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Knife Guide - Materials & Finishes

Battery Junction's


Materials and Finishes
By: The Battery Junction Team
Updated: March 15, 2023


In this article we'll provide you with an in-depth look at aspects of knives, including edge types, handles, and finishes. We hope to equip you with information to help you decide on the best knife for you! The information contained in this document is for general purposes. It only represents technical opinions at the time of publishing. It does not guarantee any item or effect any product warranties given. If you are looking for guidance on buying your first knife, be sure to check out our Knife Buyer's Guide for more information!

Steel Types

Brush up your knowledge on different types of steel used to construct different knife blades. We have a robust collection of steel and stainless steel fixed blade knives, as well as steel and stainless steel folding knives for you to explore once you find your desired material.


This steel is known for its best overall qualities and offers great corrosion resistance, good toughness, and good edge quality.


A premium grade stainless steel created specifically for use as a blade material. It offers excellent corrosion resistance and exceptional edge qualities


This is a special purpose high-speed steel with excellent wear resistance and toughness.


An air-hardened tool steel that offers good corrosion resistance and excellent wear resistance and toughness.


A high-chromium stainless steel with a terrific balance of good hardness and corrosion resistance. 440C steel has great edge retention and is very easy to sharpen.


A proprietary steel manufactured by Underwater Kinetics that is specifically designed for diving. HYDRALLOY holds an edge but remains stiff enough to pry around rocks or debris underwater and is impervious to rust.


A high performance blade steel with superior cutting ability and wear resistance. M390 is a popular steel for use in surgical instruments and other applications that require a high finish. It offers excellent corrosion resistance as a blade material.


This steel has excellent corrosion resistance properties, especially to salt water. It offers good harden ability and high obtainable hardness as well as high wear resistance and edge retention.


A stainless steel comparable to 440C in performance and value. It has keen edge qualities and good corrosion resistance.


A steel that has the ability to resist rust in the worst conditions while maintaining ample edge retention. The capability behind this steel is due to a complicated and extensive manufacturing process that produces a blade steel that can withstand the most harsh environments. Blades made from X15-TN are easy to maintain and boast excellent edge retention.


A medium-carbon, high chromium stainless steel that offers a good balance of toughness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.


A high-carbon stainless steel with increased levels of Cobalt added for greater edge retention. It offers a higher level of corrosion resistance at a great value.


A steel with similar performance characteristics to AUS-8. Excellent priced for its performance.


A custom forged, layered blade material consisting of a variety of steels. Damascus steel has remarkable toughness and edge quality.


A chromium steel that RUIKE processes, using quenching and subzero treatments, to reach the optimal hardness of 58-60 HRC. 14C28N steel is typically used in professional knives the require the edge of the blade to stay sharp. It's a durable stainless steel which resists corrosion over time.

Blade Coatings

A coating on your knife's blade adds an enhanced, specialized component to your tool. Upgrade your knife by choosing a coating that best suits your needs.


Cerakote™ has a unique ceramic structure that out-performs many competitive coatings and improves performance in both laboratory and real-world settings.

BK1 Coating:

BK1 coating is a matte black coating that provides excellent corrosion protection that exceeds the ASTM-117 specifications for salt water resistance while providing scratch protection.

BT2 Coating:

A Xylan™ based coating that provides excellent corrosion resistance. BT2 exceeds the ASTM-117 specifications for salt water resistance and increases overall surface lubricity.

BP1 Coating:

Black Pearl (BP) coating is a PVD (physical vapor disposition) coating that offers top of the line scratch resistance.

Blade Styles

Below are four different types of blades. Each blade type has different features built for different applications. The nuances of blade shape can help prepare you for specific circumstances. If you're looking for different types of switchblades, folding knives, or fixed-blade knives, the blade shape is an important feature to consider.


The point of a tanto style blade has a flat, angular grind applied to it that forms a thick and extraordinarily strong blade. They are easy to identify because they have a distinct shape. Tanto blades date back to 12th century Japan, and have evolved over the years, but still maintain the angular tip that the original short-sword featured. These blades are popular in tactical applications due to the strong point.


A drop-point blade is characterized by a convex-curved drop in the point. This blade design lowers the point of the knife for control without sacrificing strength in the tip of the knife. These blades are usually formed with a big belly for quick slicing and are popular with hunters.


A clip-point blade is technically a variant of the drop-point blade but instead of a slow, convex curve to lower the point, the profile is "clipped" to bring the point down. This clipped edge of the knife can be curved or straight, and can also be sharpened. This is a good all-around blade style and is great for an every day carry knife.


A sheepsfoot blade has no point on the tip and very little to no belly. This blade style is used in applications where clicking is the main requirement and a point is not needed or would get in the way. This is a popular blade style for emergency rescue and sailing.

Handle/Scale Materials

Carbon fiber:

A contemporary premium composite of thin strands of carbon tightly woven into various weave patterns then set in resin. Carbon fiber handles offer exceptional strength while adding almost no additional weight to the knife itself.


Cocobolo is a tropical hardwood from Central American known for its hardness and density.


Layers of cloth are soaked in resin and pressed together under immense pressure to form this handle material.

6061 T-6 Aluminum:

A strong metal that offers a solid handle form and functions at a nominal weight.


Kraton offers excellent flexibility and memory elasticity even under extreme conditions.

Noryl GTX:

A modern engineered plastic that offers high-strength, minimal flex, and optimally lightweight properties.


Made of compressed fiberglass, G10 is impervious to moisture or liquid and physically stable under climate change.


Kydex has outstanding impact and chemical resistance and adds very little additional weight to a knife.


A lightweight and durable engineered polymer with low-wear properties.


A reinforced resin with excellent stiffness, strength, and dimensional stability.


A plastic with exceptional stability-50% or greater glass filled.


A thermoplastic that offers excellent flexibility with good strength and fatigue resistance.


Glass reinforced nylon.


A brand-name thermoplastic compound; tough and practical.

Locking/Release Mechanisms



The AXIS mechanism uses a torsion bar to lock or unlock the knife blade. The user pulls down on two studs located on either side of the blade to remove the torsion bar and fold the blade back into the handle. This is very easy to open one-handed.

Modified locking liner:

An integral locking bar within the knife springs into position behind the rear tang of the blade while the blade is open. This style of lock generally requires two hands to operate.


Built from the framework of a locking liner; the lock engages using tensile strength compared to the compression hold of more traditional locking-liners.

Lock Back:

The user presses a stop bar that releases the blade so it can be rotated open or closed from the handle of the knife. This style of locking mechanism requires two hands to open or close the blade.



Like the AXIS® mechanism, this requires the user to propel the blade at least partially out of the knife handle. Once the blade is pushed beyond a 30° angle, two torsion bars propel the blade fully open.

This is NOT an automatic knife; the blade must be rotated further than 30° from the handle in order to engage the Nitrous® system.