What is 19C27 Steel?

19C27 steel minamoto hamon nakiri

What is 19C27 Steel?

Sandvik 19C27 steel is high carbon pure alloy stainless steel manufactured by Sandvik Materials Technology in Sweden. 19C27 is also referred to as Swedish steel. It is popularly used in the Japanese knife-making industry and offers high wear resistance because of its coarse-grained structure. 

However, it does not perform very well in various aspects like edge retention and corrosion resistance, so the manufacturer recommends a corrosion-resistant coating on the blades to prevent rusting.

Apart from making kitchen knives, 19C27 steel is ideal for making a variety of knives due to its excellent wear resistance, it is ideal for Carpet Knives, industrial knives, paper knives, plastic film knives and synthetic fibre knives.

19C27 Steel Composition

  • Carbon C 0.95%: Increases edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion.
  • Chromium Cr 13.50%: The formation of Chromium carbide Increases the hardness, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance of the blade.
  • Manganese Mn 0.70%: Increases the hardenability of the steel alloy.
  • Silicon Si 0.40%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
  • Phosphorus P 0.025%: Improves machinability and hardness but is generally considered an impurity
  • Sulfur S 0.01%: Improves machinability but is generally considered an impurity .

Properties of 19C27 steel

19C27 Steel Hardness

Sandvik 19C27 takes a high hardness range of 55-63HRC as per the Rockwell hardness scale. This is a high hardness level but the exact hardness of the knife you will take home depends on the heat treatment used by the manufacturer.

With this high hardness level, 19C27 blades offer great resistance to abrasion and remain sharp for a very long time. Japanese knifemakers tend to harden their 19C27 kitchen knives at around 60 to 63 HRC.

19C27 Steel Wear resistance

The wear resistance of steel determines its ability to withstand abrasion from daily use and sharpening. 19C27 offers great wear resistance because it has a coarse-grained structure. Therefore, the blade does not lose its original shape even with frequent use, 19C27 blades last for a very long time as a result.

19C27 Steel Edge retention

One of the most sought-after traits when buying a knife is its ability to hold a cutting edge for a long time, and this is what you get from 19C27 blades. The carbon, chromium, cobalt, and molybdenum blend gives 19C27 steel good edge retention abilities though not the best.

The coarse carbide grades however limit Sandvik 19C27 stainless steel’s ability to take a fine edge. It has limited edge stability and thus may experience rolling or chipping on the knife edge due to the low toughness it provides.

19C27 Steel Toughness

Some people confuse the hardness and toughness of steel, but these are different traits. The toughness of steel measures its ability to withstand impact after a force or tough application that might cause it to break, chip, or crack, and it is inversely proportional to the hardness. 

Therefore, the higher the hardness of steel, the lower its toughness. However, 19C27 stainless steel goes against this rule, and despite its high hardness, it offers decent toughness. It can withstand tough and challenging applications without breaking or chipping.

19C27 Steel Corrosion resistance

Does Sandvik 19C27 rust? Must be the next question in your mind. No, it does not rust because it contains more than 12% chromium required to make steel stainless. However, its corrosion resistance abilities are not very high because it contains 13.5% chromium only. 

This means that it does not rust, but it is not rust-proof. Proper care and maintenance are required when used in humid, wet, or marine environments. Proper care for any steel involves washing and drying the blades after use, and this is all that is required to prevent 19C27 blades from rusting.

In addition, the Sandvik manufacturing company advises knife makers to add a corrosion-resistant coating on the blade to keep rust and stains at bay.

Sharpening 19c27

Being hard steel and known for its excellent wear resistance, 19C27 steel is relatively hard to sharpen. The good thing with 19C27 steel is that it offers a perfect balance between sharpenability and edge retention.

19C27 steel vs. other steels

19C27 vs. VG10

VG10 is better than 19C27 because it contains more carbon and chromium. VG10 offers high hardness and therefore better edge retention, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. On the other hand, 19C27 knife steel shines in corrosion resistance and is easier to sharpen.

19C27 vs. SG2

SG2 steel is better than 19C27 steel, SG2 is a premium powdered stainless steel with high carbon and chromium levels that give it better edge retention, wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

Is 19C27 good knife steel?

Sandvik 19C27 steel is good knife steel with impressive qualities of knife-making steel, it achieves a Rockwell hardness of up to 63HRC, and offers great wear resistance due to its coarse-grained structure. It is also stainless steel hence less prone to rusting.

The price of 19C27 knives is also reasonable for their quality. It is not that popular in EDCs as there are some other Swedish steels like 14C28N stainless steel that offer much better performance at almost the same price.

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