Can I Use 304 Stainless Steel For Knife Making? – Our Guide
If your getting into knife making, or maybe your getting some knives custom made and trying to pick the best option, you might have come across 304 stainless steel and wondered if this steel is any good for knife making?
Well, 304 stainless steel is not the best type of steel to be used when knife making this is because it lacks strength although it is corrosion resistant.
We’ve discussed in further detail below the properties of 304 stainless steel, which kind of steel is used for making knives, and factors to consider when choosing a steel and maintenance.
Properties Of 304 Stainless Steel
If you’re looking to make a knife with 304 stainless steel or it’s one of your picks, it’s worth considering the properties of this steel so you can compare it to other types.
304 stainless steel is a soft kind of metal and will often be used on kitchen utensils such as spoons, but not kitchen knives since this metal is not strong enough, it can be easily welded.
The main properties of this are that it is corrosion and heat resistant, it has a hardness rating of Rockwell B 70 however which makes it very weak in comparison to other types of steel.
What Metal Is Used For Making Knives?
When making knives, you want to ensure you are using some of the strongest steel options available so that your knife can hold up to long-term use and cutting tough ingredients.
We’ve listed the main types of steel for blades below.
Carbon steel is great for making very durable knives, a carbon steel blade must be heat treated before usage however so as the carbon steel knives cannot become too brittle, these knife blade steels can also rust easily.
Tool steels tend to be a mix of a wide variety of alloys and common carbon steel, mixing to make a high tool steel grade also stops the steel from rusting too quickly.
This is a common knife-making metal, elements are added to make the stainless steel corrosion resistant but they must have a high enough carbon content to make the knives tough.
Factors To Consider In Steel For Knive Making
There are many different kinds of steel producers and different stainless steel grades to consider when making knives, to help you choose the best kind of steel, we’ve listed the most important factors to consider when choosing below.
When choosing the right steel for the knife, you need to consider the corrosion resistance, carbon is normally added to the alloy mix to stop rust from affecting the iron so quickly as well as chromium and other alloys.
Resistance to corrosion relates to the strength of the knife, so this is an important factor to check when choosing a knife.
The hardness of steel types is measured on the Rockwell scale, knife blades have to be strong steel and are typically measured between 55 and 66 HRC.
The higher the level of hardness then the better the knife will hold its edge, however, it can become too brittle and be heavy for use. A softer steel is easier to sharpen but will dull faster.
Types Of Quality Steel
There are many types of steel to use for making a knife, but you will come across more popular choice types which tend to be used on high-end knives.
We’ve listed the main types of quality steel you will find used for knife making below.
- 420, 440A, and 440C – This stainless steel tends to be used mostly in mid-range knives, this kind of steel is very corrosion resistant but does dull and soften easily, 420 is often used in Bucks classic knives.
- X50CrMoV15 – Mostly used in German knives, this kind of steel has a low carbon content and a high amount of chromium, it is tough and affordable but does not hold the edge well.
- 1095 Steel – This is a basic steel form and makes a hard resistant blade, they can however rust very easily.
- CPM S30V – Most knives use this kind of steel since it’s specifically made for knives, it has a range of vanadium carbides to make it one of the sharpest steel types but it is very expensive.
- AUS-8 and AUS-10 – A popular knife steel which comes from Japan, the steel holds an edge easily and is more resistant to corrosion, these are best used as outdoor knives.
- VG-10 – This has a fine steel structure and is easy to sharpen as well as tough, carbon also helps to increase the strength of the steel.
- 8Cr13MoV – The blade steel comes from China and tends to be used in utility knives, this knife is very popular thanks to it being so affordable.
How To Maintain A Stainless Steel Knife
Carbon steel grade knives can be very expensive as well as other kinds of knives, to keep them from dulling fast we need to ensure we are maintaining them properly.
We’ve listed some tips for maintaining your steel blades down below.
- Store them well – Make sure to store your stainless steel knives properly, many people store their kitchen knives in particular in wood blocks but this can be bad for your knife since the pressure resting on the hardwood can make the blade dull.
- Consider the cutting surface – The cutting surfaces matter when using a knife, avoid hard surfaces like bamboo boards or ceramic since they can harm your knife.
- Do not use the dishwasher – Dishwashers can be very abrasive to knives and damage them, instead, we suggest hand washing them and drying them well after.
- Sharpen well – You should be honing your knife after every couple of uses and sharpening the knife every 16-18 months to keep it working properly.
- Use lemon – Carbon steel knives can be stained easier than you think, using lemon can help to make this stain fade.
Overall, 304 stainless steel is not ideal for making knives since it lacks durability and strength, although it is affordable and corrosion-resistant. The best kind of steel for knife making tends to be mixed with alloys to help it become stronger, these can often be more expensive however and need sharpening often.