What is the best steel for your knife? This is a question that can only be answered by you because you know what the primary purpose of your knife is. Do you want a blade that stays has a sharp edge or a blade that has a high resistance to corrosion? What about a blade that is so strong that it can be used for prying?
There are so many different steel alloys that are used to make knives. The choice of the alloy by the manufacturer is determined by their reflection of their intention of that knife’s purpose. A tactical knife will not usually use the same kind of steel as a hunting knife. Therefore the purpose/type of knife will determine what steel should be used to make the blade of your knife.
Properties of Steel
When choosing a steel alloy manufactures typically consider the following features of the steel they plan to use:
1. Ability to hold an edge- The ability to maintain an edge is the duration of time the knife can be used before it needs to be sharpened again. All blades will dull with use, but some will dull faster than others. Most times a knife that is more difficult to sharpen will hold an edge longer.
2. Ability to take an edge-The ability to take an edge is the basically what people consider to be how sharp a knife can be. The blade design and angle of the blade grind can alter the perceived sharpness of the knife.
3. Strength-Strength describes the flexibility of metal to being permanently deformed when cutting robust objects.
4. Toughness-Toughness, on the other hand, describes the metal’s ability to resist chipping and cracking from impacts.
5. Corrosion Resistance-Corrosion resistance is merely the ability of the metal to resist corrosion.
A good rule of thumb, while not absolute, is that toughness and strength tend to be inversely proportional. This means that the stronger the steel, the more likely it will be to crack or chip. Likewise, very tough steel will not be reliable.
Types of Steels
Most knife manufacturers are using several different types of steels in their production, but most of them fall into three classes of steel which are: tool steel, stainless steel or carbon steel. There are many different alloys of iron but these are the ones that are mainly used in the knife industry.
Tool Steel is a more general steel alloy that ranges from average quality to outstanding quality. Even though it is not as popular as the other two types, it is still used to make many different kinds of knives.
Stainless steel is the most popular steel used in the knife industry. It has excellent resistance to corrosions because of its inclusion of chromium. In normal circumstance, stainless steel will not corrode or rust, but in harsh conditions, there is a possibility. Some examples of stainless steel alloys are 420, 440, AUS-6, AUS-8, ATS-34 and others.
Carbon steel has the highest durability compared to the other two alloys. They are easy to sharpen and are very tough. The only downside to carbon blades is that they are not resistant to corrosion, unlike stainless steel.
In conclusion, it can be said that best steel for your knife depends on what and in which conditions you want to use it in. Examine the knife reviews and determine which knife will meet your demands.