Selecting the right knife steel quality is more than considering the length and cool looks of the blade. The steel composition used to forge the blade is the ultimate difference in your knife’s effectiveness and durability. And, lastly, one can select different steel types for varying tasks. There’s a diverse range of qualities to consider when choosing a blade, so there’s no perfect steel for all knives. Whereas some knives will be hard and durable, their edges may not retain their sharpness for long, or they may dent easily when dropped.
The two primary ingredients in steel are iron and carbon, with the remaining elements depending on the blade’s intended use and ideal characteristics. Steel quality can be different as well: some are premium while some are mid-range. Your needs shape what you go for: budget, mid-range, or high-end steel. With constant innovations in the industry, new alloys are always available for sale. And although often overlooked, the manufacturer’s finishing has a significant impact on knife quality.
Considerations For Selecting The Right Knife Steel Quality
When selecting your ideal quality of knife steel, you have to make your selection based on what matters most to you, which is the task you intend to use your knife for most of the time. The properties that should influence your selection the most include:
- Hardness: which is the same thing as strength — basically how powerful your blade is. Hardness is measured in HRC in blades.
- Toughness: this refers to the ability of the blade to resist chips and cracks. If your knife is to be used often for cutting hard surfaces, you may want to focus on this a lot.
- Wear resistance: this refers to the ability of your blade to withstand spoilage from particles that spend time on the blade’s surface, for example, dust.
- Corrosion Resistance: this refers to your blade’s level of resistance to anything liquid. Salt, humidity, and moisture corrode blades easily. So, if you’ll often be using your knife in a snowy environment or, say, the rainforest, you should pick a blade with a high rating in this department.
- Edge Retention: this refers to the ability of your blade’s edge to remain sharp after a long while.
- Ease of Sharpening: hard and tough blades often take hours to sharpen thoroughly. Depending on what you’ll be getting into, you may not have much time to spare.
- Heat Treat: this is one of the manufacturer’s finishing skills. This treatment brings out the very best of every steel. When properly done, it produces a fine blade. Depending on the heat treat, manufacturers can make two different blade qualities from the same steel.
What Is A Steel Made Of?
- Carbon/carbides: the higher the carbon percentage, the stronger but less tough the blade.
- Chromium & Molybdenum: influences corrosion.
- Tungsten: enhances hardness, speed of blade, and cutting efficiency.
- Vanadium: concerns the strength of steel.
Takeaways From Selecting The Right Knife Steel Quality
Selecting the right steel knife quality is fairly straightforward. Keeping your intended use in mind, do some research on the relevant considerations to make. What you should never do is cherry-picking. Ensure you spend your time selecting the ideal blade.