Blade Steel Reference Chart:

Discussion in 'Knives, Etc.' started by SHOOTER13, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. Dec 16, 2017 #1

    SHOOTER13

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    Blade Steel Reference Chart:


    STEEL TYPE / ROCKWELL HARDNESS


    17-7 PH / 54-56
    Good corrosion resistance, excellent for water sports applications. This alloy is a
    chromium-nickel-aluminum precipitation hardening stainless steel with good
    edge retention. Great corrosion resistance generally means a high chromium
    content, and this means knives made with this steel will be a little harder to
    sharpen than blades with a lower chromium content.


    154 CM / 58-62
    Originally designed for jet engine fan blades, it is the precursor to the Japanese
    made ATS-34. In recent years, this steel has made a resurgence in the knife
    industry, offering good blade toughness, edge holding capability and corrosion
    resistance. Fairly easy to resharpen.


    420 / 49-53
    A hard, strong blade steel. This stainless steel is commonly used in knife blades,
    and offers good corrosion resistance at a low cost. Decent edge holding
    capabilities and fairly easy to resharpen, this steel is a good balance of the most desirable
    traits for knife steel.

    420 HC / 56-58
    A high carbon version of 420 steel, this steel combines the excellent wear
    resistance of high carbon alloys with the corrosion resistance of chromium
    stainless steels. The high carbon content makes this steel harder to resharpen,but
    the tradeoff is better edge holding properties.

    440 A / 55-57
    A high carbon stainless steel, used in many production knives. A good balance of edge
    retention, easy resharpening and corrosion resistance.

    440C / 58-60
    A high chromium stainless steel which exhibits an excellent balance of hardness
    and corrosion resistance. This steel takes a nice edge, and is fairly easy to sharpen even
    for a novice.

    1095 / 56-58
    This is a plain carbon steel, which means it has low resistance to corrosion, and
    low to medium edge retention. The benefit of this steel is it's easy to sharpen, will
    take an extremely sharp edge and is generally available at a low cost.

    5150 / 55-60
    A medium carbon, low alloy steel that hardens well. This steel is ideally suited to
    blades with a very thick cross-section such as tomahawks and axes. Extremely
    tough and impact resistant, this steel is most often used on blades which are hafted
    and/or thrown.

    8Cr13MoV / 58-60
    A medium-grade stainless steel, similar in many properties to the AUS 8 series
    Good edge holding properties, and easy to sharpen. Decent corrosion resistance.

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  2. Dec 16, 2017 #2

    SHOOTER13

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    ATS-34 / 60-61
    A very high carbon, chromium stainless steel with additional amounts of
    molybdenum. This steel has good edge holding properties and high corrosion
    resistance, but is more difficult to resharpen than lower chromium steels.

    AUS 6A / 55-57
    A medium to high carbon stainless steel, this steel holds a good edge and is
    particularly well suited for heavy, long blades that are subjected to a lot of stress
    while chopping and hacking. It has good edge retention, and is fairly easy to
    resharpen with decent corrosion resistance.

    AUS 8 / 57-58
    A Japanese stainless steel, with superb toughness and good edge holding
    capabilities. This steel is fairly easy to sharpen and generally low cost with great
    corrosion resistance.

    AUS 8A / 57-59
    A high carbon, low chromium stainless steel - a good compromise between
    toughness and strength, edge holding and resistance to corrosion.

    BG-42 / 61-62
    A high quality, bearing grade alloy with significantly increased amounts of carbon
    and molybdenum content plus vanadium for improved edge retention and
    strength. Easy to sharpen, with decent corrosion resistance.

    Carbon V / 58-59
    This low alloy, cutlery grade steel is superior to most other steels due to its
    chemistry. Decent corrosion resistance with superior edge retention make this a
    premium steel for knife blades. This steel is exceptionally tough, and therefore
    harder to sharpen than most stainless steels.

