Steel guide for Knifemakers and BlacksmithsBruce Richardson
Steel guide for Knifemakers and Blacksmiths
Steel guide for creating Knives, Swords or other Tooling
Are you a knifemaker or blacksmith beginner or just interested in the characteristics of steel when heat treating them and creating things with it?
Find here a choice guide for especially beginners which steel to choose and for advanced creators a detailed description of steel type, description/use, hardening quench speed (Austenitising) and heat treatment device. Download your pdf version of the Steel guide for Knifemakers and Blacksmiths here.
When we are with our team at a knife show somewhere in Australia to exhibit our goods to knifemaking, blacksmithing interested people or even in our shop in Sydney, Australia often people come to us that with the simple wish “I want to make a knife but I have no clue which steel I should use.” In the shop and at shows most of the time(!) we have the resources (time and well trained staff, knifemakers or blacksmiths themselves) to point them in the right direction but it is a different story on the web. I can’t remeber how often people told us, “I searched on Google but I couldn’t find any advice about the right steel for my project.” But to be honest as a beginner or even advanced person it is hard to find the right forums, websites or platforms with the right information for your projects.
After listening to a cry for help and complaint that there is a lack of information on the internet (our website was also a part of this lack) we sat together with our knifemakers in the company and thought about on how to make an easy steel choice for beginners with a detailed steel description for advanced people.
And this is the result:
The main question for a beginner is “what do you want to create?” You can choose between making a knife, sword or tooling. After this questions make a choice weather you have a forge or kiln for heat treatment available. The source of heat treatment decides if you are better of choosing stainless steel or carbon steel, which guides you to a range of steel that is suggested for your creation. Down below we put a list of 25 common steels available in Australia, that indicates next to it the type of steel, a description and use, hardening quench speed (Austenitising) and the heat treatment device.
Be aware that all values intended as a guide only! This Steel guide for Knifemakers and Blacksmiths will not replace research and personal experience.
For more information about the steel including price information, click on the steel number.
Description / Use
Hardening Quench Speed (Austenitising)
Heat Treatment Device
|1045||Simple Carbon Steel||Blacksmith tooling e.g. hammers||Medium / Fast||Forge, kiln|
|1075||Simple Carbon Steel||Blade material||Medium Houghton G||Forge, kiln|
|1084||Simple Carbon Steel||Blade material||Medium Houghton G||Forge, kiln|
|1095||Simple Carbon Steel||Blade material||Fast (Hougton’s K)||Forge, kiln|
|15n20||Nickel Tool Steel||Blade material, bright layer in damascus||Medium Houghton G||Forge, kiln|
|D2||Chromium Tool steel||Blade Material, some rust resistance||Air / Oil||Forge, kiln|
|H13||Cr-Mo Tool Steel||Blacksmith Tooling e.g. punches||Air||Forge, kiln|
|80CRV2||Chrome Vanadium Tool Steel||Large Blades, swords||Medium Houghton G||Forge, kiln|
|52100||Chromium Tool Steel||Blade Material, high wear||Medium Houghton G||Forge, kiln|
|O1||Cold Work Tool Steel||Blade Material, high wear||Medium Houghton G||Forge, kiln|
|W2||Tool Steel||Blade material||Fast (Hougton’s K, Water)||Forge, kiln|
|5160||Spring Steel||Large blades, machetes, swords||Medium Houghton G||Forge, kiln|
|SUP9||Spring Steel||Large blades, machetes, swords||Medium Houghton G||Forge, kiln|
|9261||Silicon Spring Steel||Similar to 5160/SUP9||Medium / Fast||Forge, kiln|
|8660||Cr-Ni-Mo Spring Steel||Axe head bodies, swords, shock resistant||Medium Houghton G||Forge, kiln|
|A2||Cold WorkTool Steel||Blade Material||Air/Plate||Kiln w/foil|
|440C||Stainless Steel||Blade Material ( Great for begining stainless)||Air/Plate||Kiln w/foil|
|AEB-l||Stainless Steel||Blade Material ( Great for begining stainless)||Air/Plate||Kiln w/foil|
|12c27||Stainless Steel||Blade Material ( Great for begining stainless)||Air/Plate/Oil||Kiln w/foil|
|154CM||Stainless Steel||High performance stainless||Air/Plate||Kiln w/foil / salt|
|CPM3V||Stainless Steel||High performance, wear and rust resist||Air/Plate||Kiln w/foil|
|CPMS35VN||Stainless Steel||High performance, wear and rust resist||Air/Plate||Kiln w/foil|
|CPM154CM||Stainless Steel||High performance, wear and rust resist||Medium Houghton G||Kiln w/foil|
|RWL34||Stainless Steel||High performance, wear and rust resist||Air/Plate/Oil||Kiln w/foil|
|DAMASTEEL||Pattern Welded (Damascus) Stainless||An ultimate combination of art and practicallity for your blade, RWL34 and PMC27 pattern welded together||Air/Plate||Kiln w/foil|