How good is CPM 154 steel?

CPM 154 Steel

Don’t confuse CPM 154 with 154 CM steel, CPM154  is a developed version of the 154CM Steel, benefiting from the CPM process of @Crucible, many costume knife maker finds their ease in using the CPM 154 Steel thanks to it balance properties, which attracted my intention. Therefore I decide to make a CPM 154 Steel Review.

So, If you’re reading this right now, it means you want to know more about the CPM 154 Steel, you came to the right the place, cause I was in the same position as you, and I did a bunch of research about it, and I answered some common questions (like What is it? What is its chemical composition? What is its hardness? How hard is it? Is it good or no ? and other questions) So let’s Dive in!.

CPM 154 is high-end stainless steel (CPM-manufactured version of Crucible’s standard 154 CM), high in Carbin, Chromium, and Molybdenum and offers a great balance between wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and toughness.

CPM 154 Steel Review

CPM 154 Steel Composition

  • 1,05% of Carbon: It improves hardness and wear/corrosion resistance, but a high amount of it decreases strength.
  • 14% of Chromium: For tensile strength and Edge retention, and enhances corrosion resistance and wear resistance.
  • 4% of Molybdenum: Increase Machinability and strength.
  • 0,5% of Manganese: Increases hardness and brittleness.
  • 0,03% of Sulfur: Increases machinability.
  • 0,4% of Vanadium: Improves wear resistance and hardenability.
  • 4% Tungsten: Improves wear resistance and hardness.

The chemical composition of the CPM 154 is a mixture of high carbon, Chromium, and Molybdenum, which makes CPM 154 a stainless steel with high wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

CPM 154 steel hardness (Rockwell Hardness)

According to @Crucible, the Rockwell hardness of the CPM 154 is 58-59 HRC.

To understand more the terms “Rockwell Hardness” or “HRC”, please read the following blog post.

CPM 154 steel properties

According to the chemical composition and the HRC of the steel, the CPM 154 Steel has the following features:

CPM 154 Edge Retention: CPM 154 offers a great Edge Retention due to the high Chromium and Carbon.

CPM 154 Corrosion Resistance: With 14% of Chromium, CPM 154 offers great Corrosion Resistance, but not the best compared to other high-end steels.

CPM 154 Wear Resistance: Great wear resistance due to the 1% of Carbon.

CPM 154 Sharpness: The rule says the harder the steel, the harder to sharpen it, CPM 154 is hard so sharpening it should be a hard task.

CPM 154 Toughness: CPM 154 offers good Hardness, good corrosion resistance, therefore it will have a decent toughness (You can’t get the 3 in one place).

CPM 154 steel equivalent

I won’t say equivalent but close, CPM 154 is close to the S30V in the balance between hardness, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and toughness, but still the S30V is better in edge retention and corrosion resistance, the second equivalent for our CPM154 would be the 154 CM(since it was developed based on it), and of course CPM 154 Is better/cleaner steel than the 154CM.

Is CPM 154 steel good for Knives?

The answer with no hesitation is: Yes. It has great edge retention, a great balance between hardness, corrosion resistance, and toughness. It would be great for EDC knives, hunting knives, skinning knives, and even kitchen knives. Therefore I’d like to remember stainless steel with corrosion resistance doesn’t mean it’s immune from corrosion, always take care of your knife after usage, and oil it once in a while.

Bets CPM 154 Knives

Kershaw Leek

Remember when youtube knife reviews went all reviewing this knife, (Kershaw leek review by X, Kershaw leek review by Y, Kershaw leek review by Z, and more…) I don’t know why it went viral, but it has to be a reason behind, let’s find out. Okey this knife is very nice, very simple and very efficient! How? Let me tell you how, first you have 3” CPM 154 Blade with a rugged stonewash finish that will give great corrosion resistance, great wear resistance and will hold an edge for long, second the ergonomics of the knife are just perfect (good job on this one Kershaw you owned it), the simple design and the Carbon fibre handle makes the knife so comfort and grabby for the hand, and finally the price it’s so cheap compared to the value, the quality of the steel, the quality of the design for this price, that’s what I call a deal.

CPM154 VS Steel

In this section, we’re going to compare our steel with other steels, and for this, I use four criteria; Edge Retention, Corrosion resistance, Ease of Sharpness, and Toughness, and I use a scale or note from 1 to 10.

CPM154 VS 154CM

CPM154154CM
EDGE RETENTION4/105/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/105/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE6/105/10
TOUGHNESS5/104/10

154CM Offers close edge retention, close toughness and the slightly lower corrosion resistance compared to the 154CM Steel.

CPM154 VS S30V

CPM154S30V
EDGE RETENTION4/105/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/105/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE6/107/10
TOUGHNESS5/106/10

S30V Offers close edge retention, better toughness and the slightly better corrosion resistance compared to the 154CM Steel.

CPM 154 VS S35VN

CPM 154S35VN
EDGE RETENTION4/106/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/106/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE6/107/10
TOUGHNESS5/106/10

S35VN offers better edge retention, better toughness and better corrosion resistance compared to the 154CM Steel.

154CM VS 420HC

154CM420HC
EDGE RETENTION4/102/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/107/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE6/106/10
TOUGHNESS5/106/10

420HC Offers lower edge retention, close toughness and the same level of corrosion resistance compared to the 154CM Steel.

154CM VS VG10

154CMVG10
EDGE RETENTION4/105/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/106/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE6/107/10
TOUGHNESS5/104/10

VG10 offers better edge retention, lower toughness and better corrosion resistance compared to the 154CM Steel.

154CM VS 1095

154CM1095
EDGE RETENTION4/103/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/107/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE6/103/10
TOUGHNESS5/108/10

1095 has slightly lower edge retention, higher toughness and lower corrosion resistance compared to the 154CM Steel.

154CM VS 440C

M39020CV
EDGE RETENTION8/108/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/105/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE8/108/10
TOUGHNESS6/106/10

440C has lower edge retention, the same level of toughness and higher corrosion resistance compared to the 154CM Steel.

154CM VS M390

154CMM390
EDGE RETENTION4/108/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/105/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE6/108/10
TOUGHNESS5/106/10

M390 offers higher edge retention, better toughness and higher corrosion resistance compared to the 154CM Steel.

Conclusion

So since we went this far reviewing the CPM 154, the question is: Is it a “SUPER STEEL”?, In my opinion, if we compare it to other high-end Steels, I might say yes, but it comes in the last position compared to other high-end steels, and the Steel is called “Super Steel” once it can bring that balance between wear resistance, corrosion resistance and hardness, which CPM 154 was successful at it, so if you’re planning to use a CPM154 steel for your knife, or even buy a CPM 154 knife, go for it, you won’t regret it.

As always, If you have another opinion about this type of Steel, please leave a comment below, I’ll gladly discuss knives with you.

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