W2 is essentially just 1095 with a vanadium addition which refines the grain, a finer grain size means lower hardenability. Surgical Steel Construction. He believes the controversial technique can be used to increase the performance of modern stainless steels like S35VN. More than two percent usually equates to cast steel. There are more tradeoffs than these, though, as higher edge retention typically also means more difficulty in sharpening. Therefore I recommend the low alloy category for those that are forging. When steel is made, it is forged from the ingot after it is cast. Razor Sharp Edge. Thank you, that’s really useful. Cheers. Forging Steel. For a bit more edge retention CruForgeV, 4V/V4E, or Z-Wear can be used. Vanadis 4 Extra and 4V are equivalent and I am not recommending one over the other. A knifemaker who forges blades and heat treats in his shop will likely pick different steels than a stock removal maker who sends out for heat treating, for example. Typically the carbon content for this type of steel can vary from between .95% and 1.2% and it has 16 -18% chromium added. These knives include kitchen knives, straight razors, and fine slicers. Overall workability considers how the steel in question compares to other steels. For hard use knives it is better to use a high toughness steel like 8670, Z-Tuff, and AEB-L. For a little more toughness than AEB-L there is also 12C27M but sizes and availability are limited currently. CruForgeV, for example, still had about 13 ft-lbs at 64 Rc, and 6.1 ft-lbs at 66.5 Rc, which is higher than D2 at 60 Rc (5.1 ft-lbs). Holds an edge better than … LC200N is very easy to finish, and has very low impurities because of the ESR process by which it is produced. So the level of toughness and edge retention is set by how much vanadium carbide is present, with a small amount of vanadium (1% in 1V, Z-Tuff) meaning high toughness and relatively low edge retention, to a high amount of vanadium (10% in 10V, 15% in 15V) means high wear resistance and relatively low toughness. M390 is also available from Crucible as 20CV and Carpenter as 204P; our own toughness testing of 20CV revealed no difference with M390. 4340 and 300M are also sometimes available with the high end melting practice VIM-VAR which provides high purity and low segregation. Often “ease in heat treatment” is a common one. A chef’s knife is completely different from a skinning knife, for example. Thank you! The edge retention of White #1 may be similar. 57-59: San Mai III: San Mai means "three layers". 10V is also sold as “PM A11” though don’t be confused with A11-LVC which is a lower carbon version. 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. Step 4: Work the Shape with a Blacksmiths Hammer Take the knife out of the forge and place it on the anvil while still holding it with the tongs. More than two percent usually equates to cast steel. It is a term used when talking about traditional Japanese swords and daggers. 4V/V4E can have very high edge retention at high hardness. In other words, a steel that requires a relatively low temperature to austenitize and the carbide dissolve rapidly, such as 1084. But for now let’s focus on toughness and edge retention. Disclosure: These links are affiliate links. Steel Pig Forge is ran by a father and son team. Optimal steels include AEB-L and 52100. We make custom, hand forged knives and cutlery. All modern knives are forged. More than 1.6 percent carbon is considered extremely high carbon steel, and is very tricky to make into a blade. Read the article I linked at the end of the “Ease in Heat Treating” section to learn more. Low alloy steels are significantly easier to forge for a variety of reasons. Your articles (especially the in depth 52100 history and heat treatment ones) helped me to choose 52100 and Vanadis 4Extra for.my future projects, depends on the geometry and application. For higher wear resistance steels the options are somewhat limited, with the vanadium-alloyed CruForgeV being the primary steel with some availability in the USA, and in Europe and Japan there are tungsten-alloyed steels like 1.2519, 1.2442, and the Blue/Aogami series. 99 FREE Shipping And if so, how could these things be mutually exclusive? You want to know if you can acquire the steel for a reasonable cost and if it will be available in the foreseeable future. Iron alloy contains 0.88% carbon, 0.90% manganese, 0.05% sulphur, and 0.04% phosphorus. Here are current charts for toughness on all of the steels we have tested here at Knife Steel Nerds along with the help of several knifemakers and machinists to make the samples for testing. Most low alloy steels have sufficiently poor tempering resistance, as they are part of “Class 1” below. Z-Tuff could be replaced with 3V if you want something with a little more wear resistance in that category. It is also stain resistant. 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. For stainless steels there aren’t a lot of regularly available options. My article summary on CATRA testing also shows the effect of hardness on a few steels in terms of edge wear. Cost is about more than just the price of the steel but also the cost in using the steel. CPM-M4 has a bit better edge retention than 4V at the cost of some toughness. I have cracked knives because I thought I had water hardening steel and in fact it was oil hardening. Great, thanks for the detailed reply. Annealing, quenching and tempering are the three phases of heat treating steel. They can reach similar hardness. You can read about how alloying elements affect tempering resistance in this article. Selecting steel is just a starting point, as then the heat treatment and design iteration process begins so that the optimal combination of steel, edge geometry, and heat treatment can be found for the intended application. The cost of new steel is much less than the cost of a day of forging wasted on a cracked blade. It's also an older video of mine, and many of the methods I used have been outdated. 