154CM steel is high-end stainless steel manufactured by Crucible industries in America. It is a modification of 440C stainless steel with carbon, Molybdenum, and chromium as its primary elements.

What’s more, 154CM is among the oldest steel on the market, and it was initially designed to manufacture jet engine turbine components meaning that it holds high levels of toughness.

Suppose you wonder how they came up with the name. The letter “CM” in its name stands for Climax Molybdenum, the company that first manufactured this steel before selling it to current manufacturers of Crucible industries. The number “154 “does not have a specific meaning.

154CM steel Chemical composition

  • Carbon C 1.05%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
  • Chromium Cr 14.00%: Chromium Increases hardness, tensile strength and corrosion resistance of a blade.
  • Manganese Mn 0.50%: improves the strength and hardness of steel. When the steel isheat treated, hardenability is improved with increased manganese
  • Molybdenum Mo 4.00%: increases toughness and hot hardness. It also improves hardenability and forms carbides for wear resistance.
  • Silicon Si 0.80%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
  • Phosphorus P 0.03%: Improves machinability and hardness.
  • Sulfur S 0.03%: Improves machinability.
  • Tungsten W 0.40%: used as an alloying ingredient due to its high melting point, hence improving perfomance of steel in high heat.
  • Vanadium V 0.40%: Inhibits grain growth during elevated temperature processingand heat treatment, which enhances strength and toughness of steel. It also forms carbides that increase wear resistance.

Properties of 154CM steel

154CM Steel Hardness

154CM hardness is rated 60-61 HRC as per Rockwell hardness. This means that it is reasonably hard steel associated with carbon, vanadium, and chromium in its composition. It is not the hardest steel out there but it’s harder than most knife-making steels.

154CM steel Toughness

This steel offers decent toughness and is even better when double tempered. We expect all hard steels to have reduced toughness, but this is not the case with double tempered 154CM.

With this feature, it has a good balance of hardness and toughness. Considering that this steel was initially made for very tough applications, knives made from this steel cannot break or chip even on challenging applications.

154CM Edge Retention

As with other hard steels, 154CM has excellent edge retention. You can use knives made from this steel for days without the need for sharpening. The high edge retention in this steel is associated with the solid elements in its composition.

154CM Corrosion resistance

Since 154CM is stainless steel, this steel can resist corrosion and rust. However, this does not mean that it is entirely rust-resistant. It will still rust if used in a corrosive environment if left unattended. With that in mind, ensure to clean and wipe 154CM steel knives dry after use.

Sharpening 154CM Steel

It is not common to find hard steels which are easy to sharpen, but 154CM is that steel. You can achieve a razor blade edge on this steel with minimum effort using simple sharpening tools.

If you are a beginner at knife sharpening, 154CM steel can help you perfect your sharpening skills. However, as with other steels, please do not leave it to become extra dull before re-sharpening because it will make it harder to get an edge.

154CM Steel Wear resistance

Considering its chemical composition and hardness, this steel does not bow to wear and tear. The high amounts of carbon and chromium, in addition to manganese and vanadium, contribute to the excellent wear resistance.

154CM steel equivalent

154CM vs. S30V

S30V steel is premium steel produced by Crucible industries, the company that makes 154CM. What’s more, it is better in edge retention, hardness, and corrosion resistance, but it is more expensive. Note that the prices of S30V knives differ with the heat treatment of the steel used to make them.

154CM steel vs. D2

These steels offer almost similar functionality, but they are different in that D2 steel offers better toughness while 154CM shines in edge retention, corrosion resistance, and it is easy to sharpen.

154cm steel vs. 1095

154CM is tough steel, but it cannot beat the toughness offered by 1095 steel. On the other hand, it beats its counterpart in edge retention and corrosion resistance.

Is 154CM steel good for knives?

With its excellent edge retention, toughness, hardness, and wear retention, 154CM steel is a good choice in the knife industry. What’s more, 154CM knives are affordable. If you are looking for a reasonably priced knife to be used in tough applications, you are in the right place.

You can also check the better performing powder versions of 154CM; these are CPM 154 stainless steel and RWL34 stainless steel

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