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Is it worth switching steels 1075 to 1095?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by R.C.Reichert, May 22, 2019.

  1. R.C.Reichert


    Jul 26, 2008
    I have been using mostly 1075/1080 or 80CRV2 for my knives and quenching in canola. Is there any practical reason why I should consider switching to 1095 and Parks 50? Is there even a noticeable difference in a finished knife to the end user between properly heat treated 1080 and properly heat treated 1095?
    Ken H> likes this.
  2. John mc c

    John mc c

    Aug 23, 2018
    What kind of knives do you make?
    If kitchen knives with thin grind 1095 prob be little more suited
    If other type of knife where a slightly tougher steel be better then 1084
    Again all depends on what type of knife you are making
    Justin Schmidt and R.C.Reichert like this.
  3. R.C.Reichert


    Jul 26, 2008

    I make hunting knives, skinners. I've heard that 1095 can be brittle, but I'm assuming that's all about heat treat.
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  4. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    1095, O1, are about equal in toughness. 52100 is tougher. 1095 has small carbide volume for increased wear resistance, while 1075/1080 has basically none. I prefer W2 and 52100 over eithe O1 or 1095.
    Justin Schmidt and R.C.Reichert like this.
  5. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    If you are heat-treating in a forge, I'd stick with the 1075-1084/80crv2 range of steels. 1095 demands more precise control to get everything out of it, as does O1. If you're going to go to kiln-treated steels, then you have options like A2, 3V, Stainless, etc. and no oil necessary.

    I've made exactly that decision for the above reason, knowing I'm not leaving any performance on the table with the forge-treated steels. Either forge & warm canola, or kiln & plate+subzero.
    Ken H> and R.C.Reichert like this.
  6. R.C.Reichert


    Jul 26, 2008
  7. butcher_block

    butcher_block KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 6, 2004
    since i have a kiln my go to steels are high alloys but for a carbon steel i like 52100 then O1 i do W2 now and then but only cause i am doing the clay coating deal. note that i use parks 50 even on 52100 and O1 but just cause i dont have a slower oil no cracked blades yet. i plate quench all my high alloy carbon and SS blades
  8. Alex Topfer

    Alex Topfer

    May 1, 2019
    i have somewhat successfully heat treated 1095 with a forge and canola oil, but that was thin kitchen knives (<3mm, 1/8th inch?). for the most part they aren't brittle, although i have had some problems (mostly due to insufficient quenchant volume i think).
    do your knives need to be harder? you may be able to get them slightly harder with 1095, although you will be pushing the limits of your equipment.
  9. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 18, 2016
    There a reason for plate quenching carbon steel after quenching in oil?
  10. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    1084 as-quenched can be as high as 66Rc.
    I'd be willing to try it at 63-64Rc in the kitchen.

    You can harden 1095 that way for sure. I did it with O1 too, my first year. But to get that extra carbon into solution, you need to hold it at a relatively precise temp for some minutes. Kevin Cashen demonstrated this with some O1 micrographs at different controlled soak times several years ago. That's hard to do without fancier equipment, and in a regular forge you'll likely get a bunch of decarb which will burn away some of that precious extra carbon in the surface. You CAN do it, but you'll have a hard time predictably getting the additional performance over the simpler steels. So switching to 1095 and continuing to use simple equipment (which is inexpensive and quick to operate) doesn't buy you any advantages for the extra material expense. If you're selling knives made out of 1095, but they're performing as 1084, then it's somewhat misleading and wasteful. Can you tell the difference in general use anyway? Well... That's another question. ;)

    I bet I could harden A2 in my forge, for example. But that wouldn't maximize its performance properties. If I had to do it, I could. But I wouldn't be comfortable selling it as an A2-performing blade, and would cost 2/3 more in material. (great, now I want to try that! :rolleyes:)
  11. Alex Topfer

    Alex Topfer

    May 1, 2019
    i was going by the info on Kevin Cashen's webside, which suggests that there's a 1rc difference when tempered. as quenched is only half cooked :p
    so as i said above, R.C.Reichert MAY be able to get them slightly harder

    from a metallurgy point of view 1084 may work better for me, or just as well, but in the quantities i'm buying i can get 1095 in better thickness for the same price. which means less grinding to get it down to the right size. so in the context of what i'm doing 1095 is a better option than 1084.

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