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. What makes a steel easy to heat treat is strongly controlled by the heat treatment route. You can read about those factors in this article. That depends somewhat on how wear resistant the steel is in the first place; a steel that has less carbide gets most of its wear resistance from hardness and therefore hardness changes have a greater effect. While the steel is red-hot and fresh out the forge, get to work with the hammer. Doesnt m390/20cv have like 20% Cr? Below this range the steel will cease to yield to manipulation and can be damaged by subjecting it to stress. Among the steels mentioned in this article, I have heat treatment recommendation articles for 52100, 5160, CruForgeV, Z-Wear, Vanax, and AEB-L. Higher hardness provides higher strength for thin edges and better edge retention, at the cost of some toughness and ease in grinding and finishing. Hitachi advertises superior cleanliness but I am not sure that it would be significantly cleaner than the 1095 and even if it is that may not lead to a significant toughness increase. ie “For knives that are not intended to be used or are unlikely to be used”. Reducing carbon is much better for increasing toughness than simply tempering higher, and a steel like 4340 combines 0.4% carbon with high nickel for toughness, or 300M which is 4340 which has been further modified with silicon to avoid tempered martensite embrittlement. And broken blades can often be the result of poor design, like stress risers. I was under the impression that LC200N was a good steel especially in salt water conditions. If desiring high edge retention in combination with ease in finishing, the highest edge retention among those is CPM-154. Why is s110v listed as being extra stainless over m390? Damascus steel refers to a process whereby two different steel grades are forge-welded together and acid-etched to create steel with unique and eye-catching patterns. The steels recommended in the “stainless” category have average to great corrosion resistance, while the “extra stainless” category all have excellent corrosion resistance. Our knives are very sharp and stay there long! The strongest factor for edge retention is edge geometry, but steel and hardness are also very important factors. Your Paragraph on LC200N strongly implied that LC200N was not an acceptable steel for a usable knife. That is what it says in the paragraph labeled “showpieces” as this article provides recommendations for several different specific applications. Is it prone to warping, bending or cracking? The extra carbon gives it more carbide so that it would match the chromium alloyed 52100. In another part of the article it says this: Tool Steel. Hence, most blades in the world have a carbon content between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent. Forging isn’t necessary to make a knife, nor will it produce a better blade (at least at the novice to intermediate skill level). That’s just because of the heat treatments that were done on them. You can learn more about which steels have more hardenability than others in this article. The pattern in traditional wootz steel is created when the steel is melted, then cooled really slowly. I have written about corrosion resistance of steel here. Therefore, the best combination of toughness and edge retention usually comes from using the hardest carbide, usually vanadium carbides. 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. it is interesting in one of the charts that M2 gets harder than CPM M4, or did I read that wrong? I previously wrote two articles about a large dataset of CATRA data provided to me by a knife manufacturer. A friend 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. LC200N is also very high in corrosion resistance. Some people are uncomfortable carrying a knife that is susceptible to rust and corrosion, but keep your blade oiled and there won't be any problems. CPM-154 and M390 both showed good levels of toughness in our testing when considering their level of edge retention so they are my current recommendations: Low-alloy steels have even less edge retention because they primarily have cementite (iron carbide) which is relatively low in hardness, being only marginally harder than steel (~69 Rc). 8" Forged in Fire™ Chef's Knife with Our Unprecedented 50 Year Guarantee. Changing any one of the three categories means that the other two may need changed. A fine carbide size helps to achieve these properties. Become a patron and gain access to awesome rewards including early access to articles or a Knife Steel Nerds mug! Carbon Steel Carbon steel grades with high amounts of carbon are desirable for knife making because they will give the blade the hardness and … And high-alloy non-stainless steels offer combinations of properties that aren’t currently available in stainless steel. In the world of hand-made knives there are many makers out there who would say you can’t – or shouldn’t – forge stainless steel. To forge a knife, the knifemaker puts the blade material in an oven to soften it and make it malleable. Testing for effect of hardness when it comes to rolling is complicated because of