What is RWL Steel?
Damasteel produces RWL 34 steel, a Martensitic stainless steel powder steel. Robert W Loveless is the steel’s name. He was a well-known knife maker who pioneered the knife-making process.
RWL 34 is a rare steel in the knife-making business. It has all the characteristics knife makers need to create high-quality knives blades. It is extremely durable, has excellent corrosion resistance, easy to use, achieves a mirror-finish polish, and is guaranteed to resist wear.
RWL 34 steel is a great choice for knife makers who want to make excellent knives. Damasteel also used RWL34 steel with PMC27 to make a DS93X.
RWL 34 was created after the good ATS34 steel. This was done using the most recent powder metallurgy process, which resulted in stainless that is highly attainable for demanding applications.
RWL 34 Steel Composition
- Carbon 1.05%: Enhances edge retention, hardness and tensile strengths. It increases steel resistance to wear and abrasion as well as corrosion.
- Chromium C 14.00%: Formations of Chromium carbides. This increases the blade’s hardness and tensile strength as well as corrosion resistance.
- Vanadium V 0.2%: This inhibits grain growth in high-temperature processing and heat treatment. It also increases the steel’s strength and toughness. It forms carbides, which increase wear resistance.
- MolybdenumMo 4.0%: Increases toughness and heat hardness. It increases hardenability and forms carbides that can be used to resist wear.
- Phosphorous P 0.044%: Although considered an impurity, it may increase the strength and improve the machinability of steel.
- Manganese 0.50%: Increases steel’s strength and hardness. The steel’s hardenability can be improved by heating it.
- Silicon Si 0.5%: Increases strength, heat resistance.
- Sulfur S 0.03% : Enhances machinability, but is considered an impurity when used in large quantities.
Steel with RWL 34 properties
RWL 34 Steel Hardness
According to the Rockwell hardness scale, RWL 34 has an HRC of 58-64HRC. The hardness of RWL 34 varies according to the hardening temperature and tempering temperature. High levels of carbides are formed when the composition contains high amounts of Manganese, Chromium and Carbon.
Steel Wear Resistance RWL 34
Wear resistance is another area of excellence in RWL 34 knifesteel, which is due to its Vanadium-Molybdenum composition.
This steel blades can withstand sharpening and other challenging applications. If they are well maintained, they can last for many generations.
RWL 34 Steel Edge Retention
Edge retention is one of RWL 34’s strengths due to its high hardness. This steel keeps a sharp edge for a very long time.
Powder metallurgy produces large amounts of uniform and fine carbides that help to keep an edge sharper for longer. RWL 34 knives can be used for many days without needing to be sharpened.
Steel Corrosion Resistance – RWL 34
RWL 34 is made of 14% chromium which makes it stainless. It is resistant to rust and stains. The steel of today is no exception. However, without proper maintenance and care, steel can rust.
Steel Toughness RWL 34
This steel is extremely hard. As a rule, hard steels have low toughness. However, this is not true for RWL 34 steel.
This steel is a great knife steel because it has a perfect balance of hardness and toughness. This steel is resistant to chipping and breaking.
Sharpening RWL34 Steel
RWL 34 steel is a hard steel. This steel can be difficult to sharpen. This steel is easy to sharpen, unlike other hard steels. You can also achieve a razor-sharp edge with simple sharpening tools. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on expensive and sophisticated abrasives.
RWL 34 Steel Heat Treatment
The heat treatment of RWL steel is simple and can be done using a variety of techniques to reach the desired hardness, ranging from 58HRC up to 64HRC. The official RWL datasheet clearly describes the recommended heat treatment to ensure that knife applications are not affected by corrosion. You can find more information about the heat treat here.
RWL 34 vs CPM 154 (RWL 34 steel equivalent)
ATS34 steel was the first steel to be developed. RWL 34 is an equivalent to CPM154 steel. They have the same chemical composition, with similar amounts of Carbon, Vanadium and Manganese. Both have the same hardness range, so most of their properties are similar.
Both steels offer the same level in toughness and corrosion resistance. They are identical in performance and the alloy composition of both steels is balanced to provide hardness, toughness and corrosion resistance in one package.
RWL 34 Steel vs M390
Bohler M390 steel is a high-corrosion resistant steel that maintains a higher hardness and wear resistance. The M390 steel has a significantly higher corrosion and rust resistance than RWL 34 steel. It also contains more chromium, which makes it extremely resistant to corrosion. Only a few steels can beat M390’s corrosion resistance, such as MagnaCut and LC200N.
M390 steel has a better edge retention than RWL34 steel. M390 steel is considered super steel in knife-making. Its edge retention is excellent when heat treated properly.
It is extremely durable and can withstand constant wear.
Sharpening an RWL34 knife blade will be much more straightforward than sharpening one made from M390 steel. A RWL 34 steel knife is also more tough than Bohler’s M390 steel.
The high purity composition of this steel is balanced and offers great toughness, even at Rockwell hardness. Its toughness is comparable to CT XHP, S35VN.
RWL 34 vs ELMAX
Elmax is another similar steel to RWL 34. However, they do differ in the strongest areas of performance. The Elmax stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and has a slightly better performance than RWL 34 knife steel due to the higher proportion of Chromium elements.
RWL34 steel and Elmax steel have identical Rockwell hardness. Elmax steel contains slightly more vanadium carbides and chromium carbides than Elmax.
An Elmax knife will retain more edge than a RWL 34 steel knife due to its increased carbide volume.
Although Elmax has a higher carbide volume than RWL 34 steel, this does not make it more tough.
Large Chromium carbides can be very brittle and cause blade cracking and chipping. Elmax toughness is slightly higher than N690 , BD1N Steel, but still superior to .
Is RWL 34 good knife steel?
RWL 34 steel has all the qualities that make a good knife steel. This steel has a high hardness, toughness, and extreme edge retention. It also resists corrosion. RWL steel can be used for both bushcraft knives and fixed blades. It is also great for making folders and fixed blades.