If you are looking for knife steel on a budget then it is the CTS BDZ1 steel that you need. The steel has a low mid-entry nature that you can use for the blades of EDC knives and kitchen knives. Even if it is made by the infamous Carpenters brand it does not have a premium quality which makes the steel available for those who are on a tight budget. There is more about the knife that we have listed down. Keep reading to know more.

What is CTS BDZ1 Steel?

The American brand carpenter formulated CTS BDZ1 steel with a high amount of carbon and chromium in its chemical composition. The steel is designed with the help of heat treatment that ensures even distribution of chromium carbides on the steel surface so that it has a fine edge defeating the performance of a lot of steel.

CTS BDZ1 also belongs to the CTS steel series of Carpenter but it is not expensive and premium-like the other steels of that series. Even though the chemical composition is a bit similar to CTS BD1N, there is a significant difference. BD1N has nitrogen-bearing which increases its hardness level compared to BDZ1.

You can use the BDZ1 steel for the manufacturing of razor blades, military blades, salon blades, ice skates, hand tools and surgical tools along with EDC and kitchen knives.

Chemical Composition:

Overall in the chemical composition of BDZ1, you will see the presence of carbon, chromium and manganese present in high amounts. As the percentage of chromium is high in BDZ1 it can be classified as stainless steel.

  • 75% of Carbon: Present in high percentage to increase hardness and ability to resist corrosion and wear to a great extent.
  • 5% of Chromium: Increases edge retention, hardness, toughness, corrosion resistance, wear-resistance and tensile strength.
  • 1% of Manganese: Increases ductility, hardenability, tensile strength and wear resistance.
  • 1% of Silicon: Adds strength to the metal.
  • 75% of Molybdenum: Increases machinability and strength of the metal.
  • 025% of Phosphorus: Increases hardness, machinability, and strength of the metal.
  • 01% of Sulfur: Improves machinability and toughness.

The hardness of the steel:

The reading on the Rockwell C scale shows that the maximum hardness rating of BDZ1 steel is about 60 HRC. Since the rating is not above 61 HRC you can say the steel has a moderate to a high level of hardness. The reason behind the hardness is the presence of high amounts of chromium and carbon. Even if the metal is heated up to 200 degrees Celsius the steel is still able to hold its hardness in the presence of a high percentage of chromium.

Steel Properties:

  • Great toughness: You will get to see a lot of stainless steel with a great amount of hardness easily losing its shape upon heavy duty because of having a weak toughness level. That is because toughness is indirectly proportional to hardness. Yet, in the case of BDZ1 steel, you will see a great amount of toughness which is because of the presence of great amounts of carbon, chromium, manganese and silicon.
  • Satisfying Wear Resistance: The hardness of the BDZ1 steel is at a moderate level which makes the steel capable of resisting wear and tear for a long time while on heavy-duty. The steel has great durability which makes it adequate for use in outdoor knives. The reason for great wear resistance is because of the presence of elements like manganese, silicon, carbon and chromium.
  • Excellent Corrosion Resistance: As the steel contains high amounts of chromium BDZ1 is naturally stainless, which ensures that the steel has a great capacity for resisting corrosion and rust.
  • Fair Edge Retention: The edge retention capability of BDZ1 is not excellent but decent enough for holding sharpness for a long time. As the hardness rating is close to 60 HRC which provides satisfying performance in edge retention.
  • Ease of Sharpening: BDZ1 steel is easy to sharpen because the hardness rating is not very high. You can easily provide the steel blade with a sharp edge with the help of simple and inexpensive sharpening tools.

Comparing CTS BDZ1 Steel with other knife options:

 BDZ1 vs 420HC

BDZ1 contains a blend of elements like carbon, chromium and molybdenum that helps it resist corrosion and rust. However, 420HC contains nickel along with the blend of elements in BDZ1 that makes it better in corrosion and rust resistance compared to BDZ1. On the other hand, BDZ1 has a better hardness level compared to 420HC.

BDZ1 vs D2

BDZ1 is completely stainless while D2 is semi-stainless. For this reason, BDZ1 has a high amount of finer carbides distributed evenly on its surface compared to D2 which ensures better corrosion resistance by BDZ1.

BDZ1 vs S35VN

You will find the similar performance of both the steels in terms of resisting rust and wear resistance. However, S35VN contains vanadium in place of nickel and chromium in its composition, which increases its hardness making the steel better wear resistance and edge retention compared to BDZ1. However, BDZ1 beats S35VN in toughness.

BDZ1 vs 14C28N

Both of these steel types are capable of resisting wear and corrosion. But the presence of chromium content in BDZ1 steel is higher which makes it more resistant compared to 14C28N. On the other hand, sharpening 14C28N is easier compared to BDZ1.

BDZ1 vs S30V

Both of the stills have the same type of toughness but they do differ from each other in the manufacturing process. The S30V steel is manufactured using a powder metallurgy procedure while BDZ1 has a simple making process. S30V is high-end steel because of the manufacturing process used on the steel that is more expensive than BDZ1 steel.

BDZ1 vs. VG10

BDZ1 steel beats VG10 steel resisting stain and corrosion and also edge retention. However, both of the steels are easy to sharpen.

So, is CTS BDZ1 steel good knife steel?

Yes, you can use CTS BDZ1 steel as knife steel because it has amazing properties that make it suitable for use in the manufacturing of knives. The steel is also affordable which makes it adequate for any knife maker who is on a tight budget.


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