D2 is known for being an abrasion-resistant and wear-resistant workhorse steel. It’s not overly tough and its level of corrosion resistance is something we don’t bring up at the dinner table - as it’s been an argument for ages. Over the years, new steels have been made to improve upon D2 and have moved higher up the desirable knife steel ladder. But does that make D2 any less viable as a knife steel? No. In fact, it just makes it more affordable. Our Lander 1 is a prime example of a quality knife made from D2 steel.


D2 is a tool steel that was originally made to cut and sheer other steels in manufacturing. It’s not known for being overly corrosion-resistant, but if you make sure to wipe your D2 knife down when you’re done using it, you shouldn’t have any problems. In terms of the kind of edge you should expect from D2, it won’t be as easy to get the absolute pinnacle of sharpness (I’m looking at you 14C28N), but it’ll last a decent amount of time. Being that it’s tougher, it may take a little longer to sharpen to your liking, but that’s what bands like Phish and the Grateful Dead were made for. Just listen to one of their jams and get lost in the resharpening process. By the time the song is over, you’ll have a beautifully sharpened edge.


If there’s a cluster of common knife steels on a chart regarding edge retention, D2 is in the middle of that cluster. Where it may not hold an edge quite as well as MagnaCut or S35VN, in testing it outperforms CPM-154, 14C28N, and Nitro-V to name a few.


A common misconception about D2 is that it’s super tough. In reality, it excels in abrasion and wear resistance, but it doesn’t rank high on the toughness scale. This is why most D2 steels are tempered at a lower hardness rating so that the steel is softer, and therefore tougher. We know that sounds weird. But that’s science.


Even with all of the new and refined knife steels on the market today, D2 is a well-balanced steel that you can rely on for years to come. In the last few years, it’s become a budget option for a lot of knife brands. It has a tendency to hold up really well in abrasive environments and holds an edge well enough for you to take it on a lot of wild adventures before it needs to be re-sharpened.

July 05, 2024 — Nick LeFort


Zed said:

With 12% chromium, isn’t it more accurate to say D2 has some corrosion resistance compared to 1095, etc., but not quite enough to be classified as stainless (>13% chromium)?

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