by Uncle Dewey
(Cape Coral Fl.)
You know the more you read and hear about all of the exotic steels that are available today the more confusing it gets. I am a 68 year old back yard knife maker who has made many many knives. I have sold some, gave many away, and kept some. I have experimented with a few exotic steels with not much luck.
I have a small shop with a pretty good electric oven that will bring steel up to 1300--1800 degrees what ever I choose, and a tempering oven that will hold at 200-- 450, what ever I choose. I also have lots of other knife making machinery, but without the computer controlled equipment and the deep freezing ability you will find yourself at the mercy of the dishonest heat treating companies, and even if you find a heat treater who does it by the book, if things go bad they will tell you that the steel supplier must have sold you the wrong stuff, or the manufacturer had a bad batch, so unless you are a large company with lots of clout you are going to waste a lot of time and money trying to create the PERFECT blade in a small shop.
I finally went back to good old 1095, it's inexpensive, available, and I can harden it to what ever I want, and if I put it on my Rockwell and it's not what I wanted, then I simply do it over. Will it rust? Yup. Can you pound it into a rock crack and use it as a step? Nope, but I can make you a skinner at about 61-62 Rc that will skin a half a dozen deer and then shave you. Not a perfect space age $300 knife that you are afraid to use, but a darn good knife.
Ontario Knife Company XM-1D Desert Camo Razor Edge Single Blade Pocket Knife - $169.99
Ontario's tactical XM Folders are designed for use under the most extreme conditions. Overbuilt rugged construction with a handle similar to what you would find on a fixed blade: Features: Blade length: 3 3/8". Open length: 8". Steel: N690Co Cobalt enhanced stainless steel. Handle: Machined aircraft aluminum.
Ontario Knife Company RAT-5 1095 Carbon Steel Fixed Blade Knife with Cordura Sheath - $98.49
Features: Black phosphate coated blade of 1095 carbon steel. Tan canvas Micarta handle. Lined Cordura sheath with accessory pouch. Overall length: 10.75". Blade length: 5 1/4". Blade thickness: 1-7/8". 1095 Phosphate finish. Full tang construction. Made in the USA.
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