right knives for 1075?

soundmind

Well-Known Member
I saw that Darrin Sanders mentioned 1075 was good for choppers on the knife steel reference. What about 2"-4" hunting and general purpose knives? I don't want to make any long knives for awhile.
Also what kind of edge holding should I be getting out of it? I'll be using either charcoal or gas.
Thanks.
 

Ember Knives

Well-Known Member
From my extremely limited experience, 1075 will outperform 1080 and up in toughness, but, as it does not have as much carbon as 1080, it will not get as hard. I believe 1080 through 1095 are normally used for 2" to 4" blades in the simple steel family. Of course there are other steels out there and someone will probably be along soon who has more experience, but that is how I understand it. You probably won't get as good edge holding on 1075 as you would a different steel since it is softer.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
However the flip side of not holding an edge as well as maybe 1080, 1084, or 80CrV2 is being able to sharpen it easier, all other things being equal.
As for using charcoal or gas, 1500° with one is the same as 1500° in the other. Use what you can manage better. For me, that's gas.

Doug
 

Kevin R. Cashen

Super Moderator
While scanning over the new topics I was pleased to see this question being addressed, for years the number of knives I have seen with mismatched steel choices tells me that in is not widely understood, or even discussed much. There are many factors involved in which steel will make the best knife, chopper vs. fine cutter. Carbon level alone is just one of them. Below .80% carbon will alleviate extra carbide concerns in overall toughness but will also result in a natural tendency towards a tougher martensite morphology. Overall obtainable hardness is not as large of an issue as these other concerns since those numbers peak at around .77-.80%. With very tight control one can choose how much carbon to put into solution and thus make a higher carbon steel behave more like a tougher steel. Alloying has the most profound effects on these considerations, and can give choppers much higher strength or slicers much greater edge holding, but puts very precise manipulation of carbon solutions out of reach of most folks with basic heat sources.

But in this specific question the ability to really notice these differences is the real question. To see major differences in performance, based on the factors I touched on above, you really need to have the temperature controls to unlock these features. With just a gas or coal forge as your heat source, most of these factors will not be as noticeable, and the alloys that can really differ will not respond well without tighter controls. In other words, I don’t suspect you would notice much of the .09% carbon difference between 1075 and 1084 without tighter heat treating controls, and while you may see a bit between 1075 and 1095 you could also run into some problems achieving it.
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
Kevin , I really enjoy your responses (although I seldom understand all of it !) And I thank you for sharing your knowledge with us all.
 

soundmind

Well-Known Member
To see major differences in performance, based on the factors I touched on above, you really need to have the temperature controls to unlock these features. With just a gas or coal forge as your heat source, most of these factors will not be as noticeable, and the alloys that can really differ will not respond well without tighter controls. In other words, I don’t suspect you would notice much of the .09% carbon difference between 1075 and 1084 without tighter heat treating controls, and while you may see a bit between 1075 and 1095 you could also run into some problems achieving it.
I almost immediately followed up my original post with "maybe it doesn't matter.":)But I had seen both types of knives made from 1075 and decided to let he question stand. Thank you for the reply.

I have some Parks 50 but would the blades (say 4" range) benefit from experimenting with a water quench? Or is max hardness only gained through temp control and the water is like cheating?
 

Kevin R. Cashen

Super Moderator
Water is overkill, resulting in higher rates of failure due to distortion or cracking. Ancient steels worked with water due to their simplicity, but even basic modern carbon steels have a liberal addition of Mn that makes water a drastic quenchant. Parks #50 should give you full hardness in any part of a 1075 blade that is less than 3/16" thick.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
What Kevin said. My eye tend to widen in alarm when someone writes about using water. However, there are those who hold that it helps bring out a hamon but they still run the risk of loosing their blade.

Doug
 

soundmind

Well-Known Member
Yeah, and again, I had second thoughts after I asked that last question too...

I think I remember reading that time/temperature spreads out all the carbides and the quench only holds them there. So, the quench isn't adding hardness, it's just getting the job done (at the right speed per quenchant)... and it's the time at temperature that is crucial for hardness. Is that right? I think it is.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
While scanning over the new topics I was pleased to see this question being addressed, for years the number of knives I have seen with mismatched steel choices tells me that in is not widely understood, or even discussed much. There are many factors involved in which steel will make the best knife, chopper vs. fine cutter. Carbon level alone is just one of them. Below .80% carbon will alleviate extra carbide concerns in overall toughness but will also result in a natural tendency towards a tougher martensite morphology. Overall obtainable hardness is not as large of an issue as these other concerns since those numbers peak at around .77-.80%. With very tight control one can choose how much carbon to put into solution and thus make a higher carbon steel behave more like a tougher steel. Alloying has the most profound effects on these considerations, and can give choppers much higher strength or slicers much greater edge holding, but puts very precise manipulation of carbon solutions out of reach of most folks with basic heat sources.

But in this specific question the ability to really notice these differences is the real question. To see major differences in performance, based on the factors I touched on above, you really need to have the temperature controls to unlock these features. With just a gas or coal forge as your heat source, most of these factors will not be as noticeable, and the alloys that can really differ will not respond well without tighter controls. In other words, I don’t suspect you would notice much of the .09% carbon difference between 1075 and 1084 without tighter heat treating controls, and while you may see a bit between 1075 and 1095 you could also run into some problems achieving it.
Exactly was I was going to say. Haha.
Thank you to Kevin as always for sharing his hard earned knowledge for free. You will not find that trait in all people.
 

soundmind

Well-Known Member
Just to clarify... it won't matter what kind of knife I make with 1075 without temperature control?
 

Kevin R. Cashen

Super Moderator
With care and a little skill with the fire, you can make a quality knife of just about any type with this steel, it has a carbon level that makes it very versatile, right down the middle of the road. With tighter controls you could tap into the potential of other steels to make specialized increases in performance, but this one is as basic and user friendly as it gets. Compared to what the general public is used to, you could even come in a little under 1075 full potential and still impress many users.
 

soundmind

Well-Known Member
but this one is as basic and user friendly as it gets. Compared to what the general public is used to, you could even come in a little under 1075 full potential and still impress many users.
User friendly was what I was after when I bought it. That was the impression I had anyway. It's good to know that if I get these knives heat treated properly I can compete. But heat treating is a huge obstacle for me - to have confidence in it anyway.

I'll be digging into my 1075 after I finish out these three I'm working on. I have 1/8, 3/16, and 1/4 bar stock. I had a design of a 2 1/2 inch blade I wanted to do. If I'm happy with the edge holding I'll make it. But overall I'll be trying to make some 3-4" slicers - starting with the 1/8."

Thanks for the help.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
I do simple heat treat on 1075, 1084 ,1080 and 15N20 constantly. In fact, I no longer use any other steel. I am very happy with the results I get. I am not a fan of 1095 though, I use it a little but I get mixed results at times. It seems to harden fine most of the time but it develops what looks like water spots on the surface and they are permanent and really show up when you etch. There are a few of us "simple heat treaters" on here any of us will help if you need anything. You will be surprised at the results you get as long as you get the steel hot enough in the beginning. Good luck.
 

Jason Volkert

KNIFE MAKER
But heat treating is a huge obstacle for me
I use my forge all the time for heat treating 1075. I find to get the best results when I do it at night. I will turn all the lights out and only have the forge on. I find it is way easier to see the color of the steel and when decalesence(if I spelled it right) happens. I wont even attempt to do it during the day anymore. The sun light really messes me up with see the right color on hot steel.
 

soundmind

Well-Known Member
thanks folks - and I hope to get some propane before I have another go... I was using wood before just to see what would happen.
 
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