D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

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D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Sun May 26, 2019 3:18 am

If properly heat-treated and made with reasonable quality, what sort of performance should a knife user expect from a blade of D2 steel? I know it is classed as a tool steel, and, it has some stain-resistance/corrosion-resistant properties, though not necessarilly in the same league with steel like VG10, but, better than 1095 and O1. How about brittleness vs toughness? Is it reasonably tough and fracture-resistant as long as one does not abuse it?

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby ferider » Sun May 26, 2019 9:57 am

There is ingot D2 and CPM D2, CPM D2 obviously being tougher. Which one are you interested in ?

Many modern more stainless steels are tougher than D2, see

Image

Then again, not a bad steel. Can get agressive sharp. When you like a knife that only comes in D2, why not ? I have a couple like that.

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby Naperville » Sun May 26, 2019 1:10 pm

I'll admit that I keep notes, and that I have notes on D2, however I do not guarantee the accuracy of the notes as I am not an expert in steel or a metalurgist. I have the following:

High Carbon-Chromium Tool Steel: the D-series

- D2:

PSF27 (cast version), CPM-D2 (powdered version)


EDGE RETENTION: 8 CORROSION RESISTANCE: 2 EASE OF SHARPENING: 3

KNIFEART.COM SAYS: D2 steel's popular use began during World War II. D2 steel was used to make dies for production lines. A die is pressed down to cut and create shapes out of softer steel. The original, and still most common, use of D2 steel was not just cutting other steel by pressing down, but doing it over and over and over in a factory. Through modern knife history, many high-end knife steels (specifically 154CM) were adapted indirectly because of the steel innovation in the tool and die industry.

This work history enables us to determine the strengths of D2 knife steel. Most importantly, D2 steel is hard. D2 steel has an air-hardened, high-carbon, and very high-chromium composition which creates this high-end knife steel with a hardness in the range of 55 to 62 HRC. Chromium-rich alloy carbides create excellent resistance to wear from sliding contact with other metal or abrasive materials. This steel has a high wear resistance and creates a tough knife that holds an edge. The very high chromium content provides better corrosion resistance than most tool steels and enables it to be semi-stainless.

Composition -

Many steel companies make their own D2 steel but the composition stay very close to the norms - the alloy composition of D2 blade steel provides a guidebook to its unique qualities:

-Carbon (C) 1.50 to 1.68 percent: Contributes to hardness, to holding an edge, to tensile strength, and to resistance to wear.
- Chromium (Cr) 11.50 to 12.00 percent: Contributes to strength and wear resistance, also, to resistance to corrosion. Stainless steel contains 13 percent chromium.
- Molybdenum (Mo) .60 to .90 percent: Contributes to machinability, resistance to corrosion, and strength at high temperatures.
- Vanadium (V) .90 to 1.10 percent: Refines the grain, contributes to toughness and edge stability.
- Manganese (Mn) .15 to .45 percent: Contributes to strength, wear resistance, and grain structure.
- Silicon (Si) .10 to .40 percent: Contributes to strength.
- Phosphorus (P) .03 percent: in very small amounts increases strength and hardness.
- Sulfur (S) .03 percent: Increases machinability.
- Iron (Fe) is balance of the steel's composition.


KNIFE INFORMER SAYS: D2 steel is a tool steel often referred to as “semi-stainless” as it falls just short of the required amount of chromium (13%) to qualify as full stainless yet it still provides a good amount of resistance to corrosion. On the flip side D2 steel is much harder than other steels in this category such as 154CM or ATS-34 and as a result holds its edge a little better. That said, it’s not as tough as many other steels and exponentially tougher to sharpen. In fact, you really need to be a master-sharpener to get a fine edge on D2


Tool steel, prone to rusting, takes a very good edge. "Like most blades, storing in a dry area, out of the sheath, and a light coating of wax will preserve the blade finish for many decades. This steel is for someone who will take care of their blade and understand its limitations."

"D2 steel is an air hardening, high-carbon, high-chromium tool steel. It has high wear and abrasion resistant properties. It is widely used for the production of shear blades, planer blades and industrial cutting tools; sometimes used for knife blades."

