The Best Knife Steel Type

To many people one steel knife is pretty much like any other. It may not seem as if there is a lot of variation in the steel that’s used for knives. Even though steel is primarily a combination of carbon and iron, there are a variety of other elements and alloys used in small amounts when making steel. These slight variations in the components can make a difference in the quality and type of knife. The following information discusses the different types of steel, the properties of steel, and which make the best knife blades.

Different Types of Steel

As stated earlier, steel is made with iron and carbon. Other elements are usually added to this combination. Phosphorus, Sulfur, Silicon, Chromium, and Manganese are elements that are often used. If no other elements are added, it is plain carbon steel. Different types of steel are usually identified by alpha or numeric names. An example would be AUS 8. This is a Japanese stainless steel that’s tough yet easy to sharpen. There are over a dozen different types of steels that can be used in making a knife. There are several different properties of steel as well. A few of these include hardness, strength, initial sharpness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and how easily it can be manufactured. These properties can be enhanced by adding certain elements to the basic formula that makes steel. So what elements and alloys need to be added to produce certain types of steel? Carbon is obviously the most important element as it is what gives steel its hardness. Chromium is what makes the steel resistant to erosion. A knife blade made with 13 percent or more Chromium can be labeled stainless steel. Manganese helps strengthen and harden the steel. Tungsten and Vanadium increases the wear resistance of the blade. Molybdenum prevents brittleness. Even though what the knife is made of is extremely important in regard to what properties it has, this is not the only factor in determining the quality and uses for the knife. How a knife is made and the heat treatment process also affects the knife.

Different Types of Knives

There are a dozen or more elements and alloys that can be added to steel in various amounts to create an almost endless variety of steel blades. To determine what is the best knife blade to own, the buyer must decide what the primary purpose of the knife will be. A knife used by a chef would need certain characteristics to obtain maximum results. A hunter or outdoors man would likely be looking for a knife with different types of properties. An example of a popular knife blade used today is the Sandvik 13C26. This is made of Swedish steel with a combination of Carbon, Manganese, and Chromium. It’s a hard knife that has good corrosion resistance and few impurities. Another popular type of blade is the 440C. This has several elements and alloys mixed into the knife blade. The knife is hard and durable, but easy to work with. Steel blades made with plain carbon are also popular. These normally come in the 1045 to 1095 range. This means that .45 percent carbon is used in the 1045 and .95 percent carbon is used in the 1095. The biggest problem with these blades is that they are more susceptible to rust and must be cared for accordingly.

The Best Knife Blades

What is ultimately the best knife blade depends upon what the knife will be used for. There are generally three types of 440 steel that is used in knives. Among the 440A, B, and C, the 440C usually is the higher quality knife and will often cost more as well. For chipping resistance and overall toughness, AUS6A and a 440C may be the best type to look for. When looking for a knife to retain its sharpness longer a D2 is recommended. For camping and outdoor survival, the AUS8 or the VG10 are considered good steel blades for knives. VG10 and VG1 are types of blades that are popular for cooking and working in the kitchen. Someone looking for a hunting knife that is hard and holds its edge well should consider 52100 steel. This, however, will rust easier than other types. 1095 has also been recommended as good for hunting. Overall the S30V, which is part of the SXXV Series, is considered a top choice when it comes to knife making. This type is tough, hard, and has a good wear resistance. This steel, however, is difficult to sharpen or polish. Finally, Damascus Steel, which is two or more alloys cast together, often produces a beautiful steel blade. How well these types of knives perform depend upon the quality of the craftsman.