1095 steel is high carbon steel under the 10XX family, and it is popular in knife and sword blades. As with other 10XX steels, the first two digits represent the primary components in its composition.
In this case, 1 represents carbon, and 0 means no other central element in its composition. The last two digits represent the carbon content which is 0.95%. The less than 1% carbon content makes 1095 high carbon steel and not tool steel. Generally, tool steels contain more than 1% carbon content. 1095 steel alloy mainly contains Carbon and Manganese.
In addition to carbon, the other element in 1095 steel is manganese making it basic steel. It has high hardness and recommendable wear resistance. AISI 1095 Carbon steel is sometimes referred to as spring steel and is often used for applications that involve constant stress.
For many years it was popular in making kitchen knives and old pocket knives. Today, knife makers use it for survival knives, Kukri Knives, and bushcraft knives, among other items, and it is loved because of its high machinability.
1095 steel Chemical composition
- Carbon C 1.03%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
- Manganese Mn 0.50%: Increases Hardness and brittleness.
- Phosphorus P 0.03%: Improves machinability and hardness.
- Sulfur S 0.05%: Improves machinability.
Properties of 1095 steel
1095 Steel Hardness
The hardness of 1095 is 55-58 HRC from the Rockwell hardness table. However, the hardness of this steel varies with manufacturers depending on the carbon used and the heat treatment processed used. With this hardness level, 1095 is categorized as hard steel and hence good wear resistance and edge retention.
1095 Wear resistance
Always expect good wear retention from hard steels, and this is what we get from 1095. It might not be the best in wear resistance out there, but you can trust knives made from this steel for outstanding outdoor performance.
1095 steel Edge retention
Does 1095 hold an edge?
Thanks to the carbon and manganese levels in 1095 steel, it can get a good edge and maintain it for a long. To improve the edge retention of 1095, knife makers are advised to take it through the proper heating process during the blade-making stage. Otherwise, blades that are not adequately heated become dull faster, and you will be required to sharpen your knives often.
1095 Corrosion resistance
An important detail you should know is 1095 steel is not stainless steel, and hence it can rust easily. However, with proper care and maintenance, your knives can remain rust-free for as long as you have them.
Ensure to wash and wipe them dry after every use to protect them from rusting, another secret to keep 1095 steel knife is free from rusting is oiling them immediately after drying.
1095 is not as tough as other high-end steels, but it has a low to medium level of toughness for tough applications. A level of toughness that can withstand batoning is impressive. Do not be afraid to carry your 1095 knife for outdoor activities as it will not chip or break as long as it has undergone the recommended heating process.
1095 steel shines in sharpness. The steel is easy to sharpen, even for blades that have been coated or heat-treated to increase hardness. Irrespective of the sharpening tool you are using, this steel can get a razor-sharp edge without much effort. If you are starting your journey in knife sharpening, 1095 knives should help you master the sharpening art quickly.
1095 steel equivalent
1095 steel vs 5160
5160 steel is better than 1095 carbon steel for making swords. It’s tougher, easier to sharpen compared to its counterpart. Both steels are poor in corrosion resistance and are referred to as spring steel.
1095 vs 1084
Both 1095 and 1084 steels are from the 10xx family. However, 1084 is harder than 1095 and contains more silicon, giving it better edge retention and wear resistance. On similarities, 1095 and 1084 offer the same level of toughness, corrosion resistance, and sharpening.
1095 steel vs D2 steel
1095 is high carbon steel with substantial levels of carbon while D2 tool steel can be identified as semi-stainless steel as it contains chromium in its alloy. Sharpening 1095 steel takes far less time and effort compared to sharpening D2 tool steel. Both steel types are produced by AISI but have profound differences in terms of toughness, 1095 is much tougher than D2 steel.
1095 steel vs S30V
While s30v stainless steel offers better edge retention and corrosion resistance, 1095 steel beats it in ease of sharpening and has higher toughness levels. Ultimately, the best choice depends on what you want to use your knife for. If a Folder knife is all you need then go with an S30V knife blade while if it is going to be used in camping or any other outdoor activities that require more toughness then 1095 blade steel would make a great choice.
1095 steel vs T10 steel
T10 steel is a sword steel alloy that is considered purer than typical 1095 steel. The addition of tungsten gives the T10 steel added scratch resistance while still maintaining its hardness against dullness or damage sustained from impacts. 1095 steel blade is considered more brittle and is more prone to rusting than T10 steel. T10 steel is a popular choice for a katana samurai sword.
Is 1095 carbon steel good knife steel?
1095 steel has managed to remain on the knife-making scene because it makes good blades for knives. The steel is easy to work on, in addition to good toughness, good edge retention, and ease of sharpening. 1095 steel is a good choice for bush crafting knives. It’s not the best material to make long, thin blades because it tends to be brittle and break easily.
But if you need a tough blade that will last through rugged use, then high carbon 1095 steel is an excellent choice than any other plain carbon steel out there.