"D2 steel is less costly than S30V and doesn't have quite the hardness or toughness of the latter. However, it doesn't lag by much in those categories. S30V is also considered true stainless steel; D2 only has enough Chromium to be “semi-stainless.” D2 steel is an air-hardened tool steel that is considered “semi-stainless” because of its high chromium content (about 12%). This means D2 is more corrosion resistant that other High Carbon Steel but still has great wear resistance and toughness. D2 is a happy medium between stainless and high carbon steels."

"D2 steel is an air hardening, high-carbon, high-chromium tool steel. It has high wear and abrasion resistant properties. It is heat treatable and will offer a hardness in the range 55-62 HRC, and is machinable in the annealed condition. D2 steel shows little distortion on correct hardening. D2 steel’s high chromium content gives it mild corrosion resisting properties in the hardened condition."

"If you need better machinability then consider A2 tool steel which has a chromium content of 5% and is more readily machinable."

"D2 has a lot of carbon. A lot. This varies somewhat between manufacturers, but know that the extremely high amount of carbon is critical to this steel's very long and proven reputation. Simply put, it has some of the highest carbon content in tool and die steels. Other types of "D" steels have up to 2.25 percent carbon (D3, D4) which is more carbon than cast iron! The leader of carbon in high chromium-high carbon tool steels is D7, which has 2.35 percent! D3, D4, D5, and D7 are not used to make knife blades because they are too brittle, and not tough enough to resist fracture in thin cross sectional areas."

"As defined by ASM and ANSI, for a steel to be stainless, it must contain at least 11.5% by weight of chromium. with at least 12% for aqueous corrosion resistance. Since very little D2 is made with 11% or less, and that is not the ANSI standard chromium content for D2, and 12% is the standard, D2 is then a stainless steel."

"It's true that it is at the lower end of chromium content, and what this means is that in practical use, leaving orange juice or blood on this steel can cause a graying or discoloration of the surface. This is far and above the nearly instant corrosion that happens in untreated O1, or in any carbon steel that is not stainless. D2 resists corrosion, and simply getting it wet will not lead to rust."

"This is because D2 has "aqueous" corrosion resistance, meaning it is resistant to corrosion in water. A higher percentage of chromium is needed if a steel needs to be resistant to corrosion in non-aqueous solutions (like orange juice, brine, blood, or other acidic or caustic corrosives). Since there is no "magic number" that instantly makes all steels corrosion-proof, the aqueous exposure is the scientific threshold for determination and identification. D2 is a stainless steel, unless some foundry has less than 11.5% of chromium, and that means that it is not made to the standard of ANSI, which is the authority on standards of such things."

"Sharpening D2 is tough. If you're wanting a blade to hold an edge an incredibly long time, then you can expect that it will take a very serious method and time to sharpen it. A knife blade's cutting edge that is wear resistant during cutting will also resist the abrasive of the sharpener; it's simple physics. The old claim of having a very long lasting edge and yet being easy to sharpen is a horrible myth, still used today by unscrupulous knife makers, manufacturers, boutique shops, semi and pre-production shops, and knife dealers. It's time this myth is laid to rest."

"If you're going to sit down with a stone (Arkansas, silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, India, oilstone, or water stone) then you better have a pot of coffee, perhaps a sandwich for a the three hour break, and plenty of beefy forearms and grip strength. It will take a long while to scrub up a bur for the primary edge, and plenty more to refine the secondary cutting edge of properly hardened and tempered D2. Wear resistant means wear resistant to all things, including the stone. Even ceramic stones will meet with plenty of resistance in sharpening properly hardened and tempered D2. If you have a D2 blade and it is easy to sharpen, it's either not D2, or it's been miss-processed!"

