What is 52100 Steel?

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Strength and wear-resistant are vital features to consider when buying a knife blade.  For a superior knife, make sure it is made from 52100 steel.  This type of steel is renowned for durability and great resistance to rust, making it the number one option for a lot of knife makers. 

Steel 52100 is a high carbon material as it has more than one percent carbon.  High carbon steel is notorious for its capability to hold its edge for many years, which makes it a good option for utility and kitchen knives.  This steel also contains a small amount of Chromium that means it is prone to corrosion, so ensure to care of it properly. 

For more information about 52100 steel, its benefits, and the best knives made from this steel, we advise you to keep on reading. 

What is 52100 Steel?

Steel 52100 is considered simple grade steel due to its simple composition.  This steel was created in the year 1905, and it is primarily intended for producing ball bearings.  It is a perfect option for such products for its wear resistance and strength. 

This also falls under the category of carbon chromium alloy steel due to its 7.81g density.  This response to tempering and annealing and gets extremely fine carbides in constant forging and heat cycling.  Thus, the edge is able to sustain its integrity and shape extremely well. 

This kind of steel is popularly utilized for hunting knives and custom makes as well as fixed blades.  Also, you can find an amended type of it called the SR101. 

Aside from having unmatched toughness, this steel is extremely hard, resilient, and strong steel.  It is utilized in many knives and blades that need amazing strength that is likely to be bigger knives made for outdoor application. 

52100 Steel Compositions

  • Carbon: This steel contains enough carbon that makes it high-carbon steel.  This is also the reason why it is very hard and also extremely wear-resistant.  A high level of carbon adds to its edge resistance, so worry no more about frequent honing the 52100 knives. 
  • Chromium: In general, Chromium plays a vital role in offering rust-resistant to steel.  But, it only has 1.6 percent chromium which is not enough to resist rusting and corrosion.  Since there is insufficient content of Chromium; this steel does not have much resistance to corrosion.  However, that does not mean that this was useless. 
  • Manganese: This element also adds to the strength and brittleness of this steel.  This also makes the steel machinability. 
  • Nickel: This steel has amazing edge retention due to the high amount of carbon.  However, the presence of nickel enhances this property.  This element also helps in keeping the blade sharp for a longer time. 
  • Copper: This isn’t a common element found in steel.  However, it plays a vital job in 52100.  It makes the steel corrosion resistant at the same time, assisting the internal toughness. 
  • Silicone is vital for heat treatment procedures and helps a lot in steel deoxidizing during the melting process. 
  • Phosphorus:  This contains a small amount of phosphorus but enough to make this steel stronger and keep the structural integrity. 
  • Sulfur: This plays a vital in machinability, which makes it simpler to mold and also makes it long lasting. 

Benefits of 52100 Steel

52100 steel offers many advantages such as: 

Stands Out With Regards to Hardness 

This steel is extremely hard compared to other steel.  It has a 61-68 HRC range, depending on the heat procedure and manufacturer.  Having this kind of hardness means it is brittle and at the same time retains the strength for many years to come. 

Unbelievable Toughness

Sometimes, toughness and hardness are inversely relative.  Hard steel normally has low hardiness; however, in the condition of 52100, this really has decent hardiness and makes it resilient in knives.  Having good hardiness means that your knife will not break easily especially if you use it to cut hard objects. 

This is specifically valuable in survival knives or outdoor knives where you may need to build a shelter or utilize it for hunting. 

In cleavers and kitchen knives, the hardiness plays a vital role in making sure that blades stay their structural veracity once in contact with bones as well as joints. 

The Best in Edge Retention

This steel contains a high level of carbon.  Aside from adding to the toughness, this also enhances its edge retention.  A sharpened knife made from this steel will keep the edge sharp for a long time, which makes it easy to take care of and maintain. 

Sharpening is Easy and Simple 

Sad to say, you cannot have both ease of honing and edge retention.  Because of the high hardness as well as rich carbon content, it is hard to hone a blade made from this steel.  It takes effort and time to sharpen the blade.  Luckily you won’t need to do this job often; if you hone your knife, it keep sharp for a long time. 

Resistant to Rust and Corrosion 

The rust-resistant benefit is due to the high content of Chromium.  But, this steel has low Chromium, which makes it not effective in resisting rust.  This is a probe to corrosion and rust, but you can avoid this with the right care.  You can make sure that your knife will never rust or corrode. 

Top Knives Made with 52100 Steel 

Here are the top best knives made with 52100 steel. 

Cold Steel Drop Forged Series Fixed Blade Knife

This kind of knife is made for military use.  State of the art Drop Knife from Cold Steel is considered the biggest of the company Monolithic line.  Also, it can be perfect for bush-craft, tactical as well as hunting activities, particularly with the integrated Recon Scout-inspired outline. 

As the name suggests, the Cold Steel knife is deep forged.  It is created from one piece of 52100 steel.  What is more, it is also integrated with Teflon blade covering to solve the corrosion issues of this material.  Also, it has a secure-ex sheath that makes it simpler to bring along with you, even when it is a fixed knife. 

In general, this knife comes with Teflon covering that adds security from rusting and corrosion.  It has a sleep design, is very sturdy, and has a durable construction.  It also offers an amazing grip, and holding is easy.  It is very sharp and a good investment as well. 

Cold Steel 36MC Drop Forged

This is also an amazing knife from the Monolithic line.  State of the art 36MC Drop Forged Survivalist knife shared many the same characteristics, but this one comes with a light-colored finish. 

The main feature of this steel is the design which is crafted from 52100 steel.  This enables the steel to be as tough as possible because the vulnerability problem, which is common amongst handles, is eradicated. 

This knife is inspired by a tough steel hunting blade made by Michel Achez, knife master and knifemaker from France.  This knife is intended to be very functional in spite of having a simple and minimalist appearance. 

As a whole, this knife comes with a drop forged design that assures durability, is intended for heavy duty application, modern and sleek appearance, it has a secure-ex sheath for portability and easy storage, covering to avoid corrosion, and is available for a reasonable price. 

Cold Steel Drop Forged Wasp Series Fixed Blade Knife Battle Ring II 

This is one of the best-fixed blade knives produced by Cold Steel made with 52100 steel.  This is ideally balanced with a tough yet needle-sharp point as well as wasp-waisted.  Therefore it cuts coming and going. 

This is very tough and strong as there’s nothing to chip, break, wear out and become loose.  The monolithic construction is what makes this knife, tang, and guar one inseparable piece. 

This is light to carry all day and certainly lasts for many years of use.  It is given a good amount of care as well as maintenance.  This is also integrated with Secure-Ex sheath.

It also comes with handle scales, and they are easily and quickly replaced in the extremely unnecessary event they wear out or break out. 

To Sum Up

There is no doubt that the 52100 steel is great for making knives and blades, in spite of not being stainless steel.  The low rust resistance of this steel isn’t a hindering factor.  Provided that you kept it dry and clean, you must not run into any forms of problems with corrosion.  You can also apply oil to give an additional protective layer against rusting. 

The toughness and hardness that you obtain with 52100 are matchless.  Considering that you would not need to bother honing this knife from time to time due to its amazing edge resistance, this is a good option.  So, suppose you are searching for steel that will make a superior knife that will last for many years to come.  In that case, 52100 steel is indeed the best choice and also a good value for your money with amazing performance and abilities as a survival knife or outdoor knife and even kitchen cleaver.


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