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CPM S35VN steel is high-end martensitic stainless steel produced by crucible industries, a company based in the US.
The CPM in its name means that it is produced following the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process. The letters S, V, N stand for stainless, Vanadium, and Niobium, respectively.
The number 35 does not have a specific meaning, but it differentiates this steel from S30V of a lower grade in the S…V series.
S35VN is an upgrade of S30V with better edge retention and improved toughness while maintaining the same level of corrosion resistance.
This steel has been used by reputable knife-making brands to produce high-end knife varieties like tactical knives, EDC knives, to mention a few.
S35VN Steel composition
- Carbon C 1.34%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 14.00%: More than 11% of Chromium is what makes “stainless” steel. Formation of Chromium carbides Increases hardness, tensile strength and toughness of the blade.
- Molybdenum Mo 2.00%: It improves machinability and hardness.
- Vanadium V 3.00%: Increase wear resistance and toughness, it also improves corrosion resistance. High vanadium content enables formation of Vanadium Carbides.
- Nickel Ni 0.40%: Adds Toughness to the blade.
- Cobalt Co 0.50%: Forms hard carbide in combination with other elements
- Tungsten W 0.40% Improves wear resistance and hardness, mostly added to tool steel.
- Manganese Mn 0.50%: Increases Hardness and brittleness.
- Silicon Si 0.50%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
- Phosphorus P 0.03%: Improves machinability and hardness.
- Sulfur S 0.03%: Improves machinability.
- Niobium Nb 0.50%: Improves toughness of the steel.
Properties of CPM S35VN steel
S35VN Steel Hardness
The hardness of CPM S35VN ranges between 58-61HRC, according to the Rockwell hardness scale. The exact hardness differs from the heat treatment used by the manufacturer.
This range of hardness makes it hard steel, making its knives durable even when regularly used for challenging tasks.
S35VN Steel Corrosion resistance
S35VN stainless steel knives do not easily rust or catch stains because of the high chromium in its composition, in addition to proper care.
If you are planning to buy knives to be used in salty and humid environments, look no further because the varieties of S35VN knife blade will sort you out, S35VN stain resistance is excellent.
We insist on proper care on S35VN knife steel because they will rust if neglected, and this is as simple as cleaning and drying the blades after use.
S35VN Steel Edge retention
As already mentioned, CPM S35VN steel was created to better some properties of CPM S30V, edge retention being on the top list.
To increase the edge retention of this steel, they increased the amounts of Vanadium and Carbon in its composition.
And through that, this new version of steel edge holding was much improved. What’s more, the hard niobium carbides contribute to its good edge retention.
S35VN Steel Wear resistance
S35VN steel offers excellent wear resistance associated with the niobium carbides formed after combining carbon and niobium elements.
Also, the high amounts of vanadium and Molybdenum in its composition boost its wear resistance.
S35VN blade steel knives will serve you for a very long time without deforming even with regular usage.
S35VN Steel Toughness
Toughness was another property that needed an upgrade in S30V. They managed to achieve higher toughness in S35VN first because of the CPM production process used.
What’s more, the niobium carbides in their composition boosted the toughness, making it about 20% tougher than S30V.
With the new level of toughness, knives made from this steel do not chip, break or crack easily.
Is S35VN steel easy to sharpen?
The ease of sharpening a steel goes hand in hand with its hardness, hard steel is challenging to sharpen and vice versa. S35VN steel is relatively hard steel, making sharpening it manageable. Note that, it is not the easiest steel to sharpen out there, but it will not stress you like other steels with a higher hardness level to sharpen.
How to sharpen s35vn steel
If you don’t have any sharpening equipment at home, a leather strop, wet stone, coarse or medium ceramic rod can be used for basic maintenance of your s35vn steel blade for a sharp edge. There are varieties of s35vn sharpeners to choose from, For those looking for an economical option, I recommend the DMT outdoor pro sharpener because it is easy to use and has different grits available. For those looking for an even cheaper s35vn sharpener, I would recommend the Lansky sharpeners
CPM S35VN steel equivalent
S35VN VS S30V
Both S35VN and S30V steel are classified as premium steel, they are almost similar and are great for everyday use. The most notable difference between these is the addition of Niobium in S35VN alloy. Niobium makes S35VN more tougher than S30V steel . S35VN CPM steel is also much easier to grind and machine than S30V due to its finer grain structure.
S35VN VS S90V
CPM S90V steel offers better edge retention than S35VN. However, the latter leads on toughness, corrosion resistance, and it is easier to sharpen.
S35VN VS Elmax
Being a premium stainless steel, we would expect Elmax steel to beat S35VN steel in most properties, but S35VN beats it in corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening. In contrast, Elmax steel lead-in edge retention and both steels offer the same level of toughness.
Bohler M390 VS S35VN
M390 steel and S35VN offer equal corrosion resistance. M390 has better edge retention than S35VN while S35VN is easier to sharpen than M390 , they are almost similar on toughness but M390 is a little more tough.
Is S35VN good knife steel?
CPM S35VN excels in delivering excellent edge retention, wear resistance, remarkable toughness, and good corrosion resistance. With these properties, it is good knife steel and a recommended choice for any knife maker.
What’s more, sharpening it is not very challenging, and it is easy to work with. However, expect it to come at a higher price tag.