Is LC200N Good Steel for Knife Making?

If you have been hunting for the best knife steel online, you have probably heard about the LC200N steel name quite a lot. When it comes to knives, you must get a lot of options out there. But most knife enthusiasts agree that this steel is hard to beat for exceptional corrosion resistance and impressive edge retention.

Here’s a review of this outstanding steel to help you to get a better understanding of this steel.

So, let’s jump in!

Understanding LC200N Steel:

Origins and Development:

LC200N is a nitrogen-based martensitic stainless steel specifically designed for extremely high corrosion resistance. It is a new alloy of European steel, first introduced in 2013. It was developed by the ZAPP group using the PESR (Pressurized Electric Slag Remelting) methodology. This steel is also known as Z-Finit, wherein  Z stands for ZAPP and FiNit represents Fine Grain Nitrogen Steel.

NASA initially used it as ball-bearing steel for their advanced aerospace equipment instead of using Cronidur 30-bearing steel. But, later it is also used in the pharmaceutical, chemical, marine, recycling, and food industries for its exceptional corrosion resistance properties.

Composition and Chemical Properties:

  • 30% of Carbon (C): For increased hardness, and resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
  • 15% of Chromium (Cr): For enhanced hardness, toughness, edge retention, and tensile strength.
  • 1% of Manganese (Mn): For increased resistance to wear, tensile strength, and hardenability.
  • 95% of Molybdenum (Mo): For improved strength, toughness, and hardness.
  • 5% of Nickel (Ni): For improved toughness and hardenability but decreased hardness.
  • 5% of Nitrogen (N): For improved resistance to corrosion, strength and edge retention.

Physical Properties and Characteristics:

Hardness:

The hardness level of this steel is between 58-60HRC as per the Rockwell scale. Actually, this hardness level is considered really high and found in many high-end knife steel types like VG10, S35VN, and 154CM. So I personally feel the hardness level of this steel is responsible for its excellent edge retention and wear resistance.

Toughness:

As the thumb rule, we all think that steel with high hardness may not have good toughness. But despite of high hardness, this steel is extremely tough like H1 steel. Even its toughness level also compares with many high-end non-stainless like CPM CruWear Steel and 80CrV2 steel. So, I can bet you that you never disappoint with the toughness of this steel.

Corrosion Resistance:

This steel is highly regarded for its exceptional corrosion resistance. As it is stainless, it is 100% rustproof. The high nitrogen content in its composition contributes significantly to its corrosion resistance and makes it suitable for corrosive environments.

Wear Resistance:

It may not offer the best wear resistance as compared to other high-end steel, but not as bad as some users think. Actually, it offers decent wear resistance that is suitable for day-to-day kitchen use.

Edge Retention:

The combination of carbon and nitrogen in its compositions helps to hold its edge well and allows us to do a lot of cutting without getting dull. This means that the blade can maintain its sharpness and cutting performance even after extended use.

Ease Of Sharpening:

This steel is generally considered to be relatively easy to sharpen. It responds well to traditional sharpening methods and can be honed to a keen edge with appropriate sharpening tools.

Comparison with other popular knife steels:

LC200N steel VS H1 steel:

LC200N offers a slightly higher hardness compared to H1 steel, making it better suited for tasks requiring extended edge performance. Not only that it also offers a better balance between corrosion resistance and edge retention. However, H1 steel is easier to sharpen.

LC200N steel VS S30V steel:

In terms of corrosion resistance, LC200N surpasses S30V and more suitable for environments where rust and corrosion are significant concerns. However, S30V offers better edge retention. It excels in maintaining a sharp edge for extended periods of heavy use.

LC200N steel VS VG10 steel:

This steel surpasses VG10 in terms of corrosion resistance. However, VG10 steel offers slightly better edge retention slightly easier to sharpen due to its lower hardness.

