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8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel – Worth The Hype?

Last Updated: June 16th, 2022

If you’re a fellow knife connoisseur, you must have read all about the new 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel by now. It recently made its debut as a comparatively budget-friendly prototype in the steel market. And there’s already so much speculation regarding its quality and durability.

While some think that the steel is pretty great and affordable, many believe it’s not worth the hype at all. And in all honesty, we happen to share similar sentiments. Even though the 8Cr14MoV isn’t that bad, it still doesn’t hold up to the general standards of S30V or S90V.

But hey, let’s not jump to conclusions right away. In today’s article, we’ll be reviewing the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel and its properties. We’ll also take a look at Kershaw Emerson CQC-10K, a high-end pocket knife made of 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel.

Let’s find out how the steel holds up in terms of overall quality, performance, and functionality.

8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel: Overview

The 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel is a steel with high carbon and chromium percentage. The chromium percentage, however, is a little higher than carbon in order to balance out the fragility.

And since the chromium percentage is much higher, this steel is great for any product that requires high corrosion resistance. For instance – kitchen knives, blades, etc. Practically anything you would need to use constantly amidst heavily humid circumstances.

Common 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel Products

As mentioned above, the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel is great for enhancing the corrosion resistance properties of a product. Despite being a budget steel blade, the sheer percentage of chromium in it makes it go the extra mile in terms of durability.

Hence, you’ll find lots of products manufactured from the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel in the market just for this reason. It mainly started with kitchen knives, but nowadays, it’s been taking over all stainless steel products. For instance –

  • Commercial Knives
  • Forged Knives
  • Normal Scissors
  • Salon Scissors
  • Pet Scissors
  • Army Knives
  • Utility Knives
  • Butterfly Knives
  • Boning Knives
  • Hunting Knives
  • Fine Cutting Tools
  • Medical Instruments
  • Stainless Steel Platters, etc.

8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel: Composition

Here’s a brief overview of all the materials and their percentages in the composition of the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel:

Chemical Composition Percentage Contribution
C (Carbon) 0.75-0.85% Improves overall integrity and sturdiness by establishing equilibrium in the composition percentage. Also improves wear resistance.
Cr (Chromium) 13.50-14.50% Highly enhances the corrosion-resistance properties.Builds up tons of tensile strength and stability as well.
Mo (Molybdenum) 0.40-0.50% Increases tensile strength and working performance.
V (Vanadium) 0.10-0.30% Hardens the steel to a certain extent. Improves overall wear resistance.
Mn (Manganese) 0.20-0.80% Balances the composition by introducing brittleness. The percentage is kept low in order to prevent extreme fragility.
Si (Silicon) <0.80% Improves overall strength and durability.
Ni (Nickel) <0.60% Improves hardness and makes the steel much sturdier.
S (Sulfur) <0.04% Enhances machinability.
P (Phosphorus) <0.03% Improves overall performance and functionality.

All in all, in terms of composition, the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel has an average build. Nothing is too much out of the ordinary other than the high chromium percentage. But even then, it’s not as high as some of the other “best-selling” steels out there.

The thing with Chromium is that – they’re great for building up resistance against rust and water damage. No one can deny that. 

However, too much chromium can actually make steel brittle and fragile from within. It’s like a case of all show and no tell. The steel may look super shiny and stainless from the outside due to all the chromium in it.

But it would also be incredibly soft. A little blow is enough to put a permanent denture in it then. And that’s exactly why it’s important to maintain a certain balance between all the elements.

And that’s where this steel kind of succeeds. There’s a more or less great equilibrium between all the elements/chemicals in it, especially between carbon & chromium. Hence, the hardness from the carbon and corrosion-resistance properties from the chromium – you end up getting both of them in a pretty balanced way.

Related: The Difference and Full Comparison of Patina vs Rus

8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel – Worth Your Money?

“Excellent for the money” – these four words pretty much sum up the whole debate regarding the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel. Everyone admits that it’s subpar steel that doesn’t really have any mind-blowing features.

But it’s also true that it’s low-cost steel. Hence, you can get knives made out of this steel for a much lower price than the contemporary ones. And what ultimately happens when you put two and two i.e. the quality and the price together?

