With too many steel variations with strings of complex characters as names, knife smiths often find themselves confused about the right steel material to use to achieve their desired results. Knife users, too, always get overwhelmed when choosing from knives made with different blade materials.
In this guide, we'll be looking at the 14C28N steel, one of the most popular variations of steels used in knife making. You'll discover what exactly this steel is, its composition, key properties, and more, to help you decide if it's a good steel for knife making.
What exactly is Sandvik 14C28N steel?
The Sandvik 14C28N steel, popularly referred to as 14C28N, is non-powder metallurgy steel used to make knife blades.
The 14C28N steel is made in Sweden by Sandvik, the European steel company. The manufacturer developed it as an update to the 12C27 and 13C26 steels, which were made for making shaving razors.
Unlike most steels, which use carbon in their composition to boost their hardness, the 14C28N uses nitrogen to increase its hardness and, at the same time, eliminate corrosion and rusting.
What is 14C28N Steel Composition?
In the 14C28N steel chemical composition, chromium takes the largest percentage of the total composition, qualifying it stainless steel.
Carbon is the second most abundant compound in the steel's composition. This composition makes this steel unique from other types while enabling it to achieve one ultimate goal—rust and corrosion-resistant steel.
The following table gives you a clear picture of the complete chemical composition of the 14C28N steel:
Reason for use
Improved tensile strength and edge retention. Enhanced corrosion and wear resistance.
Improved hardness, wear, and corrosion resistance
Increased hardness and brittleness.
Improved strength and edge retention
14C28N Steel Properties
The mechanical properties of any given steel heavily depend on the elements that make it up, heat treatment, and the manufacturing route. These are the key properties offered by knives made from 14C28N steel:
As we have seen in the composition table, the steel contains a high percentage of chromium and carbon, increasing its hardness. Because this steel grade has a high level of hardness, a maximum hardness of up to 62Hrc, you can trust it to deliver pretty good edge retention.
The presence of carbon and manganese gives the extreme steel hardness and good wear resistance.
The maximum chromium amount needed to make a steel stainless is 10%. With even higher chromium content in its chemical composition, up to 14%, this steel is 100% stainless and offers you excellent resistance to corrosion and rusting. This makes knives made from 14C28N suitable for use in different conditions, including wet and humid environments.
Because this is hard steel, the 14c28n steel will hold up its sharpness for a long time before it requires sharpening. It's also easy to sharpen.
Toughness is a weakness for this metal. The high hardness levels come at a price that is low toughness.
How does 14C28N compare to other steels?
Basically, comparing one steel to another usually comes down to the key properties: edge retention, toughness, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpness. Let's see how 14c28n fares in comparison to other popular types of steel.
14C28N vs S30V
S30V performs better than 14C28N when it comes to keeping its edge for long. But they share the same degree of corrosion resistance and toughness. 14C28N outshines S30V in terms of ease of sharpening.
14C28N vs D2
The D2 steel has slightly better edge retention capabilities than 14C28N but has the same toughness level. But it scores in terms of ease of sharpening ease and corrosion resistance than the 14C28N.
14C28N vs VG10
The Japanese steel, VG10, offers slightly higher edge retention than 14c28n. It, however, has the same level of corrosion resistance and ease of sharpness of this steel. Unfortunately, it scores lower for toughness than 14c28n.
14C28N vs 8CR13MO
The Chinese made 8CR13MO steel offers lower edge retention and slightly lower corrosion resistance than the European's 14C28N. Both steels have the same degree of toughness. But the 8CR13MO is even easier to sharpen than 14C28N.
14C28N vs 12C27
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, the 14C28N is an upgraded version of the 12C27 steel from Sandvik. As such, they share an almost similar chemical composition, and you don't expect significant differences in their properties. As an upgraded version, the 14C28N features higher hardness, greater corrosion resistance, and more wear resistance.
As you can see from these quick comparisons, slight differences exist between the 14C28N and most other popular types of steel used for knife making. In other words, there aren't significant defenses that make 14c28n any inferior to other steels.
Is 14c28n Steel Good for Knives?
14C28N is a good steel for knives. The main benefit of using this steel for blades is its high corrosion resistance. This makes it the perfect steel for knives involves in constant cutting and for use in all conditions.