LC200N steel VS M390 steel:

M390 steel offers exceptional edge retention, toughness, and wear resistance. On the other hand, LC200N excels in corrosion resistance. However, if maximizing edge retention and overall cutting performance are paramount, M390 would be the better option.

Advantages and Limitations:

Advantages:

  • Superior corrosion resistance
  • High hardness
  • Great toughness
  • Ease of sharpening
  • Versatile and durable

Limitations:

  • Not widely available
  • Lower wear resistance
  • Average edge retention
  • Relatively more expensive

Applications and Industries that Benefit from LC200N Steel:

LC200N steel’s exceptional corrosion resistance and other desirable properties make it well-suited for various applications and industries. Here are some:

  • Marine and Saltwater Environments: This steel is mostly used in the marine industry due to its outstanding resistance to corrosion in saltwater environments.
  • Outdoor and Survival Gear: It is also in outdoor and survival gear where moisture and humidity are significant concerns.
  • Food Processing and Culinary Tools: For its corrosion resistance this knife steel is highly demandable in the food processing and culinary industry.
  • Tactical and Military Applications: This steel’s corrosion resistance and durability make it a preferred choice for tactical and military knives.
  • Everyday Carry (EDC) Knives: Most people use this knife steel as their everyday carry (EDC) knives, particularly in humid or coastal areas where corrosion is a concern.
  • Medical and Healthcare Instruments: This steel’s corrosion resistance and ease of maintenance, it is also really popular in medical and healthcare areas. Because many surgical tools, dental instruments, and other medical equipment are made from it.

Maintenance and Care:

  • After each use, rinse the blade with warm water and mild soap. I prefer to use a soft brush or sponge for scrubbing the blade. It helps me to remove all the dirt and moisture from the blade.
  • Drying the knife is actually crucial to prevent the risk of moisture-induced corrosion.
  • Using oil on the blade also helps prevent corrosion and ensure smooth operation.
  • Proper storage is essential for maintaining the condition of a steel knife. Therefore, store it in a dry environment with controlled humidity levels.
  • To be honest, sharpening is the key to getting the best performance from the knife. Use a high-quality sharpening stone and a right angle to maintain a sharp edge.
  • While this steel is resistant to corrosion, it is still important to avoid exposing your knife to harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, or highly corrosive environments for prolonged periods.

Is Lc200n Steel Suitable For Knives?

Based on its exceptional corrosion resistance, good edge retention, and overall performance, LC200N steel can be considered a good knife steel. All the properties make it an ideal choice for knives.

F.A.Q:

Is LC200N steel stainless?

Yes, It is stainless steel.

What is the hardness of LC200N steel?

The hardness of this steel is between 58-60HRC as per the Rockwell scale.

Is LC200N Steel a Good Knife Steel?

Yes, it is undoubtedly a good steel with excellent chemical composition and physical properties.

Which steel shows similar characteristics as LC200N Steel?

  • H1 Steel
  • M390
  • XHP Steel
  • HAP40 Steel

Can LC200N steel be used in saltwater environments?

Absolutely! This steel can be used in saltwater environments for its outstanding corrosion resistance.

Is LC200N steel suitable for outdoor activities?

Yes, it is well-suited for outdoor activities.

Can LC200N steel be sharpened easily?

Yes, it can be sharpened easily.

Is LC200N steel expensive?

This steel may be relatively more expensive compared to some other knife steels due to its unique composition and properties.

Does LC200N steel require special maintenance compared to other knife steels?

It requires regular cleaning, drying, and lubrication, similar to other knife steels.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, LC200N steel proves to be an excellent choice for knife enthusiasts and professionals seeking a steel with exceptional corrosion resistance and a balance of other desirable properties. I personally felt it is a little bit expensive compared to other knife steel. But all my confusion are cleared when I saw its unique composition and properties. So I can’t resist myself recommending you this amazing knife steel. Feel free to choose this steel if you are looking for a knife steel with 100% of corrosion resistance. I am sure you gonna love it from the first use.

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