Knife Steel

How Is 7Cr17MoV as a Knife Material?

How Is 7Cr17MoV as a Knife Material

7Cr17MoV is Chinese stainless steel with fair properties for its price. Knife manufacturers favor the 7Cr17MoV as being a bang for the buck. 

7Cr17MoV steel is affordable, available, and produces a good-quality blade suitable for frequent use. You can find all kinds of blades made from this steel, from kitchen use to outdoor to EDC knives.

Continue reading to learn about 7Cr17MoV steel’s properties and what to expect from knives forged using this steel. We’ll also help you determine if it can make a good product to sell in your knife store.

7Cr17MoV steel composition

  • 0.60 to 0.75% Carbon (C): The main alloying element in any steel, carbon, increases steel’s hardness, wear resistance, and hardenability.
  • 16.00 to 18.00% Chromium (Cr): All stainless steel has a considerable amount of chromium. Achieving corrosion resistance is impossible without chromium.
  • 1.00% Manganese (Mn): The brittleness that comes with the hardening process makes the steel more fragile. Luckily, manganese reduces this, increasing the steel’s strength.
  • 1.00% Silicon (Si): Silicon deoxidizes steel during the smelting process, removing impurities to create a better metal overall.
  • 0.75% Molybdenum (Mo): Molybdenum increases hardenability by reducing the required quenching rate. It also positively affects corrosion resistance and toughness.
  • 0.60% Nickel (Ni): Nickel increases hardenability and toughness simultaneously, making the steel stronger.

These are the alloying elements of 7Cr17MoV Chinese knife steel. It also has traces of phosphorus and sulfur, up to 0.07% in total. These are impurities, unlike the others, but the tiny amounts, not exceeding 0.10%, help with machinability. 

7Cr17MoV steel properties

7Cr17MoV steel properties

You don’t need to be a metallurgist to translate the properties of 7Cr17MoV knife steel from its composition. Here is a breakdown of 7Cr17MoV steel properties, covering what matters to knives. 

Hardness

7Cr17MoV knife steel is 60 to 63 HRc hard under the Rockwell hardness scale. The hardness you’ll get from the knives made from this steel depends on the heat treatment performed by the manufacturer.

The hardness in the low-60s is hard to come by in knife steel at the price range of 7Cr17MoV. Its high hardness is one of the reasons knife manufacturers turn to 7Cr17MoV steel. 

Since the hardness affects the steel’s other properties, there is more to discuss. 

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Edge retention

You can expect satisfying edge retention at the hardness of 7Cr17MoV knife steel. It makes a knife that stays sharp for fulfilling durations. 

However, not as much as premium-grade steel, like VG-10. The edge retention is affected by more than just the steel’s hardness, as both are around the same hardness – more on comparing these two below.

Nevertheless, a 7Cr17MoV steel knife can cut for pleasing periods following average use. Think home cooks and occasional campers. They won’t need to sharpen a 7Cr17MoV knife often, but a chef at a restaurant may demand something better.

Wear resistance

The wear resistance refers to the steel’s ability to resist material loss. The knife steel with satisfying wear resistance will maintain its appearance, not showing scratches on the blade. 

The wear resistance is an important factor to those who use their knives outdoors, as they bring a harsher environment than kitchens. The 7Cr17MoV knife steel has decent wear resistance. It will show scratches and other marks over time, but not too quickly. 

Any knife steel with good wear resistance will also have proper edge retention. Since 7Cr17MoV steel’s wear resistance isn’t on par with premium-grade alternatives, it doesn’t contribute to its cutting ability. 

Toughness

How tough is 7Cr17MoV steel

7Cr17MoV is relatively hard, but it isn’t too brittle. The addition of nickel enables 7Cr17MoV to have increased toughness and ductility. After tempering to relieve internal stress, it becomes resilient knife steel suitable for heavy-duty applications.

Silicon also helps 7Cr17MoV to achieve good toughness by removing impurities. Although 7Cr17MoV is high alloy steel, the impurities make up less than 0.07% of its composition.

7Cr17MoV steel’s toughness is just as decent as its edge retention and wear resistance. There is undoubtedly tougher knife steel with similar other properties. What makes 7Cr17MoV stand out among them is affordability. You can get 7Cr17MoV for half the price of a similarly or slightly better-performing knife.

Corrosion resistance

Everything we’ve discussed about 7Cr17MoV steel so far shows that it has acceptable properties. Enter its corrosion resistance, and you’ll find where 7Cr17MoV shines.

7Cr17MoV steel has up to 18% chromium. In relation to the other alloying elements, especially carbon, it achieves excellent corrosion resistance. Concerning any knife in any situation, 7Cr17MoV simply won’t rust.

Unlike certain knife steel, like ZDP-189, which has 3% carbon and 20% chromium, 7Cr17MoV has a Cr:C ratio that favors corrosion resistance. Cutting foods with citric acid all day long or diving with a 7Cr17MoV doesn’t lead to oxidation. This level of corrosion resistance is the highlight of 7Cr17MoV steel.

