Are you planning to use AEB-L steel to make a knife but feel that you first need to know more about this steel? If yes, the following AEB-L steel review is for you. We have collected opinions of knife steel experts and knife makers, distilled it, and coupled it with our own research about this steel. This guide will explain everything there is to know about AEB-L including how easy it is to work with and the key features it offers in a knife.
What is AEB L Steel?
AEB-Lis non-powder stainless steel produced by the German-based Bohler-Uddeholm manufacturers. The steel is quite old and its origins trace back to the 19060s, where it was being initially developed as a razor blade steel.
It delivers high corrosion resistance, high hardness, and easy sharpening. Due to these great characteristics, this steel finds use in making both the industrial and scalpel blades
This steel enjoys high popularity from knife makers due to its consistency. The AEB-L steel heat treatment process is pretty basic and you can easily work it on the grinder. It also easily takes a full mirror polish, increasing its reputation among knife smiths.
AEB-L steel composition
Percentage composition (%)
0.67% Carbon is responsible for making the steel hard. it also improves wear and corrosion resistance.
13% Chromium makes this steel stainless since it passes the 12% threshold. Most importantly, it plays the role of increasing the steel wear and corrosion resistance.
0.6% Manganese boosts the steel hardenability and tensile strength.
0.4% Silicon boosts the hardness and strength of the steel.
0.025% Phosphorous enhances the steel’s machinability, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance. But too much of it can increase brittleness.
0.015% Sulfur increases the steel machinability.
What is AEB L steel hardness
AEB L has a hardness rating of 61-62 HRC…but it can hit a maximum hardness of 65HRC depending on the heat treatment processed used. This makes it one of the hardest steel grades which directly increases the wear resistance and enhances edge retention.
AEB L steel properties:
AEB-L steel toughness
This steel offers you decent toughness, which is unexpected given that high-hardness steels are usually considered less tough. the secret lies in the steel featuring fine grain structure which increases the toughness level.
AEB-L steel edge retention
The steel offers great edge retention and stability, thanks to the presence of chromium carbides in its structure. Also, its high hardness contributes to its ability to keep a sharp edge for long. The benefit of the knife holding its edge for so long means you won’t bother with sharpening it more often.
The AEB L steel also offers great corrosion resistance; thanks to the high chromium volume it carries. A rule of thumb of steel industry is that any steel containing more than 12% steel is regarded as stainless, and this is AEB-L is one such example. This enables it to keep away corrosion and rusting with minimal maintenance efforts.
AEB L wear resistance
AEB-L stainless steel also delivers excellent wear resistance as it’s expected of any hard steel. The high wear resistance means it doesn’t entertain abrasion and will hold up to normal wear and tear really well.
Good news: The German steel gets sharp quite fast! But the steel is too hard, right? How does it then turn out to be easy to sharpen? Well, AEB-L forms K2 carbide which is a harder chromium carbide than k1 carbide. The knife is so easy to sharpen that even a simple strop will give you an ultra-sharp edge.
What is AEB-L steel equivalent?
The equivalent for AEB L steel is Sandvik 12c27 as both steels have a pretty close chemical composition. They also offer similar performance in terms of edge retention, hardness, corrosion resistance, toughness, easy sharpening, and wear resistance. Both aeb-l and Sandvik 12c27 are popular among knife makers and fall in the same price range.
AEB L steel comparison
If you’re wondering how aeb-l steel performance is like compared to other top steels, this is your part. below, we discuss how the steel compares to other popular knife steels available today.
AEB-L steel vs CPM 3V
While AEB-L is stainless and resists corrosion, 3V is not stainless and is easily susceptible to corrosion. The edge retention you get from 3V is on the lower side compared to what you get from AEB-L. The US’ CPM 3V is more about outstanding toughness and will work well in survival situations. The AEB L is about corrosion resistance and performance.
AEB-L steel vs M390
These two steels are from the same manufacturer, Bohler. M390 outperforms AEB L with tremendous wear resistance and longer edge holding capabilities. With up to 20% Chromium content, m390 also offers better anti-corrosion properties than aeb-l steel.
But AEB-L is easy to sharpen, unlike the m390 which takes time to achieve a keen edge. M390 is quite hard to work with and is less favored by knife makers compared to the easy to form AEB-L steel. M390 is pricier compared to AEB-L and will not appeal to budget-minded knife users.
AEB-L steel vs VG10
These two steel grades are great performers. Both are stainless steel and will offer good corrosion resistance. they also deliver fairly similar edge retention and hardness level. However, AEB L is a bit easier to sharpen and holds a cleaner edge for longer than VG10.
AEB-L vs Elmax
These two steels are from the same company but have differences in their performance. Elmax is considered premium steel and features 3x carbon content and 5% more chromium than AEB-L. In other words, Elmax is better steel than AEB-L.
How good is AEB-L steel for knives?
AEBL is a good steel for knives and it delivers great edge retention, toughness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. And unlike most of the hard steels out there, this steel is relatively easy to sharpen.
With such great features, aeb-l is definitely good steel for knives and will hold to outdoor use in camping, hiking, or hunting conditions. Because this steel is relatively easy to work with, it’s also a great choice for beginners and seasoned knife makers.
And yes, it comes at a more affordable cost, making it good knife steel for budget-minded knife makers.
Now that you have read this complete aeb-l review, you have all the information you need to decide how good a steel it is for knife making. by understanding its top features and how it compares with other popular steels, you’ll get a clear picture of this steel and make a more informed decision on whether to use it to make your knife or not.