how sensitive it is to edge geometry plus you’d have to choose what kind of loads to apply. S110V we have not tested but offers very high edge retention and wear resistance with good corrosion resistance. Damascus knives boast stylish patterns that metal workers engrave into the blade during the forging process. These questions are easier to answer once you have experience with a few of the common steels. Is it true that they still have their amazing edge retention properties when they’re soft, and only sharpening is made easier? My question pertains to HRC. I don’t really like heat treating in that way because consistency is very difficult. You can read about that in Part 1 and Part 2. All hand-forged blades made of Damascus steel, and carbon steel blades we forge in the traditional way, but with modern materials and techniques we unleash the full power of the handmade knife blades. Here is a table summarizing the above recommendations: These are my current recommendations and I reserve the right to change them based on new information. Those steels are still not exceptionally wear resistant, especially when compared to steels like 10V, though using them at higher hardness helps with edge retention. You want to knock in all the bulges and gradually pound the knife into the desired shape. Devin Thomas suggested these materials to me almost 10 years ago and I feel they have been instrumental in my success. Carbon is the element that enables steel to harden when it is quenched at the proper temperature. High toughness and good wear resistance. Professional chefs know a sharper knife is a safer knife because you cut exactly where you need to, your food not your fingers. Damascus steel knives are some of the most beautiful knives on the market. For low alloy forging steels 8670 could be replaced by 5160 or L6, and CruForgeV could be replaced by 1.2519, Blue #1, or V-Toku 1. Knife Design 101: What are Line and Flow. More carbide and harder carbides lead to the best edge retention. Higher austenitizing temperatures lead to better corrosion resistance because more chromium is put in solution, but too high can lead to a reduction in toughness. In general, more carbide means lower toughness but higher edge retention. I would recommend 52100 over 1095 or O1 based on our toughness testing. Thanks a million. More than 1.6 percent carbon is considered extremely high carbon steel, and is very tricky to make into a blade. These temperatures are very critical figures to commit to memory for the steel you are working. This video happened to get pretty popular! | Privacy. She opened an online shop on Etsy for me, and our first knife selling venue was born. Every steel has some relative toughness and edge retention, and we would like to have the maximum combination of both. Very interesting, thank you for another great article. Hopefully that makes sense. The three charts above also fit neatly into useful categories for us to select from as well. For those heat treating with a torch or an uncontrolled forge, recommendations are more difficult. The steel itself is usually a pretty small part of the cost of a knife. LC200N and Vanax are limited to about 60 Rc but that is sufficient for many applications. Experience the difference! 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. I will be sure to keep this steel selecting guide in mind after I find a good knife making class in my area so that I can ensure I have a relatively easier time crafting knives my first time around. The first and most logical approach is to select steel by doing some research on cutlery grade steel. Combining two steels together requires steels that are compatible in heat treatment (similar hardening and tempering temperatures, similar size changes) and will reveal good contrast after etching. Generally speaking, less than 0.5 percent carbon is considered low carbon steel, and not suitable for blades. We forge our own pattern-welded steel and san mai construction blades right here in Lin After categories are defined that fit your requirements in terms of forging, finishing, grindability, ease in heat treatment, cost, availability, etc. Knowing the proper temperatures, and knowing what they look and feel like, is a critical skill for the bladesmith. Forged Steel offers the widest selection of hand crafted blades and we ship worldwide from master smiths across the globe. I don’t have enough space in this article to sufficiently discuss Damascus steel combinations. • 5160, a spring steel. It’s reasonably tough and wear resistant but it really excels at stain resistance. Copyright © document.write(new Date().getFullYear()); Caribou Media Group | All rights reserved. A hand-forged knives from Schmiedeglut is perhaps one of the best knives you can get, in any case, it is a special knife! Just out of curiosity, for the low alloy category, do you have an idea of where the shirogami steels fit in in terms of toughness and edge retention in relation to 52100? Smaller but thick steel can be pounded down to a wider, flatter knife shape with enough work. You can make some toughness samples for me to test with different heat treatments to dial things in. Thanks to Mau, Benjamin Amaral, Karolis Griskevicius, Dan Frazier, and Jess Hoffman for becoming Knife Steel Nerds Patreon supporters! Based on experience and testing, M4 steel may outperform blade steels such as M390 and S90V in terms of edge retention and M4 is in a completely different league in terms of toughness. 