Elmax! Elmax! Elmax!
Sell me on Elmax like you just did on the phone.....
It's a Swedish invention. What other reason do you need
There you have it, Mark. All the information needed
But, to better sum it up....
Elmax is a...
Third generation powder metal technology. Noted for its fine carbide distribution with extremely low inclusion content for virtually no chip-out. An excellent balance between corrosion resistance and edge retention. Can be polished to an extremely high finish. Hardens and tempers to 57-59 HRC and 60-62 HRC with deep freeze. For maximum toughness, harden and temper to 57-59 HRC. For maximum wear resistance, harden and temper to 60-62 HRC.
Now in my experience which as been the past year of carrying my ZT 0551 with Elmax steel, I can honestly say I have yet to see a steel with better qualities. I have seen zero chipping after being dropped on the ground or its one occasion with a 4ft drop to a diamond plate floor that did little more than deforming the edge. It's edge retention is more like a low alloy steel in the start of edge degration where its high degree of sharpness holds well. Unlike a low alloy steel though, when Elmax starts to dull past the point of keen sharpness it does not go flat and become blunted it starts to get toothy. It does not act like a CPM-S30V would where the edge becomes very rough and is considered a "working edge" but almost seems to get sharper as if you just lowered the grit at which it was sharpened.
Now for edge retention that's where elmax will surprise you. It sharpens like A2 @ 60Rc but holds a edge like ZDP. I use my 1k & 6k arashiyama to maintain the edge and because the steel sharpens so cleanly I often have no need to strop and yield near hair splitting sharpness from just the 6k (note that's on a folder with a behind the bevel thickness of 0.040 which makes a difference)
Sharpens like a carbon steel, holds a edge like ZDP, won't chip, extremely stainless, and its Swedish. What more could you ask for? (I still wouldn't mind K390 though :D)