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Is 1095 Steel Any Good?

Steel doesn’t just come in one type, in fact, there are more than a dozen types of steel in common use today. This is largely due to the variety of functions that steel is used for. It is mixed and alloyed with a variety of compounds and metals, these combinations affect the properties of the steel making it better suited to certain tasks, which is why so much effort is made in creating the types we have available today. Carbon is found in every steel type, regardless of the purpose, while the exact amount of carbon present varies depending on what the intended purpose of the steel is.

1095 Steel Properties

1095 Steel is a standard type of carbon steel and it is most often used in the forging of swords and knives. The 95 in the name of the steel indicates the carbon content, in this case, it’s 0.95% carbon content. The inclusion of carbon helps harden the steel and toughens the resulting blades, making them more impervious to wear and tear over time. Despite the toughness provided by the carbon content, other types of steel are tougher still due to increased levels of manganese. The trade-off with higher manganese levels is a more brittle blade, which has an increased chance of snapping or shattering.

1095 Steel for Swords

1095 steel, when forged into a sword is capable of holding an excellent edge and are straightforward to sharpen. However, if not cared for correctly, the steel can easily rust. Often swords will be delivered with a coating of oil which helps prevent rusting, it’s important to maintain this coating over time to avoid unsightly rust spots. Any rust that does occur can usually be removed with some very fine sandpaper and a bit of patience.

1095 steel is often more brittle than steels with lower carbon content, so it’s quite well suited for blades which are reasonably thick, swords are an ideal fit due to their robust nature. They are very easy to sharpen and will maintain the edge through use. However, proper techniques and methods must be used when using a 1095 carbon steel sword, a misplaced cut or mishandled strike can lead to a snapped blade.

1095 can be differentiated hardened to create an ever harder cutting edge and more flexible spine, but care must be taken in this process to avoid weakening the overall strength of the blade. Even though 1095 steel is a great choice for swords, it can be frequently found in thicker knives. If so inclined, it is possible to polish 1095 steel to create a shiny blade, while other metals such as Stainless steel are better suited to polishing, 1095 can take a polish with a little bit of effort.

Caring for 1095 Steel

In order to keep your sword in tip-top condition and rust free for as long as possible, a few minutes of maintenance every week is recommended. Wipe the blade clean after every use to remove fingerprints, dust, and other contaminants, and ensure it’s oiled at least once a fortnight. If long-term storage is required, consider coating the blade in vaseline or Renaissance which has been specifically designed to preserve items. The oil creates a physical barrier from the elements such as water and oxygen from reaching the blade and will prevent rusting. The coating of oil will also give the sword a nice shine.

Other Uses for 1095

As we’ve already established, 1095 steel is perfect for functional swords such as Katana and Wakizashi. It’s also well suited for daggers and replica blades. Other types of steel such as stainless are better suited to display only pieces or to be used as utensils, this is due to the rust resistance this type of steel has natively. 1095 may also be used in machetes or gardening tools. Any application that requires a wear resistant sharp blade may benefit from 1095 steel. It is our recommended choice for anyone that needs a functional blade.

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