Title: M390 Powder Steel vs. S35VN: A Comprehensive Comparison for Blade Makers


The world of blade making is continuously evolving, with advancements in technology and materials leading to the development of new and improved steels. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of two such cuttingedge materials: M390 powder steel and S35VN steel. We will explore their unique characteristics, performance capabilities, and suitability for various blade applications, providing you with a wellrounded understanding of these two exceptional steels.


1. Material Composition and Properties

a. M390 Powder Steel:

M390 is a highend, premium powder metallurgy (PM) stainless steel that boasts an impressive combination of edge retention, corrosion resistance, and toughness. Its composition includes elements such as Chromium, Molybdenum, Vanadium, and a high percentage of Carbon and Cobalt. This unique blend results in a steel with excellent wear resistance and a fine, consistent grain structure.

b. S35VN Steel:

S35VN is a versatile, highperforming stainless steel designed for use in both knives and tools. It features a balanced composition that includes Chromium, Vanadium, and a moderate amount of Carbon. This steel is known for its good edge retention, ease of sharpening, and corrosion resistance, making it a popular choice among blade makers.

2. Performance Capabilities

a. Edge Retention:

M390 powder steel is renowned for its exceptional edge retention, thanks to its high hardness and wear resistance. This makes it an ideal choice for highend knives and tools that require a sharp, longlasting edge.

b. Corrosion Resistance:

Both M390 and S35VN offer excellent corrosion resistance due to their high Chromium content. However, M390 has a slight edge due to its additional protective elements, such as Molybdenum and Cobalt.

c. Toughness:

S35VN is known for its toughness and impact resistance, making it a great choice for heavyduty applications and everyday use. M390, while also tough, may be slightly less resistant to chipping and breaking in extreme conditions.

3. Machining and Heat Treatment

Due to its fine grain structure, M390 is relatively easy to machine and heat treat. However, its high alloy content may require specialized equipment and knowledge to achieve the best results.

S35VN is more forgiving in terms of machining and heat treatment, making it a popular choice for both novice and experienced blade makers. Its more straightforward processing requirements can lead to cost savings and easier production.

4. Applications

M390's superior edge retention and corrosion resistance make it ideal for highend knives, such as hunting, tactical, and premium folding knives. It is also suitable for specialized tools that require a sharp, durable cutting edge.

S35VN's balanced properties make it a versatile choice for a wide range of applications, including generalpurpose knives, kitchen cutlery, and outdoor tools. Its ease of sharpening and good edge retention also make it popular among users who prefer a DIY approach to knife maintenance.


Both M390 powder steel and S35VN steel are exceptional materials for blade making, each with its unique set of advantages and ideal applications. M390 offers unparalleled edge retention and corrosion resistance, making it a top choice for premium knives and specialized tools. On the other hand, S35VN provides a versatile, highperforming option that is easier to work with and suitable for a wide range of applications. As a blade maker, choosing between these two steels will ultimately depend on your specific requirements, budget, and personal preferences.

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