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Sandvik 12c27

Oct 3, 1998
It seems that I turn my back for a second and someone is comming out with a new steel. Could any one tell about the Sandvik 12c27?
Jim Smith
It's not new. It's a high purity Swedish stainless, said to have originated as a razor steel. It's common in some of the scandinavian knives. Normark for example has some. The alloy is "simple" with .6%-.7% carbon, .35%-.38% manganese, and 13.5%-14.0% chromium. Something in the purity and heat treatment makes this a very sharp steel. Often it isn't as hard as some other alloys. This may relate to how it is often used. The mora style knives often have no secondary sharpening bevel. When you sharpen them you work on the entire tapered part of the blade. It would be awfully hard to do that with a really hard steel. I think of this steel as being a step up from the alloy in Buck knives (420HC) and Swiss Army Knives. You just need it hardened appropriately for your application.
I believe it is the purity of the iron ore that is the heart and soul of this steel. I've read that it is the purist iron ore found on the planet.
Of course the purer the ore, the cleaner the steel. Less impurities means less problems like brittleness and such.

I've had a couple of knives with this steel and it performs rather well with no perceivable brittleness. It takes a REAL fine edge to boot.

It's not CPM440V or VG10, but it works and works pretty doggone good to boot.
Now, this is all dependent upon a good heat treat. If it's not HT properly, it gets pretty mediocre pretty fast.

The latest knife with 12C27 is the Outdoor Edge Impulse. I bought one and I'm getting ready to buy another this week.

I hope this helps!

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

Yes, i also have a Impulse knife and am impressed with this steel. Real sharp!
12C27: a Steel That Gets No Respect was the title of a Steel Bin article by Butch Winter in Tactical Knives a few issues back. He gives it a pretty high rating, and noted that Benchmark Knives of NC has always used Sandvik steel in their knives. I suspect it may be used in some of the Frosts and Ericksson stainless blades from Mora, Sweden.
It's also used by some Swedish custom makers, usually with very good results.

Urban Fredriksson

"Smooth and serrated blades cut in two entirely different fashions."
- The Teeth of the Tyrannosaurs, Scientific American, Sep 1999

The folks in sweden are known world wide to make the BEST steels in the world. If you read the heat treat charts for this steel and make sure that your time and temp readings are correct this steel performs excellent.
The secret is in the heat treat. Remember some factorys heat treat there steels to a lower rc to make there grinding wheels last longer in production giving some steels a bad name. This method is not exceptble on knives of any cutting quality anymore. The Impulse is heat treated to 59 rc.. We feel this is optimum rc for this steel. It does cut very well.. I am very happy with this steel!

Web Site At www.infinet.com/~browzer/bldesmth.html
Take a look!!!

I didn't know and I was going to ask you and David over in the Outdoor Edge Forum.
I was expecting 57-58Rc This is out-freakin-standing!
Thanks for the info Darrel!

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

RC59 from Sandvik 12C27 sounds interesting.
The economy class Scandinavian knives I deal with normally claim only about RC57 for the stuff. Good working class knives for the asking price, but not in a class with ATS34 or VG10, for example.

AKTI Member # SA00001
True James, but should be an interesting experiment. I'm interested to see what people think of it at this hardness. Seems to be holding up for me rather well so far. I get a fine edge with no hint of brittleness.

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

The iron for this steel is being mined 800 meters below my feet at this moment. I could feel our house rock a little as they set off the explosives half an hour ago, which they do almost every night.

Tea drinker and hellraiser from Northern Sweden, above the arctic circle.

Outdoor Edge chose 12C27 for the Impulse because it is the best quality steel we could find for fine blanking. In an annealed state it is much softer than ATS, 8A, 440C. Therefore it fine blanks very well. These other steels mentioned can not be fine blanked because they are too hard in an annealed condition and would damage the tool. Fine blanking is required for the Impulse in order to get clean holes for the blade slots. If we had to machine these slots if would have raised the price for the Impulse considerably.

I believe most knife users will be pleased with the performance of 12C27. We are cryogenically quenching the blades and the final grain structure is very fine so you get get a keen, wicked sharp final edge. So far all cutting and edge retention reports from BF members on the Impulse have been positive.

As far as Darrel's comment of RC59 for the Impulse, this is probably 1-2 points high. Max hardness for the Impulse should be in the 57-58 range.

The main reason Sandvik is not used in more US production knives is they have made virtually no effort marketing this steel to the US, Japanese or Taiwanese knife manufacturers. Sandvik is large steel and hand tool manufacturer. Their hand tool catalog alone is thicker than a phone book. Therefore selling 12C27 to knife companies seems to be a very low priority in their marketing plans.

Outdoor Edge Cutlery Corp.

David Bloch

See our Online Catalog at: http://www.outdooredge.com