425M steel is low-end stainless steel from the popular 400 series. It is a modification of 420 steel hence the M in its name. The 400 series steel is a favorite in the knife-making industry because it is highly resistant to corrosion and easy to sharpen.
Although 425M is a modification of 420 steel, its properties do not qualify it as a high-end or mid-range steel. It is mainly used in making knives, blades, and cutting tools that require high corrosion resistance properties.
Knife makers also love this steel because it has easy machinability.
425M Steel Chemical composition
- Carbon C 0.54%: Increases edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 15.00%: Formation of Chromium carbides. Increases the blade’s hardness, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance.
- Molybdenum Mo 1.00%: It improves machinability and hardness.
- Vanadium V 0.10%: inhibits grain growth during elevated temperature processing and heat treatment, which enhances the strength and toughness of steel. It also forms carbides that increase wear resistance.
- Phosphorous P 0.04%: Increases the strength and improves machinability of steel
- Manganese Mn 0.50%: improves the strength and hardness of steel. When the steel is heat-treated, hardenability is improved with increased manganese.
- Silicon Si 0.80%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
- Sulfur S 0.03%: Improves machinability but is regarded as an impurity in high quantities.
Properties of 425M steel
425M Steel Hardness
425M hardness ranges between 57-59HRC as per the Rockwell hardness scale. With its hardness in the high 50s, it is considered hard suitable for knife making. What’s more, this hardness level gives 425M great wear resistance and edge holding capabilities.
425M Steel Wear resistance
The hardness level influences wear resistance in a steel, 425M performs well in wear resistance. There are better steel offering better wear resistance, meaning that it is not the best, but it is not the worst either.
Knives made from this steel will serve you for long without deformity or losing shape. It can withstand normal wear and tear from daily cutting jobs.
425M Edge retention
With a hardness of 59HRC, 425M delivers decent edge retention. 425M edge retention is affected by the few chromium carbides formed because it contains less carbon. Most of the chromium in this steel goes to corrosion resistance instead of forming chromium carbides which contribute to high hardness and edge retention.
Therefore, if you are keen on purchasing knives with excellent edge retention, you might have to skip the varieties of 425M.
425M Steel Corrosion resistance
Another area of excellence for 425M steel is in corrosion resistance. It contains high amounts of chromium that make it stainless steel and fight against corrosion. With its ability to keep rust and stains at bay, it is excellent steel in making knives used in humid and salty water environments.
If you are out for kitchen knives, diving knives, or fishing knives on a budget, 425M knives will sort you.
425M Steel Toughness
Toughness is the ability of steel to withstand stress and impact from demanding and challenging applications, and 425M steel offers great toughness, it does not break or chip easily.
It is an unspoken rule that steel can either offer you hardness or toughness but not both. Considering that 425M steel is not very hard, it provides decent toughness.
Ease of sharpening 425M Steel
The ease of sharpening steel depends on its wear resistance which is determined by the hardness. Unlike very hard steels with 60HRC, 425M is easy to sharpen. You can get a sharp edge faster with simple sharpening tools. What’s more, this property offers an outstanding balance considering that 425M does not keep an edge for long.
425M steel vs. other steels
425M vs. 420
425M is a slight modification of 420 steel. It contains more carbon and chromium, making it better in corrosion resistance and wear resistance. On the other hand, 420 shines in toughness, and it is easier to sharpen. They are both used to make budget knives.
425M vs 440C
Both 425M and 440C steel are from the 400 series but differ in properties. 440C contains more carbon in its alloy than 425M giving it better edge retention and wear resistance ability. However, it is not easy to sharpen. Both steels offer great corrosion resistance and toughness.
Is 425M steel good for knives?
Yes! 425M is budget steel with high corrosion resistance. Therefore, it is good for budget users keen on knives to be used in corrosive environments. It will not hold an edge for long, but it is easy to sharpen. One more thing, it is easy to work with any 400 series for a beginner knife maker, their machining properties are almost similar and easy.