Is Maxamet Steel Good For Knives? A Complete Guide


In the world of strong steels for versatile uses including knives, Maxamet steel has emerged in recent years among the very top of well-performing alloys – especially for its edge retention.

As its official name of Micro-Melt Maxamet implies, the alloy is created from a high-tech melding of special (some say unique) ingredients to produce strength and performance for knife blades and other applications of high-quality steel.

This American-made steel alloy produces lasting and precise knife blades for use in a great range of applications. Its edge retention is considered tops in the industry, and Maxamet also gets high grades for its strength and wear resistance – all high priorities for avid knife owners and users.

Have your attention so far? Then read on for more details.

What is Maxamet Steel?

Maxamet steel is a specialty alloy invented and produced by Carpenter Technology Corporation (NYSE: CRS) based in Philadelphia, considered a leading supplier of high-performance steels globally. The company focuses its core technical abilities in engineered materials and processes toward addressing customer challenges, both current and in the immediate future.

Hence development and introduction in recent years of Micro-Melt Maxamet, an extremely hard, high-speed powder tool steel aimed at a middle ground between cemented carbide steels and regular high-speed tool steels. Maxamet steel properties, produced through the powder metallurgy process, provide strength not always found in steels used for various applications.

Maxamet is considered among the top supersteels available today around the world. Supersteel, a term dating back 40 years now, today refers to high wear resistant steels with high edge retention. Maxamet already ranks high among luxury-level supersteels.

What Are Maxamet Steel Properties?

According to steel- and knife-industry watchers and experts, key beneficial properties for Maxamet steel include:

  • Superior edge protection: A high maximum hardness of (Rockwell C scale) 70HRC indicates the steel’s high amount of Tungsten, Vanadium, and Carbon, placing it among the best in the industry in this category. If not the very best.
  • Excellent wear resistance: No need to hesitate no matter the application, due to the generous amount of Tungsten and the materials noted above added to the cocktail to produce Maxamet steel.
  • Strength: See Maxamet steel’s composition below to understand how and why the alloy is so strong and performs well.
  • Machinability: Maxamet steel is great in this area thanks to the presence of Sulfur.

Considering the list above, one might wonder how Maxamet steel can deliver such superlative properties. Let’s take a peek at what precisely makes up the Maxamet alloy steel.

Maxamet Steel Composition: A Unique Mix in the Industry

The main components of Maxamet steel present a wide variety of materials delivering a broad range of benefits:

  • 13.00% Tungsten: To apply its alloying elements to add hardness and cutting efficiency, among other positives. The use of this material is said to be revolutionary to the industry.
  • 10.00% Cobalt: For a variety of benefits including wear and corrosion resistance, and strength in high temperatures.
  • 6.00% Vanadium: For a significant increase in the steel’s strength, this percentage is considered quite high by industry standards.
  • 4.75% Chromium: To boost tensile strength and add yet another advantage for excellent edge retention.
  • 2.15% Carbon: To help build resistance to corrosion and wear.
  • 0.70% Sulfur: Applied to improve machinability for the Micro-Meld Maxamet steel.
  • 0.30% Manganese: For a hardness boost; the higher the hardness level, the more a blade can take and hold a better edge, a great strength of Maxamet steel.
  • 0.25% Silicon: To further bolster its level of strength.
  • Sprinkle in a nominal amount of iron to further improve its strength, and the mix is complete.

It appears Carpenter Technology has hit upon a perfect blend, with rather unusually high volumes of Tungsten, Cobalt and Vanadium, to present top-level performances in all the areas knife owners prefer. That is, edge protection, strength, wear resistance, and hardness.

Most user reviews give Maxamet steel rave reviews for edge protection, some going as far as saying its knife edges retain sharpness seemingly forever – a huge edge over competing steel knife blade materials. After all, who wants to spend too much time constantly sharpening or worrying about whether a knife’s edges will dull?

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Is Maxamet Steel Good for Knives?

Maxamet steel already has a solid reputation for being very good for knives – well above average, in fact. The American-made alloy has performed well under several conditions, whether in the kitchen cooking, cutting carpet, shaping wood, and more.

Very strong and wear-resistant, Maxamet steel is predominantly used for knives, whether just for the kitchen, on the job site, or for other cutting or chopping needs. Users very much appreciate its ability to hold edges, and to do so long-term without an unusual amount of maintenance.

Will Maxamet Steel Rust?

Yes, Maxamet steel can rust, since it is not considered stainless steel. However, knife blade enthusiasts have been consistent in praising Maxamet steel’s strength, edge retention, and other positive attributes as a trade-off for keeping its surface consistently dry and clean.

This is especially true for those who live in humid or rain-heavy locations, or for those who use the knife for fishing or boating. Micro-Meld Maxamet is not stainless steel, with Chromium (the main ingredient to qualify as stainless steel) providing just 4% of its composition. Therefore, the alloy maintains a proneness to rusting, though it is easily overcome with consistent cleaning and maintenance.