"My answer? Diamond. Diamond. Diamond, followed by Diamond. No steel is harder, no steel can withstand the cutting action of the hardest material on earth. On my tactical combat knives with an Ultimate Belt Loop Extender, a small diamond pad will handle the touch ups, but for a full sharpening regime, you'll need some serious diamond abrasive stones."
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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby JD Spydo » Sun May 26, 2019 1:18 pm

A few years back I had the privilege and pleasure to get acquainted with knifemaker Bob Dozier from Hot Springs Arkansas USA EArth at a knife show I attended down in Texas. Not only was Mr. Dozier a real "Stand UP", decent type of guy he really knew his knifemaking business inside and out. He has been given the name of "Dr. D-2" from many of his peers because of his massive use of D-2 tool steel for most of his great outdoor knives and his pocket knives too for that matter>> because he's got the reputation for doing an excellent heat treatment of D-2. I've got 2 knives as we speak made with D-2 and all I can say is that it's far from being a junk steel>> actually I think it's easily in the top 15 to top 20 of my all time favorite knife blade steels.

Now Mr. Dozier and two other people who I value as being pretty smart about the knife business told me that heat treating D-2 is rather tricky and it takes a real expert to do it consistently and get the Rockwell hardness just right. The two knives that Mr. Dozier made that I tried out and one I sharpened seem to be really top quality blades.

I suspect that people like Bob Dozier who has a real love for his work probably heat treats his D-2 better than most commercial knife companies probably do. I've only ever tried one Spyderco blade made with D-2 and I was satisfied that it had a nice heat treatment. But the one fixed blade I checked out from the late Queen Cutlery who is now defunct >> I wasn't too impressed with their heat treatment>> because it was relatively easy to sharpen and to me that's a bad sign. Overall I like the steel. I sure hope Brother Larrin chimes in on this one. Brother Larrin is the real deal and I wish I knew half as much as that dude knows :cool: I'm also curious as to what Brother MASTIFF has to say about D-2 ;)

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby The Mastiff » Sun May 26, 2019 9:53 pm

Hello Joe. D2 has mostly chrome carbides so it does the meat cutting, skinning type stuff really well. It is valued for hunting and skinning knives which is something Dozier excels at with his knives. It doesn't hold up in the long run on rope, plastic, cardboard type things as tungsten and vanadium carbides so I'd choose other steels for that use. It works well in knives from rc 57 up to rc 62-63 and has almost as good corrosion resistance as some stainless steels so it's fairly versatile. It's a good steel that has been kind of surpassed by the powder steels but it still does well in knives if you aren't looking for the most of any one attribute.

Joe

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby knivesandbooks » Mon May 27, 2019 2:03 am

I'll accept D2 from a known, good maker. Custom D2 fixed blades etc. Currently have an LT Wright, an Ohta, and a Benchmade in the steel; I've had others, like most people here. I've not sharpened the Ohta, but the LT and Benchmade don't sharpen terribly. Reprofiling isn't the easiest but also not the worst. I feel like my Lt Wright takes the best edge and holds in the best. Keep meaning to pick up a Dozier. They're not bad prices and he seems like a nice guy.

From my experience: not the best or the worst. Far above adequate and a good outdoors knife steel. Watch out from all the mid-range foreign brands selling knives as d2, though.
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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby demoncase » Mon May 27, 2019 4:22 am

I'd second the advice above- D2 from a known and reputable manufacturer is going to be a solid knife.....though as hard as a politician's heart when it comes to resharpening.

I have a Lionsteel Daghetta in D2 and it's scary sharp with a very polished edge.
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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby Doc Dan » Mon May 27, 2019 5:04 am

I have a couple of knives in D2 that I like and one I love. One is a custom skinner. I love this knife and the way the steel performs in that role. Another is a BM Stryker. I hAve cut a lot with it but never tried hard use. What my experience tells me is that D2 is a fine performing steel, but don’t let it get dull! It can be a day job putting an edge on it without diamonds.
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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Mon May 27, 2019 12:45 pm

Thank you for these excellent descriptions.

What then would you think of a D2 steel bladed steel tanto knife that has a price of under 40 dollars and is said to be "tough as nails" and has been shown to be able to cut plastic water bottles with ease and is advertised as "nearly indestructible survival knife"?

