1085 steel is carbon steel with carbon and manganese as its main components in the alloy. This combination gives it high hardness.
This steel is mainly used to make swords and knives because of its good wear resistance and toughness.
AISI 1085 high carbon steel is not stainless steel because it does not have chromium in its composition and this affects its corrosion resistance capabilities. One of the downsides of knives made from this steel is that they are prone to rust.
1085 Steel Chemical composition
- Carbon C 0.93%: Carbon Content increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
- Manganese Mn 1.00%: Increases Hardness.
- Sulfur S 0.05%: Improves toughness and machinability.
- Phosphorous P 0.03%: Forms hard carbide in combination with other elements
1085 steel properties
AISI 1085 carbon steel hardness is about 50HRC according to the Rockwell hardness scale. With most steel’s hardness ranging from 45 to 60 HRC, we can conclude that 1085 offers decent hardness.
Therefore, you are assured that your 1085 knives will not get deformed or scratched easily even on tough applications.
One thing to note is that, it is wrong to assume that steels with high hardness ratings are of better quality. The quality of a knife is determined by the intended use as specified by the knife makers.
Note, the lack of other elements like Vanadium, Chromium and Molybdenum are the main factors for the relatively low HRC.
1085 Edge retention
Edge retention is the ability of steel to maintain a sharp edge and it is affected by hardness.
AISI 1085 Carbon steel offers good edge retention because of the great level of hardness and strength. But not as good as high-end steels out there.
While it does not offer the best edge retention on the market, you will not be required to sharpen it after a handful of uses.
1085 Corrosion resistance
1085 steel performs poorly in corrosion resistance because it does not contain chromium in its composition. It is not stainless steel.
For that matter, knives made from this steel are likely to rust quickly when used in corrosive environments, and especially without proper maintenance.
For instance, 1085 blade knives used in wet environments or in the kitchen where they will be used to cut citrus and acidic things, are likely to degrade and rust faster.
However, your knives will serve you longer with proper care which includes washing and drying them after use and applying mineral oil on their surfaces for storage.
1085 Wear resistance
Due to high amounts of carbon in its composition, 1085 steel offers great wear resistance. It will serve you for long even on regular usage.
However, the lifespan of the knife entirely depends on usage even with good wear resistance.
A 1085 blade knife used thrice a week for simple operations will last longer than one used daily to cut cardboard boxes.
Some knife users confuse hardness for toughness, but these are completely different features.
While hardness is the ability to withstand friction, toughness defines the ability to withstand sudden force and impact.
With many steels, toughness decrease with hardness, but this is not the case with 1085 steel. This steel offers good toughness because of the carbon and manganese mixture.
It might seem like a non-serious trait, but it is important to consider the ease of sharpening steel before purchasing knives.
As a rule of thumb, hard steel is harder to sharpen, but 1085 steel has not reached the hard to sharpen hardness.
Therefore, you will not be stressed to get a sharp edge with 1085 knives even if you do not have the right sharpening skills.
1085 Steel equivalent
The closest steel to 1085 would be 1095 steel . Both steel types are carbon steel with carbon and manganese as main components.
Also, they offer good hardness and toughness making them good for machete knife blades and sword blades. It is worth noting that 1085 steel has better toughness than 1095 steel but a bit low edge retention.
Is 1085 steel good for Knives?
1085 is a good steel for knives even though it is not the best out there. With its high hardness and good toughness, it is a good choice for rock-solid knives with good edge retention.
However, do not choose 1085 knife varieties for knives to be used in corrosive environments because it is poor in corrosion resistance.
You will commonly find 1085 blade steel in sword and knives just like EN45 steel for swords and knives. 1085 steel it is not too expensive and relatively easy to sharpen.