Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel Review: Is it Really Great
12c27 is one of the most discussed blade steels on the web. This steel is so popular that it enjoys a huge stake in the knives sold in the united states. As a knife user with no experience with a 12C27 steel knife, you might be burning to know why this steel has so much popularity. You want to understand this steel better to see if it meets your expectations and requirements.
Gladly, this is exactly what our 12c27 stainless steel review is all about. This post will offer you a clear picture of the 12C27 steel performance by looking at its chemical composition, Rockwell hardness, edge holding capability, toughness, corrosion resistance, ease of sharpening, and the equivalent steel grades.
What Is Sandvik 12C27 Steel?
12c27 is a high chromium martensitic stainless steel alloy developed by Sandvik AB, a Swedish multinational engineering company. The steel falls under the Sandvik series of steels and makes one of the 7 steel grades in this family including 12C27M, 14C28N, 13C26, and others.
12C27 steel is extremely popular in the US knife market for its high hardness, high wear resistance, and great corrosion resistance. And unlike most high chromium steels that are a pain to sharpen, this steel is incredibly easy to sharpen.
Typical applications for the 12c27 Swedish stainless steel include pocket knives, hunting knives, tactical knives, camping knives, high-end chef knives, fishing knives, ice drills, and skate blades.
Is 12C27 Steel Stainless?
Absolutely! 12C27 is stainless steel since it contains 13.5% Chromium, which is more than 12% of Chromium the alloy needs to become stainless steel. With this level of chromium, this Sandvik steel will offer great resistance to stains and rust.
12C27 Steel Chemical Composition
Understanding the 122c27 steel composition is key to understanding its performance. The following tables outlines the key elements used in the steel’s composition:
Percentage composition (%)
0.60% Carbon increases the steel hardness. it also improves resistance to wear and corrosion.
13.5% Chromium boosts tensile strength, hardness, and toughness. Since it’s more than 12%, it makes 12c27 stainless steel and increases its corrosion resistance.
0.40% Manganese increases tensile strength, wear resistance, and hardenability.
0.25% Phosphorous increases the strength and machinability of this steel.
0.40% Silicon increases the steel strength and corrosion resistance.
0.010% Sulfur improves machinability. The sulfur is used in super-low quantities as it’s considered an impurity and too much of it can decrease the strength of the steel alloy.
What Is Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel Hardness?
This steel delivers a Rockwell hardness of between 54 and 61 HRC, depending on the heat treatment process. This is such a high 12C27 steel hardness range and will give the steel great edge retention while increasing its wear resistance.
12C27 Stainless Steel Properties
Let’s look at the key features and attributes you’ll get from a Sandvik 12c27 stainless steel blade.
12c27 Stainless Steel Wear Resistance
The wear resistance is directly related to its wear resistance. And judging from the hardness of this steel, it will offer good wear resistance. The steel gives just enough wear resistance, but not the best compared to other steels. But the decent level it offers is still good in that you’re assured that your 12c27 steel knife will stand up to normal wear and tear and keep its original sharp as you continue using and sharpening it.
12C27 Steel Edge Retention
The steel offers great edge retention under normal use and this is attributed to its great wear resistance which enables it to resist dulling. It holds an edge quite well and will even outperform a number of popular knife steels that are considered to featured good edge retention. When taken through a rope cutting, the 12c27 custom knife in the following video displays the ability to keep its sharp cutting edge for most usage.
12C27 Steel Corrosion Resistance
This steel also delivers high corrosion resistance, thanks to the high chromium content it features (up to 13%). This explains why this steel is favored for making fishing and hunting knives. Since it is also stainless steel, it will easily resist stains. However, keep in mind that your 12c27 steel knife isn’t 100% susceptible to rusting and will require some extra care to make it completely rust-free.