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby dsvirsky » Mon May 27, 2019 12:56 pm

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 12:45 pm
Thank you for these excellent descriptions.

What then would you think of a D2 steel bladed steel tanto knife that has a price of under 40 dollars and is said to be "tough as nails" and has been shown to be able to cut plastic water bottles with ease and is advertised as "nearly indestructible survival knife"?
I think you get what you pay for. As has been noted above, D2 is a solid performer when heat treated correctly. What kind of heat treat do you think that under $40 knife received?

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Mon May 27, 2019 1:00 pm

dsvirsky wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 12:56 pm
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 12:45 pm
Thank you for these excellent descriptions.

What then would you think of a D2 steel bladed steel tanto knife that has a price of under 40 dollars and is said to be "tough as nails" and has been shown to be able to cut plastic water bottles with ease and is advertised as "nearly indestructible survival knife"?
I think you get what you pay for. As has been noted above, D2 is a solid performer when heat treated correctly. What kind of heat treat do you think that under $40 knife received?
Thank you, dsvirsky, that is infact exactly what I was wondering when I saw the ad for this knife. I was attracted to its look; it looks like it has good grind lines and shape and all of that. The seller is claiming it is extremely durable, and a good survival as well as everyday cutting tool. But one thought that I had was about the heat treatment. Do you think directly asking the seller about the heat treatment will avail much?

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby ugaarguy » Mon May 27, 2019 2:16 pm

knivesandbooks wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:03 am
I'll accept D2 from a known, good maker. Custom D2 fixed blades etc. Currently have an LT Wright, an Ohta, and a Benchmade in the steel; I've had others, like most people here. I've not sharpened the Ohta, but the LT and Benchmade don't sharpen terribly. Reprofiling isn't the easiest but also not the worst. I feel like my Lt Wright takes the best edge and holds in the best. Keep meaning to pick up a Dozier. They're not bad prices and he seems like a nice guy.

From my experience: not the best or the worst. Far above adequate and a good outdoors knife steel. Watch out from all the mid-range foreign brands selling knives as d2, though.
Ehh, YouTuber "Luv Them Knives" sent a bunch of D2 marked blade Chinese folders to a viewer who has access to a hand held metal analyzer. All but the absolute cheapest, non-branded, $12 knife were real D2. Even the $25-$30 Ganzo was real D2. I have no doubt that the Ontario RAT 1 / 2 and the ESEE Avispa and Zancudo are real D2, with at least decent heat treats. Steel Will does a decent heat treat on their D2 as well. I don't know that I trust Ganzo to do D2 well, but I haven't researched it. Not sure it's worth the risk when the ESEE and Ontario imports in D2 are only about $10 than a Ganzo D2.

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby Larrin » Tue May 28, 2019 12:13 pm

I have an article from November about the history and properties of D2: https://knifesteelnerds.com/2018/11/05/ ... el-knives/
http://www.KnifeSteelNerds.com - Steel Metallurgy topics related to knives

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby knivesandbooks » Tue May 28, 2019 3:27 pm

^^ that was a really good and timely article.

I've always wanted to try Medford's D2. I was playing around with this guy's Medford that was in D2. Thick stock but it came to a thin, wicked edge. I've never had a D2 knife with an edge that thin. Bet Dozier has some fixed blades even more acute. Maybe I'll have my LT Wright reground.
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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby Doc Dan » Tue May 28, 2019 7:28 pm

Knives of Alaska uses some nicely heat treated D2. These are dedicated hunting knives and not car choppers. The ones I’ve seen are great performers.
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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby Bloke » Wed May 29, 2019 2:11 am

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 12:45 pm
What then would you think of a D2 steel bladed steel tanto knife that has a price of under 40 dollars and is said to be "tough as nails" and has been shown to be able to cut plastic water bottles with ease and is advertised as "nearly indestructible survival knife"?
Nothing to really add that hasn’t already been said but, I’d say save your pennies SEF, “tough as nails”, “nearly indestructible” could well describe a chunk of mild steel. And sharpen well enough shouldn’t have too much trouble cutting through a few plastic bottles. ;)
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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby Wartstein » Wed May 29, 2019 3:34 pm