That’s right. You get a blade that’s quite literally “excellent for the money”. The 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel might not have any ultra-distinguishable features to set it apart from other steels. In fact, when you describe it like that, it’s more of a make-shift budget blade like the 5Cr14MoV one.

But it’s still an average quality steel blade with high carbon and chromium percentage. Everything’s balanced out just right in the manufacturing of this steel via the special heat treatment. 

So, can you stay happy with a long-lasting but budget-friendly steel with subpar performance? At the end of the day, that’s all that it boils down to. And if you indeed can compromise, then yes, the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel is definitely worth all your money and resources.

8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel: General Properties

Well, so far the steel composition looks pretty great. But when it comes to real-life scenarios, does the performance live up to expectations? Let’s find out.

8Cr14MoV Edge Retention

Compared to contemporary semi-grade steels like the S30V or, 5Cr15Mov, the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel shows signs of low edge retention. Even though it’s hard enough, it becomes dull slightly faster and requires sharpening every once in a while.

So, you’ll need to keep your sharpening gears ready at least every two months or so. Generally, it’s best to give the blades a timely sharpening before they get too dull. Because if you keep them like that, the edge retention might go even lower than before. 

8Cr14MoV Hardness

The 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel has a hardness level of 58-59 HRC. And that’s pretty standard for a steel blade in this price range. It’s just hard enough to take care of all your day-to-day needs. 

You can bone and fillet fishes, gut and skin meat, split wood, etc. quite easily. Provided that the blade is in peak enough condition, of course. 

8Cr14MoV Corrosion Resistance

The 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel comes with at least 14% of Chromium in it. Thus, proper resistance against corrosion isn’t something you’ll have to worry about with this steel. 

If maintained properly, your blade won’t get a rust or water stain on it for years, if not decades. 

8Cr14MoV Wear Resistance

The proportional percentage between Vanadium, Carbon, and Nickel should have given this steel quite a lot of wear resistance. However, during experimenting with the steel, it’s seen that the edge retention is slightly off than usual. 

As in, it does wear down pretty quickly. 

8Cr14MoV Sharpness

Well, here’s where it gets interesting. The sharpness level of the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel is well over average for some reason. In fact, if you’re not careful enough, it can slice away from your skin alongside the fish you have been filleting. 

8Cr14MoV Steel: Easy Of Sharpening

It’s not completely easy to sharpen the knives made out of the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel. And that’s primarily due to the reasonably high HRC count. The blade’s pretty hard and tough to work on. Therefore, you’ll need to spend some time to make sure it’s sharpened properly. 

High-End 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel Knives

Kershaw Emerson CQC-10K

The Emerson CQC-10K is exactly what you need if you’re in the market for a reasonably priced folding pocket knife. Despite being affordable, it doesn’t skimp on the essential features and functions. Within a minimalistic price range, you’ll get access to features even those $100 knives can’t provide.

The knife handle swings both ways i.e. you can use both your hands to open and fold it easily. Compared to other ambidextrous models on the market, the Emerson CQC-10K provides finer reflexive orientation and feeling.

Additionally, here are a few more features the Kershaw Emerson CQC-10K provides –

  • Front side with a matte finish, which makes the color seem darker and more intimidating.
  • A bead-blasted finish along the backside enforces a non-reflective matte design.
  • Swift and easy opening “wave” feature
  • Sturdy and stable framework
  • Lightweight locking mechanism
  • Non-reflective design (perfect for hunting purposes as the knife suddenly doesn’t rattle the prey)

Final Verdict

So, is the 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel worth the hype or not? Turns out, it somewhat falls flat when you pitch it against contemporary steels like the S30V or the S90V. But then again, the S30V and the S30V aren’t technically budget-steels, are they? 

Indeed, we held out higher expectations from the 8Cr14MoV Steel. But at the end of the day, we do have to admit that it’s a little subpar. Compared to what we initially expected due to the composition equilibrium, it’s disappointing in terms of both performance and functionality.

However, since the 8Cr14MoV is pretty cheap, it’s kind of unfair to build such high hopes around it. Plus, the other components of the knife eventually make up for all the failings in the steel anyway. Hence, when you put them together, it’s not that bad of a combo after all.

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Steve Thampson

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