- 0.1 What is 1095 steel?
- 0.2 Chemical composition of steel 1095
- 0.3 Common uses of steel 1095
- 0.4 Heat treatment steel 1095 (C100 / UHB 20C):
- 0.5 Hardness of steel 1095
- 0.6 Properties of steel 1095
- 0.7 Steels equivalent to 1095 or alternative
- 0.8 Is 1095 steel good for knives?
- 0.9 Pros and cons of 1095 steel
- 1 Famous industrial knives made of steel 1095
- 2 Conclusions
Steel 1095 (Aisi) or equivalent C100 / UHB20C (Uddeholm carbon steel), also learning the nomenclatures in other systems has its importance to understand what type of steels you are talking about.
Also in this case I propose a steel that is easier for many makers to know as an element of the billet to create Damascus steel, because the 1095 in combination with the 15N20 is often used to forge damask.
Now using this carbon steel individually can be useful as U10A carbon steel to create passivation, hamon etc. and create interesting aesthetic motifs that with other types of steel becomes much more complicated.
Some makers will say that it is better to use sintered steels such as the M390 to make their own knives or the N690 and certainly it is better for some types of knife but it is a bit like the MA5MV that I find it a cheap super steel for those who want to start without spending hundreds of euros for a steel bar, or as in carbon steels harden the knife with the first equipment to start venturing into this passion I believe that the carbon steels of the 10XX family are a good choice.
The steels in cutlery are crossed by fashions where you see dozens of makers who start using a certain steel and there is, but I believe that the experimentation and research of the most suitable steel for a given use is always the guide to create blades that are increasingly performing and suitable for those who use them.
Surely when you use certain steels you are never wrong, but it would be boring if all the makers or industrial builders used the same steel and never looked for that diversity not for the sake of change but to evolve the art.
Aisi 1095 is a carbon steel suitable for creating knife blades and as a basic component in forging and creating carbon damask.
It is a steel that lends itself very well to processing and reaches a degree of hardness 60/62 HRC
Carbon steel 1095 is very popular and commonly used, you can simply trust this steel right away or try to know it better if it fits well with your needs by reading this post.
1095 steel is a classic and is used today in many cutlery and knives.
If you would like to know more about this “simple” steel, read on, this guide should help you know the most important details about 1095 steel for knife products.
What is 1095 steel?
1095 steel is a high-carbon steel that is often used in knives and swords.
It is not a stainless steel, but it is known for how sharp it can become and how well it can maintain its edge.
It is also commonly called “Cutlery Spring Steel”.
Often described as “simple” and “old” steel, it is often mentioned that this type of steel is quite well established.
Although it is difficult to find information about when it was created, it can be assumed that it is quite old as it does not have the characteristic long list of components of the most modern varieties.
Its simple composition, is one of the first “brands” of steel allows all manufacturers to create it as you do not have to change its composition to avoid problems and patent disputes.
In any case, this type of steel has established itself as a reliable option for the manufacture of cutlery, it is quite difficult to treat to make it able to withstand regular use, but it is also easy to sharpen and since it is not a stainless steel, it can suffer corrosion if not treated or maintained correctly.
Chemical composition of steel 1095
As mentioned above, the 1095 has a rather simple and linear composition that makes it a simple and popular choice for many manufacturers.
Its primary components include:
- Carbon, 0.90-1.03%
- Manganese, 0.30-0.50%
- Sulphur, 0.05%
- Phosphorus, 0.04%
Unlike today’s super steels, 1095 has a very “short and specific” composition.
It does not even contain chromium, which is why it can be subject to rust and corrosion.
Despite its simplicity, the high levels of carbon and the additional content of manganese make it very hard and resistant to normal wear.
The 10XX series of carbon steels
1095 (and 1084, 1070, 1060, 1050, etc.) many of 10XX’s steels are used for cutlery, but 1095 is the most used among the mentioned.
When you go in the order from 1095-1050, the higher the final numbering is, the higher the carbon percentage, then the more resistance and the harder.
