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Is 1095 steel good steel? Detailed 1095 Steel Review

What is 1095 steel ?

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 blade 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 Composition

ElementPercentage compositionFunction
Carbon C0.90%-1.03%Increases edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion.
Manganese Mn0.30%-0.50%Improves the strength and hardness of steel. When the steel is heat-treated, hardenability is improved with increased manganese.
Sulfur S0.05%Improves machinability but is regarded as an impurity in high quantities.
Phosphorus P0.03%Improves machinability and hardness, but is regarded as an impurity in high quantities.
1095 Steel Composition

1095 Steel Properties

1095 Steel Hardness

The Rockwell hardness of 1095 steel is 55-58 HRC. However, the hardness of this steel varies with manufacturers depending on the carbon used and 1095 steel heat treatment. 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 keeping 1095 steel knives free from rusting is oiling them immediately after drying.

1095 Toughness

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 Sharpening

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.

Check 1095 Steel Esee 4 Current Pricing

1095 steel equivalent

In terms of blade performance in aspects such as edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance O1 steel can be considered as 1095 steel equivalent. However, in terms of naming and proprietary Bohler UHB20C and Sandvik’s 20C steel are 1095 steel equivalents.

1095 steel vs 5160

5160 steel is better than 1095 carbon steel for making swords. It’s tougher, and easier to sharpen compared to its counterpart. Both steels are poor in corrosion resistance and are referred to as spring steel.

1095 steel5160 steel
Toughness4.5/109.5/10
Edge Retention1.5/101.5/10
Corrosion Resistance0/100.5/10
1095 vs 5160

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 steel1084 steel
Toughness4.5/108/10
Edge Retention1.5/101.5/10
Corrosion Resistance0/100/10
1095 vs 1084

1095 vs D2

D2 steel is semi-stainless steel with 11% to 12% chromium content while 1095 is non stainless steel with no chromium content. D2 steel knives thus offer better corrosion resistance than 1095 carbon steel knives.

1095 and D2 steel have profound differences in terms of toughness, 1095 is much tougher than D2 steel and thus suitable for forging long blades like swords and katanas. 1095 knives are less likely to chip or break when subjected to high impact applications.

Sharpening 1095 steel takes far less time and effort compared to sharpening D2 tool steel. This is attributed to the slightly lower Rockwell hardness of 1095 knife steel compared to that of D2 steel.

1095 steelD2 steel
Toughness4.5/103.5/10
Edge Retention1.5/105/10
Corrosion Resistance0/104.5/10
D2 vs 1095

1095 steel vs S30V

S30V is a premium stainless steel and offers better edge retention and corrosion resistance than 1095 steel. 1095 on the other hand outshines S30V steel 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, 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 steelS30V steel
Toughness4.5/104/10
Edge Retention1.5/106/10
Corrosion Resistance0/107.5/10
1095 vs s30v

Is 1095 steel good for swords?

1095 steel is among the best steel for sword making. With good heat treatment, 1095 sword steel can achieve an excellent balance of edge retention and toughness. Additionally, 1095 is widely available and its heat treatment is easy to master thus makes affordable swords.

Is 1095 steel good for knives?

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 carbon steel is a good choice for bush crafting knives. It’s not the best material to make rust proof knives due to its poor corrosion resistance and the lack of chromium elements in its alloy composition.

But if you need a tough blade that will last through rugged use, then high carbon 1095 knife steel is an excellent choice over most plain carbon steel out there. If you need an excellently forged 1095 knife check out this ESEE 1095 Carbon knife.