The Mastiff wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 9:53 pm
Hello Joe. D2 has mostly chrome carbides so it does the meat cutting, skinning type stuff really well. It is valued for hunting and skinning knives which is something Dozier excels at with his knives. It doesn't hold up in the long run on rope, plastic, cardboard type things as tungsten and vanadium carbides so I'd choose other steels for that use. It works well in knives from rc 57 up to rc 62-63 and has almost as good corrosion resistance as some stainless steels so it's fairly versatile. It's a good steel that has been kind of surpassed by the powder steels but it still does well in knives if you aren't looking for the most of any one attribute.

Joe
How good would you say D2 is for wood-work?
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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Wed May 29, 2019 6:46 pm

Bloke wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:11 am
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 12:45 pm
What then would you think of a D2 steel bladed steel tanto knife that has a price of under 40 dollars and is said to be "tough as nails" and has been shown to be able to cut plastic water bottles with ease and is advertised as "nearly indestructible survival knife"?
Nothing to really add that hasn’t already been said but, I’d say save your pennies SEF, “tough as nails”, “nearly indestructible” could well describe a chunk of mild steel. And sharpen well enough shouldn’t have too much trouble cutting through a few plastic bottles. ;)
Thanks, Bloke :)

That is one of the questions I had: Some sellers of knives and knife enthusiasts nowadays seem to think cutting through plastic water bottles is a good test of whether or not a knife has decent edges and durability. Would you and others consider that a valid test that proves out a blade, or, not? When I asked this to someone else into knives his claim is that "If the edge can hold up cutting through multiple water bottles, then the edge by default can hold up to cutting softer materials, such as rope, food, cardboard, etc."

But as you said, a chunk of mild steel is pretty tough and could most likely cut plastic water bottles, too.

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Wed May 29, 2019 6:48 pm

Wartstein wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 3:34 pm
The Mastiff wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 9:53 pm
Hello Joe. D2 has mostly chrome carbides so it does the meat cutting, skinning type stuff really well. It is valued for hunting and skinning knives which is something Dozier excels at with his knives. It doesn't hold up in the long run on rope, plastic, cardboard type things as tungsten and vanadium carbides so I'd choose other steels for that use. It works well in knives from rc 57 up to rc 62-63 and has almost as good corrosion resistance as some stainless steels so it's fairly versatile. It's a good steel that has been kind of surpassed by the powder steels but it still does well in knives if you aren't looking for the most of any one attribute.

Joe
How good would you say D2 is for wood-work?
That is a good question, especially when it comes to woodcraft bushcraft such as making shelters, traps, fishing tools out of wood, weapons such as spears, bows, and arrows.

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Re: D2 Steel Again: What should one expect from its properties?

Postby Doc Dan » Wed May 29, 2019 8:00 pm

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 6:46 pm
Bloke wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:11 am
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 12:45 pm
What then would you think of a D2 steel bladed steel tanto knife that has a price of under 40 dollars and is said to be "tough as nails" and has been shown to be able to cut plastic water bottles with ease and is advertised as "nearly indestructible survival knife"?
Nothing to really add that hasn’t already been said but, I’d say save your pennies SEF, “tough as nails”, “nearly indestructible” could well describe a chunk of mild steel. And sharpen well enough shouldn’t have too much trouble cutting through a few plastic bottles. ;)
Thanks, Bloke :)

That is one of the questions I had: Some sellers of knives and knife enthusiasts nowadays seem to think cutting through plastic water bottles is a good test of whether or not a knife has decent edges and durability. Would you and others consider that a valid test that proves out a blade, or, not? When I asked this to someone else into knives his claim is that "If the edge can hold up cutting through multiple water bottles, then the edge by default can hold up to cutting softer materials, such as rope, food, cardboard, etc."

But as you said, a chunk of mild steel is pretty tough and could most likely cut plastic water bottles, too.
The speed at which the bottles are struck is key. You can do this to some degree with unsharpened objects if you strike very fast and follow through.
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