12C27 Steel Toughness
12C27 is tough stuff! The steel comes as a fine carbide stainless steel which translates to a higher toughness. As some knife users have put it, this steel is tougher than woodpecker lips. The high toughness makes most of the non-stainless steels look like a joke. The 12c27 hunting, fishing, EDC knives excellently handle hard use while offering great resistance to breaking or chipping.
The stuff is quite easy to sharpen, even in the fields with crude stones. Yes, the Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel sharpens like a dream and reaches high sharpness without using any advanced sharpening systems.
And since we’ve already stated that this steel can keep an edge for relatively long, you won’t even be sharpening it every week or months, even when it sharpens easily.
What Is Sandvik 12c27 Equivalent?
Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel is close to Japanese Aus-8. The two steels have a close hardness level and chemical composition, except that AUS 8 features additional elements molybdenum and vanadium in its chemical composition. Both make great steels for knives with reasonable pricing ranging from 30 to 100 bucks. They deliver great corrosion resistance, excellent edge retention, and toughness. Both grades of steel are also quite easy to sharpen.
12C27 Steel Comparison
How does 12c27 stainless steel compare to some of the popular steels used to make knives on the market today? let’s find out below.
Sandvik 12c27 Vs D2
D2 has reputation for exceptional edge holding and tremendous wear resistance and has even been crowned king of wear resistance by knife steel enthusiasts. The steel’s secret to high performance in these areas comes from the high hardness it comes with. While 12c27 will also offer great edge keeping and wear resistance properties, it will not get to the same level as the D2.
Sharpenability is pretty easy with 12c27 and only becomes a challenge as you move to D2 steel. In terms of machinability, 12c27 is easier to work with than D2. Also, the Swedish 12c27 is cheaper to produce than D2 because it has fewer alloying elements. As for the cost, D2 knives will cost more than 12c27 steel knives.
Sandvik 12C27 Vs S30V
S30V is a considered a premium and ranks way higher than 12C27 on the steel scale. The S30V has the advantage of vanadium element which combines with carbon to form vanadium carbides, which delivers superior edge retention performance than the chromium carbides in the 12c27. But 12c27 will outshine this premium steel with easy sharpening and more affordable pricing.
Sandvik 12C27 Vs VG10
VG10 is higher than 12c27 on the steel scale. It has higher hardness and offers better edge retention, wear resistance, and more corrosion resistance than 12C27 stainless steel. However, it’s not easy to sharpen due to high hardness, unlike 12c27 which sharpens with ease. But VG10 is quite brittle and its edge will cheap easily if it comes into contact with hard surfaces. VG10 comes at a higher cost while 12c27 is more affordable steel.
Sandvik 12C27 Vs 440C
12c27 and 440C are pretty good knife steels but they’re not without a few notable differences. 440C is less hard than 12C27 and is considered soft steel. It’s, therefore, easier to work with for bladesmiths. 440C also tends to offer high toughness than 12c27.
Though 440C will offer good edge retention, the 12c27 will offer you better edge retention.
The high chromium in 440C (17%) gives it even better anti-corrosion properties and it won’t rust easily. 440C also takes a mirror finish and is readily available. Don’t forget that 440C steel knives are generally cheaper compared to the 12c27 knives.
Sandvik 12C27 Vs 420HC
This is also a great pair of blade steels with great performance. But 420HC has lower carbon content than 12c27 which means the Sandvik steel will offer better edge retention than 420HC. The inclusion of vanadium in 420HC however gives it a better wear resistance performance.
Though the two steels also sharpen easily, you’ll get a bit easier sharpening experience with 420HC. 420HC is soft and easier to work with. The two steel grades offer similar corrosion resistance properties. They also fall in the affordable range, so they’ll make a good choice for budget-minded buyers.
Sandvik 12C27 Vs 8Cr13MoV
The Chinese 8Cr13MoV is low-end steel, just like our 12c27 steel, making this a fair comparison. If you study the chemistry of 8Cr13MoV, you’ll notice it features additional compounds not present in 12c27 stainless steel such as molybdenum, vanadium, and nickel.
