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440A vs 440C

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by BRASMAN, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. BRASMAN

    BRASMAN

    358
    Mar 5, 2007
    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. PatriotDan

    PatriotDan

    904
    Jan 6, 2007
  3. Cliff Stamp

    Cliff Stamp Banned

    Oct 5, 1998
    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/reviews/blade_materials.html#S_440A

    http://www.cutleryscience.com/reviews/blade_materials.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
     
  4. rhino

    rhino

    Dec 30, 2000
    Cliff, does Kershaw do a good job with their heat treatments of their 440A?
     
  5. rifon2

    rifon2

    Oct 9, 2005
    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. Cliff Stamp

    Cliff Stamp Banned

    Oct 5, 1998
    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. sjahn

    sjahn

    74
    Mar 1, 2006
    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. BRASMAN

    BRASMAN

    358
    Mar 5, 2007
    So are the Boker fixed blades that use it any good? Like their stag handled knives.
     
  9. jimengdh

    jimengdh

    9
    Jan 19, 2007
    i have a sog m37 made by 440a,working great:)
     
  10. langchop

    langchop

    301
    Jun 16, 2007
    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.
     
  11. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    yes, if properly heat treated.
     
  12. zonlyone

    zonlyone

    2
    Oct 14, 2011
    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. zonlyone

    zonlyone

    2
    Oct 14, 2011
    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. Gator97

    Gator97 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 10, 2000
    I wonder how long it'll take before zombie patrol comes over and starts posting resurrected thread imagery...
     
  15. singularity35

    singularity35

    Mar 1, 2010
    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. :)
     
  16. 555

    555 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    Never mess with the Way Back Posting Machine unless there is a Dog in the room. :D

    [​IMG]

    Welcome to the Blade Forums zonlyone. :)
     
  17. Cold Kill

    Cold Kill Banned

    927
    Jun 19, 2011
    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. Nostimos

    Nostimos Gold Member Gold Member

    590
    May 18, 2011
    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. SpyderPhreak

    SpyderPhreak Rocketman for hire Platinum Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    Cliff, is that you??? :foot:
     
  20. RandomAyes

    RandomAyes

    707
    Oct 19, 2009
    Wow, Cliff Stamp was involved originally. What exactly happened with him anyway?
     

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