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Old 02-23-2022, 11:23 AM
trilaketrading trilaketrading is offline
Join Date: Feb 2022
Location: Washington State
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Best Beginner Steel For Stock Removal (3rd Party Heat Treat)

I am looking into building some knives and do not want to buy a forge yet. I would some suggestions other than the 1080 knives due to the fact since I will be paying for the heat treat I can use a more complex steel.

The only info I can find on beginner steel point to 1084, but my understanding is that is mainly due to heat treat forgiveness.

I also know that some steels eat up belts like crazy, and since I will be using a 1"x30" grinder for now that concerns me.

Can anyone please provide some suggestions?

I apologize in advance if this has already been covered.
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Old 02-23-2022, 01:36 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Location: Decatur, IL
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To begin with I would contact a heat treater and see what steels they treat. Some will only treat air quenching steels. That would rule out something like 1084. Cost wise, you might look at 440C.


If you're not making mistakes then you're not trying hard enough
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Old 02-23-2022, 02:00 PM
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M&J M&J is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: So. Cal
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I would also suggest 440-C as this machines well and finishes up nicely. This may not be in flavor yet still produces a quality blade with good heat treat. Make some calls and see what prices and turn-around times are.

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Old 02-23-2022, 04:56 PM
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elginrunner elginrunner is offline
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Location: South Central Missouri
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I started with 1095. I used a buddy's oxy/act torch to heat treat it and quenched in a mix of used motor oil and ATF... is it the best way... NO, but it still makes a dang good blade.... temper in your house oven, or a old toaster oven... and your good.

In the Ozarks of MO new best friend
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Old 02-24-2022, 11:15 AM
KenH KenH is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Baldwin Co across the bay from Mobile, AL
Posts: 129
Since you're farming out the HT, your choice of steels are endless. Even your 1X30 grinder will grind most anything. You're right, the choice of 1084 steel is due to ease of HT'ing. You might try JT at for HT'ing, and he has some steel available.

For SS you might consider AEB-L from Alpha Knife Works. They also have a full selection and have about the best prices around, AND you can order small orders without excessive shipping.

Last edited by KenH; 02-24-2022 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 02-24-2022, 02:16 PM
Chris Railey Chris Railey is offline
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Waynesboro, Georgia
Posts: 60
The above suggestions are good ones but I have a little different mindset on steel selection. IMO maybe think about what job the knife you are making will do and what qualities you want the knife to posses. Then choose a steel and HT to bring those qualities out in the steel. There is no reason to spend big money on XXXXX steel if it will not have the qualities you seek.
Most of us started on a 1x30 and it will work just slower but keep in mind you are not in a hurry.
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Old 02-24-2022, 05:28 PM
KenH KenH is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Baldwin Co across the bay from Mobile, AL
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Chris is correct, it's what you are wanting a knife for that determines what steel to use. Since HT'ing will be sent out you don't have to worry about that. As Chris says, I certainly wouldn't opt for those high dollar steels, not for starter knives anyway.

I'd like to hear the OP chime back in with his (her?) thoughts since we've all took the time to share out thinknig.

Ken H>
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