1095 Steel?

Dec 30, 2000
What is the general opinion of 1095 steel? I'm not familiar with it. What would be the edge holding ability be comparable to, 420, AUS-6, Aus-8, Gin-1, ATS-34 or? I understand it not stainless but that should'nt be a problem in a Black-T coated fixed blade.
Inquiring minds want to know.
Thanks Rich
You know what they say about generalizations, but GENERALLY SPEAKING a carbon steel will be a better knife blade for most tasks a knife is asked to do and by most standards by which a blade steel is judged compared to stainless steels.

This is not to say that SS is not good for knife blades, just that, with the exception of corrision resistance, most carbon steels are better for blade steel than most SSs are. And, as previously mentioned, the heat treat is critical.

[This message has been edited by Nimrod (edited 01-20-2001).]
Excellent steel. Newt Livesay has proven that the design and heat treat are what really count. www.newt.livesay.com The only stainless steel that I have found to work as well as 1095 or 01 is VG-10, used in the AMK SERE 2000 and the Fallkniven line. I don't think there is a more popular or durable steel available than 1095.

[This message has been edited by Clayton Hufford (edited 01-20-2001).]
speaking of newt livesay, i recieved a wicked knife co. (made by newt) woo neck knife from gordon.
i brought it hiking with me.
it's more of a self defense knife, but i took it out to see what 1095 carbon steel could do.
i cut down two small (1.5 inch diameter) iron wood trees by hacking at them, then drove that bad boy through a 2 inch piece of fallen maple.
i hammered the entire blade into a tree so we could hang a camera from it and get a snap shot of us in the woods, and did other various things with it.
at the end of the day, i was cutting a 2 inch thick piece of iron wood for a hiking stick and the paracord came loose on the end (i'm in the process of making carbon fiber slabs, but carbon fiber is some darn hard stuff to cut with only a dremel tool).
i was pushing the paracord back on when my thumb slipped and, as much use as i had put that knife to, with a light swipe, my finger was sliced right open.
so...i think that says a little something about 1095's (at least newt livesay's 1095) edgeholding.

the crazied knife weilding Sarah McLachlan fan =)
excellent steel, if treated right and you dont mind taking care against rusting.
Happy sharpening

Thanks guys, Based on your input I bought a fixed blade Tops brand that would appear to be a great knife. The maker had a booth at the Sportsman Show here in Denver so I got the chance to discuss his tempering methods, Rockwell hardness etc.
I bought a Livesay RTAK in 1095 recently.
I gave it a good workout this past weekend. After 30 minutes of chopping, I could not notice a difference a reduction in sharpness. I was impressed.
I love the knife. It begs to be used. Looks best when dirty.
Richard K:


<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What would be the edge holding ability be comparable to, 420, AUS-6, Aus-8, Gin-1, ATS-34 or? </font>

Usually 1095 blades are around 59-61 or so, 420 a lot softer as is AUS-6, AUS-8 is a little harder but still softer than the 59-61 RC range, and GIN-1 and ATS-34 are in that range, the same hardness as 1095.

In regards to edge holding it depends on what you are cutting, as compared to all those steels 1095 is *much* tougher and more ductile. So if you are cutting materials that are very gritty or you are doing impact type work (chopping), 1095 might very well outperform them all, as those other steels might fracture.

If you are doing cutting that is fairly low in effort, but puts a lot of wear on the blade (like fiberglass insulation) then the toughness and ductility of 1095 won't really help, and its *very* low wear resistance will make it go blunt much faster than ATS-34 and in decreasing order of probability GIN-1, AUS-8A, AUS-6 and 420 (its not likely that you are actually getting 420, its usually modified). Even though the latter steels (420 and AUS-6) are fairly soft, their wear resistance should still be better than 1095 (assuming the 420 is 420HC or something).

The only other factor is edge blunting due to rolling which is determined by strength, this is generally the case when you are exerting a lot of force across the edge, slicing very hard wood for example. ATS-34 should be easily stronger than 1095, and the rest would behave similar to how they compared in terms of wear resistance, but not as good.

So in general it depends on what you are cutting and how you are doing it. There are different properties that will control edge holding in each case. However one good thing about 1095 is that because of its lack of harder carbides it sharpens easily even on the softest of hones. As well becauase of the high toughness and ductility steeling can work very well.

Cliff, Thanks for the detailed reply. As stated in my earlier post, I bought a Tops C.A.T. model 200 with 1095 as a camp knife. Based upon your response and the others, I'm sure it will meet my needs. I hate using my Axis locks for field dressing game or fish (takes longer to clean them up than use them) and wanted a fixed blade. Got the Tops and have a BM Nimravus Cub on order. Love the blade shape and heft of the Tops and may wind up carrying it as a duty boot knife.