How good is CTS BD1 steel

How Good is CTS BD1 Steel?

Having a hard time deciding whether CTS BD1 is a good steel for knife making? If yes, you have come to the right place.

The steel you choose for your knife is KEY to its performance. Looking at the CTS BD1 steel, it lies in the budget-friendly range and that’s a good thing for budget-minded knife users. But how does it perform in terms of edge retention, corrosion resistance, ease of sharpening, and such?

The following cts bd1 knife steel review contains the answers to all the questions you have about this American steel to help you easily decide if it’s a good steel for you.

What is cts bd1 steel?

CTS-BD1 is vacuum-melted stainless steel produced by US-based company Carpenter. The steel carries high chromium content which gives it superb corrosion resistance and great edge holding capabilities.

Carpenter specially formulated cts bd1 steel to Spyderco’s request and it was based on the Hitachi’s highly popular “Gingami I" (silver paper) which also goes by the name G2 in the early Spydercos and GIN 1 in the current Spydercos. (Source).

The steel is also sometimes likened to the popular Chinese 8Cr13MoV steel or the Japanese AUS 8, but it ranks above them with better edge holding capability.

BUT CTS-BD1 shouldn’t be confused with CTS-BD1N. While both are products of Carpenter, the latter is a nitrogen-bearing, high carbon chromium modernistic steel that has been balanced to offer superior hardness to CTS-BD1.

cts bd1 steel composition

High carbon and high chromium content define the chemical composition of carpenter’s CST BD1 stainless steel as outline in the following table.


Composition (in %)













CTS BD1 Steel

0.90% cts bd1 Carbon content indicates that it has moderate carbon volume which increases hardness, wear, and corrosion resistance.

15.75% Chromium increases tensile strength, hardness, toughness. It also enhances wear and corrosion resistance.

0.30% Molybdenum increases strength, hardenability, hardness, and toughness.

0.60% Manganese increases hardenability and wear resistance.

0.37% Silicon improves strength.

0.10% Vanadium increases strength, toughness, and wear resistance.

cts bd1 steel hardness

The steel has a Rockwell of 58-60 HRC. This is high hardness and comes as a result of relatively high carbon content. This harness degree is the reason behind this steel’s excellent edge retention and wear resistance.

cts bd1 steel properties

From the chemical composition table above, it’s easy to tell what key properties you’ll get from a CTS-BD1 stainless steel knife.

cts bd1 steel properties

Edge retention

CTS-BD1 is well known for its amazing edge retention compared to most steels in its category, like AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV. The secret behind its superb edge holding is as a result of high hardness which prevents rolling or deformation of the blade with continued use.


The steel offers good toughness; not the best compared to high-end steels but good enough to withstand some hard use. That said, we suggest that you subject a cts bd1 blade to normal use and avoid putting it through abuse as much as possible. This is the surest way to ensure it doesn’t chip or breakup.

Corrosion resistance

Another amazing property of cts bd1 that sets it from other inexpensive steels involves high corrosion resistance. The stainless steel contains high chromium content of up to 15.75%, giving it great anti-corrosion and rust properties. However, the steel isn’t 100% corrosion-proof and might still need some extra care to keep off rusting.

CTS BD1 Steel


Despite featuring high hardness, this American steel is also extremely easy to sharpen. It sharpens pretty easily and also touches up pretty fast at the end of the day’s work if you use it for hard tasks. If you’re just getting started on how to sharpen knives, a cts-bd1 steel blade would be a good starting point.

CTS BD1 steel vs other steels:

Below we have compared our CTS-BD1 steel with other steel grades to give you an idea of how it differs from other steels in terms of edge retention, corrosion resistance, and sharpness.

CTS BD1 steel vs other steels

cts-bd1 vs vg10

cts-bd1 takes a finer edge easily compared to vg10. but the larger carbide volumes in vg10 give it better wear resistance and higher edge retention than carpenter’s cts-bd1. VG10 also offers slightly higher corrosion resistance between the two steels. However, cts-bd1 is easier to sharpen than vg10.

cts-bd1 vs s35vn

As a high-end grade from Crucible, S35VN steel delivers far superior edge retention and slightly better corrosion resistance than CTS-BD1. However, it’s a bit challenging to sharpen compared to the Carpenter’s CTS-BD1.

cts bd1 steel

cts-bd1 vs 8cr13mov

cts bd1 outperforms 8cr13mov with slightly better edge retention and corrosion resistance. In terms of sharpening, 8cr13mov takes the crown as it’s even easier to sharpen than cts-bd1.

cts bd1 vs cts-xhp

cts-xhp is premium steel from Carpenter and offers you 2x better edge retention than what you get with cts bd1. CTS-BD1 outperforms this steel with easier sharpening. However, both Carpenters deliver the same level of corrosion resistance.

