Steels then vs now

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by BubbaT, May 8, 2020.

  1. BubbaT


    May 8, 2020
    I am curious on information regarding old steels lets say western/frontier times to modern day steels such as 1075 or 1095.

    What I want to know is what steels were probably used back in those western/frontier days in terms of carbon steels.

    Would steels back then be more comparable to 1075 or 1095 in terms of strength/edge retention?.

    Also does anyone happen to know what steel the original Kephart knife was or what it is comparable to?

    Any information will be appreciated.
  2. JamesofArc


    Apr 19, 2016
    This would be a good question for the kniife makers area.

    All I know is steel is not steel until it has a specific amount of carbon in it. First it is iron, then carbon is added and it becomes steel but then when you go over a certain amount of carbon it once again becomes iron. Weird hu?
  3. Larrin

    Larrin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    The Huntsman process was developed in 1740 which became the most common process for making steel. Even as the Bessemer process was developed in the 1850s and became more common for industrial production, the Huntsman process was still more common for high carbon steel and tool steel. Huntsman steel was originally simple carbon steel close to 1080, though the carbon content varied more than today. By the late 1800s steel production was a bit more controlled and they would intentionally add alloying elements for certain properties.
    Currawong, DangerZone98, JAB and 9 others like this.
  4. Black Oak Bladeworks

    Black Oak Bladeworks KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2019
    Very Interesting. Thank you for chiming in!

    I don't think anyone knows exactly what steel the original kephart was. It is some kind of carbon steel. It is my understanding that the original is in a museum and they probably wouldn't appreciate someone running tests on the knife. :) Probably something similar to 1095.
  5. John_0917

    John_0917 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 15, 2014
    Remember that most of the steels used for knives are today are heat treated in precise computer controlled furnaces, also much more precise alloying element mixes and fewer impurities.
  6. BubbaT


    May 8, 2020
    Do you happen to know when 1075, 1095, etc were invented?
  7. Larrin

    Larrin Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    I don’t think a specific date can be assigned to those steels.
  8. danbot

    danbot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    But they are the basic HC steels, so most likely a long time ago. For all intents and purposes. Like... a LONG time ago...
    Larrin likes this.
  9. Ourorboros


    Jan 23, 2017
    Until we had relatively cheap energy sources (coal) and large scale manufacturing, high quality steel (few impurities) was relatively expensive. I believe that San Mai and Warikomi (cladding) was used to maximize the use of good steel. They didn't call it that, of course.
    But if they had a relatively pure iron source, then they could make what was essentially 1095 and related steels. It is the simplest steel - White #2 in Japan.
  10. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    The original railroad tracks were wooden with Iron strips on top. Horse drawn and early engine drawn cars were slow. High speed trains didn’t evolve until steel rails and recirculating boilers were introduced. Early trains had to take on water every 10 miles.

Share This Page