Knife Steels - Why is 440A so bad?

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Jun 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/4/97

I'm relatively new to the world of knives and I have a question as to why
so many seem to really dislike 440a steel for knife blades. I've read
comments like "butter soft", "can't hold an edge", and "cheap steel"
regarding 440a. I've looked at all the Knife FAQ's regarding steels and
can't seem to see a lot of difference between 440a, 440b, AUS-6, AUS-8,
425M, 5160, 1060, and 1075. They all seem to have very similar carbon
content. Can you really make any of these steels harder or tougher then
any of the rest? Is 440a really an inferior product if properly produced?
I know many of the big knife producers use 440a for their products. Are
the SOG, Gerber, or similar products so greatly inferior to those using
"high" carbon or AUS steels? Randall uses 440b for their stainless blades
yet I've never heard "bad" things about their products. Is 440a so
inferior to 440b or other steel alloys? If the knife is properly ground
and the steel properly produced and hardened does it really make such a
difference as to the steel used? Maybe I don't have the experience or
knowledge yet but this talk of the vast superiority of one steel over
another is akin to the gun mags touting the advantage of one caliber
over another (.30-06 vs .308 vs .280 vs .270 vs .25-06) when all concerned
are perfectly adequate for the intended purpose. Please educate me on the
440a question. Thanks!

Ken Jay

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bob engnath

Jun 4, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/4/97
to wrote:

>Ken Jay

When you use a high alloy steel, like stainless, it has to have quite
a bit more carbon content than a plain. carbon steel, in order to make
it harden to a degree that will make a good knife.
Mfrs. use 440-A because it's cheaper, polishes easier and is simpler
to machine. 440-A has about .6% carbon, which might make a steel like
5160 harden, but can't do the job when you have about 20% of the mix
that isn't iron.
If I may put it briefly, 440-A sucks.

Jun 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/5/97

In article <5n5ip1$>,


Mucho thanks for the info. I learn something new every day. I stick to
better steels in my purchases. I'm looking to purchase from Blades N
Stuff soon - 440C and ATS-34 right? Again, thanks.


Jun 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/10/97

In article <>, writes:

>Subject: Re: Knife Steels - Why is 440A so bad?
>Date: Thu, 05 Jun 1997 13:57:13 -0600

bob some of those shity knife stainlesses.... ALMOST ....... make an
almost passable s.s. sword

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