1084 Steel: Is it a Good Knife Steel?

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Are you new to knife making and are looking for beginner-friendly steel to get started? Is it so that you have just come across a knife whose blade has a beautiful Hamon design? No matter which of these questions is relevant, you must explore the 1084 blade steel. For a knife maker, this knife steel is extremely easy to work with! For a knife user, it is a tough and affordable blade material. Let us explore more on this carbon steel.

What is 1084 Steel?

Grace Knives Handmade Hunting Knife Fixed Blade Camping Knife 9 Inch with Leather Sheath G-1084 BH

1084 is a high carbon steel. As named by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), it belongs to the 10xx series known for having different carbon steels for making katanas and knives. It is the successor of 1080 steel and has relatively more carbon content.

The steel is often tagged as one of the ideal beginner steels for knife makers. This is because it is among the easiest steels to process. Its heating treatment also does not need any special or advanced equipment. Apart from ease of use, proficient knife smiths prefer this steel for its good edge-holding ability.

This steel is used in making a variety of knives, such as small EDC and kitchen knives. Due to its great ability to resist shocks and fractures, it is also used in making camping knives and machetes. The high toughness, despite having high hardness makes 1084 eligible even for making swords and katanas.

The steel is specially used in decorating blades, as it can help in generating the Hamon effect when a suitable heat treatment is given. 1084 is commonly used in making Damascus steel with 15N20.

Chemical Composition

This steel has no chromium in its chemical composition. Thus, it is certainly not stainless. However, due to its high carbon content, it is truly carbon steel. Following are the components of this high-carbon steel:

  • 0.800-0.930% Carbon: For improved wear as well as abrasion resistance, tensile strength, and hardness
  • 0.60-0.90% Manganese: For improved wear resistance, tensile strength, and hardenability
  • 0.050% Phosphorus: For improved hardness, strength, and machinability
  • 0.040% Sulfur: For better machinability

According to some experts, 1084 may have silicon up to 0.35%, which helps in boosting strength as well as hardness. The equivalent steel of this carbon steel is Bohler’s 15N20 steel from Germany. Both steels feature similar compositions. The major difference is that European steel contains nickel (2%), which is not present in 1084.

Steel Hardness

On the Rockwell scale, the hardness score of 1084 carbon steel can reach 60 HRC. This rating can significantly differ as per the heat treatment process implemented by the knife manufacturers. 60 HRC is a good hardness rating. The credit for this goes to the high carbon content and little amount of phosphorus.

Steel Properties

Grace Knives Handmade Hunting Knife Fixed Blade Camping Knife 9 Inch with Leather Sheath G-1084 BH

  • Decent Toughness: As a rule, the more the hardness, the less is the toughness. 1084 is significantly hard due to the high carbon amount. However, it is surprisingly tough too although it varies as per the heat treatment. With suitable treatment, this steel can be tough enough to perform heavy-duty camping and bushcraft tasks apart from chopping branches and twigs without chipping, breaking, or deforming.
  • High Wear Resistance: The higher the level of hardness, the more is the ability to resist daily wear and tear. You can expect 1084 to have high wear resistance at the hardness level of 60 HRC. Its power to resist wear is as great as any other steel in its 10xx series. You can expect a 1084 steel knife to retain its original appearance and shape, which then tends to last longer. Even the Hamon effect will last.
  • High Edge Retention: Edge retention is directly proportional to the hardness level. Thus, with a high level of hardness, this steel can retain s sharp edge for a long time. Again, this is the property of all steels belonging to the 10xx series. This property makes the 1084 steel a suitable option for making dependable hunting and camping knives that will not dull swiftly. This means you will now no longer have to re-sharpen the blade while in the field.
  • Poor Rust Resistance: 1084 is not stainless, as it has no chromium. So, it performs poorly when it comes to resisting corrosion. Thus, its blade can get rust easily if you do not maintain it well. The good news is that the knife makers have started adding anti-corrosive finishes to 1084 blades to improve their ability to resist rust. Still, If you plan to use a 1084 steel knife in the kitchen or in humid conditions, it is essential to keep it clean, dry, and lubricated after use to prevent rust.
  • Ease of Sharpening: Despite being carbon steel with a high level of hardness, 1084 is easy to sharpen. It also takes a razor-sharp edge once you sharpen it. Try sharpening this still edge if you are a beginner and want to learn sharpening with ease.

Comparison With Other Knife Steel Options

1084 vs 1095

Both are carbon steels. The popular 1095 steel is, however, harder than 1084. This is because it has more carbon content. This also contributes to better edge retention and wear resistance than 1084. However, 1095 is not easy to work with. Nevertheless, both steels are used for making survival and bushcraft knives.

1080 vs 1084

1084 has more carbon content hence it wins over 1080 in terms of edge retention and resistance to wear and abrasion. Other than that, both have similar compositions as well as close performance in other areas.

Top 1084 Knives on Amazon

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So, is 1084 a Good Knife Steel?

Yes, it is a good option if you are willing to take proper care to keep rust or corrosion at bay. It is both hard enough to ensure great wear resistance as well as sharp edge retention. At the same time, it is tough enough to ensure chipping and breaking away despite heavy use.