1060 Steel vs 1095: What is the best for swords

If you’ve been collecting knives for a while, or if you’re just getting started, you’ve undoubtedly wondered what all of the various kinds of steel in knife blades imply. There are numerous distinct varieties of steel, and there’s no doubt that you’ve asked yourself which is the finest. This data may assist you in determining which kinds of steel should be utilized for what purposes by allowing you to make an educated selection about which steel to utilize.

All you need to make steel is a combination of iron and carbon, although it was found that adding different components to this basic steel stuff can improve its durability or hardness over time. It was discovered that adding various substances improved the toughness and hardness of basic steel. Each additional element revealed benefits and drawbacks fast.
1060 Steel vs 1095
For example, a certain alloy might make a blade more difficult to break. The stronger the steel, the longer it will retain its edge (and that means less frequent sharpening), which is fantastic! However, if you harden the blade, you lose some of its toughness, making it less resistant to shock and impact (not such a good thing). Unfortunately, a blade can’t be both harder and tougher at the same time; as you add hardness Not all of us have the fundamental knowledge of a materials scientist, therefore here are a few key distinctions in steel types to assist you choose the appropriate kind of blade for your needs.

Knowing what material is ideal for your sword is one of the most crucial things, whether you’re a sword maker or a fan. Namely, you can’t build a good and functioning blade from low-quality steel. This is why we decided to put this information out there so that you can make an informed decision about which one to buy or make.

Ingredients of Steel

First, we will introduce you to the basic ingredients of steel and their uses.

  • Carbon

Carbon is necessary for the formation of steel. All steel will have some amount of carbon. It’s the most essential hardening agent, but it also has the potential to weaken the material. Carbon lowers the length that a knife will last. As a result of this, carbon content in the blade indicates how good the steel is. Low carbon means there is (.3 percent or less), medium contains between (.4% and .7%), and high is (0.8%).)

  • Chromium

It is difficult to maintain stainless steel knives, since they require special care. Stainless steel cutlery will contain chromium, typically in amounts of at least 12%. Chromium adds strength to a knife while also making it less brittle.

  • Cobalt

Strengthens the blade.

  • Copper

Combats corrosion.

  • Manganese

The hardening helps to strengthen the blade. It might make the blade more brittle if used in excessive quantities.

  • Molybdenum

This corrosion-resistant steel is used in pressure vessels, boilers and oil storage tanks.

  • Nickel

Adds toughness.

  • Nitrogen

This material is sometimes utilized as a carbon substitute in steel.

  • Phosphorus

Improves strength.

  • Silicon

Strengthens the metal. It also removes oxygen from the metal while it is being shaped.

  • Sulfur

Machinability and hardness are both reduced, but the steel is more brittle.

  • Tungsten

Increases wear resistance.

  • Vanadium

Pattern retention is improved by oxidation. It improves the hardness of the blade and makes it more wear-resistant.

1060 Medium-Carbon Steel

1060 Steel vs 1095
Carbon is used to make 1060 steel. Carbon is present in the alloy, as you might expect. It’s barely into the middle of medium and high carbon steel, with a carbon content of 0.6 percent. The majority of 1060 steels also include a trace amount of manganese. The manganese makes up less than 1% of the overall material of the blade.

This sums up the properties of 1060 steel quite succinctly. However, it raises the question: How does this steel composition influence the blade?

1060 Steel Performance

1060 steel is frequently utilized in sword smelting. That was not a coincidence, and it has a compelling reason. The AISI/SAE 1060 steel allows for a nice balance between hardness and flexibility. 1045 may be too soft, while 1095 might be too inflexible for many applications.

1075 Steel
RMP Knife Blade Steel - High Carbon Annealed, 1075 Knife Making Billets, 1.5 Inch x 12 Inch x 0.125 Inch

As a result, SAE 1060 carbon steel is the ideal compromise. 1060 steel is also popular among katanas because of its hardness. Furthermore, this carbon steel may be differential tempered quite easily. As a result, many clay tempered katanas are created from 1060 steel.

Furthermore, the blade is quite robust and can maintain its edge well. In comparison to 1045 steel, this is a significant upgrade. You have no idea how much difference an increase of 0.15 percent in carbon content makes. Even though 1060 carbon steel has a high hardness, it still offers excellent impact resistance.

