ATS-34 Stainless Steel for Knife Blades
Hitachi ATS-34 Stainless Steel
ATS-34 is a great steel from Japan, and almost identical to 154CM in composition as well as performance. During the late 90's, Crucible had resolved problems with quality control and started producing raw 154CM in sizes that were conducive to knifemaking. Additionally, there were some quality control issues ATS-34 at this point, and this has made ATS-34 much less popular in the North American market.
You will sometimes see ATS-34 used in knives by overseas makers as it is easier to get in some places than 154CM. It is a very tough steel and holds an edge well, offering a good balance between edge hodling and sharpenability. Current ATS-34 is a very good steel
Some popular knives that use ATS-34 include early CRK Sebenzas and earlier model Benchmade knives such as the AFCK and Pinnacle. It was also probably the most popular stainless steel with custom knifemakers in the 1990's.