80CrV2 Knife Steel: An In-Depth Guide to Performance and Use

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Last updated on July 13th, 2023 at 02:35 pm

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80CrV2 steel has gained significant recognition in the knife-making industry for its high-carbon, low alloy composition, which offers various desirable properties for knife blades. Known for its balance of hardness, wear resistance, and toughness, this steel has become a popular choice among craftsmen and users alike. Containing chromium and vanadium, 80CrV2 steel features enhanced strength due to the influence of these elements on the steel’s crystalline matrix.

Available at relatively low costs and favored by numerous forging bladesmiths, this steel has witnessed a surge in popularity in recent years, potentially surpassing 1084 steel as the most common choice for bladesmith beginners. From kitchen knives and hunting knives to tomahawks and swords, 80CrV2 steel has proven its versatility in various applications, all thanks to the right balance of performance and affordability.

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80CrV2 Steel Composition

Chemical Composition

80CrV2 steel is a high-carbon, low-alloy steel that offers great strength and toughness. This unique steel is used for a variety of knife applications, from kitchen knives to hunting knives and even tomahawks. The chemical composition of 80CrV2 includes various elements that contribute to its notable properties.

  • Carbon (C): Present at 0.75-0.85%, carbon improves the hardness, wear resistance, and edge retention of the steel while providing tensile strength.
  • Vanadium (V): The addition of about 0.25% vanadium enhances the steel’s hardenability, wear resistance, and overall toughness.
  • Chromium (Cr): Chromium, constituting 0.50-0.60%, contributes to the steel’s hardness and enhances its wear resistance2.
  • Manganese (Mn): The steel contains roughly 0.50% manganese, which improves overall strength and toughness while also increasing hardenability.
  • Molybdenum (Mo): Present at 0.10%, molybdenum strengthens the steel and increases its resistance to wear and corrosion.
  • Phosphorus (P) and Sulfur (S): These elements are present in a controlled amount to ensure proper strength and toughness while balancing machinability.
  • Nickel (Ni) and Silicon (Si): Nickel and silicon make up a small portion of the steel, contributing to its overall strength while promoting structural stability.

In conclusion, 80CrV2 steel provides an exceptional balance of strength, hardness, and toughness, making it suitable for a wide range of knife applications.

Properties and Performance of 80CrV2 Steel

Edge Retention

80CrV2 steel offers decent edge retention due to its hardness of around 57 HRC. The steel’s carbon content (0.85%) increases its edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength, making it a suitable choice for knives that require sharp edges for prolonged use.

Toughness and Wear Resistance

This steel is known for its extreme toughness and excellent wear resistance, making it an ideal choice for heavy-duty knives and axes. The presence of vanadium carbides and chromium carbides contributes to its wear resistance, with vanadium carbides being among the hardest carbides in steel.


80CrV2’s hardness ranges between 56-60 HRC, depending on the heat treatment process used. This range of hardness allows for a balance between toughness and edge retention, making 80CrV2 a popular choice for hunting and tactical knives.

Corrosion Resistance

As an alloy steel, 80CrV2’s corrosion resistance is not as strong as some stainless steels, due to its reduced chromium content. Although it may not be ideal for environments with high moisture or humidity, proper care and maintenance can help prevent rust and corrosion issues.


80CrV2 steel has a reputation for being relatively easy to work with. Its wide heat-treat parameters and semi-springy degree of toughness make it suitable for various knife-making processes. As a result, it is considered by many to be an excellent choice for creating bowie knives.

Heat Treatment of 80CrV2 Steel

Heat treatment is an essential process to enhance the performance characteristics of 80CrV2 knife steel. Here, we’ll discuss different heat treatment procedures and their impact on the properties of this steel.


Annealing is crucial for relieving internal stresses within the steel, improving machinability and facilitating further heat treatment processes. To anneal 80CrV2, heat it to approximately 750°C (1382°F) and hold for a suitable time depending on the thickness of the material. Then allow the steel to cool slowly in the furnace or with insulation, such as vermiculite, to room temperature. This process results in a softer, more workable steel.

Quenching and Tempering

Quenching and tempering are essential processes to achieve the desired hardness and mechanical properties of 80CrV2 steel. Quenching involves rapidly cooling the steel from its austenitizing temperature, typically within the range of 830°C-860°C (1526°F-1580°F), by dipping it in oil or water. This forms a hard martensitic microstructure within the material.

