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What steel are utility blades made from?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Planterz, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. Planterz

    Planterz Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    Simple question, what kind of steel are utility blades, box cutters, Xacto knives, etc made from? Obviously isn't stainless since they rust/tarnish easily, but not as easily as steels like L6 or O1.

    Just curious...
  2. Jason Cutter

    Jason Cutter

    Oct 9, 2002
    I was told that they were made of a plain carbon steel - 1075 or 1084, something like that. Thats my only knowledge on the subject. Jason.
  3. Ebbtide


    Aug 20, 1999
    I've often wondered that too.
    At my job we use *lots* of X-Actos, snap off blades and single edge razors. The used ones live in a 5 gallon water jug.
    It'd be pretty cool to have a knife forged from them :D
    Prolly not cost effective, but cool none the less :rolleyes: :cool:
  4. Keith Montgomery

    Keith Montgomery

    May 9, 2000
    I have seen utility knife/box cutter blades that are made from both stainless and non-stainless steels. I have never seen the exact steel named though.
  5. ivan_yulaev


    Oct 20, 2003
    Don't toss those old x-acto blades! They can be resharpened pretty easily (steel is fairly soft), and while they won't be quite as razor sharp without some effort, they will be sharp enough for most utility chores.

    I think it's some plain carbon steel, something along the lines of 1050, 1060, 1075...
    Mecha likes this.
  6. JustAnotherDude


    Jun 29, 2019
    This is what I've found so so far:
    "Razor blade steel is a martensitic stainless steel with a composition of chromium between 12 and 14.5%, a carbon content of approximately 0.6%, and the remainder iron and trace elements."

    I'm sure each company has their own special blend of herbs and spices.
    Mecha, slyraven, wardcleaver and 2 others like this.
  7. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    That's for face-shaving razors, I bet.
  8. ScooterG

    ScooterG You mean Ireland? Yeah, it’s mine. Gold Member

    Mar 15, 2016
    15. Years. Old.
  9. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Nice thread, Planterz. :D
    slyraven, jbmonkey, Planterz and 4 others like this.
  10. Scott321


    Jul 20, 2016
    Hardware stores offer "upgraded" replacement utility blades that cost a little more. DeWalt has a Carbide edged version, and Lenox has a titanium-nitride ceramic coated edge version. They might last a little longer but I haven't noticed much of a difference. I'll pay the extra cost if I know I'm going to be cutting fiberglass insulation. My backup utility knives have the plain blades and I have never felt underserved when using them. I think the Carbide edged blades are harder but more brittle.

    IMO, if you're going to spend the extra money anyway, I would only purchase them from well respected brands. Also, I might caution against using the coated blades or Carbide blades for scraping things off of glass.
  11. Wharn

    Wharn Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2011
    Planterz has been patiently waiting 15 years for an answer.
    slyraven, cwsmith17, jbmonkey and 5 others like this.
  12. Rykjeklut

    Rykjeklut Basic Member Basic Member

    May 23, 2018
    The only way to make your first post.
  13. Planterz

    Planterz Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    One of my first!:cool:

    I never really did get an answer, did I? Nothing definitive anyway...
    slyraven, jbmonkey, colin.p and 5 others like this.
  14. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    My Dad was a professional artistic wood carver. He would sharpen new exacto blades before he used them. They come sharp but corse. He would strop them until you couldn’t see the edge bevel anymore. You could literally split hairs with them.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
    steff27 and Mecha like this.
  15. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Betcha AEB-L.
    jbmonkey and Mecha like this.
  16. GronK

    GronK Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 1, 2001
    Doesn't matter, dude, it's all in the heat treat!
    colin.p likes this.
  17. David Mary

    David Mary KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    Carbon steel (as the ones I have rust after a time), most likely heat treated to higher than typical cutlery hardness levels. I did try to resharpen some before, and the process proved more cumbersome than sharpening a knife blade in, say, 1095.

    So it's an old thread. I think it's an interesting discussion that doesn't need a duplicate thread.
    cwsmith17 likes this.
  18. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    I bet they are usually made out of something different now than when the thread was started.
    David Mary and ScooterG like this.
  19. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Started the same day you joined here. Kind of cool actually.
    colin.p likes this.
  20. drail


    Feb 23, 2008
    They are made from the cheapest steel they can buy. I have resharpened and reused utility knife blades and Exacto blades all my life. I keep a small diamond hone in my tool box that brings them back very quickly. I always figured people who threw them away were either lazy or just had no idea how to sharpen a blade.
    David Mary likes this.

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