How Strong is Maxamet Steel?

Maxamet steel is said to be among the strongest available for knife blades – they say strong enough for any application. Its very high hardness, high wear resistance, and edge retention properties apply well to satisfy any knife owner or enthusiast.

Whether you’re chopping, cutting or otherwise cooking with a Maxamet steel knife blade, you get peace of mind that your tool is up to the task. It generally gets extra points for its superior edge retention. Its ultra-high-tech production process ensures the most modern technology is applied to the product, resulting in very well-performing allow steel knife blades.

Is it Easy to Sharpen Micro-Meld Maxamet Steel Blades?

Micro-Meld Maxamet steel blades are not known for easy sharpening. Then again, few tough and strong steel blades are. However, it’s been stated that sharpening Maxamet steel blade edges is no harder than dealing with diamond or ceramic edges.

All told, Maxamet’s edge retention and wear-resistant composition points make up for a few extra minutes with a sharpening stone periodically.

Micro-Meld Maxamet Steel: 9 Comparisons to Carefully Consider

For an easy-to-digest format that knife enthusiasts may appreciate, let’s look at how the Maxamet steel compares with other types of steel, in the areas of toughness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and sharpness. Scaled on a 1 to 10 basis with 10 being the best possible grade.

Maxamet Vs. s110v

Comparison PointsMaxametS110V
Composite Materials13.00% Tungsten
10.00% Cobalt
6.00% Vanadium
4.75% Chromium
2.15% Carbon
0.70% Sulfur
0.30% Manganese
0.25% Silicon
A nominal amount of iron
2.8% Carbon
15.25% Chromium
9.0% Vanadium
3.0% Niobium (Columbium)
2.25% Molybdenum
2.50% Cobalt
Toughness3/102/10
Edge Retention10/107/10
Corrosion Resistance4/107/10
Sharpness2/105/10

This comparison conveys that Maxamet goes for extreme edge retention while sacrificing properties in other areas; while the S110V steel aims for consistency in all areas. The S110V is often cited as the most similar steel type with the Micro-Meld Maxamet steel.


Maxamet Vs. Cruwear

Comparison PointsMaxametCruwear
Composite Materials13.00% Tungsten
10.00% Cobalt
6.00% Vanadium
4.75% Chromium
2.15% Carbon
0.70% Sulfur
0.30% Manganese
0.25% Silicon
A nominal amount of iron

1.1% Carbon
1.1% Silicon
1.6% Molybdenum
7.5% Chromium
2.4% Vanadium
1.15% Tungsten
0.35% Manganese
Toughness3/104/10
Edge Retention10/107/10
Corrosion Resistance4/105/10
Sharpness2/105/10

As above with the S110V, Cruwear is popular for its balance of properties, though private reviewers admitted to not having used the Maxamet as much – if at all.


Maxamet Vs. M390

Comparison PointsMaxametM390
Composite Materials13.00% Tungsten
10.00% Cobalt
6.00% Vanadium
4.75% Chromium
2.15% Carbon
0.70% Sulfur
0.30% Manganese
0.25% Silicon
A nominal amount of iron
1.90% Carbon
20% Chromium
4% Vanadium
1% Molybdenum

0.60% Tungsten
0.70% Silicon
0.30%
Manganese
Toughness3/106/10
Edge Retention10/108/10
Corrosion Resistance4/106/10
Sharpness2/105/10

Once again Maxamet fares well in edge retention, but lags in other measurements such as toughness, corrosion resistance, and difficulty in sharpening. The latter may be exaggerated as more recent reviews by actual Maxamet users indicate sharpening blades made of the alloy is not as difficult as previously reported.


Maxamet Vs. M4

Comparison PointsMaxametM4
Composite Materials13.00% Tungsten
10.00% Cobalt
6.00% Vanadium
4.75% Chromium
2.15% Carbon
0.70% Sulfur
0.30% Manganese
0.25% Silicon
A nominal amount of iron
1.42% Carbon
4% Chromium
4% Vanadium
5.25% Molybdenum
5.5% Tungsten
0.3% Manganese
0.06% Sulfur
Toughness3/103/10
Edge Retention10/107/10
Corrosion Resistance4/108/10
Sharpness2/104/10

Properties for the M4 are among the most-balanced around, faring very well for its toughness according to some user observations. Comparisons must consider whether a user places high priority on edge retention or not; as well as on corrosion resistance since Maxamet is vulnerable to rust if not cared for properly.


Maxamet Vs. S30V

Comparison PointsMaxametS30V
Composite Materials13.00% Tungsten
10.00% Cobalt
6.00% Vanadium
4.75% Chromium
2.15% Carbon
0.70% Sulfur
0.30% Manganese
0.25% Silicon
A nominal amount of iron
1.45% Carbon
14% Chromium
2%
Molybdenum
4% Vanadium
Toughness3/103/10
Edge Retention10/102/10
Corrosion Resistance4/105/10
Sharpness2/105/10

This comparison conveys the largest gap in edge retention, as private reviewers were unhappy with how quickly the S30V blade became blunt for general cutting on typical items like rugs. This does not bode well as edge retention is a top, if not the top, priority for knife fanatics.