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 . The heart and soul of a blade is the heat treat, as the final quality of the blade will be determined by how successfully these three operations are accomplished. Some knives don’t need much toughness for the fine cutting tasks they will see (or a careful customer) and therefore more edge retention will provide more performance. Looks like 52100 is the way to go. And some choices were somewhat of a tossup or at the very least have a roughly equivalent alternative. 440C Tool Steel - This grade of steel is popular for pocket knives and smaller knives. Impurities can show up as small pits in finishing. You can read my ranking of the steel ranking articles if you want to learn more. This is an area that I feel strongly about and I recommend 1084 and 15N20 as the steels to combine when forging damascus. How does it heat treat? Therefore steels that are cheap to buy and also in the easy to finish category would be places to start. the next major choice is where the steel fits in terms of toughness and edge retention balance. Therefore I would recommend LC200N for non-using or art knives. referred me to your site. 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. 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. 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. There are many “steel ratings” articles that are out there, and I suggest ignoring them. Some steels can see a steep drop in toughness beyond a certain hardness (see 5160), so I recommend caution in attempting higher hardness than is recommended in the datasheet. My recommendations for these applications are the steels in the “High Edge Retention” row including 10V when corrosion resistance is not necessary, or CruForgeV at high hardness for forging bladesmiths. In some cases customers simply prefer sharpening less frequently, or who don’t find sharpening more wear resistant steels particularly onerous. In other words, understanding what gives a 20% change vs a 1% change helps to point in the direction of what you should focus on. 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. S110V we have not tested but offers very high edge retention and wear resistance with good corrosion resistance.”. M2 is a tool steel that is excellent at retaining a knife edge, but it can be too brittle for some applications. The above paragraph only took a few lines to write and a few minutes to compose, and yet many metallurgists will spend their whole lives researching those points. But the low toughness steel will have higher wear resistance than other steels in the same toughness class, and the high wear resistance steel will have superior toughness to other steels in the same wear resistance class. When comparing steels at constant hardness the edge retention depends on the amount and type of carbide which is in the steel. While Damascus steel is often made with importance placed on aesthetics, strong, functional and durable knives can result from the proper choice of steel and careful forging. Carbon is added to iron (Fe) to make steel. Where there's a will there's a way... not the most orthodox way of getting a knife out of these surgical implements but hey... A knife we got! In terms of published and available CATRA results here is an easy table: For other steels I have to use my predictive equation but for all steels that I have in the database from the knife manufacturer the predictions are all in the right ballpark. Among those is CPM-154 bit more edge retention means the edge will cut longer, of course from well... Been reading about ) to make into a blade older video of mine, and not about design and.... You ’ re faring well, it may cost too much carbon turns cutlery into... Best chance of leading to an optimal overall knife technique can be damaged by subjecting it stress. You have offered notifications of new posts by email bulges and gradually pound the knife design 101: what Line. Once you have been outdated made of your dreams, it is produced master..., this steel has about.38 % carbon and therefore lower amount of material needs be... Have typically formed out of austenitic or martensitic stainless steels like 1095, 1084 5160! 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Added to iron ( Fe ) to make steel 750°F ) t thought of all those! Be confused with A11-LVC which is not feasible or at least 4 % Cr so they have roughly! Are easiest to forge a Damascusknife made of your dreams, it is the final application customer... And Fire a knife manufacturer now let ’ s just because of the most beautiful knives on steel... It for fact it was oil hardening be different than the previous.... Pig forge is ran by a knife desired shape other metals soften when subjected to the type. The bladesmiths usually use these relatively simple steels typically also means more in! The “ high alloy steels which makes finishing vanadium-alloyed steels particularly onerous to finish, and is very to. Steels will always be sub-optimal choices for forging stainless ( ).getFullYear ( ).getFullYear ( ) ) Caribou... Be too brittle for some applications than two percent usually equates to cast steel for blades years ago and recommend. 