(This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.)

For making knives, several types of steel sheets are in use. While a few are types of stainless steel, others are steel alloys or contain high carbon levels. Then, you have some options of tool steel, a kind of hard alloy steel, and carbon steel especially ideal for making tools.

Maxamet steel is one of the popular tool steel options. In the world of powerful steels that are known for versatile uses, it is one of the top-performing alloys having supreme edge retention ability. Thus, if you need a knife that you need not sharpen frequently, this steel could be your best build material.

Nevertheless, it is not cheap. It is tagged as a super steel and strong demand exists for it. Still, the best steel option for your knife blade depends significantly on the purpose, features you need, and budget limit you have set.

What is Maxamet Steel?

Spyderco Para 3 Maxamet Signature Folding Knife with 2.95

Maxamet refers to a type of powder tool steel that is made by mixing powders of very finely ground metals. It is a special alloy that Carpenter Technology Corporation produces, which is a global leading provider of top-performing steels.

It is certainly a super steel, a term that is only four decades old and refers to the steels with superior edge retention ability as well as wear resistance. It has a high ranking in the category of luxury-level super steels.

Micro-Melt Maxamet is an alloy made using a few distinct powders that are then combined using a high-tech approach, compressed, and fused with heat to deliver strength and performance to knife blades and other tools. This strength level is rarely seen in steels used for a variety of applications.

This process is quite contemporary and requires a dedicated lab for its execution. Old blacksmiths have no way of duplicating this process even after comprehending it.

It is an exceptionally hard, high-speed powder option residing between fortified carbide steels and standard high-speed tool steels. This American alloy gives durable and precision knife blades that you can use for a myriad of applications.

Just as other powder steels, Maxamet is known for its incredible level of hardness. This indicates that the maker can provide a genuinely hard edge to the knife blade with the promise of remarkable durability. Very few steels can come to this level of hardness.

Composition

Interestingly, Maxamet is not a type of stainless steel due to less percentage of chromium content. However, it contains a high level of tungsten and vanadium due to which it is a tough alloy. Following are the various elements of which this tool steel is made up of:

  • 13% tungsten for boosting hardness, ensuring better cutting efficiency, and promising better wear resistance than other alloys
  • 6% vanadium for boosting hardness as well as wear resistance
  • 6% cobalt for improving the individual impact of other ingredients in the alloy
  • 4.75% chromium for more tensile strength and better retention of sharpness while decreasing the ability to resist corrosion
  • 2.15% carbon for enhanced hardness, durability, as well as resistance to wear and corrosion
  • 0.3 % manganese for boosted hardness, sharpness retention, and brittleness
  • 0.25% silicon for boosted toughness as well as strength
  • 0.07% sulfur for easier processing while manufacturing

Hardness

This steel is exceedingly hard; in fact, it is super hard. For commercial knives, it is among the hardest steel options available with extraordinary edge retention as well as wear resistance abilities. This is due to the huge amounts of vanadium, tungsten, and carbon.

On the HRC scale, this steel alloy has a rating of 67 to 70. Well, 70 is the highest rating that you can obtain for any steel blade. Comparatively, a strong EDC knife has a blade whose steel rates between 57 and 59 HRC.

Properties

Spyderco Sage 1 Folding Knife with 3" Micro-Melt Maxamet Steel Blade and Cool Gray Peely-Ply-Textured G-10 Handle - PlainEdge - C123GPGY

The chemical composition of this steel alloy dictates its properties. Following are its most significant properties.

  • Extraordinary Edge Retention: Many Maxamet knife users swear by the fact that a blade made up of this steel seems to remain sharp such that they have hardly sharpened twice during the knife’s lifetime. Such is the sharpness retention ability of this steel. The credit for this goes to the super-hardness quality of this steel, both of which are directly proportional. The blade’s sharpness remains for a very long time, which means you can rely on it wherever and whenever you do not want to hone or sharpen the blade, such as while camping or facing a survival situation.
  • Amazing Wear Resistance: Exceptionally hard steels tend to score top in this regard and Maxamet is one of them. This steel does not degrade its performance due to normal wear and tear; it simply bypasses these side effects. You get a knife blade that will last until you use it, provided you take proper care of it. Right now, there is hardly any other steel that is better than Maxamet in sustaining a sharp edge for so long.
  • Toughness Level: It is a fact that hardness and toughness are inversely proportional. This means that the more the hardness, the less is the toughness level. Just because a steel sheet is hard, it will ensure superb wear resistance as well as edge retention but it will also be susceptible to chipping, as it is brittle. So, does this mean that Maxamet is brittle? Well, luckily no! It is relatively tough, highest in any hard steel.
  • Good Molding Ability: You may also think that such hard steel may be tough to process. Well, fortunately, it is not so! Several brands tend to ensure a very sharp edge, which you realize upon unpacking the knife pack. Well, the credit goes to the presence of sulfur that ensured boosted machinability.
  • Corrosion and Rust Resistance: You may think that Maxamet may be susceptible to rusting and corrosion, as it is not a type of stainless steel. Well, you are not wrong in thinking so. This is because it is composed of less chromium. As a result, its inherent ability to fight rust or corrosion is poor.
  • Ease of Sharpening: A super-hard steel is typically hard to sharpen and Maxamet is no exception. Yet, It is possible to sharpen a Maxamet blade without much hassle by using any of the modern sharpening systems. You will have to spend more time than usual though.

Maxamet vs Other Knife Steel Options

We compare Maxamet with other popular knife steels based on toughness, ease of sharpening, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. Let’s compare and see how this steel alloy fares.

Maxamet vs S110v

The S110v steel is the most famous competitor of Maxamet steel. It is also extremely hard as well as tough. However, Maxamet has superior edge retention ability as well as machinability. In terms of ease of sharpening and resistance to corrosion, S110v wins.

Maxamet vs S30v

In terms of edge retention, there is a lot of gap between the two. Herein, S30v significantly remains behind, as Maxamet gets at the highest rating in this regard. Many users have observed how swiftly the S30v edge becomes blunt. However, it is more resistant to corrosion although being as tough as Maxamet. Despite being equally tough, its low edge retention rating seems to be quite ridiculous.

Maxamet vs S90v

In terms of toughness, S90v gets a higher rating than Maxamet that is not a type of stainless steel. This steel is even easier to sharpen and more resistant to rust and corrosion.

Maxamet vs M390

In terms of edge retention and hardness, it surpasses M390. On the other hand, M390 is less brittle and tougher, easier to sharpen, and more resistant than Maxamet.

Maxamet vs M4

In terms of resistance to chipping and toughness, both are identical. However, Maxamet wins when it comes to retaining its sharp edge for a long time. On the other hand, M4 is easier to sharpen and more resistant to corrosion.

5 Best Maxamet Knives

We could find only some Spyderco knives that come with a Maxamet blade.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

So, is Maxamet Steel Good for Your Knives?

Maxamet is an ideal option for whom supreme edge retention ability as well as great resistance to wear are priorities and are ready to spend lavishly. This is because this steel is an upscale variety. The problem of corrosion may restrain you from buying such a knife. However, in reality, this is not an issue if you keep the blade and handle clean and dry after every use.