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surgical steel?


knife law moderator
Dec 25, 1998
My Sgt. gave me his knife to sharpen on my sharpmaker. It is a small knife made by Frost. It sharpened incredibly fast to hair popping sharp. The blade says surgical steel. What steel is this? It sharpened so fast that I have a feeling it wont hold an edge very well. I could be wrong but in my experience that is one of the tradeoffs of a steel that is easy to sharpen. It seemed very soft. Anyway is surgical steel a certain kind or is it a generic name for cheaper steels.


Thanks Joe, thats what I thought.


Disposable scalpels actually are made out of that stuff -- it's cheap enough to throw away after using once, and edgeholding doesn't matter; they throw it away. So whenever you see "surgical steel" on a blade think "disposable."

-Cougar Allen :{)
Most Frost knives use 420 stainless. This is a good steel for a collector knife because it's very rust resistant. Not so good in a using knife because it's too soft. I tend to prefer softer steels than most knife knuts for ease of sharpening but 420 is really too soft in a knife purchased to sharpen and cut things. Take care.

Knife Outlet

The term "surgical steel" is also a catch-all for any similar stainless steel used for any purpose in a surgery setting: scalpels, forceps, other tools, tubing fittings, etc.
Years ago in in a magazines knife Q&A forum the question was asked about "surgical stainless". The resident editor called up a steel foundry and was told there was no such animal. Its just a marketing ploy to make people think the stainless in their knives was better than anyone elses. -Brian
Hey Fred, I like your reasoning. That's what I call finding a silver lining! I suppose Zinc would be an even better "steel" for collectors

In my home state (I'm nervous about telling people where I'm from, so I'll just let you know the initials: NJ) there's a home shopping channel that seems devoted to promoting Frost cutlery after midnight. From what I recall, the salesperson (yelling guy) stated that these knives were made from 440 stainless surgical steel.

By the way, these knives seem incredibly inexpensive (yep, cheap). I've seen 'em sell about 100 knives for less than $100. These are usually Spyderco-Delica types, but I've seen some ridiculously huge knives for sale as well.
Just a clarification, you did mean a knife by Frost rather than a knife by Frosts of Sweden? The Swedish company makes very inexpensive knives that are very utilitarian. I think that some of those are made with Sandvic 12C27 which is a razor blade steel. Not real hard, but takes a very sharp edge easily.

[This message has been edited by Jeff Clark (edited 16 August 1999).]
Sandvick 12C27 is an underated steel according to an article by Butch Winter in Tactical Knives a year or so ago (12C27: A Steel That Gets No Respect). It's a fine grained, "hence better" knife steel, Winter says, although a rather simple alloy compared with most other stainless steels. Benchmark Knives has always used Sandvik steel in their knives. The little Frost utility knives are great bargains, although I tend to lean toward the carbon steel models. Use 'em, abuse 'em, they resharpen easily. Can't see two cents of difference between the SS and carbon except maybe the carbon holds an edge a little better.
Definately Frost. I think they make low end knives.


I have some german eye brand trapers,stamped hammer forged surgical stainless.what do you think of this steel.