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What is N695 Steel?
Bohler N695 steel is a chromium stainless steel manufactured by Bohler. It is an improvement of 440C steel with high hardness, great wear resistance, and excellent corrosion resistance.
Because of its properties, N695 is used in the knife-making industry to make quality knife blades for camping, survival, hunting, and hiking knives. It is also used in other industries to make surgical equipment, fasteners and nuts, valve seats, cold forming, and chisels.
Besides its properties, knife makers are attracted to N695 steel because it is affordable and easy to work with. This translates to low production costs, and therefore, the customers get high-quality knives at an affordable cost.
N695 Steel Composition
· Carbon C 1.05%: Increases edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion.
· Chromium Cr 16.70%: Formation of Chromium carbides. Increases the blade’s hardness, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance.
· Molybdenum Mo 0.50%: It improves machinability and hardness.
· Manganese Mn 0.40%: improves the strength and hardness of steel. When the steel is heat-treated, hardenability is improved with increased manganese.
· Silicon Si 0.40%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
N695 Steel properties
N695 Steel Hardness
At standard heat treatment, N695 steel has a hardness of 59-62 HRC. The hardness level changes depending on the heat treatment used. This hardness does not match the hardness of other high-end steels, but it is enough to give this steel great edge retention and wear resistance capabilities.
N695 Steel Wear resistance
This steel has high hardness thanks to the high amounts of carbon and chromium in its composition. Because of the high hardness, N695 steel offers great wear resistance. Knives made from this steel can withstand everyday wear and abrasion and serve you for a very long time.
N695 Steel Edge retention
Another property you will love about knife blades made from this steel is that they retain sharpness for a very long time. This is associated with the high hardness and the carbon content in its composition.
N695 is used to make knives for outdoor use in the wild because the users do not have the time to sharpen the knives after every use.
N695 Steel Corrosion resistance
N695 is a chromium stainless steel hence great in corrosion resistance. The blades of this steel do not rust or stain when used in wet or moist environments. Because of this property, N695 makes a good choice for making fishing and outdoor knives.
To enhance the corrosion resistance, do not leave N695 knives in water for long periods. Also carry out proper care and maintenance, which involves cleaning and drying the knives after use.
N695 Steel Toughness
As a rule of thumb, hard steels are not tough, which is the expectation with N695. However, this rule does not seem to apply with this steel because it offers decent toughness. N695 knives are suitable for outdoor use to mean that they do not break or chip easily on tough applications. The high amounts of molybdenum in its composition contribute to the decent toughness.
N695 Steel Sharpness
One of the major downsides of N695 steel is that it is not easy to sharpen because it is hard steel. If you are a beginner in knife sharpening, getting an edge with blades made from this steel is not easy.
Even with advanced sharpening tools, getting a razor-sharp edge takes more time and energy. On the positive side, though, the blades stay sharp longer, so you do not have to go through the challenging sharpening experience after every use.
N695 steel equivalent vs other steels
N695 vs 8Cr13MoV
8Cr13MoV stainless steel is a budget Chinese made steel while N695 is produced by Bohler in Austria. Bohler N695 contains more carbon and chromium than 8Cr13MoV; hence offers better hardness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance. However, with lower hardness, 8Cr13MoV is easier to sharpen and offers better toughness.
N695 vs 440C
N695 and 440C are very similar steels, N695 steel improves on Grade 440C alloy and thus offers slightly higher hardness and wear resistance. However, N695 is a better version of 440C and offers slightly better toughness, wear resistance, and edge retention. But they have the same level of corrosion resistance.
N695 vs S30V
N695 is produced by Bohler while S30v is produced by crucible. S30V steel is more superior steel than the mid-range N695 steel. S30V due to its production process of powder metallurgy offers a more refined grained structure from its alloy. It thus offers better edge retention, corrosion resistance, toughness, and wear resistance. S30V is popular and will be found in most knives.
N695 vs N690
Bohler N695 and 690 can be considered midrange steels. They offer almost similar performance but N690 is much better in edge retention than N695, N690 offers better wear resistance. In terms of toughness, N695 beats N690 due to its low hardness. They however offer similar corrosion resistance and prices are mostly identical.
Bohler N695 vs Sandvik 14C28N
Bohler N695 and 14C28N steel are among my favorites in the market that offer value for money. I have found 14C28N martensitic stainless chromium steel to be a better performer than N695.
14C28N offers better edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance. The boosted performance on 14C28N is due to the addition of Nitrogen in its alloy which greatly improves the grain structure.
Bohler N695 vs M390
Both N695 and M390 are made by Bohler. They are good blade steels but M390 is superior to N695 and better in all aspects. It is considered among the best in blade steel currently, M390 offers better edge retention, wear resistance, about five times toughness than N695, and twice the corrosion resistance of N695 steel. It’s expensive and can be found mostly in premium knives.
Bohler N695 vs D2 Steel
N695 steel beats D2 steel in corrosion resistance as Bohler N695 is stainless steel while D2 does not qualify to be stainless steel. D2 steel is a tool steel and thus offers better wear resistance than N695. Sharpening N695 is a bit easier compared to sharpening D2 steel. Both steels can be considered budget steel and their price are near identical. ‘
They offer almost similar performance and your choice for either N695 blade steel or D2 blade should be based on your use scenario. N695 steel will be best suited for corrosive environments.
Is N695 steel good knife steel?
N695 is good knife steel it offers good edge retention, corrosion resistance, and decent toughness. It is also affordable and easy to work with hence producing high-quality knives at pocket-friendly prices.
The main downside is that it is difficult to sharpen compared to other budget options like 440C. You will find N695 steel in most Boker Solingen Camping knives, fixed blades, and survival knives.