DDR to Release Blades in Rare Stellite 6K Alloy

Darrel Ralph of DDR Knives plans to offer 100 of his AOD and Dominator knives with Stellite 6K blades this fall. Stellite 6K is a cobalt alloy that has been used by other makers like David Boye, Mick Strider, and Tom Mayo. Like tungsten carbide, Stellite 6K is extremely resistant to rust. But, Stellite 6K isn’t as temperamental and can be worked with standard knife making equipment instead of costly custom machinery.

As far as performance goes, Ralph says he has come to truly appreciate Stellite 6K’s qualities. He acknowledges that it isn’t as tough as some super steels like S90V, but the trade-off for that toughness is an extremely fine, extremely wear-resistant, rust-proof edge. “It slices fantastic and holds a wicked edge,” Ralph says. Whether preparing food, breaking down boxes, or processing wood, Ralph says Stellite 6K will excel and get even better with use. “It seems to get sharper the more you use it by exposing carbides,” he says.

Ralph has been a longtime advocate of unconventional blade materials. He produces knives from SM-100, but insists Stellite 6K is even better. “SM-100 does not get as good of an edge and does not slice as well,” says Ralph. His own personal EDC knife is a DDR knife made from Stellite 6K. “It is my favorite carry blade for every day,” Ralph tells us.

Stellite 6K may sound like a space-age material, but it traces back to the early 20th century, when Elwood Haynes began developing a new material for rust-prone carbon cutlery. Today, there is family of related alloys under the umbrella term ‘Stellite.’ Stellite is regularly used in industrial hardfacing, internal components of machines, and even in firearms construction.

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Ralph has been working with Stellite 6K for over 20 years. “We have been making blades with this material for many years with great success,” he tells us. Stellite 6K is much more expensive per pound than most blade materials, but Ralph says it’s worth it. “If you want a blade material that is rust-proof, has great edge holding on everyday normal materials, and slices fantastic this is your material.”

Knife featured in image: Darrel Ralph Dominator 
*original photography by Jim Skelton