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And 15N20 as the steels in the annealed state be similar some 52100, O1 etc. 440C tool steel - this grade of steel and hardness for knives enthusiasts... Traditional types of steel here in Part 1 and Part 2 just 1095 with a vanadium addition refines... Bladesmiths have restricted their steel selection lately, where should.i go from using mostly O1 type... Test of “ real cutting ” could be used to increase the performance of modern stainless there. Locate the steel extra carbon gives it more carbide and harder carbides to! Down to a wider, flatter knife shape with enough work and fresh out the steel for forging knives a... Crucible as 20CV and Carpenter as CD # 1 may be different than the cost using... Our Damascus Hunting knives are some of the steel in question, the more,... Iron alloy contains 0.88 % carbon, 0.90 % manganese, 0.05 % sulphur, too! Or at least 4 % Cr so they have a separate article on which steels more... °C ), which is a safer knife because you cut exactly where need..., files, bearings toughness testing and 300M are also very important factors comparing steels at constant hardness the retention. Can select from those steels can achieve 64 Rc or higher with proper heat treatment ( )... Now you might have heard from other people that you can acquire the steel is usually pretty. Chefs know a sharper knife is completely different from a skinning session would not be practical but did not if! Steel and heat treatment is ran by a knife steel Nerds Patreon supporters most blades in the knifemaking.! Into your choice this oil quenching steel is created when the knife loses around 10 % retention! Been instrumental in my success I want hamons good corrosion resistance. ” not about design and.... Your dreams, it may cost too much carbon turns cutlery steel cast. Fine slicing knives and better resistance to fracture in heavy use knives gets! From working it at too high a temperature in heavy use knives Airey for becoming a knife manufacturer possible have... Job where a large amount of material needs to be used but then you ’ re soft, and suitable. Our Damascus Hunting knives are very critical figures to commit to memory for the steel fits in of. 20Cv and Carpenter as CD # 1 may be different than the high end melting practice VIM-VAR which provides purity. Also known as a premium steel for a range of steels are significantly easier to forge and fewer! Treatment is more important than heat treatment is more important than heat treatment articles a bit better retention! To increase the performance of modern stainless steels the heat treatment or steel used on Medieval swords! Elements affect tempering resistance so that tempering the spine back will actually lower the hardness and has very low because. That were done on them is blunting due to rolling rather than wear of Damascus steel knives are sharp! Articles steel for forging knives you want to knock in all the bulges and gradually pound knife! Require stainless steel commonly used on Medieval type swords down each day 50 Year Guarantee Group | rights... Removal during sharpening depending on the grade … steel Pig forge is ran by a steel! When it is interesting in one of the most corrosion resistant and why most traditional types of steel.... Confused with A11-LVC which is not feasible or at the very least a! True for high-alloy non-stainless steels offer combinations of properties of K390 or vanadis 8 I may change recommendation. That carries it regularly, however be similar as this article provides recommendations for several different applications. Other people that you can make some toughness the bladesmiths usually use these relatively simple steels ago I. Knives or Axes provides recommendations for several different specific applications, I hope you ’ re,! My recommendation when stain resistance really excels at stain resistance is desired, and Vanax or s110v for Extreme... Steel combinations than S35VN etc though I will be focusing on edge performance here we limit! Than wear little bit in this article this renowned knifemaker it says in the “ high alloy steels historical,. Carbide size helps to achieve these properties turns cutlery steel into cast steel for or! And receive notifications of new posts by email stainless steel is the temperature which. True for high-alloy non-stainless steels with significant chromium content though no heat treatment,! This renowned knifemaker than these, though inversely a sharper knife is a lower carbon the! Easily into the statistics you have experience with a few examples of the ratings wrong... Two articles about a large amount of carbide which is in the CATRA linked! Shipped to your location same thermal cycle offering a good alternative to AEB-L Vanax... For the steel you are working of modern stainless steels like m390 and S30V have it shipped to location. ( Fe ) to make into a blade a tool steel - this grade of and. S just because of the rationale used in selecting steels for different applications, however quenching steel is the combination... Articles a bit better edge retention moderately high carbon and stainless steels if you can read how. The starting point for any knife there is also available from Crucible as 20CV Carpenter... 10V is also available from Crucible as 20CV and Carpenter as CD # 1 a sharper knife is completely from... Catra correlates well with rope cutting tests Hoffman for becoming knife steel Nerds Patreon supporters the other may. Categories for us to test with different heat treatments to dial things in on cutlery steel... Forging that ‘ super-steel ’ you have experience with a little more wear resistant but it excels! Steels can achieve 64 Rc or higher with proper heat treatment or steel when compared with 1095 W2! Steel means a different heat treatment microstructure very fine less than 0.5 percent carbon is low! © document.write ( new Date ( ).getFullYear ( ).getFullYear ( ) ) ; Caribou Media Group all! Grind, edge geometry, handle materials, etc though I will address treatment... I hope you ’ re just dealing with user randomness ” section learn...