Sharpening

Sharpening a 7Cr17MoV knife isn’t a challenging task. This steel doesn’t form hard carbides that make it challenging to sharpen. For example, knife steel with vanadium tends to be difficult to sharpen due to increased wear resistance. 

As 7Cr17MoV has decent wear resistance, it’s more on the easier side when it comes to sharpening. Your customers can bring the sharpness of the 7Cr17MoV knives you sell back to their glory in minutes. 

That said, 7Cr17MoV is easy to sharpen and doesn’t require a special sharpening stone. A standard whetstone with 1,000 grit is enough to give it a razor-sharp edge. 

Advantages of 7Cr17MoV as a knife material

Advantages of 7Cr17MoV as a knife material
  • 7Cr17MoV has one of the best corrosion resistance in all knife steels. It won’t rust or oxidize unless neglected for days – dirty in the sink or left outside in the rain.
  • 7Cr17MoV has decent edge retention that will maintain a sharp edge satisfyingly for home cooks and average users.
  • It’s easy to give a sharp edge to 7Cr17MoV knives. Your customers can sharpen and polish the blades in a matter of minutes.
  • 7Cr17MoV is affordable knife steel and offers good value when considering the properties you get from it. 

Disadvantages of 7Cr17MoV as a knife material

  • 7Cr17MoV has acceptable edge retention for average users, but it could’ve been more pleasing. Professionals and frequent users may look for better alternatives.
  • Although it’s decent, the wear resistance of 7Cr17MoV is pretty low for its hardness. Most knife steel at the same hardness range has better wear resistance, not showing scratches as quick.

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7Cr17MoV steel comparison

7Cr17MoV steel comparison

Here’s how 7Cr17MoV steel compares to similar alternatives and other popular names in the knife industry.

7Cr17MoV steel vs 8Cr13MoV steel

8Cr13MoV and 7Cr17MoV are comparable to each other with similar properties. After all, they belong to the same CrMo/CrMoV series of knife steels.

7Cr17MoV usually has a higher hardness than 8Cr13MoV but doesn’t stay as sharp as long. As mentioned, hardness isn’t the only property that impacts edge retention. The vanadium in 8Cr13MoV allows it to form hard carbides that contribute to edge retention and wear resistance. However, this also makes 8Cr13MoV knives challenging to sharpen.

Despite its superior hardness, 7Cr17MoV is tougher than 8Cr13MoV. 7Cr17MoV has 3 to 4% more chromium with equal carbon. This makes 7Cr17MoV resist corrosion better. 

If corrosion resistance and toughness are required, 7Cr17MoV makes a superior knife. On the other hand, 8Cr13MoV cuts for longer, which is what matters to most knife enthusiasts.

7Cr17MoV vs. 440C 

440C is a favorable choice for knifemakers for its easy heat treatment and availability. It’s just as affordable as 7Cr17MoV and makes a decent knife blade. The differences between these two are mainly minor, with one being superior to the other in specific properties.

The toughness of 440C and 7Cr17MoV is pretty much identical. They are around the same hardness, have manganese to reduce brittleness, and few impurities. 

These make their toughness decent. 7Cr17MoV and 440C’s toughness enable them to be utilized for robust work. 7Cr17MoV, in particular, found its place in large blades, like cleavers and machetes.

7Cr17MoV beats 440C in corrosion resistance and sharpening ease while their toughness is even. 440C outmatches 7Cr17MoV in edge retention and wear resistance. 440C knives, whether for kitchen or outdoor use, stay sharper for longer than their 7Cr17MoV counterparts. 

7Cr17MoV vs. VG-10

VG-10 is a premium choice for blades, often used for Japanese kitchen knives. It produces an exceptional blade in a pair of trained hands. 

This steel has a fine microstructure that gives knives a razor-sharp edge. The sharpness stays for so long that it can make a home cook forget about sharpening altogether. Even frequent users don’t require sharpening VG-10 steel knives more than twice a year.

VG-10 makes a better and sharper kitchen knife overall than 7Cr17MoV. However, 7Cr17MoV has better corrosion resistance and often toughness. These make VG-10 unfavorable to outdoor applications.

A knife store selling pocket knives won’t find VG-10 an appropriate blade material. In most cases, 7Cr17MoV is more practical for EDC knives, thanks to its corrosion resistance and durability. VG-10 is more sensible for Japanese kitchen knives that slice continually.

Is 7Cr17MoV steel a good choice for your knife store?

7Cr17MoV can make a decent knife blade. There are numerous other options that offer better features. Nevertheless, can’t forget the plentiful, underperforming ones, too.

7Cr17MoV creates an ideal knife blade for users putting corrosion resistance above all. It’s adaptable to humid environments and won’t rust even when constantly going in and out of water. These make 7Cr17MoV great for diving knives, camping knives, and anything outdoors.

It’s also fairly tough steel that won’t get damaged easily. 7Cr17MoV steel is appropriate for forging sizable kitchen knives, like long slicing knives, cleavers, and other products to cut meat.

If you think 7Cr17MoV will be a good choice for your knife store considering these, make sure to take a look at our products made from this steel. We can also use 7Cr17MoV steel in your custom orders. Click here to request a quote.