What Kind of Steel is Used to Make a Knife?

What Kind of Steel is Used to Make a Knife?

Making knives is an intense process, and includes specific kinds of steels to get the job done well.

Some of the things most people value in a knife include sharpness, hardness and durability.

While there isn’t a perfect material for making a knife that hits all of these marks completely, there are a few options that come quite close.

Understanding these kinds of steel and how they work when used to make knives can give you an idea about which you’d like to work with, or which kind of knives may be ideal for you.

Take your time to consider the pros and cons of each one and you’ll have the perfect knives in no time.

Types of Steel

When making a knife, it’s natural to want to know what kind of steel is going to be the most reliable.

There are actually several types you may choose from, and each includes their own benefits and downfalls. Make sure to consider them before selecting one to work with.

Related Reading: Review: Ginsu 7108 Chikara 8-Piece Stainless Steel Knife Set with Bamboo Block

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is something many of us are used to seeing when it comes to food-related tools.

Often, martensitic and ferritic stainless steel are the top choices when making knives. As a result of their design, they often provide a high number of benefits to users.

Stainless steel knives are often quite reliable. They aren’t easy to corrode, which allows them to have longer lifespans.

Furthermore, they tend to be harder and slower to dull, giving those who make use of them less worry about their blades becoming dull too quickly, though they can be sharpened.

While they can be sharpened, it has a tendency to not be as easy as other knife types.

In addition, it’s important to consider the kind of stainless steel being used, as certain types are going to result in less durability. Typically, this includes what are known as Austenitic grades of stainless steel.


  • ​Resistant to corrosion
  • ​Slow to dull
  • ​Harder than other options


  • ​Austenitic grades aren’t ideal for knives
  • ​May be tough to sharpen

Tool Steel

Tool steel is an option that is quite similar to carbon steel, but it does include some improved qualities thanks to additional alloys.

Like many steel types, tool steel includes a few different varieties that some may find preferable for different uses.

Due to the makeup of tool steel, it can do a great job of staying sharp for as long as possible.

It can come across as a simple material, but tool steel is effective in creating knives that are quite reliable.

In addition, they have a decent level of corrosion resistance, which can allow users to rest at ease.

While this is a solid choice, it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s not quite as hard as other options on this list.

Because of that, it may not be quite as durable under heavy use. Additionally, it is a little more prone to corrosion than other options, because it just isn’t quite as strong.


  • ​Higher corrosion resistance
  • ​Great at maintaining an edge
  • ​Solid and reliable


  • ​Less resistant to corrosion than stainless steel
  • ​Not as hard as other options

Carbon Steel

There are many who prefer this type of steel for making knives because it is a very durable substance. That said, it’s also one of the more difficult steel types to manipulate to get the best results.

Knives made from carbon steel can be very durable and extremely sharp. This often makes them a popular choice among those who want something suitable for their kitchen. Furthermore, it’s an option that is typically quite affordable, making it easier for most to obtain even if they are on a tighter budget.

What is worth considering when it comes to carbon steel is that it can require special care to stay in good shape. This material can be prone to rust unless you take the extra steps needed for it. Before purchasing or making blades with this material, make sure you’re familiar with the extra care needed.


  • ​Offers extreme sharpness
  • ​Highly durable
  • ​Generally affordable


  • ​Can require extra care
  • ​Less aesthetically pleasing

The Best Steel For Knives

While you’re choosing, it’s important to think about what the knives will be used for, how often they’ll be used and who is using them. All of these things can help determine which type of steel will work best for a given situation.

For example, someone who doesn’t want to take the extra time to care for carbon steel blades likely shouldn’t use them, as they won’t be able to get the most from the experience. However, if you’re looking for durability than either stainless steel or carbon steel may be better options than tool steel.

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