The CTS-BD1 steel is for knife makers that are looking forward to manufacturing budget-friendly knives. This budget-friendly steel is used by a famous company called Spyderco, which ordered the manufacturing of CTS-BD1 steel. We will be exploring all details regarding all the steel properties and whether it has proper edge retention capability and all the features a knife maker wishes for.
What is CTS-BD1 Steel?
CTS-BD1 is a vacuum-melted steel manufactured by Carpenter Technology Corporation which is well known to create special steels that are capable of giving high levels of performance. Carpenter took inspiration from Hitachi’s Gingami and then created the CTS-BD1 steel upon the asking of Spyderco knife-making company.
CTS-BD1 is different from CTS-BD1N even though the steels are manufactured by Carpenter. The CTS-BD1N steel consists of nitrogen in its chemical composition and is a modern steel that consists of extreme hardness. The CTS-BD1 steel is also compared to AUS 8 and 8Cr13MoV steel but you will witness CTS-BD1 steel having better performance in edge retention.
The CTS-BD1 steel is used for the manufacturing of knives like camping, cutlery, and EDC. Also, you will see the steel used for the making of ball bearings and parts of small machinery that need to take on heavy duty. Companies opt for steel because of the finishing and great capacity of edge retention.
CTS BD1 steel consists of a high percentage of chromium which makes it stainless steel. The chemical composition of the steel consists of other elements as well that contribute to various other features.
- 0.9% of Carbon: Adds more hardness and makes the steel more resistant towards corrosion and wear.
- 15.75% of Chromium: Brings improvement to hardness level, edge retention, toughness and tensile strength. Also increases the resistance of the steel towards corrosion and wear.
- 0.6% of Manganese: This makes the steel more resistant towards forge ability, hardenability and wears as well.
- 0.37% of Silicon: This brings improvement to steel strength.
- 0.3% of Molybdenum: This brings improvement in steel strength and also makes the steel more resistant towards corrosion.
- 0.1% Vanadium: Boosts the wear resistance of the steel and also increases the toughness level.
According to the Rockwell C scale, the hardness rating of CTS-BD1 steel ranges between 58 HRC to 60 HRC. The value can vary depending on the heat treatment provided to the steel. The range shows the steel has a moderate hardness which allows the steel to have some toughness as well which makes the steel resistant to chipping.
- Acceptable Toughness: The steel does not have high hardness since the rating is not about 61 HRC. This makes the steel have a sufficient amount of toughness as both hardness and toughness are inversely proportional. The toughness of the steel is also because of the presence of elements like vanadium and chromium. Even though the toughness is not of the premium steel level, it is enough for the steel to resist breaking and chipping.
- Good Corrosion Resistance: The steel consists of a high percentage of chromium which is more than the threshold. This prevents the steel from getting rust or corrosion even under humid and water. The corrosion resistance of the steel is very impressive compared to well-known high-end knives in the market.
- Decent edge retention: Compared to well-known steels from the group CTS-BD1 comes from, you will notice the edge retention capacity cannot be matched. That is because of the moderate amount of hardness that ensures the steel does not get deformed. Although the edge retention will not match the high carbon steels in the market, the edge retention is however good enough for avoiding frequent sharpening.
- Decent wear resistance: The edge of the steel is capable to take on regular wear and will last you for a long time making every penny spent behind it worth it.
- Ease of Sharpening: Even though there is a good amount of hardness the steel is easy to sharpen with simple affordable sharpeners.
Comparing CTS-BD1 With Other Knife Steel Options:
CTS-BD1 vs. BD1N
BD1N steel wins in all aspects when it is compared to BD1. The hardness level of BD1N is higher than BD1 making it better at wear resistance. Furthermore, BD1 was created as an affordable version of BD1N.
CTS-BD1 vs. VG-10
VG-10 steel has a mid-range with a high hardness level compared to CTS-BD1 making it better in edge retention and wear resistance. However, CTS-BD1 possess greater toughness making the steel resistant towards chipping.
CTS-BD1 vs. 8Cr13MoV
Both of the steels are budget friendly and are used for making knives by Spyderco. However, CTS-BD1 makes a better knife as it wins over 8Cr13MoV in terms of edge retention and corrosion resistance. But 8Cr13MoV is easier to sharpen due to its lesser hardness level.
CTS-BD1 vs. S30V
S30V belongs to the high-end steel family. It wins over BD1 in terms of edge retention and wears resistance because of the presence of elements like vanadium and carbon in its chemical composition. On the other hand, it is easier to sharpen BD1.
CTS-BD1 vs. AUS-8
Both of the steels are affordable but they do have some differences. AUS-8 steel has a soft texture which makes it incapable of holding its edge for a long time compared to CTS-BD1. Furthermore, AUS-8 lags in corrosion resistance as well when compared to BD1.
So, is CTS-BD1 Steel Good?
Yes, because CTS-BD1 has an affordable price and a lot of great properties to offer. The steel excels in corrosion resistance, is decently tough, and is easy to sharpen as well. The only fact that makes CTS-BD1 fall behind is weak wear resistance.