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# 0-9


This is a carbon, martensitic stainless steel with moderate corrosion resistance, good strength and the ability to obtain and keep excellent hardness (RC 55-57) and wear resistance.
Carbon-0.45-0.50%, Manganese-0.40%, Chromium-14.50-14.80%, Vanadium-0.10%, Molybdenum-0.60%

1070, 1095

Simple tool steels with 7/10 of 1 percent of carbon or .95 Carbon and little else in the alloy. Makes good springs, knives, tools etc. Much used in old time production knives. Still the steel of choice for combat knives made by Ka-Bar.

1095 Cro-Van

An easy to sharpen carbon steel used in knife making. Proven to be one of the most popular steels used in KA-BAR knives.
Carbon-0.95-1.1%, Manganese-0.30-0.60%, Chromium-0.40-0.60%, Nickel-0.25%, Vanadium-0.161%, Molybdenum-0.06%. Rockwell 56-58


14-4CrMO is a wear resistant, martensitic stainless tool steel that exhibits better corrosion resistance than 440C. The combination of the high carbon and molybdenum contents results in the formation of hard, wear-resistant molybdenum carbides in the microstructure of the steel. The molybdenum carbides provide superior wear resistance and edge retention for cutting tools and knives. C-1.05, Mn-0.50, Si-0.30, Cr-14.00, Mo-4.00.


A high-carbon, high-alloy, space-age, stainless steel first used for knives by R. W. Loveless about 1972. At that time it was vacuum melted. After a few years the quality declined and makers followed Loveless to the Japanese just-alike ATS-34, using the same formula. The quality has been restored and this steel is not only being used by makers, it is also being used in high-end production knives.

Carbon 1.05%, Manganese 0.5%, Chromium 14.0%, Molybdenum 0.4 - 0.55%.


A highly wear resistant, powder metallurgy stainless tool steel with a unique combination of high wear resistance, high corrosion resistance, good impact toughness, and excellent polish ability. 20CV contains 20% chromium and 4% vanadium, which is the highest level of chromium in any high vanadium stainless tool steel available today. These qualities make 20CV well suited for a wide variety of industrial and custom knife applications. Carbon-1.90%, Manganese-0.30%, Chromium-20.00%, Vanadium-4.00%, Molybdenum-0.60%,


This is a stainless steel. CRKT has used this steel in their Guppieand the Zilla-Tool. The Dogfish and both Triumph N.E.C.K. models also have this steel.

0.32% Carbon, 12.00-14.00% Chromium, 1.00% Manganese, 0.04% Phosphorous, and 1.00% Silicon with a 54-56 Rc.


A mild stainless, the knife makers choice for bolsters and guards; not suitable for blades but will take just enough hardening to make it suitable for engraving.


A stainless spring steel much used in inexpensive production knives from Taiwan. Very useful in tantos and other knives. Also should be outstanding for axe heads. If you use this steel you must have an analysis as it can range in Carbon content from 0.15 to 0.6% the balance is 1.0% Manganese and 12-14% Chromium.


An improved form of 420 that works well with high production tooling; much used by Buck, Gerber, etc. Carbon 0.5-0.7%, Manganese 0.35-0.9%, Chromium 13.5%.


A stainless steel that has a low carbon and high chromium content making it a shock absorbing steel that bends instead of breaking. 420J2 has excellent resistance to corrosion and fair edge holding capability. The Rockwell hardness is seen at 54-56. A common use is as liner material for folding knives. It has a low hardness and wear resistance for a cutlery stainless steel but is fairly tough and very corrosion resistant.
Carbon-0.15%, Manganese-1.0%, Chromium-12.00-14.00% Rockwell-49-53


A high-carbon stainless steel with about .7% Carbon, used in most American production knives and in some handmade knives as well; works well through tooling. 0.60 to 0.75% Carbon, 1.0% Manganese, 16.0-18.0% Chromium and 0.75% Molybdenum.


0.75-0.95% Carbon, 1.0% Magnesium, 16-18% Chromium, and 0.75% Molybdenum.


The most popular high-carbon stainless used by custom knifemakers for many years. First used by Gil Hibben about 1966. This is a great steel when properly heat-treated. It cannot, however be heat-treated with a blow-torch or welding torch.

0.95 - 1.20% Carbon, 0.40% Manganese, 17.0% Chromium, 0.50% Vandium, 0.50% Molybdenum.
SeeThe Knifemakers Steel Chart


An air-hardening alloy with high carbon and high chromium content. It is corrosion resistant and can be described as a high hardness 440C stainless steel or corrosion resistant D2 steel. Possesses corrosion resistance equivalent to 440C. Carbon-1.60%, Manganese-0.50%, Chromium-16.00%, Nickel-0.35%, 
Vanadium-0.45%, Molybdenum-0.80%


A steel popular with forgers, it is extremely popular now and a very high-end steel. It is essentially simple spring steel with chromium added for hardenability. It has good edge holding, but is known especially for its outstanding toughness. Often used for swords (hardened in the low 50s Rc) because of its toughness, and is also used for hard use knives (hardened up near the 60s Rc).
Carbon-0.56-0.64%, Manganese-0.75-1.00%, Chromium-0.70-0.90%


A ball-bearing steel used by forgers. It is similar to 5160 (though it has around 1% carbon vs. 5160?s-0.60%), but holds an edge better. It is less tough than 5160 however. It is used often for hunting knives and other knives where the user is willing to trade off a little of 5160?s toughness for better edge holding.
Carbon-0.98%-1.10%, Managanese-0.25-0.45%. Chromium-1.30%-1.60%

6061 Aircraft Alloy

Probably the most commonly available, heat treatable aluminum alloy. Used in the manufacture of heavy-duty structures requiring good corrosion resistance, in general structural and high pressure applications, wire products, and in pipelines. Capable of being hot forged. Easily cold worked and formed in the annealed condition. Stamping, bending, spinning, deep drawing are accomplished using standard methods. Machinability in the harder T4 and T6 tempers is good. In other words, it makes great folder handles, fixed knife pommels, screws, etc.


9Cr13CoMoV, a Chinese stainless steel, seems to perform slightly better than Japan's AUS-8 (which has slightly more cobalt) and is fast gaining a very favorable reputation as a top quality steel.