Material choice is one of the most critical steps of making a great knife. We use only the best!
The first and most important material used in making our knives is stainless steel. Stainless steel has come a long way since its introduction in knife making in the 20th century. Early stainless steels used in knife making had very poor edge retention and dulled easily. Many large, well known knife making companies are using stainless steel that was developed decades ago. This is why many people still believe that old fashioned “carbon steels” are superior. The truth is that the best stainless steels on the market today hold an edge at least as well as carbon steels. On top of this, stainless steel is of course “stainless.”
We use leading-edge American steel manufactured by Crucible Industries for all of our blades. From our beginning, we’ve used CPM® S35VN™ stainless steel, introduced by Crucible in 2009. It is one of the best cutlery steels in use today. In practical use, we’ve found S35 holds an edge about 2-3 times longer than a typical german chef’s knife, under the same circumstances.
In January 2022 we started offering a few of our models in Crucible’s CPM MagnaCut steel, which was first made in early 2021. This steel is somewhat tougher, harder and better at edge retention than S35VN and also resists corrosion better than almost any other stainless steel used in cutlery.
G10 Handle Material
Our standard handle material is called G10, a laminate made up of layers of fiberglass and epoxy resin. It is widely used in the manufacture of custom and high quality production knives for a few reasons. It is extremely strong, virtually immune to cracking, highly stain resistant, available in many colours and very attractive. For an idea of the strength of G10, see our torture test video.
This twill weave CF is about 25% lighter than G10 and has an attractive look especially when it catches sunlight. In terms of ruggedness it is very similar to G10.
Fixed blade, full tang knives are most often made with riveted-on handles. On such knives, the handles are sanded smooth with the tang at the factory. This results in an apparently flawless flush fit between the tang and handle scales. For both small scale custom makers and for robot-finished commercial knives, this basically means leaving the parts a little oversize during assembly and then sanding it all down to the finished size.
We have chosen a different approach, which offers a few advantages. Our process involves making parts to a very close tolerance so that the handle scales bolt on to the knife tang without the final sanding step. The biggest benefit of doing it this way is that it enables the knives to be easily serviceable. If a handle scale is physically damaged, all that is required is to unscrew the scales and put on replacements. With our method the fit is a little less pristine than the all-parts-sanded-at once approach, but we feel that serviceability far outweighs this minor difference. One of our FAQs also discusses handle attachments.
The sheaths for our outdoor knives are made of Kydex or Boltaron, similar modern thermoplastics. They are very popular sheath materials, offering many advantages over traditional leather. It is formed around the knife using heat, this gives the sheath a glove-like fit, keeping the knife secure even when turned upside down. It is also waterproof and stain/chemical resistant. We use brass rivets in sheath construction to provide long term durability and prevent any chance of rusting.
The very thought of a Skaha in Magnacut is giving me heart palpitations!
I’m a huge fan of your kitchen knives. I think that S35VN is the best knife steel. Actually “the best” is not correct because the best steel doesn’t exist but S35VN is with most balanced properties which match perfect to the kitchen knives requirements.
Probably you already know about the new MagnaCut – it is almost twice tougher than S35VN and have the same edge retention. That is due to the lack of chromium carbides – all chromium is dissolved and despite the fact that MagnaCut contains only 10% Cr, the steel have better corrosion resistance than the S35VN.
We will be transitioning to Magnacut for many of our models this year, starting with our Trillium, Mallard, and kermode 6 in Q1. The Lynx will likely join sometime late in the year. The larger board knives will probably transition in 2023. Supply of Magnacut is still uncertain as demand has been huge.