 steel and H1 steel offer excellent corrosion resistance, but H1 takes the lead. N680 is a bit hard to sharpen than H1 steel but offers better edge retention. N680 steel also comes in cheaper than H1 steel.
N680 vs VG-10
VG-10 beats N680 in edge retention and toughness, while N680 outshines it in corrosion resistance. Both steels are almost similar when it comes to sharpening.
Is N680 good knife steel?
Looking at the properties of N680, we can say that it is good knife steel. It offers excellent corrosion resistance, decent toughness, great edge retention, and is easy to sharpen.
There is no good or bad knife steel out there; it all comes down to your needs. Therefore, if you are looking for affordable knives with excellent corrosion-resistant features, look into the varieties of N680 knives.