“If you’re new to knife making and looking for good knife steel to work with, get the 1084 steel. You won’t regret it!” You’ve probably come across this advice about 1084 steel. And you wonder just how good is 1084 steel is for knife making?
This 1084 steel review will guide you through more intrinsic details about the 1084 steel for knife making in easy to understand language. By the time you’re done reading this guide, you’ll have made up your mind on whether this is the perfect steel to use to make your next knife.
What is 1084 steel? What type of steel is 1084?
1084 is a high carbon steel produced by United States AISI. The steel falls in the 10xx series of steels which are a popular carbon steel varieties used for making knives and katanas. Other steels in this family include 1055, 1060, 1070, 1080, 1084, and 1095 steels.
1084 carbon steel has a carbon content of 0.80-0.93%, which is higher than its predecessor 1080 and offers great shock resistance and low corrosion resistance.
1084 is often voted as one of the best beginner steels as it’s one of the easiest steels to work and doesn’t require advanced equipment for heat treatment. Surprisingly, expert knife smiths also use this steel for its ease of use and good edge holding capability.
What is 1084 steel used for?
This carbon steel makes a wide range of knives and you can use it to make a small everyday carry (EDC) knife or kitchen knife. The high toughness of this steel also qualifies it for creating katanas, swords, huge machetes, and even camping knives for heavy-duty use.
Amazingly, 1084 carbon steel can be used to make decorating blades. This is because it can produce Hamon effects (seen in Japanese katanas and Damascus swords) when subjected to a suitable heat treatment.
1084 steel chemical properties
As simple carbon steel, 1084 features a simple mix of elements which include carbon, manganese, phosphorus, and sulfur. The following table outlines the full 1084 steel chemistry:
Percentage composition (%)
0.800 - 0.930
0.60 - 0.90
0.800-0.930% Carbon increases tensile strength and hardness. It also improves wear and abrasion resistance.
0.60-0.90% Manganese increases tensile strength, hardenability, and wear resistance.
0.050% Phosphorous improves strength, hardness, and machinability.
0.040% Sulfur enhances machinability when used in low quantities.
1084 steel Rockwell hardness
This carbon steel can hit a hardness of 60 HRC. However, the steel can show a great variation in its hardness great variation is due to varying heat treatment processes used by different knife makers. The 60 RC is a good hardness value and is generally what you get with most high-quality steel knives from popular brands.
1084 steel properties
If you’re curious to know how this steel performs in various categories, this is your part. Below, we discuss how a typical 1084 carbon steel knife performs in toughness, edge holding, resisting corrosion, resisting wear, and ease of sharpness.
1084 steel Wear resistance
1084 carbon steel features great wear resistance as with all the other steels in its 10xx family. This attribute enables it to easily resist deformation and keep it from wearing down quickly with continued use. In other words, a 1084 steel knife can maintain its original look and shape and last longer.
1084 steel Edge retention
With a high hardness that goes up to 60 on the Rockwell hardness C scale, this steel delivers great edge retention. Again, this is characteristic of all the steels in the 10xx series—the ability to hold a sharp edge for long. This particular feature makes 1084 steel a suitable choice for making reliable camping and hunting knives that won’t dull pretty quickly, saving you from the hassle of sharpening your knife when in the fields.
1084 steel Rust resistance
1084 has poor corrosion resistance and can catch rust easily if not well taken care of. As you might have noticed in the chemical composition, this steel doesn’t contain chromium elements which give a steel alloy its corrosion resistance properties. 1084 steel for kitchen knives and other 1084 steel knives used in humid conditions should be cleaned, dried, and oiled after every use to keep off the rust. Knife manufacturers also cover 1084 knives with anti-corrosive finishes to enhance their rust resistance.
1084 steel Toughness
1084 generally offers good toughness, though this can vary depending on the heat treatment used. If you give your 1084 steel suitable heat treatment, it will offer you a blade with high toughness and capable of chopping branches, twigs, and other heavy-duty camping and bushcraft activities without chipping.
1084 steel Sharpenability
1084 is pretty easy to sharpen, despite being high carbon steel with high hardness. It not only sharpens effortlessly but also takes an ultra-sharp edge. Beginner knife makers will love the easy sharpening experience this steel gives and enables them to improve their sharpening skills overtime.
1084 steel Machinability
This is the sweet spot for 1084 steel. The steel is incredibly easy to work with. It doesn’t require complicated heat treatment equipment either. This explains why 1084 is the perfect steel for beginner knife makers, though advanced knife smiths also use it when they need an easy to work with steel. As easy to work with as it is, this steel will also produce top-performance knives with excellent performance in key areas.
1084 steel equivalent
The German Bohler 15n20 steel is the equivalent of 1084 steel (or better off, the 1084 steel European equivalent). The two steels have pretty similar chemistry with only a few elements and they don’t contain chromium. The MAIN difference is that 15n20 steel contains 2% Nickel (no nickel in 1084 steel) which makes it extremely tough.
Otherwise, both steel play in the same hardness range and offer great wear resistance and edge retention. They’re also easy to sharpen and easy to work with for knife makers.
1084 steel vs other steels
So, how does this steel perform in the various categories when put side to side with other popular knife steels? let’s find out below…
1084 vs 1095 knife steel
1095 carbon steel is popular steel in the knife industry and features higher hardness than 1084. Its high carbon content (0.90-1.03%) gives it better wear resistance and edge retention than its sibling, the 1084 steel. just like 1084, this steel offers excellent toughness and is popular with bushcraft and survival knives. Unlike 1084, however, 1095 is a headache to work.
1080 vs 1084 steel
The main difference between 1080 and 1084 steel is that 1084 contains more carbon content. This gives 1084 steel an edge over 1080 steel in terms of wear/abrasion resistance and edge retention. Other than that, they have similar chemistry and offer a very close performance in the other areas.
Is 1084 steel good for knives?
Several reasons make 1084 steel suitable steel for knives. Chief among them is that this steel is incredibly easy to work and form. This serves as good news to beginners and advanced knife makers alike.
1084 steel is also good for knives because it features a hardness level found in top-rated blade steels, enabling it to deliver great wear resistance and edge retention. With the right heat treatment, this steel can also get quite tough, making it a good choice for hard use knives like camping, bushcraft, and survival knives.
The MAIN downside of using 1084 steel for knives is poor corrosion resistance. However, you can beat this by giving your knife good care like cleaning it after every use. Oiling your blade also creates a protective layer against rust.
Now that you have read through this 1084 steel review, you understand how 1084 performs when used to make knives. The 1084 steel for knives has favorable features and attributes that you need in knife steel. it offers high wear resistance and great edge retention. It can also get quite tough and will not chip under hard use. And it’s easy to sharpen. If you’re looking for an easy to work with knife steel for beginners, with decent performance, get 1084 steel.