Is CPM 20cv steel good for knives? [Complet Steel Review]

CPM 20CV Steel

If you’re familiar with premium steels, I’m sure you heard of one of the best Super Steel on the market the CPM 20CV, well I did too, and I wanted to know what makes it special or Premium, therefore I decided to make a CPM 20CV Steel Review.

So if you’re reading this right now it means you want to know more about this steel, I have some good news, you’re in the right place, I did a lot of researches 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) and I gathered all in this blog post, So let’s dive in!.

Made by @Crucible CPM 20CV is a martensitic stainless steel high in Vanadium, Chromium, and Carbon for excellent wear resistance and corrosion resistance, it’s used for plastic injection feed screws, barrel liners, screw tips, mold cavities, and premium Knives.

So we can understand more the Steel, let’s see its chemical composition.

CPM 20CV Steel review

CPM 20CV steel composition

  • 1,9% of Carbon: It improves hardness and wear/corrosion resistance, but a high amount of it decreases strength.
  • 20% of Chromium: For tensile strength and Edge retention, and enhances corrosion resistance and wear resistance.
  • 1% of Molybdenum: Increase Machinability and strength.
  • 4% of Vanadium: Improves wear resistance and hardenability.
  • 0,6% Tungsten: Improves wear resistance and hardness.

As you can see the CPM 20CV chemical composition is a mixture of very high chromium (20%), Carbon (more than 1.5%) and Vanadium, which makes it premium steel.

CPM 20cv hardness

According to @Crucible, the Rockwell hardness of the CPM 20CV is 58 HRC.

If you don’t understand the terms “HRCand Rockwell Hardness”, I explained it in this blog post, check it before you continue!.

CPM 20cv steel properties

According to the chemical composition and the HRC of the steel, the CPM 20cv Steel has the following features:

CPM 20cv Edge Retention: CPM 20CV offers excellent edge retention due to the high carbon, high vanadium and high chromium in it.

CPM 20cv Corrosion Resistance: with 20% of chromium in the CPM 20CV steel, CPM 20CV has excellent corrosion resistance, might be the best in the knife steels.

CPM 20cv Wear Resistance: thanks to its fine grain and a high mixture of chromium, carbon, and vanadium, CPM 20CV has an excellent Wear Resistance.

CPM 20cv Sharpness: the harder the steel to harder to sharpen it or grind it, this applies to our CPM 20CV, it’s a very hard steel that olds edge for a long period, therefore sharpening would be an occasional activity, but won’t be easy.

CPM 20cv Toughness: Some steels offer great hardness and corrosion resistance, but with low toughness, it’s not the case for the CPM 20CV it has a great balance between corrosion resistance, hardness, and toughness, that’s one of the reasons why it’s considered as a “SUPER STEEL”.

Cpm 20cv steel equivalent

I can think of two plates of steel, the M390 from @Bohler and  CTS-204P from @Carpanter, the three of the steels have a close chemical composition, and they offer the same properties (High edge retention, high corrosion resistance, high wear resistance, toughness, and hardness), and they fall in the same price range.

Is CPM 20cv steel good for knives?

I think it’s obvious, this steel offers excellent wear-resistance, excellent corrosion resistance, high hardness, and good toughness, so the answer would be YES it’s a good steel for your knife, it can be used on all fields and environments, so if you wish to get a knife for all usages, CPM 20V would be a great steel.

Best CPM 20CV Knives

ZT 0562CF

This one of those knives that never attracted my intention, I never knew why I always felt that ZT Knives aren’t that great, guess I was wrong… this ZT 0562 is a beat, and I own a big apology to ZT knives, this knife is a beefy mid-size folder (another Gem), okay now let’s find out why? First the blade its made from the premium CPM 20CV that offers great edge retention, corrosion resistance and wear resistance, the blade has a beautiful Hinderer flat-ground and comes with a handle that has carbon fibre front scale and stonewashed titanium back (Oh my god! a bunch of good things in this knife), and finally this knife is just suitable for everything, yes everything task you want to do either its hunting, camping or batoning just name it, the beefy mid-size design makes it very strong and rock-solid, so yes I highly recommend it, and again a big apology from me to the ZT Knives company!.

CPM 20CV 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.

CPM 20CV VS M390

CPM 20CVM390
EDGE RETENTION8/108/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/105/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE8/108/10
TOUGHNESS6/106/10

M390 offers the same performance as the CPM 20CV.

CPM 20CV VS S30V

CPM 20CVS30V
EDGE RETENTION8/105/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/105/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE8/107/10
TOUGHNESS6/106/10

S30V offers the same performance with lower edge retention compared to the CPM 20CV.

CPM 20CV VS S35VN

CPM 20CVS35V
EDGE RETENTION8/106/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/107/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE8/106/10
TOUGHNESS6/106/10

S35VN has lower edge retention, lower toughness, and lower corrosion resistance compared to CPM 20CV.

CPM-20CV VS 154CM

CPM 20CV154CM
EDGE RETENTION8/104/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS5/105/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE8/106/10
TOUGHNESS6/105/10

154CM has lower edge retention, lower toughness, and lower corrosion resistance compared to CPM 20CV.

Conclusion

If you wish to make or own a CPM 20CV, I’ll highly recommend it, but let me warn you it’s a bit expensive (which is understandable), but it’s worth the price, the experience of a premium knife steel is something worth your money and you won’t regret it, but if you’re on a low budget you can find other steel that offers close properties for a lower place, like the S30V (My current favorite steel).

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