I get a lot of calls about knife steel.
When I first built the Hoffner knife, I wanted to use a steel that is very utilitarian. Which means it will take an edge, hold an edge, and doesn’t have to require a lot of special care; while at the same time, keeping the price down on my knives.
So, I use 440c stainless steel. This is the first super steel and still is probably the best super steel as it is high in chromium (that is what the “c” stands for).
For any steel to be labeled stainless, it must have a minimum chromium content of 12%. This is what keeps the steel from rusting, staining, and pitting. Without it, the steel would need to be cleaned and oiled regularly. And for a knife carried in a hot sweaty pocket, perhaps daily.
So we do not have that problem with the Hoffner 3.5” or 2.8” folder using 440c stainless and annealing (hardening) to 56-58 HRC Rockwell (this is a hardness level that keeps the knife sharp and strong without being brittle).
With that said, many of my passionate Hoffner knife operators and collectors wanted me to design and build a higher end knife using a higher carbon steel. I built the Creed with D2 steel which is higher in carbon, lower in chromium; therefore requires much more care for the blade.
We will continue to build high-quality knives with a variety of steels to provide a full spectrum of choice to the Hoffner knife line.
I myself, love a steel with higher carbon, but I am a low-maintenance guy and can depend on my 440c knives to give me high quality and durability, day in and day out without me having to clean it and oil it before I go to bed.