In this range, all other factors being equal, the more carbon, the harder the blade gets when quenched. We make custom, hand forged knives and cutlery. Looks like 52100 is the way to go. Carbon is added to iron (Fe) to make steel. Impurities can show up as small pits in finishing. Thank you, that’s really useful. If future toughness testing confirms superior properties of K390 or Vanadis 8 I may change my recommendation. 7Cr27Mo2, 12C27M, 13C26, and 14C28N are all mentioned in the article. We are now over 100 supporters! Once considered the high-end in US knife steels, 440C is a good all-round steel that has now been overshadowed by many of the newer super-steels on the block. Let’s examine each of these in a little more detail. Some of these categories are performance based like toughness, while others are more broadly in the “workability” category and will depend to some extent on the way you work. The pattern in traditional wootz steel is created when the steel is melted, then cooled really slowly. For knives that require stainless steel we can select from those steels. There is something to be said for keeping your focus limited to better understand what you are working with and not to be distracted by every new steel you are introduced to. Steels that are free of vanadium in the prior recommendations include AEB-L, CPM-154, LC200N, 8670, and 52100. I was not able to share specific results from that dataset but I was able to perform statistical analysis to derive a simple question that predicts edge retention based on hardness, edge angle, and amount of carbide. Sure you can make a folder that can take a lot of abuse if it is thick and heavy enough, but it also won’t cut very well at that point. Typically the knife loses around 10% edge retention for every 2 Rc. This is a stainless steel commonly used on many mass-manufactured pocket knives and represents a solid affordable all-round choice. For a bit more edge retention CruForgeV, 4V/V4E, or Z-Wear can be used. I have been looking to make my own knives in the next few months because I think it would be cool and would allow me to make unique gifts. Changing any one of the three categories means that the other two may need changed. Pursue it to your heart’s content, and to that end I have included a thorough bibliography at the back of this book. M390 is my recommendation when stain resistance is desired, and Vanax or S110V for more extreme corrosive environments. It is good for making blades that are smaller and that get lighter use. I have made a few references to heat treatment in this article but making specific heat treatment recommendations is perhaps too much for this article. How does it take a final polish? 4V/V4E can have very high edge retention at high hardness. LC200N is also very high in corrosion resistance. In fact, each knife is one of a kind and valuable as an expressive work of art. Surgical Steel Construction. Even if you locate the steel of your dreams, it may cost too much to have it shipped to your location. Cost is another factor. For method number one, torch hardening can be difficult to achieve an even temperature and to soak sufficiently, so best is an “easy” to heat treat steel as discussed above. But bladesmith Sean McWilliams has been a leading advocate for forging stainless. These two points are also true for high-alloy non-stainless steels with significant chromium content though no heat treatment will make them stainless. This means that a surprising number of “scrap” metals can be used for knife forging – and bring their stories along with them. When steel is poured into a mold, it will need to be formed into shape, after which the end result will be manipulated to create a sense of homogeneity which, as I’ve already explained, is what forging is (in layman terms). Carbon is the element that enables steel to harden when it is quenched at the proper temperature. Hand Crafted Knives, Knife Sets, Blade Blanks and Materials as well as Forging and Blacksmith Tools and Cast Iron Products. And those three different methods can be completed in a variety of ways, though the principles are the same. Devin Thomas suggested these materials to me almost 10 years ago and I feel they have been instrumental in my success. We forge our own pattern-welded steel and san mai construction blades right here in Lin When steel is made, it is forged from the ingot after it is cast. Though if we are focusing on edge performance here we can limit it primarily to edge geometry. Forcing a steel into an application that it is not well suited for will end up with suboptimal performance, either because the design and edge geometry needs adjusting to compensate, or especially when the geometry isn’t adjusted and failures occur instead. 4V and Z-Wear/CPM CruWear/PD#1 have roughly comparable properties, for example, and Z-Wear with its higher chromium has a little bit better corrosion resistance. More than two percent usually equates to cast steel. I don’t have enough space in this article to sufficiently discuss Damascus steel combinations. Those steels can be heat treated to relatively high hardness, ~60 Rc, while maintaining high toughness to take relatively thin edges for choppers and hard use knives. I noticed that companies who use steels they’re not used to using normally do a heat treat that makes the steel ring in a couple points softer than they’re rated to be at. Z-Finit/Cronidur 30/LC200N showed very good toughness in our testing, and Vanax showed slightly better toughness than S35VN. Wear resistance isn’t really helpful in knives they see impacts only, and those medium to high carbon steels have more carbon than is necessary to achieve 53 Rc. However, certain steels will always be sub-optimal choices for a given knife or customer. Differentially heat treatments generally refers to methods that achieve a hard edge but a soft “spine.” There are several methods for achieving this, including: 1) heating only the edge prior to quenching so that the spine never hardens, 2) using insulation such as clay on part of the blade so that it isn’t cooled as rapidly as the rest of the blade, and 3) tempering back part of the blade to a higher temperature. In CATRA testing, 52100 was found to be slightly worse than AEB-L which is not exactly the gold standard for wear resistance. Below this range the steel will cease to yield to manipulation and can be damaged by subjecting it to stress. The typical 1084/15N20 combination fits all of these requirements which is why it is typically recommended to beginners, and continues to be used by many masters of Damascus steel. Instead, selecting a steel is about prioritizing the categories and then selecting a steel that best fits that priority list. The strongest factor for edge retention is edge geometry, but steel and hardness are also very important factors. Become a patron and gain access to awesome rewards including early access to articles or a Knife Steel Nerds mug! Unfortunately marketability is fairly high on the priority list…, As a hobby maker i cant thank you enough the valuable input and insight for the steel/heat treatment topics, this is a great article again. And that is solely for the reason that it will form austenite and dissolve sufficient carbide more rapidly and closer to the magnetic transition than other steels. What a great informative article. Those steels can be heat treated to relatively high hardness, ~60 Rc, while maintaining high toughness to take relatively thin edges for choppers and hard use knives. A plate quench can be used which helps in keeping the steel flat and the cooling rate is faster than needed so hardness is generally very consistent. Click here to learn more from this renowned knifemaker. These knives include kitchen knives, straight razors, and fine slicers. edge geometry is more important than heat treatment, CATRA correlates well with rope cutting tests, which steels are the most corrosion resistant and why, silicon to avoid tempered martensite embrittlement, no heat treatment will make them stainless, https://knifesteelnerds.com/2019/01/14/which-knife-steels-have-the-best-corrosion-resistance/, https://knifesteelnerds.com/2020/05/01/testing-the-edge-retention-of-48-knife-steels/. Experience the difference! However, to get you focused back on the task at hand, suffice it to say that there are some specifi cs you will need to concentrate on when selecting steel. SIMOND STORE Single Burner Blacksmithing Forge, 2600 F Rated, Propane Forge for Knife Making, Forging Tools and Equipment – Stainless Steel, Oval Shape $169.99 $ 169 . LC200N would be a good alternative to AEB-L and Vanax a good alternative to the Elmax/S30V type steels in terms of edge retention. For knives that are not intended to be used or are unlikely to be used, the most important properties are probably corrosion resistance and ease in finishing.
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