Is cts-bd1 steel good for knives?

Carpenter’s CTS-BD1 is a good steel for knives. This steel is simply an improved version of most of the cheap steels available as it offers you better edge retention and high wear resistance. It also offers excellent corrosion resistance and is extremely easy to sharpen.

It’s no wonder many great brands like Spyderco favor this steel to make EDC knives which have garnered extraordinary popularity.

Is cts-bd1 steel good for knives

Despite featuring high hardness, it also manages to offer you decent toughness. On top of all this, this steel offers you all these cool features at an affordable cost.

Best cts bd1 knife steel reviews:

As you can see from our top knives below, some of the best bd1 steel knives come from Spyderco, the brand that requested Carpenter to create CTS-BD1 steel.

1. Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Folding Knife

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight Folding Knife

If you’re looking for a great everyday carry knife at a budget-friendly cost, get this Spyderco Manix 2. With a closed length of 4.66 inches, this knife is incredibly easy to carry around. It’s also super-light (at only 3 ounces) to increase its portability.

The highly popular folder has been labeled an epitome of pocket knives due to its exceptional reliability and performance. It comes with a 3.37-inch blade made from CTS BD1 stainless steel for superb edge retention and easy sharpening. It comes factory sharp and will start opening packages and handling other day-to-day tasks right out of the box.

The fiberglass-reinforced co-polymer handle feels quite substantial in your hands and it is bi-directional texturing ensures you enjoy a better grip.

We also can’t fail to mention its ball bearing lock which makes the knife close and open with the ultimate ease. The included reversible wire clip sits perfectly well in your waistline or pocket and offers you a truly convenient way to carry this knife with you to work and anywhere else you wish to take it with you.

Highlighted Features:

  • 100% made in the USA
  • 3.37-inch CTS BD1 steel blade
  • 8.03-inch overall length
  • Fiberglass reinforced co-polymer handle
  • Includes a reversible wire pocket clip

2. Spyderco UK Penknife

Spyderco UK Penknife

Also proudly made in the USA by Spyderco, the UK penknife has also become a favorite EDC for many knife users. Initially developed in response to the tightening of England knife rules which restricted carrying of one-handed opening lock blade knives, this penknife quickly became the top knife for knife enthusiasts and travelers across the planet.

Designed with steel aficionados in mind, this knife comes optimized with the American CTS-BD1 stainless steel for exceptional edge retention, easy sharpening, and excellent wear resistance. It also offers high corrosion resistance, allowing you to use this knife in humid or marine conditions without fear of rusting.

It offers you a swift one-handed opening with a notch-joint mechanism that safely holds the blade open during use so that it doesn’t accidentally close on your fingers.

This knife comes paired with an injection-molded fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) handle which offers good grip in various conditions. It’s also armed with a deep pocket reversible wire clip that allows for versatile knife carry and instant access.

Highlighted Features:

  • 2.95-inch leaf-shaped blade
  • Closed length: 3.95 inches
  • Overall length: 6.88 inches
  • Black fiberglass reinforced nylon handle
  • Convenient deep pocket clip

3. JAMES° The Folsom Straight Pocket Knife

JAMES° The Folsom Straight Pocket Knife

Folsom is a compact, lightweight EDC knife that will easily in your small pocket. Ideal for beginners looking for their first EDC knife, this knife will perform great for a fishing /hunting knife, camping knife, work knife, or cutting tool.

The knife comes armed with the legendary liner-lock made using durable stainless steel for smooth and fast opening/closing of your knife blade. Since this blade comes equipped with an ambidextrous blade opening slot, operating it is a breeze for both right-handed and lefties users.

As for the blade material, James uses Carpenter’s CTS-BD1 stainless steel which excels in superb, edge holding, corrosion resistance, and easy maintenance properties. the blade is razor sharp out of the box and ready to jump to work.

For the handle, the knife comes with grippy G10 scales which translate to superior grip even in wet conditions. A reversible clip comes attached to the handle to offer you versatile, comfortable carry for your EDC knife.

Highlighted Features:

  • Stainless steel liner lock
  • Features G10 scales
  • Carpenter CTS-BD1 Blade
  • Comes with a reversible clip
  • Ambidextrous blade slot

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Final Verdict

We have covered everything you need to know about CTS BD1 stainless steel and we now hope you’ll have an easy time deciding whether it’s the ideal steel for your knife. From this cts bd1 knife steel review, we have seen the key strengths of this steel which include superb edge retention, great wear resistance, high corrosion resistance, easy sharpening, and decent toughness. For a budget-friendly EDC knife for handling medium toughness jobs, BD1 steel will do a good job!