Tempering is then performed to reduce brittleness and enhance toughness. It is usually done at temperatures between 150°C-250°C (302°F-482°F). The resulting tempered martensite microstructure provides a balance of strength, hardness, and toughness to the steel.


Normalization occurs before the hardening process and refines the steel’s grain microstructure while relieving internal stresses. To normalize 80CrV2, heat the blade to 830°C (1525°F) and hold for 10 minutes, then allow it to air cool to room temperature. This treatment refines the grain structure and enhances the steel’s overall properties.


Austenitizing is the process of heating the steel to its austenite phase, which is required for quenching and hardening. For 80CrV2 steel, the austenitizing temperature generally lies within the range of 830°C-860°C (1526°F-1580°F). It is essential to heat the steel uniformly and hold at the austenitizing temperature for an adequate duration, allowing all the alloying elements to dissolve and create a homogeneous microstructure.

In conclusion, proper heat treatment of 80CrV2 steel, including annealing, quenching and tempering, normalization, and austenitizing, is vital for achieving optimal properties in knives and other cutting tools. By following these procedures, you can expect a robust, wear-resistant, and durable end product.

Comparing 80CrV2 Steel to Other Knife Steels

Carbon Steel Comparison

80CrV2 is a high carbon, low-alloy steel, known for its toughness and edge retention properties. It is similar to other carbon steels like 10801084, and 5160.

1080 and 1084 are both high carbon steels, with 1080 having slightly less carbon content than 1084. They are also more straightforward compared to 80CrV2, and their primary uses are in general knifemaking. On the other hand, 80CrV2 offers better toughness and edge retention than both 1080 and 1084.

Comparatively, 5160 steel is a medium carbon, chromium alloy steel popular for its excellent toughness and resilience. While its toughness is slightly better than 80CrV2, its edge retention properties are not as good.

Stainless Steel Comparison

Stainless steels are different from carbon steels due to their increased chromium content. The chromium in stainless steels increases corrosion resistance, making them a popular choice for kitchen knives and other applications where rust is a concern.

While 80CrV2 is not a stainless steel, its performance can still be compared with more popular stainless steels used in knifemaking. For example, 80CrV2 offers excellent edge retention and toughness, which is on par with some of the better-performing stainless steels. However, it does not have the same level of corrosion resistance.

Tool Steel Comparison

Tool steels, like O1 and Cruwear, are high-alloy steels designed for applications requiring high wear resistance and hardness. They are commonly used in cutting tools and other demanding applications.

O1 is an oil-hardening tool steel, offering good wear resistance and edge stability. However, when compared to 80CrV2, O1 has lower toughness and is more prone to chipping in heavy-duty applications. Cruwear, on the other hand, is a high-alloy tool steel that has better wear resistance than 80CrV2. However, 80CrV2 retains an advantage in terms of toughness and lower manufacturing costs.

In conclusion, 80CrV2 steel finds its niche in the knife market due to its balance of toughness, edge retention, and reasonable costs. It outperforms other carbon steels in most aspects but doesn’t quite measure up to the wear resistance found in some high-alloy tool steels.

80CrV2 Steel Applications and Uses

80CrV2 steel is a popular choice for creating strong, durable knives, particularly in applications where toughness and edge retention are crucial. This steel alloy is commonly used in making hunting knivestactical knives, and swords due to its excellent hardness, wear and corrosion resistance, and sharpness retention.

In addition to knives and swords, 80CrV2 steel is also suitable for creating heavy-duty cutting tools like tomahawks. The steel’s properties make it resistant to chipping and breaking, ensuring reliable performance when used in rough and demanding situations. With a relatively high carbon content (0.85%) and moderate levels of chromium (0.6%), this alloy achieves a balance between hardness and toughness that is ideal for cutting tools.

80CrV2 steel is often referred to as Swedish saw steel and is manufactured in Germany. Its chemical composition includes other elements like 0.5% manganese, which enhances its hardness and tensile strength. These properties give 80CrV2 steel the ability to excel in heavy equipment and construction applications where a sturdy and reliable cutting tool is necessary.

While not commonly found in nuclear reactor components or similar high-tech applications, the properties of 80CrV2 steel make it a versatile and reliable option for a variety of cutting tools. Its popularity in knife making highlights its advantages, providing users with a confident and dependable choice for their cutting needs.