Aside from its numerous practical benefits, SAE 1060 steel is also quite attractive. Katanas with this carbon content are known for having a prominent hamon line. The 1060 steel has disadvantages, much like everything else in life. They aren’t major, but they’re something to bear in mind.

The less resistant a blade is to rust, the greater its carbon content. We don’t want to convey that it’s particularly prone to rust, but in comparison to a 1045 steel knife, it does rust faster. However, with regular upkeep, this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Swords constructed of 1060 steel are in the low/medium price range. A sword or katana made from this steel will set you back approximately $200-$250. 1060 steel is commonly utilized by beginning sword makers due to its easy heat-treating conditions.

Heat treatment is critical to the sword’s durability. To me, it is the most crucial element of the sword-making process.
1060 Steel vs 1095

1060 Steel Endurance

The steel’s resistance to wear is in the average range for swords in the 1060 series. This steel is in the middle of the 10xx series. Let’s be honest: if you wish to hit your sword against something huge, it will most likely shatter.

Yes, the 1060 steel endurance limit is unknown. However, if you strike it against a rock, it’s gone. For research purposes, we are going to break one of blades. As testing conditions change, however, we’ve learned that durability testing isn’t a good or trustworthy source.

If you only chop softer targets like a carcass, this shouldn’t be an issue. Of course, we hope that reading about the 1060 steel endurance limit has been beneficial.

Benefits of 1060 steel

What is the best sort of steel for a knife blade? You may make your own decision based on everything we’ve said. Carbon steel is an excellent choice for katanas. Despite the fact that it may be comparable to 1095 steel in some ways. 1095 is even more difficult (and less durable). However, it has a greater cutting potential.

A 1045 or 1060 steel is ideal if you are a novice. The SAE 1060 steel, too, is an excellent addition to every katana collection.

When it comes to medieval/European swords, we have a few issues with his steel type. We adore spring steel, as previously said. They have excellent durability at an affordable price. As a result, 5160/9260 steel is ideal for medieval blades.

1060 Steel Sword Care

1060 Steel vs 1095
As with all steels in the 10xx series, 1060 is prone to rust. It’s not as bad as with 1095.

Proper maintenance is important nonetheless. Not only katanas but every sword should be polished at least every three months.

Obviously, if you use your sword, you should clean it as soon as possible. Rust is a formidable foe. As a result, you should never have rust on your knives, and they will always be rust-free in the future.

Cleaning 1060 steel is not difficult. You simply need to clean the blade in the beginning. Then, to your sword’s surface, apply a thin layer of oil. This will boost rust resistance.

If you want to keep your weapon for a long time, Renaissance Wax is a great choice. It’s said to be extremely excellent. This wax is used by museums to preserve their priceless items.

1095 High-Carbon Steel

1060 Steel vs 1095
Wasp Knife Co. offers a wide range of knives that come with different blade steels and handles, but the 1095 steel is one that stands out from the rest. It has greater carbon content, making it an excellent choice for knives. Even more manganese is added to the mix to improve flexibility and strength even further. 1095 steel is comparable to tamahagane-treated steel used in Japanese swords (tamahagane).

The edge-welding is now the most popular steel for katana. Just like higher carbon steels, it has excellent hardness and strength characteristics. It also created some of most memorable quotations. The hamon line is produced during forging, which adds to the sword’s attractiveness significantly. Using the method where you create a sharper edge and softer spine, 1095 steel is ideal for differential tempering.

1095 Steel
RMP Knife Blade Steel - High Carbon Annealed, 1095 Knife Making Billets, 2 Inch x 12 Inch x 0.187 Inch

The 1095 sword has several advantages over other types of steel. One of them is that such a weapon can produce and keep sharper edges than those composed of less carbon content. There are some disadvantages to every steel, and this one is no different. Brittleness, particularly due to its high carbon concentration, is an obvious problem. If your edge alignment isn’t precise, it may shatter

Keep in mind that if you intend to weld it, you must be an expert. If you don’t understand what you’re doing, the sword may be destroyed altogether. As a result, 1095 is not suggested for novices but rather for experienced artisans.

