sak steel

Feb 23, 1999
Does anyone know what type of stainless steel used in swiss army knives. I sure like the way they cut and hold edges and look great. I called the usa service phone number and they just told me that they were Rc 56-58 and the type of metal was 'stainless steel', duh. Is it made from 440C? I sure would like to know.
Randy, I've heard, can't remember just where, that the steel is Razor steel, or a Svandvik (spelling?) steel. I agree with you the knives do sharpen up well and I've always been a BIG fan of the Swiss Army knives, the ones by Victorinox that is, not dealt with the other guys....


When a fellow says, "it ain't the money but the principle of the thing,"
it's the money.
F. McKinney Hubbard

[This message has been edited by Gary W. Graley (edited 27 May 1999).]
I think that SAK's are more of a cutlery steel. I thought somewhere I heard 420 but I can't find the reference. I'd bet more like 56 Rockwell than 58. The top end guess would be Sandvic or 440A rather than 440C. The steel feels soft and ductile when you sharpen it rather than slick and hard.
Go to and take a look. You will have to search a little, but the hardness is in there. I don't think they tell what kind of steel though. IIRC, the blades are Rc56, with the file running a little higher.

Work hard, play hard, live long.

I copied this off the Victorinox site.

For both blades we use chrome molydenum stainless steel with 0.52% carbon, 15% chromium, 0.5% molydenum, 0.45% manganese and 0.6% silicium. After a sophisticated hardening process at 1040°C and an annealing temperature of 160°C the blades achieve a hardness of RC 56.

The woodsaw, scissors and nail files have a hardness of RC 53, the screwdriver, tin opener and awl a hardness of RC 52, and the corkscrew and springs RC 49.


Frank's information is close to what Buck says is in 420HC (but I think they heat treat to a higher Rockwell number). This is a little like a cross between 425M and 440A. 440A is higher in carbon.

"Defense against knife attack:
Option 1. If you have a gun shoot him."
I have a question that is somewhat related to the steel of SAKs: Do they polish their blades or are they simply chrome plated? I have a swisstool and have observed small chippings on the surface of the handle along the edge. This suggests to me that they plate the steel. BTW, is the chipping normal?
Raph, I believe they do not chrome plate the steel, it is just a mirror polish. I dont know about the chipping.