Knife steel is a vital element of the custom knife. Producing a fine homemade knife is a operate of patience, and a dedication to precision craftsmanship. A custom knife maker have to comprehend the science of metallurgy when deciding on an proper knife steel.
To rust or not to rust, that is the query. Truly, that is only 1 of the inquiries. To sustain a terrific edge, or not to sustain a terrific edge is one more essential query! Several custom knife makers are getting middle ground for these two inquiries.
Higher carbon and stainless steels are each acceptable if adequately alloyed. The higher carbon steels are normally the steels that are forged. They can be differentially tempered. This house provides the knife maker extra selections. He can greater handle the hardness of the cutting edge, and nevertheless have a difficult knife with a springy back.
Let's think about initial, some of the extra widespread carbon knife steel readily available.
10xx Series 1095 is the most well known steel for knives. It is a basic steel consisting of.95% carbon, and.four% manganese. Other 10 series steels are employed for knife generating such as 1084, 1070, 1060, and 1050 and so forth. Every of these steels are decreasing in carbon content material, and hence are also decreasing in put on resistance. At the exact same time, as the carbon content material goes down the toughness goes up. As such, some of the decrease carbon content material designations are extra usually employed for swords.
O-1 O-1 steel is one more higher carbon steel which provides razor sharp edges but dulls faster than A2 Steel. O-1, like A2 has a 1% carbon content material It has 1.35% manganese,.five% chromium,.35% silicon, and.five% tungsten. O-1 steel is extra forgiving to these who are not as achieved in receiving a decent edge. In summary, it is much easier/more rapidly to hone to a razor sharp edge than some of the other options, but does not stand up to abuse as effectively. -1 is quite well known with forgers and bladesmiths. It is difficult, despite the fact that not as difficult as 5160.
L-six L-six is quite equivalent to O-1. It is fundamentally band saw steel. It is possibly the quite finest steel for a knife if upkeep is not an challenge. It rusts quite simply, but holds an edge quite effectively. It is also quite difficult. It is a favourite of forgers.
W-two W-two is reasonably difficult and holds an edge effectively due to the fact of its.25% vanadium. It also has.25% manganese, and silicon. It is not as widespread or well known.
A2 A2 steel is virtually a stainless steel. At (five%) it does not have really sufficient chromium. It has 1% carbon,.six% Manganese, 1% molybdenum, and.two% Vanadium. It is not prone to rust. A2 steel is well known for combat knives due to the fact of its toughness. The toughness of the edge of the A2 steel is enhanced by cryogenically treating the blades at -320 degrees Fahrenheit. A2 steel is substantially tougher than -1 carbon steel and despite the fact that extra challenging to sharpen, it keeps an edge longer. It performs finest someplace among 30 and 35 degrees. The difficulty with A2 steel is that it tends to fracture extra simply when the bevel is ground much less than 30 degrees. A2 is tougher than D2 and M2, but has much less put on resistance.
M2 M2 Steel is a fine-grained molybdenum/tungsten higher-speed tool steel. It has.85% carbon,.25% manganese, four.two% chromium,.30% silicon, five% molybdenum, six.35% tungsten, and 1.9% vanadium. It is an exceptional decision for higher temperature applications. For instance, the annealing temperature of M2 steel is around 1000° F. It is slightly tougher and extra put on resistant than D2, on the other hand, M2 rusts extra simply.
D2 “D” series steels are classed as cold operate tool steels. D2 steel is a premium tool steel. With 1.five% carbon content material It is greater at holding an edge than much less exotic stainless steels. D2 has a pretty higher chromium content material (11.five%) and is in some cases referred to as a “semi-stainless”. It is a effectively respected, air hardened, higher carbon, higher chromium tool steel. It has 1% molybdenum, and.9% vanadium. It possesses exceptionally higher put on resistance properties. D2 steel is 1 of the toughest knife blades you can get, and is a favourite of the finest custom knife makers. Anybody who has ever employed a fantastic D2 steel blade in the field, raves about the steels cutting capability, durability, and edge holding properties. Just place, D2 steel can make 1 of the finest blade stocks readily available for a functioning knife.
5160 5160 steel is a widespread spring steel. It is fundamentally 1060 with 1% of chromium added to make it deep hardening. It is employed in swords, axes or other higher-influence tools. 5160 Steel is well known now for a wide variety of knife types, but is ordinarily employed for larger blades that have to have extra toughness. It is swift and quick to sharpen, and, when resistance to lateral forces comes into play, 5160 is a champion.
