Common Steel Materials for Knives

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Common Steel Materials for Knives

As a top steel supplier in Utah, we at Wasatch Steel are here to provide you with top quality materials for any metal working project. For the handy craftsman, one type of project that’s become more popular and more useful in recent years is the knife-making process.

A well-made knife has to function consistently, without failure. Creating this can be difficult, however – a knife blade is sharpened to a fine edge that must not fracture or dull. Not all metals are created equal for this, and a few types of steel are clearly the best options out there. Here are three of the best kinds.

Tool Steels

Tool steels are generally carbon steels that have additional alloying elements, allowing them to increase their mechanical properties. They’re very popular for making knives, as these alloying elements often also increase their corrosion resistance also.

Both A2 and D2 tool steel grades are potential options for a tool steel knife – A2 has excellent toughness but possible issues with hardness and corrosion, while D2 has better corrosion resistance and edge retention but lower toughness.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel also includes chromium and other elements that increase corrosion resistance, to an even greater degree than tool steels. Stainless steel knives have high carbon levels – low-carbon versions like 304L should be avoided unless corrosion resistance is basically the only important factor.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel grades with high amounts of carbon are perfect for knives as they will give the blade hardness and strength that it needs. It’s important to have proper heat treating for carbon steel knives, however – too rapid a quench can make the knife too brittle and may cause it to fracture prematurely. If the steel is allowed to normalize or anneal, on the other hand, it will be too soft and the knife won’t be able to hold a sharp edge. Also be on the lookout for rusting in these knives, as carbon steel doesn’t contain many elements that protect it from corrosion.

To learn more about steel materials for a knife, or for any of our other steel services, speak to the pros at Wasatch Steel today.