In summary, 80CrV2 steel is a versatile material used in a wide range of cutting tools, such as hunting knives, tactical knives, swords, and tomahawks. Its unique chemical composition and balance of hardness and toughness make it an ideal choice for heavy-duty applications in various industries, from construction to knife making.

Care and Maintenance for 80CrV2 Steel Knives

Caring for your 80CrV2 knife will increase its durability and ensure its performance remains consistent. Here are some essential tips for maintaining your blade.

Rust Prevention: 80CrV2 steel is not entirely stainless, meaning it is susceptible to rust over time. To help prevent rust, keep your knife clean and dry, especially after using it with wet or moisture-rich materials. Apply a thin layer of oil, such as mineral oil or a specialized anti-rust oil, to the blade’s surface periodically to provide additional protection.

Coatings: Some 80CrV2 knives may come with a protective coating to reduce the risk of rust and corrosion. Keep in mind, though, that coatings may wear down over time. If you notice that the coating has deteriorated, consider applying a new one or upgrading to a more durable option.

Cleaning: Regular cleaning is essential to maintain your 80CrV2 knife. After each use, clean off any dirt, debris, or moisture from the blade with a soft cloth or sponge, taking care not to scratch the blade’s surface. Ensure it’s dry before storage to prevent rust buildup.

Oiling: Oiling your 80CrV2 knife not only prevents rust but also ensures that the blade functions smoothly when in use. Apply a few drops of oil to a clean cloth and gently wipe it onto your knife’s blade and pivot areas. Perform this maintenance task periodically, especially if your knife has been exposed to moisture or harsh environments.

Sharpening: To maintain a sharp edge, you should sharpen your 80CrV2 knife regularly using the appropriate technique and sharpening tools. This steel is known to be handily workable and retains a durable edge, making it easier to sharpen compared to more brittle or high carbide steels.

Brittleness and Durable Carbides: 80CrV2 steel is known for its toughness and strength, resulting in lower brittleness and fewer carbides than some other knife steels. However, it’s still essential to use your knife responsibly and avoid excessive force, as this may lead to chipping or damage.

Chipping Prevention: To minimize the risk of chipping, avoid subjecting your 80CrV2 knife to extreme impacts or bending. Use the knife for its intended purpose and avoid using it as a pry bar, hammer, or other inappropriate tools. Should any chipping occur, seek professional assistance to repair the knife and restore its functionality.

By following these care and maintenance guidelines, you’ll ensure your 80CrV2 steel knife remains in top condition for years to come.

Cost and Availability of 80CrV2 Steel

80CrV2 steel is an excellent choice for knife makers and enthusiasts due to its exceptional toughness and edge retention properties. It offers a high value in terms of performance versus manufacturing cost. Several suppliers offer this steel in various sizes, ensuring availability for the fabrication of knives and other cutting tools.

When it comes to the cost of 80CrV2 steel, it is essential to consider factors such as the manufacturing process and the alloying elements. Generally, steel produced using conventional ingot technology is less expensive than steel made with powder metallurgy. Additionally, steel companies may vary their pricing depending on their production methods and the costs of raw materials.

For example, you can find 80CrV2 steel for sale at Alpha Knife Supply in different sizes and thicknesses. The steel comes properly annealed, which means that the material is in a soft condition, allowing for efficient heat treatment without any non-standard wasteful processes.

Another reputable supplier is Online Metals, offering 80CrV2 carbon steel suitable for edge retention and high toughness applications. They provide this steel in various sizes and quantities, making it possible for customers to purchase the exact amount they need for their projects.

The chemical composition of 80CrV2 steel includes elements such as chrome, which enhances its toughness and wear resistance. Furthermore, it is often supplied in a spheroidized condition, a heat treatment process contributing to its excellent machinability and ease of use for knife-making.

In summary, 80CrV2 steel is a cost-effective and available material for crafting high-performing knives. The availability from multiple suppliers ensures that knife makers have access to this steel in the desired quantities and sizes. The balance of performance and cost, combined with its excellent properties, makes 80CrV2 steel a popular choice for both professional and hobbyist knife makers.

When you visit a merchant by clicking a link on this site we may make a commission on anything you buy (at no additional cost to you).   Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to Amazon Associates and the eBay Partner Network.”