What is ATS34 Steel?

10 Best Utility Knives Video
10 Best Utility Knives Video

Looking for a high-quality stainless steel for blade-making? ATS 34 may be the end of your quest. An imported Hitachi steel, ATS 34 is a chrome molybdenum alloy that has very small grain size and excellent edge retention.

A knife being made of ATS 34 steel.

Similar to some domestic products, ATS 34 is available in stock sizes useful for blade makers. Originally, blade makers used very similar steel developed for aerospace engines. When engine makers turned to titanium, the steel supply dried up. Frustrated blade makers took the formula overseas to find a manufacturer who would put out a chemically identical metal. Targeted to the quality blade making market, it experienced some quality problems in years past due to low volume. Those issues have long since been resolved, leaving quality steel available for custom blade making and other applications requiring hard, long wearing steel. It is abrasion resistant, sufficiently hard and corrosion resistant for knife making.

Limitations of ATS 34

ATS 34, although stainless, is not as corrosion resistant as some other alloys. It is not an ideal selection for applications where long exposure to wet or salty atmospheres can be anticipated. On the upside, it makes superb custom blades. The alloying elements require that it be heat treated at higher temperatures than other blade steels. But if the heat treating process is carried out correctly the steel will take an excellent, long wearing edge.

(See the top 3 machetes that you’ve never heard of)

Uses of ATS 34

This steel is used by many hand knife makers and quality manufacturers. It was the measure of knife steel for a decade or more. Today there are other steels available that provide different attributes attractive to knife makers. These are starting to make inroads among custom knife makers. However, the sheer number of knives made from ATS 34 will ensure that they are around for many years to come.

(The best dive knives for beginners and experts)


The primary choice between ATS 34 and domestic steels, either long-established or new, comes down to personal preference and price. There have been many gallons of ink spilled in the debates among aficionados between domestic and imported versions of this stainless steel. Quality issues among manufacturers and tariffs have played roles in one or the other being more popular at any given time. The bottom line is that ATS 34 will satisfy most requirements for quality custom blades.

Save up to 50% on your new knife at BladeHQ

We have partnered with BladeHQ to offer the best deals on high-quality knives for our readers. The deals are always changing so click the button below to shop today.

Recent Posts

what is the best knife to cut meat

Best Knife to Cut Meat of 2022: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

Some of the sharpest kitchen knives in existence are meat cutting knives. That said, you can’t expect them to give their best cutting performance throughout the course of their service. If you’ve ever owned a kitchen knife for cutting meat before (and you likely have), you know they’re not built to last. Make sure to ... Read more
best ceramic knives for your kitchen

Best Ceramic Knives of 2022: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

While they aren’t a replacement for tough steel knives, ceramic knives are versatile and ideal for any kitchen. They are razor-sharp, rust-proof, and featherweight and are relatively inexpensive. If you’re shopping around for the best ceramic knives, then you have come to the right place. We reviewed 5 of the leading ceramic knife sets on ... Read more
what is a boning knife used for

What Is a Boning Knife Used For: Getting to Know This Handy Tool

Having a tool in your kitchen is essential, but the same tool becomes worthless if you don’t know how to use it effectively. Knives are the same; different types make your tasks easier only if you know what each type is best for. That’s why it’s vital to find out what is a boning knife ... Read more
best boning knife of 2022

Best Boning Knife of 2022: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

With a quality curved boning knife, you can break down fish and meat efficiently on your own and save money. In some knives, you even get the bonus of a filleting function where you can separate the meat fish from bone with relative ease. On that note, here are five of the best boning knife ... Read more
Here is the ultimate drop point vs clip point knife comparison.

Drop Point vs. Clip Point Knife: Ultimate Comparison [2022 Update]

There’s a wide array of blade shapes for you to choose from if you’re shopping for a versatile knife. That said, you must settle the drop point vs clip point debate first. These are two of the most common blade shapes today. They are also among the most used by reputable knife manufacturers. Each blade ... Read more
types of cheese knives

Cheese Knives: 13 Different Types and How To Use Them

Cheeses come in many forms, each offering a different experience for your taste buds. Naturally, you would need different types of cheese knives for different occasions. Some people might think slicing cheese is simple and that they can do it even with just a steak knife. Sadly, these basic kitchen tools won’t get the job ... Read more

Looking for something specific?

6 thoughts on “What is ATS34 Steel?”

    • Hey Bill, your post is two years old, but I just received a few ats34 blanks from a retiring knife maker. Let me know if you are interested in them.

  1. I love my benchmade 720 with ats34.it is over 20 years old and has no patina or corrosion and holds a edge better then the supersteels with no chipping or rolling.best steel imop

    • During my years of collecting I’ve never had any experience with ATS34 , after reading this article along with your comment I am very happy with my purchase of a benchmade 720 in new condition .. (so to both of you) Have a wonderful day and thank you! Kevin


Leave a Comment