Knife Steel Nerds: What is M390MK Knife Steel?

Microtech announced that they would begin using M390MK steel in an Instagram post on January 14, 2023 [1]. This is the first I had heard about this new steel as well. No official composition of the steel has been released but they have given enough information from various sources that we can talk about it. In the comments of that instagram post they said: “Microtech worked closely with the engineers at Böhler to tweak the properties of M390 for better edge retention, corrosion resistance, and polishing. This is an exclusive steel for Microtech through Böhler and you will see it used quite extensively in the future!” In a BladeHQ interview Tony Marfione of Microtech gave the following answer [2]:

“What we did is, uh, we’ve been enjoying the, you know, the Böhler products now for a good long while. And um, you know we’ve been buying it billet at a time so our our our steel consumption has been when we place our orders we, we’re already planning for 2025. So, as we’re making our billets, you know, the engineers came back to us and said, ‘Hey would you like to, you know, if we were to tweak this just a little bit is there anything you’d like to see a little bit better in the steel.’ And it’s like oh my God the the M390 is as good as it gets as far as I’m concerned, but maybe a little bit better edge dexterity, or edge holding ability, maybe a little bit better utility, and some other little attributes. So, they were able to tweak the chemistry enough for us to just give us a little bit of extra icing, or a little bit of extra, you know, you know, a little extra spice. I don’t know how else to say it, but you know it’s not like out in left field; it’s still M390, but it is a tweak modification to what we’re currently using, and it’s called the M390MK and it is exclusive to Microtech.”

Great article, with a wry sense of humor.

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What is M390MK Knife Steel?