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Thread: D2 vs 1095 vs O1

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    North Georgia

    D2 vs 1095 vs O1

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    Can you all help me out? I have a large D2 Knives of Alaska knife and a few 1095 RAT knives.... And I am considering an O1 knife because I hear a lot of good things about the steel.

    What are the differences?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    South Salem, NY
    01 is a solid tool steel. Easy to sharpen, takes a great edge, and very strong. It is not nearly as stain resistant as D2, but a lil more so than 1095. It will hold an edge better than 1095, maybe not quite as well as D2.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    D2 will hold an edge better than 01 or 1095, but it is much more brittle. Its good for skinning knives.

    1095 or 01 for "bushcraft" knives that will baton, chop, and do more strenuous things. I personally like 01 the best.

  4. #4
    Yup. D2 is great for a hunting knife.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    North Georgia
    Perfect answers, thank you all!

  6. #6
    knives of alaska & rat make good enough knives for hunting anywhere in the world,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I think if they are all done with the right heat treat you would be hard pushed to tell any difference between them !

    People say D2 is brittle but I dropped my Ka-Bar D2 Spear point about 6 ft down some rocks and it escaped un marked.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    SE Michigan

  9. #9

    It all depends on the heat treat

    You can make 1095 the most brittle of the bunch or the springiest.

    Same goes for the others.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Performance will depend on the heat treat most of all, and O-1 is the easiest to heat treat correctly. This is one reason to go with O-1.

    I wouldn't say it's corrosion resistant though. About the same as 1095, in fact compositionally the two are very similar. Edge retention depends on what is being cut. I read a research article* comparing 60 rc O-1 to 60 rc D2. In some cutting tasks the O-1 outcut the D2 five times over, in others the D2 outcut the O-1 two times over. Depends on what is being cut and how fast (favors D2) and how much pressure (favors O-1).

    *Tribology International 39 (2006) 479–489

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa, Japan, Japan
    That paper sounds interesting, cotdt.
    Shame I no longer belong to research institute.

  12. #12
    I will second the notion of the D2 lie being spread that it is too brittle. I have seen people's regrind D2 chip out but that is because they took the grind down way too thin. The carbides in D2 are too large to have a thin grind past 20 degrees or so. But I have also seen the same thing happen with other steels with thin grinds performing tough tasks. It is just not a fair criticism levied on D2. I have personally pounded the Ka-Bar FIN blade in very cold weather and it did not dent, chip, budge, curl, shatter, etc. It held up to full out smashing through various wood and straight into the ground. In my Mt. Pickett video I even hit the FIN blade on rock and it did not chip out which I most certainly thought it would (did not do it on purpose) at no fault to the steel. I have given D2 many chances to prove the "too brittle" camp correct, and so far it has not.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    San Antonio, TX
    1095 sharpens easy, but to me it rusts too easily. I have a few blades in D2 and they seem to hold an edge forever and really take a beating!
    NRA Life Member, GSSF Life Member, Veteran - Mike


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    I have been told by a couple full time ABS knife makers that D2 is not the best steel to use on large knives with blades over 6 inches. They have told me that D2 does not have the impact resistance that other carbon steels like 1095 and 0-1 have. I have had several large knives made from D-2 and have never had a problem but they were all customs so the heat trteat was most likely better than a factory knife. I think one of the big factors here is the rust resistance.D-2 has enough chromium in it that is has almost as much rust resistance as a stainless steel knife but with the toughness of tool steel.I think your best bet for a tough low maintenance steel would be S30V. I believe Randall knives carbon steel is 0-1 and I have never heard a complaint about 0-1 steel and believe it is one tough son of a gun for rough use.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    I don't have enough 1095 to comment.

    I have had several D2 and 01.

    IMO D2 is great when you are not going to have time to worry about keeping the blade clean and dry.

    I have a pocket fixed blade Brian Andrews made me in D2 and I used to have a small Charlie May D2 and I could get them dirty, put them in the sink and wash them and then let them drip dry no problem.

    I have used my Brian Andrews D2 to cut my goat hooves crusty and dirty no problem.

    O1 I like better than D2 as far as performance but I think in a woods setting it actually requires me a lot of times to do blade maintainence to keep it from getting too rusted.

    I find that 01 actually keeps a shaving edge longer than D2, but D2 takes longer before it gets dull.

    Also with O1 it likes a polished edge and to me it glides very smoothly thru wood.

    D2 likes a less polished edge and there is sort of a slightly gritty feel cutting thru wood with it.

    The 01 seems to like to be touched up with like 1500 grit wet dry paper and stropped to get it hair popping.

    However the D2 it seems to become the most sharp using 600 grit paper and if I use 1500 or strop a lot it actually slightly dulls the edge.

    Those are my experiences with both.

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