These give the steel an edge over 12c27 in hardness, sharpness, and toughness areas. However, this Chinese steel doesn’t hold up well in corrosion resistance and is no match for 12c27 stainless steel.
How Good Is Sandvik 12C27 Steel?
12C27 stainless steel has major strengths that make it good steel for making knives. It is one of the most durable steels available and can withstand a lot of stress and abuse, making it a top choice for heavy use.
It also offers great corrosion resistance and holds an edge really well under normal use. It’s super-easy to sharpen and takes a super-sharp edge with standard sharpening methods.
Best part? 12C27 steel comes at a more affordable cost than the premium steel blades but it offers comparable performance.
Best 12C27 Stainless Steel Knife Reviews:
1. Morakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade Knife
This is an all-around great outdoor knife that will a true buddy for nearly any outdoor activity, whether it’s hiking hunting, camping, or sea-related activities. It comes in a lightweight design while featuring a truly robust design to withstand tough outdoor use.
The blade of this steel features the top-grade Swedish 12c27 stainless steel which offers you excellent edge retention, sharpness, exceptional corrosion resistance, and high hardness. The blade spine comes ground such that you can use it with a fire starter to create sparks for igniting dry grass or gas grill.
You’ll also love that this blade comes optimized with Scandi grind to offer you a durable, yet razor-sharp, edge that easily bites into the surface of different materials and keep your knife from slipping.
To complete its suitability for various outdoor conditions, the knife comes with an anti-slip handle. This gives you a slip-free performance in all situations, including cold and wet conditions. The handle also feels comfortable in your hand, making it meet the conditions for a perfect handle which are great control, safety, and performance.
2. CRKT Swindle EDC Folding Pocket Knife
This budget-friendly, classy CRKT folding pocket knife is great for everyday carry. Proudly made by award-winning knife maker, Ken Onion, this knife comes in a slim design and has a lightweight feel (with only 3.3oz weight) to make it comfortable for everyday carry.
Unlike most of the folders out there, this model features a unique blade that opens from the opposite side. but this doesn’t in any way make it hard to deploy. In fact, its IKBS (ball bearing pivot) system offers you a pleasantly smooth and fast opening and closing experience.
The Sandvik 12c27 stainless steel blade is hollow ground and is engineered to nicely tuck inside the handle. The frame lock, tucked inside the handle, keeps the blade in a secure open location to ensure 100% user safety.
As for the handle, this stylish folder comes with a durable stainless steel handle with a grooved surface that feels really good in your hands and offers you a secure grip. As an everyday carry knife, this CRKT comes with a pocket clip that securely attaches to your pocket for convenient carry.
3. HELLE Knives Alden Traditional Field Knife
This knife from Helle knives is well made and come with the traditional field knife design. it features a beautiful handle made of birch wood plus steel plates. It feels great in your hands and has a solid feel to it, signaling that it’s built to last.
Like the other two blades above, this knife also comes powered by Sandvik's most well-rounded steel, 12C27, with great edge performance, exceptional toughness, great corrosion resistance, high sharpness, and high hardness.
Its 4.1 inches long blade shaves hair right out of the box. It also holds an edge quite well and will most of the hard tasks like carving wood and other hiking, hunting, camping, or bushcraft activities without breaking or chipping.
The fixed blade comes accompanied by a genuine leather sheath which is made to last. It comfortably accommodates your knife and will hold it in there unless you draw it out yourself. The small and useful finger guard enables this knife to fit in pouch style sheath.
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The 12c27 steel is, no doubt, the most well-rounded steel from Sandvik. As you have seen from this 12c27 stainless steel review, the Swedish offers a good balance of edge retention, corrosion resistance, and toughness.
And while its performance isn’t the same as that of the premium grade steels, it still offers better performance than most of the low-end steels available. The fact that it comes at an affordable cost makes it the perfect choice for budget-conscious knife users.