AR-RPM9 CJRB RiaWe’re not going to bury the lede on this one. There’s a new budget steel in town and it is powdered! It’s from CJRB and Artisan Cutlery and the first model we got our hands on with this exciting new steel was the 1917 Ria with OD Green Canvas micarta handles. What’s the advantage of powdered steel over conventional steel? It has a finer grain structure which makes it a better performer for most uses. You can pick up the AR-RPM9 CJRB Ria for an incredibly budget friendly $43.

Before we get into too much speculation, let’s talk about this knife. The Ria is, without a doubt, a fantastic budget gentleman’s folder. It has a 2.95” AR-RPM9 drop point blade with a blade thickness of 0.10” hardened to 58-60HRC. This manual thumb stud opener rides on a ceramic ball bearing pivot. The action is incredibly quick and very fidget worthy.

It’s a linerlock with OD green micarta handle scales mounted on stainless steel liners. The scales are contoured for a nice feel in hand. It has a tip-up, right carry pocket clip and a lanyard tube. Weighing about 2.1 ounces, it practically disappears in your pocket with a closed length of 3.9”.

AR-RPM9 CJRB RiaWhat do we know about AR-RPM9?

Now, what’s AR-RPM9 steel you ask? It’s a value priced powdered stainless steel. Apparently, Artisan wanted a powdered steel that functions somewhere between 14C28N and D2. They wanted the corrosion resistance of 14C28 with the hardness of D2 that not only holds an edge but is also easy to sharpen. Finally, they also wanted a steel they could provide at an affordable price.

On September 10th, Artisan released a video on Instagram of most of the composition of this amazing new steel. It has 0.9% Carbon, 18% Chromium, 1.0% Molybdenum, 0.45% Manganese, 0.1% Vanadium, 0.30% Cobalt, 0.2-0.8% Silicon, and less than 0.40% Nickle. At the end of the video there’s an “RE” and that’s when the video cuts off.

What is the RE in the video?

We majored in reading in college. We were thrilled to scrape by with a C in Chemistry. Because we aren’t metallurgists, it’s like wondering what’s in the briefcase from Pulp Fiction. We don’t know what the RE is. We really want to know what the RE is. We’re just going to guess at it and hope to find out someday what’s RE.  Take every ounce of the following speculation with a whole shaker full of salt – or simply wait until the brilliant Dr. Larrin Thomas of KnifeSteelNerds gives his analysis[*].

AR-RPM9 CJRB RiaRE is Rare Earth. That tells us precisely nothing because that’s a collection of a bunch of different elements. RE could be erbium (Er) which, when alloyed with vanadium lowers the hardness but might improve ductility. Alternatively, the specific RE might be ytterbium (Yb) which might further refine the grain structure. Once we hit the tin-foil hat level of speculation that maybe RE was a typo for the not-at-all-budget Re (rhenium) we reached out to Russell at Artisan who cheerfully said, “It’s essentially trace elements left over from the smelting process like sulfur, phosphorous, etc. The total of all the trace elements combined is less than 0.05%.”

So that answered that, and thanks to Russell who is awesome. The composition of AR-RPM9 is:  0.9% Carbon, 18% Chromium, 1.0% Molybdenum, 0.45% Manganese, 0.1% Vanadium, 0.30% Cobalt, 0.2-0.8% Silicon, less than 0.40% Nickle, and less than 0.05% Rare Earth.

What’s the overall impression of AR-RPM9?

What we’re hearing on the grapevine about the performance of this new steel, the overall reviews are saying it’s a seriously good budget steel. It’s easy to sharpen to a fine edge, and it holds an edge well. It also seems to be less likely to chip than D2. With 18% chromium and 1% molybdenum, corrosion resistance should be good. While we simply don’t know everything about this steel, we’re incredibly excited about it. It’s a new powdered steel with tremendous potential at a budget price.


  • AR-RPM9, Satin Finish
  • 2.95” Drop Point
  • 0.1” Blade Thickness
  • 58-60 HRC
  • Thumb Stud with Ceramic Ball Bearing Pivot
  • Linerlock
  • OD Green Micarta Handle Scales
  • Stainless Steel Liners
  • Tip-Up Pocket Clip
  • Lanyard Hole
  • 2.12 Ounces
  • 3.9” Closed
  • 6.85” Overall

The AR-RPM9 CJRB Ria has a fast action, an upgraded steel, and OD Green micarta handles for a budget friendly price on $43. We expect it will sell out quickly. To make sure you get yours before it’s gone, click any link in the article or simply click the button below.

All images courtesy of Smoky Mountain Knife Works –

[*] Any blade steel composition mistakes or misunderstandings are entirely ours and not the fault of KnifeSteelNerds’ Dr. Larrin Thomas. For more information about blade steel, you should check out his new book on Amazon.