1095 Steel – Hardness of Steel Premium Quality
The basic materials that make a sword are blades. The steel with the highest quality are referred to as 1095 Carbon Steel. This is based on the hardness test as stated on a number on the Rockwell C scale or HRC. This measurement scale tests each steel and gives it a score based on its ability to resist indentation. This is a different scale than those used on Mohs scale which is more on scratch resistance test used in mineralogy. Going back to the question of using Rockwell C scale, using this test this measures the blades capability to take and hold a better edge. The disadvantage of being classified as hard is that this makes it difficult for the sword smith to sharpen the blade. This also makes the blade brittle. However, in the case using steel to produce 1095 Katana the procedure use is to laminate the hard steel.
1095 Carbon Steel on Knives
1095 Steel is a popular choice to use on producing rough use knives. 1095 Carbon Steel is tougher and durable. On top of this it is also easy to sharpen than stainless steel. However, one of the disadvantages of doing so is it lacks the chromium content of stainless steel. This makes it susceptible to corrosion. Carbon steel has less carbon but bear in mind that this is the main alloy element that makes this steel hard. 1095 steel can take a sharp edge than stainless steel. This has a carbon content of 0.90 to 1.03%. This explains why older version of pocket knives and kitchen knives are mostly made of 1095 carbon steel. This kind of knives remains popular with bushcrafters and survivalists. The reason for this is mainly its tough quality and its ability to get sharp fast. This can only mean that 1095 steel can make excellent knives and not just for 1095 Carbon Steel Katana.
More than Just a Beginner 1095 Carbon Steel Katana
1095 Steel is referred to in books as good steel for beginners however, experts beg to disagree. It will make a nice blade because of these reasons:
Easy to forge
Can be given a nice Hamon and other differential heat treat effects
Heat treat as a process of producing swords and knives is challenging. There is a fine line where the blade fails to harden and the blade fracturing from the stress of quenching. When heat treating 1095 steel, using a quick quench other than using water or brine is recommended. This will result to full potential hardness and fewer broken or cracked blades.
Advantage of using 1095 Steel
This steel is very hard and unless heat treated the hardness can cause a problem when used on harder targets whether intentional or unintentional. Swords made of this material can take and keep keener edge swords than those with lower carbon content. However, when it can be leaning towards the brittle side. In this case, durability is traded off for edge retention. This does not mean that the sword is fragile but, that it is not as tough as the lower carbon content swords. This shall all depend on what potential buyers would want to see in a blade. By the way this is also belongs to the 10xx series of blades. Be wary of sellers that make unsubstantiated claims regarding the quality of the steel that they use on swords and even for knives. Some internet sellers will claim that the product that they are selling contains high quality steel. It is easy to make these claims since the buying public usually do not know the difference by simply looking at the blades alone. Visually 1095 can look similar to a 1060, 1045, 5290 and 9260. It is too late later on to know that the claims are not true when the sword will not last long. For example a 1060 may not have gone through the correct heat treatment procedure to make it a hard kind of steel. The easiest way to separate fact from fiction is when the sword is sword for a very cheap price. This is a dead giveaway that the sword in question has soft steel blades. The bulk of the price for the cost of making a sword falls on several processes like shaping, polishing and sharpening. This is the reason why it cannot be sold cheap.