Heat treatment is just as important with 1095 steel as it is with any other type of steel. Even if you make a mistake during one part of the process, you risk having a useless weapon. You’ll discover that the higher the percentage content, the more meticulous heat-treating has to be. Another disadvantage of 1095 steel is a low corrosion resistance, but this isn’t something that has to worry you if you clean and oil it on a regular basis. In terms of pricing, expect to spend between $400 and $450 for a sword constructed of 1095 steel.
1060 Steel vs 1095

1095 Steel Properties

You’ve probably figured out that 1095 steel is made from carbon. It has a carbon content of about 0.95 percent. This steel type, similar to tamahagane which was formerly used in Japan to forge katanas, has a high carbon content and is considered high carbon steel. Furthermore, it contains about 1.2% manganese. This alloying agent adds extra strength and suppleness to the steel by increasing its manganese content.

1095 Steel Performance

1095 steel is frequently utilized to forge katanas. This isn’t only due to historical reasons, but also because this metal type is well suited for test cutting tameshigiri.

1095 is a popular choice among blacksmiths because it has the hardness and strength without having too much carbon. However, you must keep in mind that the carbon increase from 1060 to 1095 steel makes a significant difference when it comes to hardness and strength. Because this steel has a very high carbon content, the blade is extremely hard. Furthermore, differential tempering is an excellent alternative for this steel. This forging technique creates the katana’s distinctive hamon line during this stage. The process of producing a harder edge and softer spine by differential tempering

How to heat treat 1095 steel?

A few days ago, a friend of mine asked me how to heat treat a 1095 steel blade. AISI 1095 carbon steel may be heated to 899°C. It is then cooled in oil, brine, or water. The process must be done swiftly. Otherwise, the sword’s edge would develop pearlite. Now it’s time to let your sword cool down to about 50°C. Then you should temper your sword at around 210°C one more time

Tempering duration should be about 2 hours. The hardness of the edge is increased to HRc66 by utilizing this technique. You may differential temper the blade by covering the spine with clay, which you may already know.

1095 Steel Sword Care

1060 Steel vs 1095
Because of the high carbon content, this blade requires special attention. If you don’t want your sword to turn rusty, this is crucial. Other steels don’t rust as quickly as 1095. It’s quite prone to rust. You should polish your sword at least once a month, if not more often.

If you use your sword, it’s recommended that you clean it right away. Cleaning a 1095 steel blade is the same as cleaning other steels. To begin, wipe the blade to remove dust, fingerprints, water, and other particles. Then apply a thin layer of oil over your sword. Rusted swords will be considerably more resilient if you do this step.

You can also use Renaissance Wax to preserve your sword. This wax is commonly used by museums to keep their valuables safe for future generations.

Final Thoughts

So, we’ve gone through all of the materials that are commonly used in sword manufacturing, ranging from medium carbon steel to tool steels. Each of them has its own set of advantages and disadvantages at this point. We highly advise beginners to start with 1060 steel since heat treatment is easier. Any other option would suffice for experienced sword makers, however.

The most essential thing to understand before making the sword is its intended purpose. Some swords need to be harder and less flexible, while others require the opposite qualities. Because so many people are interested in stainless steel, we’ll mention once again that it may be utilized, however the quality of a sword would be doubtful.

you now have a great overview of most of the available sword steels and other important aspects of forging a sword. It is best if you decide for yourself what sword steel best suits your usage.

In case you are a total beginner and just want a sword, 1045 carbon steel is the way to go. If you have more money to invest and want a great durable blade for a reasonable price, 9260 spring steel is a great choice, even for advanced users. In case you are planning to use your sword daily, one of the three available tool steels might be the perfect one for you.

For special needs 1095 high carbon steel offers a great cutting ability, which is a perfect choice for experienced sword wielders wanting to do heavy cutting with their katana.

If you have any further questions feel free to ask them on social media or in the comment field below.

Aside from knowing the intended usage, appropriate heating is equally essential. It doesn’t matter whether you pick the correct steel; if you don’t heat it properly, you’ll wind up with a low-quality or even inedible weapon. If you temper the sword at low temperatures, it will become too hard and brittle. Another danger is to temper a sword at excessive temperatures, resulting in it being excessively soft for use.

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