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Thread: 440A vs 440C

  1. #1

    440A vs 440C


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    What is the difference between 440A or 440C steel? I have seen some knives made out of 440A and wondered what it was.

    Thanks for any info.

  2. #2
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    440C has more carbon (and therefore you can heat treat it harder? Im guessing here...)

    Look here:
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=478251

  3. #3
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    The increase in hardness does give 440C about a 3 point HRC increase when both are treated optimally. In practice it is usually a LOT more because 440A is in really cheap knives. Generally, few people (aside from Kershaw) use 440A in decent knives so they are usually best avoided unless you know the manufacturer is of some decent level of quality. Ref :

    http://www.cutleryscience.com/review...ls.html#S_440A

    http://www.cutleryscience.com/review...ls.html#S_440C

    To be clear, 440A is a solid knife steel and in fact has several advantages over 440C; it is tougher, has a higher edge stability (much), and is more corrosion resistant. But in practice it tends to be used on cheap knives and gets low end heat treatment and thus the performance is often very low.

    -Cliff

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    Cliff, does Kershaw do a good job with their heat treatments of their 440A?

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    440A >>> Sandvik

    Quote Originally Posted by rhino View Post
    Cliff, does Kershaw do a good job with their heat treatments of their 440A?
    I think this is pretty much of a moot point because Kershaw is in the process of switching its 440A models to Sandvik steel.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhino View Post
    Cliff, does Kershaw do a good job with their heat treatments of their 440A?
    Not compared to what it can do no. But better than the really low end 440 blades that you buy for $1.99. Those can be horrible, grain so bad you can see it like cast iron.

    -Cliff

  7. #7
    Kershaw does a good job with 440A, I would say.
    As Cliff said, it could have been better, but it is adequate for general use (it works fine with me in an office environment). The blade is a little bit soft, but it also makes sharpening easier.

  8. #8
    So are the Boker fixed blades that use it any good? Like their stag handled knives.

  9. #9
    i have a sog m37 made by 440a,working great

  10. #10
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    I stand corrected, but my understanding is that as you go up the A....B....C grades, you get higher hardness at the expense of toughness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by langchop View Post
    I stand corrected, but my understanding is that as you go up the A....B....C grades, you get higher hardness at the expense of toughness.
    yes, if properly heat treated.

  12. #12

    Smile 440c - 440a differences/advantages

    440A is a cheaper steel. However, that does not mean that it doesn't have some advantages. For instance, some military knives are made with the 440A steel, simply because of less corrosion and ease of sharpening (and of course the price). While the steel is not as hard, there are other elements, such as design, that can help with this disadvantage over the 440C.

    When comparing these two grades for kitchen knives, the advantages are the same as the military knives. While either may not be as good as VG10, the 440A can last a long time given that they rust less, stand up to more abuse, and it's the easiest to sharpen by far. I suggest that if you plan on buying a knife made with the 440A, make sure that it's a reputable maker that has very high-quality craftsmanship in the blade, because that can make all the difference in the world.

    As far as price is concerned, it can vary dramatically, but 440A can be dirt cheap or close to top of the line (such as with Cutco). Cutco for instance uses a cheaper steel, but it's obviously to keep the knives out of the shop since they have a life-time warranty. It allows them to sharpen the knives quickly and more precisely, as well as extending the life of the blade with less corrosion. So, it seems to be beneficial to both the user and the company. However, they are close to same price range as some of the best professional Japanese knives...too close IMO. But, many people swear by them for their durability. Japanese knives are not as durable in most cases. And Cutco knives are made in America.

    I would suggest that if you get into a very high price range..you might as well go with the higher-grade steel that has a higher HRc..such as VG10s, or the like. In the $150+ price range, I wouldn't get a knife with less than a HRc of 59, but that's just me.

  13. #13
    440A is a cheaper steel. However, that does not mean that it doesn't have some advantages. For instance, some military knives are made with the 440A steel, simply because of less corrosion and ease of sharpening (and of course the price). While the steel is not as hard, there are other elements, such as design, that can help with this disadvantage over the 440C.

    When comparing these two grades for kitchen knives, the advantages are the same as the military knives. While either may not be as good as VG10, the 440A can last a long time given that they rust less, stand up to more abuse, and it's the easiest to sharpen by far. I suggest that if you plan on buying a knife made with the 440A, make sure that it's a reputable maker that has very high-quality craftsmanship in the blade, because that can make all the difference in the world.

    As far as price is concerned, it can vary dramatically, but 440A can be dirt cheap or close to top of the line (such as with Cutco). Cutco for instance uses a cheaper steel, but it's obviously to keep the knives out of the shop since they have a life-time warranty. It allows them to sharpen the knives quickly and more precisely, as well as extending the life of the blade with less corrosion. So, it seems they have a reason for the cheaper steel that is beneficial to both the user and the company. However, they are close to the same price range as some of the best professional Japanese knives, too close IMO.

    I would suggest that if you get into a very high price range..you might as well go with the higher-grade steel that has a higher HRc..such as VG10s, or the like. In the $150+ price range, I wouldn't get a knife with less than a HRc of 59, but that's just me.

  14. #14
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    I wonder how long it'll take before zombie patrol comes over and starts posting resurrected thread imagery...

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    The OP's last activity here was on 06-28-2009 05:13. I think it's safe to say he won't still be looking for an answer to his question in the original post.

    Oh, Welcome to the forums. Nice first 2 posts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gator97 View Post
    I wonder how long it'll take before zombie patrol comes over and starts posting resurrected thread imagery...
    Never mess with the Way Back Posting Machine unless there is a Dog in the room.



    Welcome to the Blade Forums zonlyone.
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  17. #17
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    440C has much mroe carbon that 440A, so it can take a sharper edge, hold said edge longer, but have lower rust resistance. In progression from 440A-B-C, the edge properties go up, but rust resistance (and I believe toughness too) go down. Same with AUS-4-10.
    If I am not mistaken, 440A has around .6% carbon while 440C has around 1.0-1.1%.

  18. #18
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    haha its funny when vintage threads come back from the dead.
    but just to recap: it usally comes down to maker and the quality of their heat treat.
    remember, buck has been using for quite a long time the "inferior" 420hc, but their heat treat makes it usable.
    my 112 sharpens very easily and holds a decent edge for realistic uses.
    when i judge it by what it realisticly was intended for and cost, i can enjoy it and respect it as much as my sebenza.
    but dont tell this to the "hardcore knifeguys" out there.

  19. #19
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    Cliff, is that you???
    "Heh heh heh. That's not a knife... THAT'S A KNIFE!!!" Mick D., 1986
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    Freedom is NOT Free!!! THANK YOU to those who serve this GREAT country!!!

  20. #20
    Wow, Cliff Stamp was involved originally. What exactly happened with him anyway?

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