Knife Steel composition chart · The best EDC folding knife. Before the popularity of stainless steel, carbon steel was used for most blades. Carbon steel blades are among the sharpest available and are much easier to sharpen than stainless steel blades. The lack of chrome in the blades means that they are highly susceptible to rust and corrosion and require careful cleaning after each use.
Carbon steel also discolors easily, so it is rarely used for high-quality kitchen knives. However, its overall durability and sharpness make it a popular blade material for survival knives, hunting knives and pocket knives. The AUS-8 is a popular knife steel that originated in Japan and has a great balance of properties and price. It maintains an excellent edge, can be easily sharpened in the field, and is also much more resistant to corrosion than hardened carbon steels, making it easier to maintain.
It's an excellent general choice of steel for any type of outdoor knife. Technically precipitation-hardened steel, H-1 is also naturally hard without being heat treated and can therefore be cold rolled to form blades without any heat treatment by the knife manufacturer. It may discolor and build up some rust, but the blade is fairly easy to sharpen and can withstand the daily use of a pocket knife. Shock resistance alone doesn't impair the blade's performance, but when it comes to other more useful features in a small knife, such as a folder, it's not desirable.
In the knife industry, different types of steel are created by varying the types of additive elements, as well as the way the blade is rolled and heated (that is, Thomas is a friend of ours here at Blade HQ and, with his help, we worked to create this steel guide for knives). In reality, all modern steels work well enough for most users, so consider spending more time on other aspects of the pocket knife, such as knife handling and other features. Knife blades generally fall somewhere in the hardness test between 55 and 66 HRC (Rockwell C hardness). Other factors include how thick the edge is, how blunt the knife was at the beginning, the nature of the heat treatment, and what you use to sharpen the knife.
But like a thin-wood gun aged and darkened, the blade of a bluish carbon knife has a patina rich in stories. Once you've identified your preferred option, Jantz Knife Supply offers a wide selection of steel blades to make everything from a new pocket knife to high-performance kitchen cutlery. If you're more concerned about your kitchen knife staying sharp longer, a carbon steel blade is probably the best option. He is the mind and writer behind Knife Steel Nerds, the go-to source for all knowledge about knife steel.
When choosing the best pocket knife, you should pay special attention to the type of steel used in the blade.