Whether you’re a knifemaker or a knife user, you probably want your knife to be produced from the highest quality steel you can get.
However, there are many different types to pick from, all with their own qualities. It can be difficult to narrow the list down!
That’s why we’ve done it for you, saving you crucial browsing time. We have a complete range of steel guides available, each describing a different type and looking at its benefits, as well as breaking down what it’s made from.
The guide below will tell you everything you could need to know about Elmax steel and its qualities when used for knives. Read on to find out if it’s the best choice for you!
Elmax Steel Composition
When selecting the steel that will work best for your knife, you want to think about the different chemicals that make up its composition.
Think of a knife like a scientific potion, built up from lots of chemical ingredients, all bringing their own benefits. Some elements will be more important to you than others, and it’s a good idea to work out what you prioritize in a knife.
A handful of elements create Elmax stainless steel. Let’s look at them:
Elmax is a very high quality steel, with many qualities, like stability and strength. It’s considered by some to be the best steel there is for knives, and is a powder metallurgy – which basically means that it’s constructed from various metal powders, which is more efficient than using full metals.
Chromium is one of these types of metal and happens to be the biggest ingredient in Elmax. This increases the tensile strength of the steel, which is the ultimate measure of how much stress and pressure it can be put under before breaking.
Since it’s the biggest part of Elmax, it can clearly put up with a lot, making up 18% of it!
The chromium also improves the steel’s edge retention, giving it a greater resistance to wear and corrosion. Edge retention is exactly as it sounds, a factor that better protects the edges of a material.
Here, the chromium clearly means that the edges of the knife blade are less likely to get worn down and lose their effectiveness.
Carbon is a very important chemical element to have in your steel, and Elmax has a high quantity of it. This improves the hardness of the knife, making it less likely to get dented or marked.
Like chromium, it also improves the resistance to corrosion and wear, meaning that it’s unlikely it’ll have to be sharpened too often. Without resistance to corrosion, a knife might form rust, which flakes off and the steel itself begins to corrode.
However, a high amount of carbon can decrease the strength of the steel. Since it does have a fairly high amount, at 1.7%, this means that the strength of Elmax is affected.
Strength with knives is essentially a measure of how much force can be put on the steel before it becomes deformed. With high carbon, it may be less than you’d want.
A variety of other elements make up the rest of the steel, all with their own benefits. Strength is helped by both added silicon and molybdenum, partially making up for the strength that is lost from the high presence of carbon.
Molybdenum also improves the steel’s machinability, which means that it can be more easily shaped or cut by a machine, allowing a more precise and better quality cut of your blade.
Some manganese is also added, though it makes the Elmax more brittle. This isn’t too desirable, because brittleness means that when the knife is put under pressure it is likely to deform before it breaks.
However, the manganese does have some benefits too, improving the hardness of the material.
Not to be confused with hardness, “hardenability” is a different benefit for the steel, and one brought on by the inclusion of the metal element vanadium.
While hardness is about how hard the steel itself is, reducing the likeliness of dents, hardenability is about how hard it can potentially get when put under “thermal treatment”.
This basically means heat! The greater the heat the steel is put under, the greater hardness it can potentially take on.
All in all, you can see that Elmax is a very fine quality steel, built up from a great range of chemical elements that have their individual benefits. Next, we’re going to look in more depth at why these are so good.
Elmax Steel Qualities
As we’ve mentioned, Elmax has a great reputation for hardness. In fact, it measures at a 61-62 HRC on the Rockwell hardness scale, which calculated its answers by testing the depth of an indent the steel makes when put under a major and minor load.
This impressive score puts Elmax steel above many of its competitors, making it a fine choice for your knife.
Its hardness will mean that it’s less likely to get bent or misshapen when you’re cutting into things on the thicker, more solid side of the scale. Usually, the harder a steel is, the more difficult it will be to sharpen.
This isn’t the case with Elmax, though, which proves to be relatively easy when re-doing its sharpness.
Elmax is also supremely tough as a steel, built to withstand many stresses and pressures. This is largely due to the high proportion of chromium that has been put into making it, which helps it to become as durable as it is.
Yet despite any extreme scenarios you may test that toughness under, the steel is unlikely to wear down.
This is thanks to the chemical combinations within, with its high volume of carbon helping to ensure that it doesn’t become old and worn down – which would greatly reduce its effectiveness when cutting things.
On top of that, Elmax has very fine edge retention, helping protect it from wear even better.
This is mainly thanks to the inclusion of chromium, which combines with oxygen to create a film of chromium oxide that then coats the surface, keeping the edges protected from corrosion.
Is Elmax A Good Steel For Making Knives?
Knifemakers who want their knives to be extremely effective and durable often find themselves turning to Elmax steel, which overshadows many of the other steels on the market.
The Elmax is spoiled with benefits, being one of the very best stainless steels. Firstly, it’s extremely tough and hard, meaning that it can cut great materials without taking much damage or denting.
Secondly, it’s got great edge retention, meaning that its sharp edges are unlikely to get destroyed. And thirdly, it has very fine resistance to corrosion and wear and so is unlikely to get rusty and worn down, thereby forcing you to purchase a new knife.
With other steels, there tend to be big negatives that pop up due to some of the chemicals that they include. This is barely an issue with Elmax, besides perhaps a little brittleness.
So, the big question – is Elmax the right steel for your knife?
The answer is a resounding YES! Extremely strong, yet unlikely to wear down, Elmax steel offers you a knife that will keep through most situations you put it through.
Whether you’re using it to cut typical materials, or bringing it with you on a camping trip, the Elmax has you sorted. In fact, it will excel outdoors.
From cutting wood for a fire to hunting animals, the blade will make small work of whatever it’s put to. It’s perfect for the everyday and the extraordinary.
Other steels can fall down when being used outdoors, corroding easily when they get wet from the rain, but Elmax is a make that you can rely on. Its perfect range of chemical properties keep it that way!
So, if you’re looking to fashion a knife, but unsure of what steel to use, Elmax is your best bet.
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