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Your favorite steel for buying or making knives

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  • Rockydog
    started a topic Your favorite steel for buying or making knives

    Your favorite steel for buying or making knives

    We've had bits and pieces of knife steel discussions within other threads but I thought perhaps we should start a thread with the focus on which steels we look for when buying or making knives.

    One of my favorite steels is Sandvik 12C27. It sharpens easily to a razor edge but seems to hold an edge fairly well too. It's a good balance. There are knives out there that might hold an edge a bit longer but once they get dull resharpening is a major chore. 12C27 sharpens with just a few strokes on a fine stone. I own several EKA (Normark) knives made from this steel. Browning also uses 12C27 in some of their lock back hunting knives. Here is some data from the Sandvik site:

    Sandvik 12C27 is our main knife steel for hand-held knives, high-end ice skate blades and ice drills. Continuous improvement over a period of 45 years has evolved Sandvik 12C27 into the high performing steel grade it is today. The composition is tighter, the purity level is much higher and the fine carbide microstructure of today is far from how Sandvik 12C27 knife steel of the sixties looked.

    With a hardness range of 54-61 HRC, high toughness, scary sharpness and good corrosion resistance, Sandvik 12C27 is the recommended grade for hunting knives, pocket knives, camping knives, high-end chef's knives and tactical knives.

    Like most of Sandvik's knife steels this grade is fineblankable enabling efficient production.

    % Chemical Composition
    Carbon Crome Silicon Manganese
    0.60 13.5 - 0.40 0.40
    Datasheet https://www.materials.sandvik/en/mat...sandvik-12c27/
    Last edited by Rockydog; 01-19-2018, 23:08.

  • swampshooter
    replied
    Automobile leaf springs will make a good knife and readily available. Old files can be used also.

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  • Old Cop
    replied
    Saw a show where Jerry M. was watching a sword maker make a dagger. He interspaced thin sheets of silver between the layers of steel before he tack welded them and put them in the forge. It was a small segment from Jerry M,s. Shootout LN from Hollywood. Show is a little silly but sometimes some decent info comes out.

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  • STIHL
    replied
    Originally posted by Old Cop View Post
    There was a picture on the S&W forum of a knife made from a 12" circular saw blade. Don't remember anything about it except the maker said it was a B----h cutting out the pattern. I have some broken blades from a Wood Mizer that's a "roundtoit" project for a small knife. They have to be decent steel to handle the cutting they do.
    Those bandsaw blades are high carbon steel with some possibly having some chrome alloy content. They would make a fine filet knife or a thin blade. Forge weld them together and get you some mass and I bet hey would make a good all around tough knife, if tempered correctly the teeth are hardened much harder than the body of the band. So they will get hard and scary sharp.

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  • Old Cop
    replied
    There was a picture on the S&W forum of a knife made from a 12" circular saw blade. Don't remember anything about it except the maker said it was a B----h cutting out the pattern. I have some broken blades from a Wood Mizer that's a "roundtoit" project for a small knife. They have to be decent steel to handle the cutting they do.

    Leave a comment:


  • daboone
    replied
    I'm at the low end of knowledge in this conversation. I've put handles 5 sets, of 6 per set, Green River Knives for kitchen use for myself and my kids. All I know is it's carbon steel. I learned long ago that carbon steel is durable and easy to sharpen. Even my pocket knife has to be carbon steel because I want to know it's going to be sharp when I need it. I butcher whole chickens, cure my own bacon and used to butcher the pigs i hunted. These knives have served my need very well. They may not be pretty but functional is more important. Even my kids say they are far superior to the kitchen knives they got as wedding presants.

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  • Plainsman
    replied
    I prefer to maintain my knives rather than sharpen them. I use leather strops, loaded with various grades of fine abrasive. I don't let my knives get dull and when they get some use I use the strops to keep them at peak useful sharpness. I enjoy the work— it's almost meditative, and certainly pleasant.

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  • DesertMarine
    replied
    Sorry if I sounded like you had disrespected my choice. It was not my intent. Just that I had read those types of comments before but I like it.
    On knives I am much like Ozark. Not an expert, maybe not even very "knowledgeabe" but have my likes. I wanted at one time to learn to make knives and I "made" a few. Tried to shape some from blanks, did not go good, so decided it was better that I enjoy knives and leave making to someone else. Just as I like good looking accurate rifles, I like good looking knives and have a few. Have done a lot of research on knives and different steels and came to conclusion that like calibers, there is really no best, just what works the way you want it to work.