The 1060 and 1050, are often used for swords.
For cutlery the 1095 is an excellent compromise between cost and quality, it is reasonably hard and holds a good thread and, something not to be underestimated, it is easy to sharpen, unfortunately it oxidizes easily if no maintenance is carried out.
It is a simple steel, containing only two binders: .95 carbon and .4 manganese.
|C||Si||Mn||P max||S max|
The various and famous Ka-ba use from 1095 as steel with a coating to protect against oxidation.
1095 steel is a 1% multipurpose carbon steel with high tensile strength.
It is often the standard choice for the mid-range and thinner of many components such as crossbows, springs, and even knives.
It is hardened and found in a fine martensitic structure that provides the highest fatigue resistance among all non-alloy steels.
Popular steel for damask welded blades (to create patterns) in combination with 15N20
Common uses of steel 1095
1095 steel can be widely used for knives as its nickname suggests, it is also used for other applications such as the following:
- For the production of commercial saw blades
- To make car springs
- For the production of railway bits
- For creating other hand tools
- To make swords and katana of decorative type
- For the creation of various cutting tools
1095 steel is also usually added to 15N20 steel to create Damascus steel.
Different manufacturers have various techniques, however, so they do not offer the exact same characteristics and have the same appearance.
Heat treatment steel 1095 (C100 / UHB 20C):
Hardening temperature 800°C (1490F)
Tempering time 30 minutes.
- 100°C/212F –> HRC 67
- 200°C/392F –> HRC 63
- 300°C/572F –> HRC 57
Hardness of steel 1095
There are different reports about the hardness of 1095 steel since its production and carbon content may vary slightly.
This tends to affect its hardness level, so some are classified at 55-58 HRC while others can go up to 64-65 HRC.
Properties of steel 1095
Steel 1095 has a rather interesting set of properties.
It is definitely not a super steel, but in a list of characteristics of a good blade, it can tick it off on many much more noble steels and do well what many people look for in a good blade.
Some might object against this claim, but the well-treated 1095 blades perform well as choppers without breaking or chipping.
It is not as strong, of course, as super steels, but for the purposes for which 1095 steel is often used, it can already be quite strong and durable.
That is why it is also crucial to pay attention to the type of heat treatment that manufacturers use on their 1095 blades.
Top brands often note such details on their websites or press releases, so it shouldn’t be that hard to find. Specific reviews of 1095 steel knives also discuss such details on some occasions. Some treatments are better than others, so it’s crucial to pay attention to those details.
One of the main strengths of 1095 steel is its sharpening.
This type of steel can become very sharp easily enough since it is not a very hard steel to work with.
And even those treated and coated to increase the hardness of the steel still prove to be manageable during sharpening.
In addition to being very sharp, the 1095 can also keep the wire quite well but since it is not a hard steel, it does not promise to keep its wire for a long time.
This is an important detail if you are thinking of buying a 1095 for your daily transportation.
It will lose its sharpening after a while with regular use but as I have already told you this steel is easy to sharpen since it is not very hard.
If you are the type of hobbyist or knife user who likes to maintain your knife because it relaxes you and finds it pleasant, then these blades in 1095 can be a good choice for you since it will require quite a bit of maintenance to keep it as sharp as a razor.
Being a high-carbon steel, the 1095 can be expected to be wear and abrasion resistant.
Its hardness also contributes to this feature, so it may not necessarily be the best.
However, it can still provide satisfactory performance, especially if you choose a well-treated part.
Steels equivalent to 1095 or alternative
As one of the most basic steel grades available, it should come as no surprise that 1095 has a number of equivalents or alternatives.
Since it is used as a standard for certain purposes, manufacturers have modeled several other types of steel after it to function as substitutes.
Other newer varieties come as updates, so they can also be interesting to look into.
Some of the most popular alternatives and steel grades equivalent to 1095 are as follows:
Steel 1095 vs Steel 5160
5160 and 1095 steels are two very similar metals, mainly because they are often used for spring applications.
