A2 Tool Steel


This chemistry is a reference, consult the supplier/vendor for exact chemistry.

A2 is an air hardening tool steel. It is strong, tough, and holds an edge very well. It needs to be heat treated in an oxygen free environment. This can be accomplished with coatings, foil wrap, or atmospherically controlled kilns. It will harden in still air but most knifemakers quench blades between two 1" thick aluminum plates. A2 benefits from a sub-zero freeze or liquid Nitrogen cryo but it isn't necessary. The following is a good starting heat treat process. You may need to make some changes to maximize the results due to variables in your equipment.
1. Heat to 1100-1250 and equalize.
2. Heat to 1350-1450 and equalize.
3. Heat to 1750-1800 and soak for 30-45 minutes.
4. Quench in still air or between quench plates to 150 degrees.
5. Temper twice for 2 hours each time. Temper between 400 & 1000 depending on the application.
If you do a sub-zero freeze or liquid Nitrogen cryo it must be followed by a tempering cycle.


KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
A2 is used by Bark River Knives on most of their blade. BRK Mike Stewart has been in the knife business since the Bronze age and purposely selected A2 as his primary steel of choice due to how tough it is. He has thousands (tens of thousands) of devoted Barkie owners that will testify how good A2 is. You do could do worse than selected A2 as your go to steel...