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Dumb question - Does all blade steel weigh the same?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by steelhog, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. steelhog

    steelhog Gold Member Basic Member Gold Member

    Jul 2, 2009
    Ok Dumb question - Does all blade steel weigh the same or basically the same? Don't grill me too hard on this one. lol. I'm sure by the industrial sheet its different but in terms of 1/8" thick on 4"-6" blades is there much of a difference?

    So for example I have 2 exact blade blanks - one in 3v and one in say 1075. Will one be noticeably more heavy? Are there some blade steels that offer a significant weight advantages? Thanks for the help!
  2. Jason Puckett

    Jason Puckett Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 14, 2019
    I don't think that's a dumb question at all, but maybe it is and I'm dumb too. Either way, watching for an answer from someone who knows what they're talking about.
  3. Larrin

    Larrin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2004
  4. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007

    Having worked with tungsten carbide anvils (in massive cubic hydrollic presses) I can say, I'm not surprised it has a noticable effect on the density of alloys!
    Larrin likes this.
  5. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    So at 1/8" thick, 5" length, and 1" height (easy math), and we'll assume it's a cleaver because I'm not into the geometry of a spear point at the moment, thinking of a 5" Kephart pattern, we would be looking at 0.625 in^3. using the steels above, 0.18625 lbs (84.5 grams) for Rex 121 and 0.16375 lbs (74.3 grams) for 15V. Pretty minor on a small blade, but it adds up if you start looking at a 1/4" thick 10" chopper (4x the difference) at about 40 grams or 1.4 oz (some rounding error in there). Not substantial but in the realm of being noticed I think as you start to around the 1 lb mark for a knife.

    I think this does confirm what I've been suspicious of since enjoying bigger handled knives, that handles can add substantial weight to get the ergos right, like LT Wright's knives. I've started becoming curious if makers are able to do stuff with plastic, like mora handles, as a lightweight backpacker option. Or, paracord wrap on a blade blank I suppose.
    steelhog and Larrin like this.
  6. number9


    Mar 5, 2017
    I just looked at the stainless steel composition chart on AG Russell's site. It looks like, other than chromium, most other metals in the alloy are less than 2%. Most less than 1%. So chromium is the alloy metal that would have the greatest effect on steel density, as it is greater than 12% in stainless steel. I didn't see any stainless steels with greater than 20%

    According to my cursory research, iron's density is 7.87 grams per cc. Chromium's density is 7.19 grams per cc. Other metals, at less than 1% of the alloy don't count for much weight differences. Molybdenum is 10.28 g/cc, but only accounts for less than 1% in most steels. (Curiously, CPM-154 is 4% moly) Vanadium is light, at 5.8g/cc, but percentagewise, in the steel alloy, is again, usually less than 1%. (4% in M390)

    Gold and mercury are much heavier. But they aren't used much in steel.

    It looks like, if we substituted air bubbles for all the alloy metals in stainless steel, it would be about 2-4% lighter. If you took out the chrome too, you could have non-stainless steel with 15% voids (bubbles), for a 15% weight reduction.

    I'm not a metallurgist. Just someone with a little time. So I could be completely wrong.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  7. T.L.E. Sharp

    T.L.E. Sharp That's right, it's genuine Velveeta... Platinum Member

    Jun 30, 2016
    No, a 5lbs blank of s35vn will weigh 67% more than a 3lbs blank of 420hc. :D

    I don't think, once cut/ground, the various densities of steels would make enough difference to factor into your decision of steel type.
    LG&M likes this.
  8. Cobalt

    Cobalt Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 1998
    Not a dumb question at all. If you use iron as standard for steel density, then the difference from steel to steel is the alloying elements. Since Chromium, manganese and vanadium are all lower density than iron, the more of all of these a steel has the lighter it will feel. Can you actually tell? Probably not. Cobalt and Tungsten are both higher in density than iron. So a high Cr stainless steel that has vanadium and manganese will be lighter than a basic carbon steel like 1075, but not sure you can tell the difference. A high cobalt or tungsten steel will weigh more than a basic iron steel but again, not sure you could tell the difference.
  9. LG&M


    Dec 19, 2005
    He said "basically " so not not that you would notice. However it you want to get technical yes.
  10. Pteronarcyd


    Feb 19, 2019
  11. Comeuppance

    Comeuppance Fixed Blade EDC Emisssary Gold Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Oh man, this opens a brand new avenue of pickiness for people who put high value / focus on the weight of their knives.

    “I really like the design, but I wish they had used a lighter steel. 20CV brings it over my 1.3592oz rule for EDC.”
    BellaBlades and steelhog like this.
  12. Cobalt

    Cobalt Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 1998
    Not sure if you are responding to me. I was responding to OP. Wasn't being technical just giving an opinion, so not sure what you are talking about.

    As for yes or no to feeling heavier, that will very from person to person. I can tell you that my Kit Carson Stellite 6K U2 felt way heavier than the stainless version and they were identical in every other way. But that is a 80% cobalt alloy approx.
  13. LG&M


    Dec 19, 2005
    I was referring to the OP, he said basically. You might be more sensitive to these things then I but all else being equal I don't think one steel to another would be noticeable.
    Cobalt likes this.
  14. Cobalt

    Cobalt Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 1998

    Yeah, I can see how he would think that. I do believe that there are people that could tell a minute difference in weight and then there is some that probably could not tell a difference in several ounces .

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