What’s Your Steel I.Q.?


According to BLADE® subscriber surveys, one of the topics subscribers request BLADE cover most is steel—specifically, steel for knife blades. It is not much of a stretch, then, for the latest installment of “BLADE Quiz” to challenge your knowledge of the most popular of blade materials.

    The answers are at the end of the story. Be sharp!

1) Damascus or a damascus type of steel has been traced as far back as: A) the 11th century A.D.; B) second century A.D.; C) 500 B.C.

2) Wootz steel is believed to have originated in: A) Damascus, Syria; B) Indian and/or Sri Lanka; C) Japan.

3) A Swedish steel with 2 percent nickel is known as A) Sandvik 12C27; B) Damasteel damascus; C) 15N20.

4) According to most authorities, for a steel to be stainless, it must contain what percentage range of chromium? A) 11.5 to 12; B) 12.5 to 13; C) 13 to 13.5.

5) The Japanese word for “blade steel” is: A) ha-gane; B) hada; C) ha-machi.

6) The two stainless steels for which Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Bob Loveless is most famous for introducing to custom knives are: A) BG-42 and 154CM; B) 154CM and ATS-34; C) 440C and Vascowear.

7) A material that is dissolved in another metal in a solid solution or that results when two or more elements combine in a solid solution A) is ductile; B) has been sintered; C) is an alloy.

8) The measure of a steel’s resistance to deformation is its A) wear resistance; B) toughness; C) hardness.

9) Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Bill Moran introduced damascus steel to modern custom knives at the Knifemakers’ Guild Show held in A) 1972; B) 1973; C) 1974.

10) At the aforementioned Guild Show, Moran’s knives fetched how many dollars per blade inch of damascus? A) $50; B) $100; C) $150.

11) The relative resistance of a steel to breakage, chipping, or cracking under impact or stress is its A) toughness; B) hardness; C) wear resistance.

12) The Crucible Particle Metallurgy steel originally called CPM 440V is now called: A) CPM M4; B) CPM S90V; C) CPM S60V.

13) To harden to the 60 HRC level during heat treating, a steel must have at least what percentage of carbon? A) 0.5; B) 0.75; C) 0.90.

14)  The first CPM steel created exclusively for knife use was: A) CPM S30V; B) CPM 440V; C) CPM 3V.

15) If the first symbol of a steel’s designation is a letter and the second symbol is a number, it is probably a: A) high-carbon steel; B) tool steel; C) high-speed steel.

16) The point at which a steel becomes permanently deformed is its: A) yield strength; B) tensile strength; C) impact strength.

17) Tool steel contains a number of different elements that combine with the steel’s excess carbon to form A) ferrite; B) austenite; C) carbides.

18) In order to cool fast enough, low-alloy steels such as O1 must be quenched in A) oil; B) water; C) a mixture of both A and B.

19) Steel handmade from electrolytic sponge iron and antique wrought iron is called A) tamahagane; B) bulat; C) oroshigane.

20) The carbon steel D.E. Henry claims to have used for knives in the 1940s and that BLADE® field editor Ed Fowler is known best for today is: A) 52100; B) 5160; C) 1084.


Answers: 1) C; 2) B; 3) C; 4) B; 5) A; 6) B; 7) C; 8) C; 9) B; 10) B; 11) A; 12) C; 13) A; 14) A; 15) B; 16) A; 17) C; 18) A; 19) C; and 20) A. Scoring: 0-3—You’re rusty. 4-7—You just went from Man of Steel to Man of La Mancha. 8-12—Come back when you can say molybdenum without chipping a tooth. 13-17—You are starting to become abrasion resistant. 18-19—Wayne Goddard just looked over his shoulder at you. 20—Your initials have officially been changed to HRC (hardness Rockwell C).

For more on the latest knives, knife legislation, knifemaking instruction, knife trends, knifemakers, what knives to buy and where and much more, subscribe to BLADE® Magazine, the World’s No. 1 Knife Publication. Click on http://www.shopblade.com/blade-magazine-one-year-subscription-us/?r+ssfb072712 for more information.

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