Maxamet Vs. S90V

Comparison PointsMaxametS90V
Composite Materials13.00% Tungsten
10.00% Cobalt
6.00% Vanadium
4.75% Chromium
2.15% Carbon
0.70% Sulfur
0.30% Manganese
0.25% Silicon
A nominal amount of iron
2.3% Carbon
9.0% Vanadium
14.0% Chromium
1.0%
Molybdenum
Toughness3/106/10
Edge Retention10/106/10
Corrosion Resistance4/106/10
Sharpness2/105/10

The S90V gained high marks for its toughness, not a particular strength of the Maxamet ally considering it’s not a stainless steel avoiding rust.


Maxamet Vs. Rex 45

Comparison PointsMaxametRex 45
Composite Materials13.00% Tungsten
10.00% Cobalt
6.00% Vanadium
4.75% Chromium
2.15% Carbon
0.70% Sulfur
0.30% Manganese
0.25% Silicon
A nominal amount of iron
1.30% Carbon
0.30%
Manganese
0.50%
Silicon
3.05%
Vanadium
6.25%
Tungsten
8.00% Cobalt

5.00% Molybdenum
0.06% Sulfur

4.05% Chromium
Toughness3/107/10
Edge Retention10/107/10
Corrosion Resistance4/104/10
Sharpness2/105/10

Rex 45 steel reviews fare well against Cruwear comparatively – but with a bump in toughness. Again, Maxamet goes for broke in edge retention while sacrificing elsewhere. This seems particularly true for its toughness, which seems strange since it fares well with reviews of its strength overall.


Maxamet Vs. ZDP-189

Comparison PointsMaxametZDP-189
Composite Materials13.00% Tungsten
10.00% Cobalt
6.00% Vanadium
4.75% Chromium
2.15% Carbon
0.70% Sulfur
0.30% Manganese
0.25% Silicon
A nominal amount of iron
3% Carbon
20% Chromium

0.5% Manganese
1.4% Molybdenum
0.1% Vanadium
0.4% Silicon

0.6% Tungsten
Toughness3/105/10
Edge Retention10/106/10
Corrosion Resistance4/106/10
Sharpness2/105/10

Reviewers had no trouble with sharpening the ZDP-189 steel; while sharpening reviews from private users for Micro-Meld Maxamet were mixed. All told, many recent reviews have been kind regarding Maxamet and sharpness, revealing that perhaps its reputation for difficulty in sharpening was not truly deserved.


Maxamet Vs. Elmax

Comparison PointsMaxametElmax
Composite Materials13.00% Tungsten
10.00% Cobalt
6.00% Vanadium
4.75% Chromium
2.15% Carbon
0.70% Sulfur
0.30% Manganese
0.25% Silicon
A nominal amount of iron
1.7% Carbon
18% Chromium
1% Molybdenum
3% Vanadium
0.3% Manganese
0.8% Silicon
Toughness3/105/10
Edge Retention10/105/10
Corrosion Resistance4/106/10
Sharpness2/105/10

Elmax attracted middle-of-the-road comments from users, falling way behind in the ever-important edge retention category, and faring moderately in the others. Still at least its a balance in attributes that some avid knife users advocate.


Best Maxamet Steel Knives

Here are some of the Best Maxamet Steel Knives in the Market you can choose from.

Last update on 2021-10-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Word…

Industry superlatives abound for the Micro-Meld Maxamet steel and its applications, especially for knife blades. The alloy steel composition fares very well when compared with the most similar options available. Maxamet steel so far has received very high marks for retaining edge sharpness.

Additionally, the alloy has been praised for its advanced composition; a “sophisticated” brew of elements; and balanced alloying additions resulting in high wear resistance. 

Are you on the lookout for a supremely high-quality knife? One with a blade that, if it was a house for instance, would probably qualify at the luxury level? Then the Micro-Meld Maxamet steel is right up your alley. Performance-wise it’s about as good as it gets, tapping micro-technology to blend materials into a strong steel with very high resistance to wear thanks to heavy doses of Tungsten and Vanadium.

Its edge retention capabilities put Maxamet on the map, and as more and more owners use the knife blades word of mouth should continue to spread and grow the steel alloy’s popularity.

It will be interesting to see if the company continues to tinker with and possibly improve the cocktail of materials involved in the Maxamet line process and whether some of the shortcomings, including toughness, can be overcome.

Learn More About Knife Steel:-

Ahmed

I’m Ahmed, the guy behind Knifepulse.com. I’ve owned several types of knives and sharpeners over the last few years and have become obsessed with everything to do with knives. I’m always trying to improve my cleaning and sharpening process, and always on the hunt for the next best knife. But when I’m not spending time with my hobby, I’m here, writing about Knives and Sharpeners on KnifePulse to share with you what I learn along the way.

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