    CPM S30V / 58-60
    This American made and engineered steel was created especially for the knife
    industry. It is a powder made steel with uniform structure and great corrosion
    resistance. Excellent edge retention and first rate toughness make this steel one
    of the best all-around knife steels, striking a balance between corrosion
    resistance, edge retention and sharpenability.


    D2 / 59-60
    This air hardened tool steel is sometimes called a "semi-stainless" steel, because
    it contains 12% chromium. It offers decent corrosion resistance with exceptional
    edge retention. It is harder to sharpen than most, but can be finished to a high polish
    shine.

    Damascus / Layers vary from 53-62
    This steel is made from dissimilar steels folded or fused together with heat. It is
    often acid etched, which brings out the different steels in a striped pattern.
    Excellent toughness and edge holding capabilities make it a great blade, but the
    cost of production is high. Damascus is most often used in special applications like
    decorative blades.

    Elmax / 60-62
    Elmax is a third generation powdered stainless steel. The grain size on this steel is
    very small, allowing it to take an extremely fine edge. Elmax is much tougher than
    S30V and has better edge retention as well.

    M2 / 61-62
    This high-speed, tool grade steel is used primarily in cutting tools in industrial
    applications. This is metal used to cut metal. With excellent strength, enduring
    toughness and tremendous wear resistance, this is some of the toughest steel
    used to make knife blades. The tradeoff for all this toughness is that this steel is
    hard to sharpen, and it is highly susceptible to corrosion. All blades made from
    this steel will have a corrosion resistant coating applied, to give good corrosion
    resistance with such a tough steel.


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    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
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  3. Dec 16, 2017 #3

    SHOOTER13

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    N690 / 58-60
    An Austrian made stainless steel, it is comparable to 440C in performance. It
    offers good edge holding qualities with excellent corrosion resistance, and fairly easy sharpening.

    S30V / 59-61
    This steel contains carbon along with high amounts of chromium, molybdenum and vanadium. This steel is double tempered for hardness and edge retention. It has excellent corrosion resistance, but is slightly more difficult to sharpen.

    S35VN / 59-61
    Produced by the same company that manufactures S30V, S35VN is a high
    performance stainless steel that offers a considerable increase in toughness over S30V. It is also more resistant to chipping, corrosion, and wear. All around performance of the steel is enhanced over S30V, and S35VN will still take an extremely sharp edge.

    Sandvik 12C27 / 57-59
    This stainless steel is made in Sweden. It is generally known as a premium steel for knife blades, offering a good balance of corrosion resistance, sharpenability, and edge retention.

    San Mai III / Outer Layers 57 - Center Layer 59
    San Mai means "three layers". It is a term used when talking about traditional Japanese swords and daggers. The laminated construction is important because it allows the blade maker to combine different grades of steel in a single blade. A high carbon center layer provides the strength and edge holding qualities, while the outer layers are lower carbon steels, providing flexibility.

    X-15 T.N / 56-58
    Developed for the aircraft industry for jet ball bearings, and used in the medical industry for scalpels, this steel resists rust in the worst of conditions while maintaining ample edge retention. Offering an easy to maintain edge and excellent corrosion resistance, this steel is ideal in knives used for watersports.


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  4. Dec 16, 2017 #4

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    The above chart is only a partial list of materials used by knife smiths...

    Please feel free to add to this list...


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  5. Dec 16, 2017 #5

    BuzzinSATX

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    Thank you very much for this great reference. I’m going to copy and paste it into my iPad so I have it on hand all the time!
     
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  6. Dec 16, 2017 #6

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    Thanks...Not a problem.
     
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  7. Dec 17, 2017 #7

    Lucian253

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    I have an app that you can search blade steel info on my iPhone.
     

    Attached Files:

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  8. Dec 17, 2017 #8

    Spikedriver

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    Putting this up for everyone was a great idea. Thank you sir!
     
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  9. Dec 17, 2017 #9

    Spikedriver

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    Has anyone here made a blade from a circular saw blade? I've read that very strong blades can be made from old circular saw blades, and it obviously is a material that one could obtain easily and cheaply. I've been considering trying this but I don't have work space to try it out since I moved...
     