50100-B 50100-B is the AISI designation of the exact same steel as 0170-six. The B designates vanadium has been added. This steel is a fantastic chrome-vanadium alloy that is equivalent in properties to -1, but it is substantially much less pricey. It is basically 52100 with 1/three much less chromium.
52100 52100 is generally compared to 5160. It has a tiny extra carbon content material than 5160, and hence holds an edge greater. It is not as difficult although. The tradeoff is in put on resistance. Several hunting knives are now getting created from this steel.
Now, let's think about the alloys of stainless for knife steel.
Stainless steel is designated as such if it has higher than 13% chromium. On the other hand, the ASM Metals Handbook says that it only have to be higher than 10%. There are also diverse numbers thrown about. This distinction although, is likely due to the quantity of no cost chromium readily available. There are several stainless alloys with varying corrosion-resistant properties that make it a fantastic material for knife blades.
420 and 420HC 420 is an exceptionally soft steel due to the fact of the much less than.five% carbon content material. It will not hold an edge effectively, but it is quite stain resistant, and is generally employed for much less pricey knives. It is also generally employed to make diving knives. 420 HC is tailored to be extra like 440A by which includes extra carbon.
440A, 440B, and 440C This series of steels increases in carbon content material from A -.75%, to B -.9%, to C – 1.two%. 440C steel, if hardened appropriately, is an exceptional knife steel. It is quite difficult, and has fantastic edge holding qualities. It does not hold an edge as fantastic as ATS-34, but is extra stain resistant. This total series is quite rust resistant. 440A is most rust resistant, and 440C the least.
AUS-six, AUS-eight, and AUS-10 This is a Japanese series of steels that roughly evaluate with the above 440 Series. The carbon content material escalating from AUS-six -.65%, to AUS-eight -.75%, to AUS-10 – 1.1%. AUS-six would extra closely evaluate to the less expensive low-finish 420. AUS-eight is a middle level steel like GIN-1 or ATS-55. AUS-10 competes with larger finish steels, and normally compares effectively with 440C. It has slightly much less chromium than 440C, but all 3 steels of this series have vanadium added. Vanadium improves the put on resistance and the grain, which provides these steels the capability to be sharpened to a quite fine edge. Vanadium also improves put on resistance. These steels are generally referred to as 6A, 8A, and 10A.
GIN-1 GIN-1, also referred to as G-two compares normally to AUS-eight, and ATS-55. It has much less carbon, and substantially much less molybdenum than ATS-34. It is a tiny larger in chromium, and normally is employed for the much less pricey knives.
ATS-34 ATS-34 steel is universally recognized for its edge holding and taking capabilities. It is a Japanese steel that favorably compares to the U.S version, 154 CM, which is not almost as well known. ATS-34 is certainly stronger than 440 steel so breaking the tip on this steel will be much less probably, but it is not as rust resistant. ATS-34, is normally, either hot or cold rolled based on its thickness, but each are probably annealed (heat treated).
ATS-55 ATS-55 is a level behind ATS-34, due to the fact it does not have molybdenum. Without the need of the molybdenum, it does not hold an edge as effectively, and is not as resistant to rust, and has much less put on resistance. It compares favorably with GIN-1, and AUS-eight
BG-42 BG-42 is becoming extra well known. It is also extra pricey than ATS-34, which may possibly limit its reputation. Due to the fact of the addition of vanadium, and twice as substantially manganese as ATS-34, it will hold a considerably greater edge, and will also have greater toughness than ATS-34. It is a tiny tougher to operate.
S30V, S60V and S90V This series of steels is packed with a higher quantity of alloys due to the fact of the particle metallurgy procedure that is quite diverse from traditional steel manufacturing approaches. These are higher vanadium knives, and evaluate favorably with BG-42. They are likely extra put on resistant than any other stainless steel. On the other hand, they are even extra pricey than BG-42, and even extra challenging to operate. This relegates them mainly to the seasoned custom knife maker sphere. S60V is generally referred to as CPM T440V, and S90V as CPM T420V.
Regardless of whether seeking for an simply cared for knife, or a knife that holds a terrific edge, recognizing the selections readily available may possibly give you the finest of each worlds.