Case Guide 101 (Blade Composition Types)


Sometimes even the most well-versed need a refresher, or maybe you’re a beginner just starting out. No shame in either one of those, fundamentals are important in everything, after all. That’s why in this blogpost series I’m hopping into the wayback machine and laying out some information on blade types and some general information on Case pocket knives. So if you’re a newcomer, welcome aboard! If you’re a knife collecting veteran just taking a peek to brush up on a few things, well, hopefully I’m at least relatively entertaining!

Case knives are nifty because they hit form and function for a lot of people: some collect them for their aesthetic value, others know they’re good working blades, be it out in the field, in the woods, or cutting around the office. But what knife suits you? That’s the important question, and it’s an answer you might have to think on.

Typically, most Case pocket knives sold not only at Shepherd Hills Cutlery but through almost every distributor for Case are Stainless Steel. Stainless Steel is favored by a lot of people due to not only its effectiveness at cutting and how long it can hold an edge, but also due to its ease of day-to-day care—you have to work pretty hard to get a stainless steel item to rust, after all—so it’s a very common material for the blades to be made out of. The downside, if you’re considering it for a constantly-used working knife, at least, is that sharpening them over a stone or diamond stick requires quite a few more licks, it takes a lot more time to get a working finish on them.

That mention of sharpening brings us to the other commonly mentioned blade composition: Chrome Vanadium. Chrome Vanadium, or CV as a lot of people call it because it’s easier to say than Vanadium—I’m guilty as charged on this one—is a blade type that evolved from the old carbon steel knives that were made by W.R. Case in their early years, and it’s a steel type that’s stood the test of time for a reason. A lot of workers that consistently use their pocket knives swear up and down on CV blades. Though they’re fantastic for repeated use out on the field, especially considering how easy it is to give them a sharpening, you have to be careful with the CV blades, as, due to their composition, they can rust. It’s important to keep a thin layer of oil on them to avoid that.

Those are the main two blade types. Sometimes you’ll see others, such as Damascus steel, ATS-34 steel and 154-CM steel, but those are typically used for more collectable and high-end commemoration knives. That’s all for today’s lesson. Next time we’ll touch on buying Case pocket knives for working. Hope to see you there!