Information on SK-5 high carbon steel

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by badlander, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. badlander


    Mar 25, 2009
    Does any one know of any reviews or have opinions on the SK-5 high carbon steel that Cold Steel is using to replace the carbon 5. I have a few Cold Steel knives in the carbon 5 and have been very happy with them but do not know very much about the SK-5 steel.
    DunRanull likes this.
  2. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    It's worked great on the newer Bushman that I have. No complaints.
  3. fudo


    Aug 27, 1999
    SK-5 is equivalent to American 1084. It's a reasonably good steel for large field knives, not as good as Carbon V(0176), but a good steel for what Cold Steel uses it for.
  4. Mike Sastre

    Mike Sastre Custom Crafted Concealex Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 23, 1999
    Do a search - you'll find this has been discussed many, many times, with the consensus of USER opinion being that SK-5 works just fine, and Carbon V will hold an edge just a little longer.
  5. dragonsprayer


    Apr 24, 2013
    what you think CRKT 2725 Kangee T-Hawk? i have D2 custom axes - why such a soft steel for an axe? i understand a sword
  6. T Schloz

    T Schloz

    Oct 3, 2001
    SK-5 isn't a "soft" steel. The hardness is more a result of the heat treatment used. I believe that a hardness of 54-55 is pretty typical for hawks and axes.

    DunRanull likes this.
  7. Superdave1


    Apr 9, 2006
    Well I think it's a thread necromancy ....
    But dragonsprayer didn't you say you were a materials engineer? The type of steel and the hardness are 2 different variables....
  8. T Schloz

    T Schloz

    Oct 3, 2001
    I missed the date when I posted earlier. :eek:

  9. dragonsprayer


    Apr 24, 2013
    o man, ya feed the fire. sorry i felt it might be improtant too some people too know my related backgound, i . e. your big seller i am sure you say that. if you knife maker you say that. big deal - i worked in the steel biz 30 years.

    i told you who i am. what i do. as FYI and i would appreciate it if you use it or loose it.

    i want others opionons. not a-o's. hehe
    super dave your not so super so far.

    t scholtz thank you - i do not know i am not an axe person i have 2 or 3. of our of hundreds of swords and knives - 4 including the eastwing

    i am sword and knife person - so thank you. it seems soft?

    an axe is only1.4- 2 feet but it does need a lot of flex so 54-55 sounds right, but i use a D2 axe so that is why i asked. an axe is not a sword - i know swords not axes..
  10. T Schloz

    T Schloz

    Oct 3, 2001

    You would probably get your questions answered by people more knowledgeable than myself, if you posted your question in the Axe, Tomahawk and Hatchet forum here. There are some very knowledgeable people there.

  11. idaho


    May 5, 2005
    It is NOT a matter of softness (or hardness).
    SK5 is shock resistant. Its high level of Si gives it great toughness and impact resistance. It does not have to BEND like a sword.
    It just wont break. And V and Cr will give it some carbides to be have good wear resistance.
    D2 on the other hand will have great wear resistance, but under IMPACT will break much much faster than sk5.

    The question is would you do with axe?
    Cut highly abrasive materials, or hit, smash and destroy things with impact?
  12. DunRanull


    Sep 9, 2011
    this is an old thread but it came up when I googled SK-5 steels- interested in knowing what is so "great" about SK-5, or is it a fill-the-breech blade steel as the Camillus C-5 was no longer available? At this point it's been around for a few years but I havent gotten any knives made with it, mainly cuz I havent needed any replacements...
    I wonder how users have found SK-5 blades?
  13. Snakebreaker


    Feb 7, 2013
    I have the cold steel SK5 Gurkha kukhuri and the CRKT Kangee tomahawk in SK5. The Gurka has held its edge well with no chips or rolls however I have not used it a great deal. The SK5 Kangee I have used the spike and blade to cut wood and I've used it to slice up a 1/8 thick frying pan into pieces as well as chopped into a 1 inch diameter cold rolled bar of steel several times to test the integrity of the heat treat and edge retention. It preformed flawlessly. No chips or rolls in the edge. Just dulled the the blade some. Numerous penetrating strikes through the frying pan with the spike end and there was no damage or dullness to the spike what so ever.
  14. northwalesBill


    Sep 3, 2013
    I'm watching Coldsteel videos on it now. Looks pretty crazy as usual.
  15. FerFAL


    Aug 15, 2007
    I have several cheap Hultafors knives. They are SK5 hardened to 60RC. I cna tell you its a VERY tough steel with the right HT and blade geometry. Since they are so cheap, I bought several, including a 3mm thick "Hevy Duty" model. I tried to break it without success. The tip is very strong, mostly because of the geometry, but then I used the thing as a chisel, gave some good wacks to the spine of the knife with a metal hammer and the knife is still holding strong. I'm using it as a beater now, opening cans and such, someday I'll try real good and see what it takes to break it but so far I'm happy with how tough the cehap knife is. By the way SK5 at 62RC is used for cutter snap off blades, so it can be made pretty sharp.
    DunRanull likes this.
  16. Ishrub


    Apr 30, 2011
    This is a great abuse video that makes me feel sorry for the knife and me too for having bought so many far more expensive knives which I would be scared to death to abuse like that. I suppose it comes down to edge holding but that SK5 seems pretty impresive for a beater. I also liked the good detail comparison of tang length and value to Mora at a similar price point. I think I will watch more of your videos FerFal.
    DunRanull likes this.
  17. Ishrub


    Apr 30, 2011
    I think I know where you are coming from - I saw a really ridiculous video tonight for a survival axe/ walking stick combo that had some jerk prancing about in black Ninja swat gear with a tactical helmet and black face mask belting about 100 plastic bottles of cola in a pine forest. I think he was a ninja ballet dancer with a caffeine drinking problem trying to remove temptation.
  18. The Mastiff

    The Mastiff Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2006
    SK-5 has been around for a long time in the cutlery world. Anybody recall the SOG Tigershark high speed camera picture of a 45 acp hitting a Tigershark and being split? Those were SK 5 steel, as were many other fine Japanese made knives then and now. If I'm not mistaken it's called 1085 in the Taiwan made Browning Crowell Barker Competition knife and that is an excellent knife.

    When heat treated properly and in a well designed knife it's a very tough steel.
  19. jdk1

    jdk1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2010
    I know, old thread and all, but informational. I didn't know anything about SK-5 and was afraid CS went to it as a cheap alternative to replace the no longer available C5. After picking up a China made CS Gurkha in SK-5 I can say it's very good. In chopping very hard and tough (nasty, gnarley stuff) I can attest it's strong as an ox and held a great edge. Over and over again the lesson is heat treat. I'm not sure what CS's O-1 will offer over SK-5, but I'm curious. But, in a big blade, SK-5 seems a very fine steel in deed.
  20. Bladeslinger


    Jan 9, 2020
    It’s basically a 1084 knock-off. If you’re looking for a cheap, budget-friendly disposable blade, SK-5 will fit the bill nicely.

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