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Types and Qualities of Steel Used in the Knife & Sword Industry



1065-1095 High Carbon - superior sharpening ability with good edge retention and great shock absorbsion, appropriate for larger knives and swords

420 and 420HC Stainless Steel - good all-purpose stainless steel which is less expensive and softer to work, making it ideal when cost, workability and ease of maintenance are issues. Superior sharpenability, fair edge retention, fair corrosion resistance.  Common for less expensive knives and swords where function is not a priority

440A, B & C Stainless Steel - a high carbon stainless steel, somewhat stronger than 420.  Excellent sharpenability, good edge retention, good corrosion resistance.  One of the best all-around knife steels.

8Cr13MoV Stainless - superior corrosion resistance and edge retention with good sharpenability

ATS-34 Stainless - a high carbon, chromium based stainless steel with superior hardness and edge retention and good corrosion resistance

AUS-6 Stainless - superior sharpenability, good edge retention, good corrosion resistance, this is a step up from 420

AUS-8 Stainless - similar to 440, slightly harder

Ceramic - not an alloy, but worth mentioning as it is extremely hard with superior edge retention and corrosion resistance, it is extremely difficult to re-sharpen

D-2 Steel - superior hardness and edge retention but difficult to re-sharpen so is often used in impact tools like hammers

Damascus - superior sharpenability with fair edge retention, today Damascus is made with a mix of alloys or high carbon & low carbon steels folded together for an attractive pattern

H1 Stainless - superior edge retention and salt water corrosion resistance

Sandvik 12C27 Stainless - very pure Swedish steel. with very good all around properties

VG-10 Stainless - one of the best all-around stainless steels. with very good hardness, edge retention, sharpenability and corrosion resistance