The 14C28N steel is great for pocket and kitchen knives. When using this steel knife in the kitchen, you will not have to worry about different foods causing rusting and corrosion to your 14c28n steel knife.
However, we have already mentioned that the toughness of this steel is questionable. And as such, we don't suggest using it for knives meant for handling tough tasks.
You might want to avoid using this knife for camping and other related tasks. Though it has the benefit of maintaining its edge and sharpness for quite an extended period of time, it could easily break in the face of tough tasks.
All in all, 14c28n steel is a good option for your knife as long as you use it for the right job.
Best 14C28N Knives On The Market
Now that you already know too much about 14c28n steel, let's introduce you to some of the highly-rated knives made from this steel you can find on the market today.
1. Kershaw Knockout Olive Black Pocket Knife
This is one of the top-rated knives made with the 14c28n steel. And a reliable multi-use tool for military and tactical situations. A killer camouflage look and affordable pricing make it stand from the competition.
The knife offers you a durable anodized aluminum handle optimized for exceptional grip and comfort. The "knocked out" handle portion offers you better grip in all conditions, including muddy, wet, bloody, etc., while giving it a slimmer fighting weight feel.
Of course, the knife features a 14c28n whose high nitrogen composition assures you of 100% corrosion resistance and improved hardness. The blade measures 3.25 inches, not too long, and not too small—making it counter-balanced by a lightweight and durable design.
When you buy this knife, you also get a deep carry pocket clip, which allows for fully discreet and concealed carry when the need arises. You'll easily notice that the clip's 4 pre-drilled holes for versatile carry.
And yes, this knife is equipped with Kershaw's patented SpeedSafe assisted opening, which offers you easy one-hand deployment with either hand. The Sub-Frame lock secures the blade in an open position to give you peace of mind when using this knife.
2. Kershaw Leek BlackWash Pocket Knife
This knife appears in Kershaw's popular Leek lineup of knives. It sports a slim, easy to carry design and boasts superb cutting capabilities, which qualify it as a great little pocket carry option for you.
Like its sibling above, the pocket knife comes with a blade made from high-performance 14c28n steel. The blade measures 3 inches in length and comes razor sharp right out of the box. It boasts excellent edge retention, better hardness, and increased corrosion resistance.
The blade's modified drop-point design makes it ideal for slicing. Its slim tip gives it excellent piercing capabilities, with good detail work capabilities.
This Leek offers you a durable and corrosion-free stainless steel handle that feels good in your hands. The entire pocket knife is coated with an attractive black oxide coating, which boosts its durability while dampening light reflections in tactical applications.
Thanks to the included pocket clip, which you can configure for various carry positions, you'll have problems carrying this little pocket knife in your pocket. Included in the knife handle is a pre-drilled hole for the lanyard as an alternative carrying option.
With the SpeedSafe opening mechanism plus a one-handed flipper included in this knife, opening it with either hand becomes a smooth and fast task for you. A secure frame lock keeps the blade securely locked in an open position during use. And the sliding Tip-lock ensures the blade stays closed in transit.
3. STEINBRÜCKE Steinbrucke Pocket Knife
This is the best 14c28n pocket knife for the money. The knife is made of quality and comes loaded a couple of impressive features, including smooth locking and secure locking, but at pocket-friendly pricing.
It features an aluminum handle with a G10 insert that fits great in your hand to provide you with a good grip.
The pocket knife comes with a sturdy 3.4-inch blade from 14c28n steel, one of the world's highest performance blades. It comes razor sharp right out of the box, and its edge is ground at a 3x lower speed than most blades out there, translating to exceptional sharpness.
Since the blade features a titanium coating, it boasts even high corrosion resistance. You can use it in wet environments without rust worries.
You'll be impressed that this Steinbrucke also comes with an integrated carbide glass breaker and seatbelt cutter. This makes it a great multi-function knife for any job and in any situation.
The included pocket is easily reversible to let you carry your knife in your desired position. It's also unconstructive for easy knife access. And it's barely noticeable when gripping your knife.
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We hope this guide has been helpful to you in deciding whether 14C28N is good knife steel. We have covered everything you need to know to put you in a better place to determine whether this steel matches your needs. This includes its chemical and mechanical properties and how it compares with other popular steel grades. We have also included some of the best steel knives featuring 14c28n steel blade you can find on the market today.