CPM CruWear Steel: Composition, Properties, and Comparison

Shaman CPM Cruwear Steel knife

CPM CruWear steel is an air-hardening tool steel produced by Crucible Industries. The air quenching process gives it excellent wear resistance and toughness, making it good for assembly tools.

CPM CruWear steel is one of the best knife steel that offers balanced performance in edge retention, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance. It is among the few steels that are not skewed on one property.

CPM CruWear steel knife offers optimal performance in terms of wear resistance, great toughness, and high Rockwell hardness. It is an upgraded version of D2 steel with a high percentage of Vanadium Carbides which are better than the much more chromium carbides in D2 steel.

It is worth noting that CPM CruWear and CruWear steel are not entirely similar. CPM CruWear is most similar to Z-Wear. CPM-CruWear is an upgraded version of conventional CruWear with improved toughness.

This steel is majorly used in making shearing blades, handheld wood planes, drill bits, and knives. Knifemakers love it because of its high wear resistance, edge retention, and toughness.

CPM CruWear Steel Composition

  • Carbon C 1.10%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
  • Chromium Cr 7.50%: Chromium Increases hardness, tensile strength and corrosion resistance of a blade.
  • Molybdenum Mo 1.60%: Improves machinability and corrosion resistance.
  • Vanadium V 2.40%: Forms hard vanadium carbide in combination with other elements that improve wear resistance.
  • Tungsten W 1.15%: Mostly added to improve hardness in high temperature applications.

Properties of CPM CruWear Steel

CPM CruWear Steel Hardness

CPM CruWear Steel has a Rockwell hardness of 64HRC. The Rockwell Hardness can vary between 60-65 HRC depending on the heat treatment used by the manufacturer. For knifemakers, CPM Cru-Wear steel can be hardened by Salt, Vacuum, or atmosphere.

One unique property of CPM Cru Wear steel compared to other tool steels like D2 is that it contains adequate Tungsten and Molybdenum that brings about a secondary hardening response resulting in higher Rockwell hardness of up to 65 HRC.

Also, all components in this steel alloy are more finely tuned to achieve the higher hardness and wear resistance. A CPM-CruWear knife blade will offer optimal great wear resistance due to its higher Rockwell hardness.

CPM CruWear Steel Toughness

CPM CruWear offers great toughness; it measures to the industry level toughness meaning that a blade made from this steel cannot break or chip easily even on tough planning. Its toughness is closer to that of 3V knife steel, it is significantly higher than D2 steel.

The high toughness is associated with the crucible powder metallurgy process used in producing this steel that ensures even distribution of the reduced carbides size. The toughness can be increased by lowering the hardness which ensures less brittleness.

CPM CruWear Steel Wear Resistance

As with any other tool steel, CPM CruWear steel has great wear resistance. The excellent wear resistance is expected because of its high hardness. The perfect combination of Carbon and Vanadium in its alloy aids in the formation of vanadium carbides that are more effective for wear resistance.

CPM CruWear steel knives will serve you across generations even with regular usage and sharpening without wearing out.

CPM CruWear Steel Edge retention

You will also be pleased with the edge retention of CPM-CruWear blade steel, which come by because of their high hardness.

CPM CruWear edge retention is not the absolute best in the market but it is optimal enough for daily cutting. CPM Cru-Wear edge retention is similar to that of CPM 4V and S35VN knife steel.

If you are looking for a knife suitable for outdoor use where you do not have time to keep on re-sharpening, CPM Cru-Wear varieties will make a perfect choice.

CPM CruWear Steel Corrosion Resistance

CPM CruWear is not stainless steel, it has just decent corrosion resistance because it contains low amounts of Chromium in its composition. We cannot say that it has the worst corrosion resistance out there, but it is not the best.

It offers better corrosion resistance than most nonstainless knife steel like CPM 10V, HAP 40, and CPM Rex 45. It is on par with CPM 3V and Z-Tuff.  You cannot trust CPM CruWear steel knives to be used in humid, wet, or salty environments.

However, you can protect your knives from rusting and corroding through good cleaning and maintenance practices. Ensure to wash the blades and wipe them dry after use.

Sharpening CPM CruWear Steel

You must be thinking of how challenging it will be to sharpen this steel with high hardness, toughness, and wear resistance.

However, you do not have to worry about getting an edge with CPM CruWear steel because it is easy to sharpen.

Simple sharpening tools like low-grade abrasive materials will give your CPM CruWear knives an edge without a struggle.

If you are in the wild without access to proper sharpening tools, a sharpening stone is all you need to get a functional edge.

CPM CruWear Steel comparison

Cru-Wear vs S30V Steel

S30V steel is a premium stainless steel with higher Chromium content making it more resistant to rust and corrosion than CPM Cru-Wear steel.

