Why steel 8Cr13

Developing the Black Thorn, we aimed to use not just trendy or popular, but optimal steel. On one hand, to make the hatchet affordable, and on the other – more importantly – to ensure that the steel meets the tasks at hand. After all, a hatchet has different requirements than a knife. Strangely, many well-known manufacturers use D2 steel in their hatchets/axes. Perhaps that is related to marketing, which played a cruel joke here: what works well for a knife may not necessarily be the best choice for a hatchet. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Despite the fact that the choice of steel was evident to us, we still decided to clarify all the "if's". We reached out to Larrin Thomas, the author of the book "The History of Knife Steels," who holds a doctoral degree in metallurgy and materials technology as well as being professionally engaged in steel development. His response did not surprise us: "I would prefer 8cr13 in this hatchet." I think it goes without saying that we made not the most popular but the right decision.

  • The key parameter for the hatchet (as opposed to a knife) is impact toughness. D2 steel contains more carbon than 8Cr13MoV and fewer alloying elements that contribute to strength. This makes the blade more brittle compared to the 8Cr13MoV blade. You can use the 8Cr13MoV hatchet in the kitchen to crush bones or chop wood outdoors, and it won't falter. Do the same with a D2 steel hatchet, and the result will be a chipped blade requiring repair.
  • In terms of hardness, 8Cr13 is nearly on par with D2 steel. With the proper heat treatment, the achievable hardness of 8Cr13MoV ranges from 56 to 60 HRc.
  • Another aspect in which 8Cr13MoV outperforms D2 is corrosion resistance. As is well known, D2 steels tend to form a patina and can rust if neglected. For 8Cr13MoV steel, corrosion is not a problem.
  • In comparison of D2, 8Cr13MoV steel is easier to sharpen. Sharpening the hatchet won't take much time with the help of an aluminum oxide or silicon carbide sharpening stone.
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