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Cheap steel types

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by ilikecheapknives, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. ilikecheapknives


    Mar 19, 2016
    Does any body know any cheap steels that can hold an edge and is pretty hard?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  2. Desertrobot


    Feb 26, 2016
    440C is decent. 8cr14mov is also alright
  3. sirupatespecial


    Oct 16, 2013
    1095? Aus 8. A bunch really. I guess it depends on what you mean by "holding an edge" and "pretty hard". Which is kinda the same thing. Only different....

    How 'bout "hold an edge", pretty hard, and easy to sharpen? That ought to cover it all.
  4. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    It will probably be easier if you tell us what kind of knife you're looking for and what you plan on doing with it. Heat treat and cutting geometry make a huge difference in how a blade will perform, so one 420HC blade might lose its edge cutting water while another might skin out a deer with only a touchup.
  5. 300Six


    Aug 29, 2013
    Gather up some old scrap metal files or a leaf spring off an old car. Old sawblades can be worked too, so I'm told. The only belt knife I ever lusted over was a 1940s Montana rancher repurposed single cut file that had been crudely finished but lovingly and expertly crafted.
  6. TravisH

    TravisH Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 22, 2014
    All the replies so far are spot on.

    Wasn't that long ago that 1095, AUS8, and 440C were considered 'super steels'. Prior to them, work-hardened steels like files, leaf springs, and railroad spikes were coveted. (still are)

    As Insipid Moniker said, it's the heat treatment and cutting geometry that makes all the difference.
  7. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Buck's 440HC is a great edc steel :thumbup:
    If you go with an old file, Nicholson files are extremely common and we're pretty much the best ( simons was another great brand to look for )
  8. Woodcamo Nut

    Woodcamo Nut

    Apr 15, 2014
    Cold Steel's AUS-8 holds an edge better than other AUS-8s.
  9. KingMC

    KingMC The Pun-isher Platinum Member

    Jul 25, 2014
    1095 holds an edge better than almost any other steel of the same cost. AUS-8 would be the stainless one.
  10. Bill1170

    Bill1170 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    1095 for sure.
  11. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007

    I think its fair to compare steels to elite athletes. Even the worst guy in the NFL is still a better football player than the average dude, or an average player with great coaching and a great team will look really good. A cheap steel is going to be better than a soup can. Super steels are incremental improvements with incredible price increases. and an average steel done right, and playing to its strengths can preform far better than one might expect.

    But when it comes to the average knife, you aren't paying for the steel. you are paying for the time, effort and knowledge it took to bring that steel to the point its at. Take Rowen 1095, its fantastic stuff, but you can buy a 1095 Old Hickory for a fraction of the price. What you are paying for is finer attention to detail, tighter tolerance at every stage of the process, and to a degree, the warranty. Not that the Old-Hickory is a badly done bit of steel, but they are produced to hit a much lower price point, and a much higher production number. Buck can do with a cheap steel what few others can, and some companies will take a "better" steel and produce an inferior product because the steel makes up for other short-falls, or does what they want it to do, say polish and grind to a certain degree easily, or is very tolerant of heat treating technique variation.

    440C can be a good steel, but its often used poorly, but it and very similar steels are used to great effect by some companies.

    I've been very happy with the AUS-8 SOG's I've owned, some 1095 blades, and some cheaper ones. But I think there is more variability at the lower end, and there are a lot of knives that are cheap for a reason. the last sub 50$ knives I've bought have all been Vics, cheap steel, done right.
  12. marcinek


    Jan 9, 2007
    Shouldn't someone called "ilikecheapknives" already know what the quality, low cost knife steels are? :confused:

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