Despite offering Rockwell hardness of about 58-61 HRC, CPM S30Vsteel offers better wear resistance and edge retention than CPM CruWear due to higher amounts of harder Vanadium Carbides. S30V has about 4% Vanadium while CPM CruWear has about 2.4%.

On the other hand, CPM Cru Wear steel beats CPM S30V in toughness, and it is much easier to sharpen. The choice between these two knives steel will be dependent on your application. With S30V you will get a more rust resistant knife with better edge retention but at a slightly higher price than a CPM CruWear steel knife

CPM CruWear vs 3V steel

Both CPM 3V steel and CPM CruWear steel are produced by the same company, Crucible industries using the CPM process. However, CPM CruWear contains more carbon than 3V steel making it better in hardness, edge retention, and wear retention.

Another common feature with both steels is that they contain low amounts of Chromium hence poor corrosion resistance. They both offer almost identical toughness but CPM 3V will edge ahead slightly.

CPM CruWear steel vs D2 steel

Both CPM CruWear and D2 are tool steels. CPM CruWear steel is made as an upgraded version of D2 tool steel with adequate amounts of tungsten and Molybdenum giving it higher Rockwell hardness and wear resistance.

The optimized alloy content of CPM CruWear steel makes it tougher than D2 steel as it contains less amount of carbon and chromium content that form brittle chromium carbides.

A CPM Cru-Wear knife will thus be better than a D2 knife in toughness. CPM Cru Wear steel actually offers about twice the toughness of D2 steel.

They are mostly similar in edge retention and both will be easier to sharpen. In corrosion resistance, CPM CruWear has improved performance over D2 steel. A CPM-CruWear knife will take longer to rust than a D2 steel blade.

CPM CruWear vs M390

Bohler M390 is a more premium stainless steel than CPM CruWear steel. While they both offer almost similar hardness at about 64HRC, M390 steel is more wear-resistant steel with higher amounts of Vanadium Carbides due to about 4% Vanadium in its alloy. Micro clean M390 knife steel is refined to offer high wear resistance while being stainless steel.

Bohler M390 steel is stainless steel compared to the non stainless CPM CruWear steel. M390 has 20% chromium content in its alloy which is among the highest in knife steels.

It offers excellent corrosion and rust resistance only comparable to the likes of CPM 20CV, CTS 204P, and MagnaCut steel.

CPM Cru Wear steel will however offer tougher knife steel than M390 steel, it is also easier to sharpen and cheaper.

CPM CruWear vs Elmax

CPM CruWear is non-stainless steel while Elmax is stainless steel with more chromium content than CPM CruWear, for this reason, Elmax steel knife will offer suitable performance in corrosive environments. An Elmax steel knife will not rust under daily usage while a CPM CruWear steel knife may easily trust when exposed to daily use without care.

Both CPM CruWear and Elmax offer identical levels of edge retention but the difference comes in toughness. CPM CruWear steel is tougher steel than Elmax offering almost twice the toughness. A CPM CruWear steel knife will be less prone to chipping and cracking compared to an Elmax steel knife.

CPM CruWear vs Maxamet

CPM CruWear and Maxamet steel have different hardness levels. Maxamet steel is known to offer among the highest Rockwell hardness of knife steels up to 70 HRC while CPM Cru-Wear steel goes to about 65HRC.

With this much hardness, Maxamet is a stellar performance in edge retention. Maxamet beats almost every other knife steel when it comes to edge retention apart from Rex 121.

However, the high hardness makes Maxamet significantly less tough hence it is more prone to chipping compared to CPM-CruWear. The toughness of CPM CruWear can be four times that of Maxamet steel.

A CPM CruWear knife will also be much easier to sharpen than the highly wear resistance Maxamet knife, it will similarly offer better corrosion resistance.

Is CPM CruWear steel good for knives?

CPM-CruWear steel is a good steel for knives considering its high hardness, excellent wear retention, outstanding toughness, and ease of sharpening.

The only downside with CPM CruWear blade steel is its poor corrosion resistance, but you can protect your knives by cleaning and drying them after use.

Pros and Cons CPM CruWear Steel


  • CPM CruWear knife steel offers excellent toughness
  • CPM CruWear knife steel offer high hardness of up to 65HRC
  • CPM CruWear knife steel is easy to sharpen


  • CPM CruWear is not a stainless steel hence prone to rusting and corroding.
  • Edge retention is just okay, it does not compare to the like of  CPM 10V and S30V


CPM CruWear high carbon steel is super steel due to its unique alloy composition that gives it a higher attainable hardness of 65 HRC, excellent toughness, and great edge retention. This steel is a definite try for every knife lover out there who is passionate about knives.

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