Used by several manufacturers and makers.
Their primary benefits are that they hold an edge
much longer than any steel, and that they are completely
non-corrosive. On the down side, they are much more
brittle than steel. The worst of them can easily break
by just a small drop to a hard table; however, the
best of the ceramics is reasonably tough, tough enough
for hard chopping and the like.
Cobalt-based alloys also show a lot of promise. They
hold an edge for a very long time, and non-corrosive,
and are much tougher than ceramics. These alloys --
such as Stellite 6K, Boye Dendridic Cobalt, and Talonite
-- are much more expensive to work than steel, but
tests are showing excellent results.
Titanium is also used as a blade material. Non-corrosive
and much lighter than steel, it can take a reasonable
edge and holds it okay. The cheaper titanium alloys
in inexpensive dive knives are vastly overshadowed
by the best titanium alloys.
HOW KNIVES ARE GROUND
There are several ways to grind the edge of a knife,
such as a convex grind, a hollow or concave grind
and a straight or V grind. The convex grind is best
in application where heavy materials like wood need
to be cut with a great deal of force. The cutting
edge is supported by a thick edge of steel. The hollow
grind is the opposite of the convex. In this grind
the side of the knife is hollowed out along the edge
forming a concave shape. This grind is best suited
for cutting softer materials like food, where the
blade cuts deeply. As the convex edge begins to wear,
it becomes more difficult to sharpen. The hollow grind,
however, stays at relatively the same thickness through
many sharpening. The straight grind or V wedge is
a compromise between the convex and hollow grinds.
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