  10. Dec 19, 2017 #10

    aDave

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    Yep, very good info to have on hand. I haven't bought knives in a while, but I always looked up info on steel. Heck, I thought this was so good that I said to myself, "hey, I think I'll stickie this." Looks like someone already beat me to it. :wink:
     
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  11. Dec 20, 2017 #11

    SHOOTER13

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    Thanks Dave...Mark helped.
     
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  12. Dec 25, 2017 #12

    Clipper

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    I have two knives with D2 steel blades. One is a Colt knife I got for $15. My other is an HK Turmoil OTF auto knife I got for $120.

    D2 steel is very good steel for the price. It's also known as tool steel. It can be honed to stupid sharp and I mean sharp!

    Yes, there are better steel but you'll pay dearly for them.

    By the way, 440C and 1095 steel are quite decent and you can get it cheap if you do your research.
     
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  13. May 30, 2018 #13

    Dutchs

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    I just got a Cold Steel Masyer Hunter. It says it's VG1 San Mai III.... wonder what the VG1 and III signify?
     
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  14. May 30, 2018 #14

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    Hey Dutch...

    San Mai III steel is a laminated stainless steel which consists of three layers of steel. The outer two layers are made of a softer, tough steel, sandwiching a harder, high carbon core that forms the actual cutting edge of the knife.

    Earlier variants of San Mai III steel had an AUS-8 steel core, sandwiched by softer, tougher stainless sides possibly made from 420J2. Current San Mai III steel, sometimes called VG-1 San Mai III, uses a VG-1 stainless core which is a slight upgrade from AUS-8. San Mai looks very nice, but given the actual application of the knives in using this steel, the necessity of the San Mai construction is questionable.

    San Mai III is used exclusively by Cold Steel, and is manufactured exclusively for them in Japan. { VG-1 is a proprietary product of Takefu Special Steel. }


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  15. May 30, 2018 #15

    Dutchs

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    San Mai looks very nice, but given the actual application of the knives in using this steel, the necessity of the San Mai construction is questionable.

    I wonder what the hell this means. Is this a way for the publisher to put down Cold Steel? Or maybe an interjected personal opinion of the writer? Necessity? Is Damascus really Necessary? I just hate it when these publications can't just give me facts....Sorry about the rant Shooter....I'm just mad right now....
     
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  16. May 31, 2018 #16

    Retired1

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    I too am wondering. Does this mean that San Mai is overkill and that less expensive metals could be used in the same style of knife to perform the same tasks or that better steels, or more expensive, materials are available to use in similar knives to better perform these tasks?
     
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  17. May 31, 2018 #17

    SHOOTER13

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    The 3rd post in this thread from 2017 has this Dutch...

    San Mai III / Outer Layers 57 - Center Layer 59

    San Mai means "three layers". It is a term used when talking about traditional Japanese swords and daggers. The laminated construction is important because it allows the blade maker to combine different grades of steel in a single blade. A high carbon center layer provides the strength and edge holding qualities, while the outer layers are lower carbon steels, providing flexibility.
     
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  18. May 31, 2018 #18

    SHOOTER13

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    Nothing to be sorry about Dutch...I don't think it was meant as a put down of Cold Steel in general.

    =======


    That's the way I take that particular statement Terry...

    .
     
  19. May 31, 2018 #19

    Retired1

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    Actually my question was a three part question - one, or the other, or both? I am still confused.

    "Does this mean that San Mai is overkill and that less expensive metals could be used in the same style of knife to perform the same tasks

    or

    that better steels, or more expensive, materials are available to use in similar knives to better perform these tasks?"
     
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  20. May 31, 2018 #20

    SHOOTER13

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    My take:

    "that less expensive metals could be used in the same style of knife to perform the same tasks"

    But the case is moot because that is the steel that Cold Steel Knives WANTS to use.
     
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