Blade Steel

CTS-BD1 - Blade Steel

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Steel Composition

carbon 0.90 %
chromium 16.00 %
molybdenum 0.30 %
vanadium 0.10 %
manganese 0.50 %
silicon 0.75 %

The CTS-BD1 is a blade steel developed by Carpenter Technology Corporation, located in the USA. It is known for its optimal balance of corrosion resistance, hardness, and edge retention. Originally designed for use in cutlery and surgical instruments, it has gained significant popularity in everyday carry (EDC) knives. The CTS-BD1 is characterized by its ease of sharpening and ability to take a fine edge, making it a choice material for user-friendly, long-lasting knives.

It falls within the mid-range price category, providing a balanced cost-to-performance ratio that makes it desirable to many knife enthusiasts.

What are the Advantages of CTS-BD1?

The CTS-BD1 offers numerous benefits for EDC knives, mainly owing to its well-rounded characteristics. It has excellent sharpenability - it's easy to sharpen and can attain a razor-sharp edge, which is vital in EDC knives where quick and easy maintenance is appreciated.

Furthermore, its good corrosion resistance makes it suitable for use in various environments, eliminating the worry of rust and degradation. It offers good edge retention, coming in handy during extended use. Lastly, despite its impressive features, it comes at an affordable price point, making it accessible to a wide range of users.

Disadvantages of CTS-BD1 for Knives

While CTS-BD1 is an overall solid knife steel, it does have a few drawbacks. Although its edge retention is good, it is slightly outperformed by premium steels in the same arena. Regular honing will be necessary to maintain its sharpness over prolonged use.

Furthermore, while it has decent hardness, if it's not properly hardened during manufacturing inspection and control this can lead to a softer product and effect edge retention negatively.

Steel Rating

Steels with good edge retention will stay sharp longer, reducing the need for frequent sharpening

Edge Retention

3/6 Points

Toughness is the steel's ability to absorb energy and deform without breaking


3/6 Points

Corrosion Resistance measures how well the steel can resist rust and oxidation

Corrosion Resistance

4/6 Points

Sharpenability refers to how easily a knife blade can be sharpened to its desired edge


5/6 Points

This is a relative measure based on typical market values. The actual price can vary widel


4/6 Points

A higher HRC number typically indicates a harder steel, which can hold a sharper edge


59 - 60 HRC
Please be aware that this rating should be understood as a comparative measure. It's simply a rough estimation in relation to other knife steels.

Is CTS-BD1 Rust Resistant?

In terms of rust resistance, the CTS-BD1 performs remarkably well due to its high chromium content. It exhibits high resistance to oxidation, which makes it a suitable choice for use in humid or wet environments where corrosion might be a concern. However, like all steels, it's still essential to maintain and care for the blade properly to prevent rusting.

How Hard is CTS-BD1?

The CTS-BD1 exhibits a good hardness level with an HRC range of 59-60. This level of hardness accounts for its decent edge retention and resistance to deformation under stress. It strikes a harmonious balance between hardness and toughness, hence reducing chances of chipping while in use. Nonetheless, this can vary depending on the heat treatment process used by the manufacturer.

For What is CTS-BD1 Recognized for?

CTS-BD1 is known for its versatility and well-roundedness; it is often chosen as the ideal steel for EDC, outdoor, and folding knives. While not considered a 'premium' steel, it is often praised for offering premium-like features at a more accessible price point, proving that you don't always have to 'break the bank' for quality.


In conclusion, CTS-BD1 is a perfectly balanced mid-range blade steel that brings together decent hardness, good corrosion resistance, excellent sharpenability, and sensible pricing. With its personable features, it's easy to see why it's become a popular choice for EDC knives and why it remains highly sought after by both knife makers and users alike.