Artisan Creates Proprietary Powder Metallurgy Steel for Budget Knives

Artisan Cutlery is rolling out their own, proprietary steel formulation this month. Called AR-RPM9, the steel is designed to increase the performance of the company’s more affordable offerings. AR-RPM9 will be making its production debut on a pair of newly-unveiled models.

According to Artisan, AR-RPM9 was designed specifically with their budget-priced models in mind. It’s not secret that the budget steel world has been turned upside down in the last few years, with the baseline of performance being nudged ever upward as companies move away from the old standbys into better performers like D2 or 14C28N. Artisan is hoping that AR-RPM9 will elevate their knives to the next level.

While the exact formulation is not known, AR-RPM9 is, unusually for a budget steel, made through a powder metallurgy process. Powder metallurgy came into popularity in the knife world with S30V and to this day is typically associated with higher-end and super steels. Artisan notes that the powder metallurgy process imbues their steel with a fine grain structure, which helps ensure that the steel “holds an edge well, sharpens beautifully, and prevents corrosion.”

AR-RPM9 is being debuted on two incoming Artisan releases. First up is the Sea Snake, an EDC-sized fixed blade designed by Mike Emler. The Sea Snake has a 3.15 inch wharncliffe blade profile, mated to a roomy, oversized handle with a generous forward finger choil, providing users with exceptional control over the blade.

A new folder, the Arion, is also on the way. This is the first Artisan design from Cerberus Knives, a custom maker whose most recent project was the “Stryderco3” replacement scales for the Spyderco Para 3. The Arion is a larger manual folder, ready for big jobs with a leaf-shaped blade that measures 3.641 inches long.

The Arion is currently still being prototyped and so the design is subject to change, and no release date has been set. The Sea Snake is slated to arrive by the end of the month, although Artisan says that prototypes may be available before then for those who are eager to get their hands on the new steel and start testing.

Knife in Featured Image: Artisan Sea Snake