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  • Rockydog
    replied
    Plainsman and Ozark Ed, Thank you both for your comments. Both are exactly the thing I started this thread for. There are steel blanks out there for sale but it's very confusing for the uninitiated.

    Until I get some feedback I can only go by what works for me. I have a bunch of Russel Green River knives that my long gone FIL gave me from being a butcher his whole life. They sharpen easily and hold an edge fairly well but when dull a 1/2 dozen passes across a stone and a swipe with the steel and they are sharp again. I have no idea of what steel they are On the Russel website it says Carbon Steel.

    I also have several Normark/EKA knives that sharpen to extremely sharp with more effort than the Russels but hold that sharpness very well. They are the Sandvik 12C27.

    I have a couple of Buck knives they hold a very sharp edge well but I find taht take forever to resharpen with a stone. I've read that they use 420HC for their steel but used to use 440C. On their Alaskan Series they use S30V.

    It all gets a bit confusing. RD
    Last edited by Rockydog; 01-21-2018, 11:39.

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  • Ozark Ed
    replied
    I don't know how, as a layman, you could possibly determine what steel to use. I have a few of what I consider higher end production knives. Some of the lighter duty ones such as fillet knives and capers are 440C. The heavier duty ones are D2 and S30V. My belief is that D2 is just slightly below S30V as it has slightly less Chromiun and not quite the hardness and toughness of S30V and it does not qualify to be labelled stainless. I do know that 440C sharpens the easiest of the three and D2 and S30V hold their edges longer but I sometimes find them difficult to get really sharp.

    I have to confess that while I am in no sense of the word a collector of knives, I find myself to be an admirer and therefore, often an acquirer. Just like firearms, I have way more than I need and far fewer than I want.

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  • Plainsman
    replied
    RD, I probably would be surprised. I have several knives of AUS-8, bought earlier when I didn't know any better for their design or function and not the quality of the steel. I find it hard to sharpen well, and it does not hold an edge. I have never seen an up-scale knife made of it.

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  • Rockydog
    replied
    Originally posted by Plainsman View Post
    AUS-8 is the best steel for knife-making? Who ARE these people?
    The same people who think that (Name your caliber) is a death ray. I was thinking about making some knives when I retire and spent some time on forums looking at steel specs. Being a novice at it I started by looking at the knives I own and evaluating what they were made of. Then went looking for others. You'd be surprised at the number of times AUS-8 comes up. RD
    Last edited by Rockydog; 01-20-2018, 22:24.

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  • Plainsman
    replied
    AUS-8 is the best steel for knife-making? Who ARE these people?

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  • Rockydog
    replied
    DM, I certainly didn't mean to disrspect your choice. In fact I find it interesting that the core of this steel is an upgrade of AUS-8 which some people swear is the best steel for knife making, period! I have a lot of respect for Cold Steel Knives and for the company founder. My son is in the service and was tasked, along with some co workers with choosing a knife for members of his team. Lynn Thompson met with them personally, thanked them for their service and showed them the choices he had to offer based upon their needs. Pretty nice when the CEO takes time out to help you choose a knife.

    Here is a paragraph about the San Mai III. From the Cold Steel site.

    A simple way to think of San Mai III® blade construction is to imagine a sandwich: The meat center is hard, high carbon steel and the pieces of bread on either side are the lower-carbon, tough side panels. The edge of the blade should be hard to maximize edge holding ability, but if the entire blade was hard it could be damaged during the rigors of battle. For ultimate toughness the body of the blade must be able to withstand impact and lateral stresses. Toughness is generally associated with "softness" and "flexibility" in steel, so that, surprisingly, if a blade is made "tough" the edge won't be hard enough to offer superior edge holding. San Mai III® blades provides a blade with hard (higher carbon) steel in the middle for a keen, long lasting edge and tougher (lower-carbon) steel along the sides for flexibility.
    Last edited by Rockydog; 01-20-2018, 21:37.

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  • DesertMarine
    replied
    I have read other, criticisms/comments about the same about San Mai III. Oh well, it works good for me.

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