Here is some basic information on various steels including data sheets when available. These files come from a variety of sources and were all found via searches or posted links. These files are for informational purposes and may help guide your heat treating; however, I claim no responsibility for their use or the outcomes acheived by using this information. When possible, the information comes from reliable industrial sources. I'll try and add information as I can find it.
| Steel|| Data|| Comments |
A relatively simple carbon tool steel that can produce very tough blades
Basically 1080 with some extra alloying elements added
This one has taken the place of 1084 in most industry, and the steels are very similar. It has more carbon that 1075 and less than 1084
One of the most eutectoid steels available, it is one of the easiest to heat treat with simple methods, though it needs a sufficiently fast quench. It's hard to find, though Aldo Bruno in NJ has had a yearly custom smelt run for the past several years
This is another great high carbon tool steel. It takes a very fast quench, and it's probably not the best choice for the backyard beginner
154CM is the American version of Japan's ATS34. (or vice versa). For all intents and purposes, ATS34 and 154CM heat treat the same. They are both quality stainless knife steels. 154CM is a high molybdenum modification of 440C for improved wear and corrosion resistance
This is a non-hardenable stainless that is sometimes used as "hardware" in knives including guards and bolsters
440C is a good stainless knife steel. It's been around for a good while, and some people frown upon it because it's not the newest and greatest. However, it does make very good knives.
A good steel for longer or higher impact knives, this steel has been used for a while in the automotive industry for spring production
Popular among many knifemakers, 52100 has long been used in high quality industrial bearings. It has great wear resistance and strength
A2 is another popular knife steel with good toughness and is an air hardening steel
With twice the toughness of A2 at 58/60 RC, CPM3V also has edge retention similar to M2 and is easier to work than D2
Lots of vanadium carbides make this one of the highest edge-retention blade steels available
CPM154 is one of the better stainless general purpose knife steels out there today. Made with Crucible's particulate method, it is a "powdered" steel which results in more consistent alloy distribution and a few points improvement in hardness and toughness over 154CM
One of the newer super grade stainless steels, it is very popular among high end and user knives because of its high toughness
Another high grade stainless (also known as 440V) with high vanadium content for improved wear resistance while maintaining the corrosion resistance of 440C
This steel offers some of the best wear resistance and edge retention of any stainless steel available today with even better corrosion resistance than CPMS60V
Cru Forge V is a new knife steel specifically designed for the forging processes of bladesmiths. It forges great, and the vanadium helps limit grain size for a geat outcome and a keen edge
D2 is a popular steel that will hold and edge very well. It is an almost -stainless tool steel because of its high chormium content
This is a tough blade steel, so much so that it has been used as a saw blade steel for many years
O1 is a deep hardening tool steel that will make a great knife
This is a high speed tool steel with even better wear resistance and attainable hardness than D2
A water hardening tool steel that can produce a good hamon and a good knife
Similar to W1 but with added carbon and Vanadium and less tungston. This steel is a step up from W1 and makes excellent knives with amazing hamons if clayed during heat treating
This is a technical guide from Admiral Steel. It has composition information for a variety of steels as well as other technical data. It also touches on the heat treatment of 1075 and 1095 steels among others
Here's a .pdf I found briefly discussing the treatment of various steels including 5160, 52100, 1084, 1095, O1, W1, L6, and S7
This is a summary of steels suitable to bladesmithing that are produced by Crucible
Bladeforums is a huge world-wide community of knife enthusiests. The knife maker's area is a great resource for maker and collector alike.
Knife Dogs was started by Tracy Mickley and is another great resource.
This is one of the best supply sites for knife makers. Tracy Mickley is a top notch guy, and their customer service is outstanding.
Pop's is another small supplier with excellent customer service and great prices.
TKS is another place to find what you need for the craft of fashioning blades.
This site is run by Chuck Bybee and has some great stuff that's hard to find elsehwere.