They can be; some of those that are made by FROST are carbon laminated steel. These are knives designed to be used as knives, not axes swords or pry bars. The differences in steel make the blade stronger with only the thin cutting layer at Rc 61-63. This also makes it much easier to keep sharp. Do not be fooled by the "cheap" appearance of the knives, they make them for using not looking and they do a very good job of it, I might add. I have one that has been in regular use (but not heavy) for well over 50 years.