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R2 steel is a stainless steel high in carbon produced by Kobelco steel company following the powdered metallurgy process.
Takefu Steel Company also supplies R2 under the name SG2 (Super Gold 2). Both steels are the same, made with similar material and chemical composition but supplied under different names.
R2 steel is a hard steel with excellent wear resistance, and it is used to make high-end, high-quality knives.
The PM process used to make this steel ensures a consistent grain structure making its blades long-lasting and easy to sharpen.
R2 steel composition
- Carbon C 1.45%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 16.00%: Increases hardness, tensile strength and toughness of the blade by forming chromium carbide. The higher than 13% Cr is what makes R2 “stainless”
- Molybdenum Mo 3.30%: It improves machinability and hardening property.
- Vanadium V 2.20%: Increase wear resistance and toughness, it also improves corrosion resistance.
- Manganese Mn 0.40%: Increases Hardness, and tensile strength but decreases ductility.
- Phosphorus P 0.03%: Improves machinability and hardness.
- Sulphur S 0.03% Improves machinabilty but is normally regarded as an impurity affecting perfomance.
- Silicon Si 0.50% Improves strength of steel
R2 steel properties
R2 steel hardness is 64HRC as per the Rockwell hardness scale, which is very impressive. This hardness level gives blades made from this steel a high degree of purity, unbeatable strength, and excellent cutting performance.
R2 steel Wear resistance
Due to its high hardness, R2 steel offers excellent wear resistance, making it stand out among many steel types.
You can expect long-lasting service from R2 knives even with constant tough applications. Blades made from this steel can be used across generations without losing shape.
The fine edge blades remain intact for a long even after being exposed to wear and tear situations like frequent sharpening.
R2 steel Edge retention
Another area of excellence for R2 steel is its ability to hold an edge for long. If you are on the market for knives that remain sharp for a long time, look into the varieties of R2 steel.
The fine grain structures used to make this steel give it a fine edge that does not get dull fast. Also, the hard Vanadium carbides contribute to the edge retention.
R2 steel Corrosion resistance
R2 steel contains enough Chromium to make it stainless steel, which tells you that it is good in corrosion resistance.
Because of its corrosion resistance features, this steel is used to make high-end kitchen knives constantly in contact with water.
However, this is not to say that R2 steel is completely rust-resistant. It will still rust if used and left unattended in corrosive environments. Therefore, take time to clean and completely dry knives made from this steel after use.
Toughness is the ability of steel to withstand breakage and chipping on tough applications. In many cases, steel will either give you high hardness or toughness.
With R2 being very hard steel, it does not offer the best toughness. We can describe the toughness of R2 as decent. It is not the best in the market, but not the worst as well.
R2 Ease of sharpening
Being hard steel, we expect R2 to be very hard to sharpen, but this is not the case. The fine grain structure used to manufacture it makes R2 steel easy to sharpen.
You can easily get a sharp blade with R2 using simple sharpening tools. The fine balance between edge retention and ease of sharpening offered by R2 makes it a good choice in knife making.
R2 steel comparison with other steels
R2 vs VG10
R2 steel is harder than VG10 steel, making it better in wear resistance and edge retention. On the other hand, VG10 offers better toughness than its counterpart.
Is R2 good knife steel?
R2 steel is considered good knife steel because it offers excellent edge retention, great wear resistance, decent corrosion resistance, and is easy to sharpen. Note that there is no good or bad knife steel out there it all boils down to your knife needs.
That said, if you are in search of a knife with excellent edge retention but are not very keen on corrosion resistance, the varieties of R2 knives will be a good choice for you.