5160, however, is classified as high-carbon and chromium spring steel since it also contains a small amount of chromium.
This makes it slightly more resistant to corrosion than the 1095 but not significantly.
Since it is not yet stainless or even semi-stainless, it can still rust if it is not properly cared for.
This helps make it a bit more durable than the 1095 but the 1095 has better edge retention, thanks to the fact that it’s a bit harder.
Steel 1095 vs Steel SK5
Japanese SK5 steel is another high-carbon metal very similar to 1095 and is widely used for various purposes.
It contains very little chromium, so like 1095, it is also non-stainless.
However, it is very hard with a Rockwell hardness of 65 HRc so it promises great wear resistance and upper cutting edge retention.
Steel 1095 vs O1 Steel for Tools
O1 is an oil-hardened cold processing steel that is of the general purpose variety.
It is very similar to the 1095 in terms of robustness, but the O1 is more wear-resistant and can hold the edge a little longer.
Some knife manufacturers simply tend to prefer the 1095 for its ability to get a hamon since O1 cannot offer such an effect.
Steel 1095 vs Steel 1075
Coming from the same family, 1075 and 1095 are also often compared to each other since they have very similar components.
While 1095 has more carbon, 1075 has more manganese, balancing each other in terms of hardness and tensile strength.
This different % may also explain why the 1075 is softer and has greater workability.
Steel 1095 vs. Steel D2
When it comes to flexibility, the D2 comes as a solid option for many knife makers.
This is perhaps why it is often compared with 1095 since both can be good options as blade materials.
However, the D2 is a semi-stainless steel, so it has an advantage in terms of maintenance.
On the other hand, the D2 is very hard, so it is also difficult to sharpen and more fragile than 1095.
But since it holds the edge quite well, it is not necessary to sharpen it very often.
Steel 1095 against carbon steel 1055
The 1055 is a medium carbon steel, so it is a bit softer than the 1095, making its suitable applications a little different from the latter.
It may require more beats as it is tougher, but in terms of edge retention, the 1095 comes out the winner.
Is 1095 steel good for knives?
With the nickname “Cutlery Spring Steel”, it can be assumed that 1095 steel is a good choice for knives, many used the crossbows and springs of old cars to make steel for the blades that were in 1095.
It is a knife that can become very sharp and is not too difficult to sharpen, so it is easy to keep the blade thread always efficient and the sharpening still has a good durability.
Even if it is not a stainless steel it is still a good choice for those who are used to or who do not mind taking care of their knife or to keep their knives efficient.
It is a steel that can develop a beautiful patina that appeals to many fans and fans of knives since it exudes a vintage charm or a worn and well-worn knife.
Pros and cons of 1095 steel
- Durable and will be able to withstand quite a few blows (thanks to its carbon and manganese content)
- Good workability (has a good balance between hardness and softness which makes it easy to work with)
- Suitable for cutting tools (this makes it ideal for knives and other cutting tools)
- Convenient (being a simple and common steel, it is quite cheap)
- It can become very sharp (and also easy to sharpen)
- Versatile (can be used for a wide range of knife products)
- Many great knives are made from this material (even some iconic ones like the Ka-bar)
- Tends to be brittler than other low-carbon steels in the 10XX range
- Needs to be coated or properly maintained to prevent rust
- Evaluated with a medium thread retention, so it will require regular sharpening
Famous industrial knives made of steel 1095
To better understand what 1095 steel can do, here is a short list of 1095 steel knives that you may find useful to understand how some very famous and sought-after knives use this specific steel.
- KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife
- KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife
- ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife
This 1095 steel review may not have been able to detail all the technical stuff about said type of steel in detail, but hopefully it was able to highlight the key details that the metal can offer.
With its durability, sharpness and easy availability, it makes sense that it is a popular choice of material for knives and other cutting tools.
For a great 1095 steel pick, the KA-BAR 1217 knife can be a nice addition to the collection of any knife enthusiast.
In addition to being a legendary product, it has proven to be a reliable personal knife, so it could also meet your needs.
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