Is AUS-8 Steel Good for Knives? Everything You Need to Know

AUS-8 steel is a budget-friendly Japanese stainless steel that is produced by AICHI steel company. It belongs to the AUS series, including AUS 4, AUS-6, AUS 8, and AUS 10. It is commonly used in knife-making due to its balance of affordability, toughness, and corrosion resistance. So this knife steel is highly popular for manufacturing knives, scissors, medical equipment, and food machines. In this blog, I will provide a comprehensive analysis of AUS-8 steel’s properties, performance, and heat treatment, as well as compare it to other popular knife steels.

Chemical composition of AUS-8 Steel:

  • Carbon (0.75%): Improves hardness and wear resistance.
  • Chromium (14%):  Improves edge retention, wear resistance and increases hardness.
  • Vanadium ( 0.25%): Improves wear resistance.
  • Manganese (0.50%): Improves strength and hardness.
  • Molybdenum (0.10%): Improves machinability, hardness, and corrosion resistance.
  • Nickel ( 1%): Contributes to its overall strength and durability.
  • Silicon (1%): Increases strength and heat resistance.
  • Sulfur (0.03%): Improves machinability.
  • Phosphorus(0.04%): Improves machinability and hardness.

Properties:

Hardness: AUS-8 steel has a Rockwell hardness of around 58-59 HRC), which is considered to be a good balance between edge retention and toughness. But it can achieve 59-60 HRC with suitable heat treatment. Toughness: AUS-8 steel is a tough steel due to the high Chromium and a bit of Nickel in its composition. So this steel can withstand high levels of stress without breaking or chipping. Corrosion Resistance:  AUS-8 steel has a high level of chromium content (up to 14%), which provides excellent resistance to corrosion. So it offers a high corrosion resistance that allows this steel to use in knives that will be exposed to moisture or humidity. Edge Retention:  Since AUS-8 is high-carbon steel, it offers high hardness at the Rockwell hardness scale, which helps this steel to hold an edge for a good amount of time. Wear Resistance AUS-8 steel offers a decent level of wear resistance due to the high amount of carbon and molybdenum in its composition. So it can withstand a good amount of use before needing to be sharpened. Sharpness:  Due to its decent edge retention, AUS-8 steel remains sharp and last for a long. It is also relatively easy to sharpen, making it a popular choice for beginner knife makers.

Strengths and weaknesses:

Just like other stainless steel, AUS-8 steel also have some strength and weaknesses due to its unique chemical composition and properties. Here are some of the key strengths and weaknesses of AUS-8 steel: Strengths:
  • Highly Corrosion Resistance.
  • Decent Toughness.
  • Good Edge Retention.
  • Ease of Sharpening.
  • Affordable.
Weaknesses:
  • Not the Hardest Steel.
  • Limited Availability.
  • It becomes dull relatively quickly.

Performance and Durability:

AUS-8 steel can perform well in a variety of different knife applications due to its amazing toughness and corrosion resistance. AUS-8 steel can hold up well against heavy use and abuse. So it is mostly used for making outdoor and survival knives. However, it is also a popular option for kitchen knives, and everyday carry knives due to its ease of sharpening and affordability. Overall, AUS-8 steel knives can provide good performance and durability at an affordable price. Proper maintenance and care can help ensure the longevity and performance of AUS-8 steel knives. While it may not have the same level of edge retention and durability as some of the higher-end steels, it still provides a good balance of hardness and toughness that can withstand regular use and abuse. However, it can still be prone to chipping or dulling over time if not properly maintained or used inappropriately. So, It’s important to take proper maintenance and care for the blade to help ensure its longevity and durability.

Heat Treatment:

Heat treatment is a critical step in the manufacturing of steel, as it can significantly affect the steel’s properties, including its hardness, toughness, and overall performance. This treatment helps the steel to optimize for its intended use by subjecting specific heating and cooling process. AUS-8 steel is typically heat-treated using a process known as quenching and tempering. During this process, the steel is heated to a specific temperature and then rapidly cooled in a liquid bath, such as oil or water. This rapid cooling process, known as quenching, causes the steel to harden. After quenching, the steel is tempered by reheating it to a lower temperature (350-400°C ), which helps to reduce any brittleness and improve its toughness. The exact temperatures used in the quenching and tempering process can vary depending on the desired properties of the steel. Proper heat treatment can significantly improve the steel’s performance and durability, while improper or inconsistent heat treatment can result in a blade that is too soft, too brittle, or prone to chipping or cracking.

What is the Expert Opinion on the Durability of 1095 Cro-van Steel for Knives Compared to AUS-8 Steel?

When it comes to the durability of 1095 Cro-van steel for knives compared to AUS-8 steel, expert opinions on cro-van steel knives vary. While some enthusiasts appreciate the high carbon content of 1095 Cro-van, which contributes to excellent edge retention and ease of sharpening, others prefer the corrosion resistance of AUS-8 steel. Ultimately, the choice between these two steels depends on individual preferences and specific knife usage.

Is AUS 8 Steel Good for Knives?

AUS-8 steel is a good choice for knives due to its good balance of hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance. Since it is more affordable than many other high-performance knife steels, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers. Additionally, its corrosion resistance makes it suitable for use in wet or humid environments. It is relatively easier to sharpen and maintain for a long time.

AUS-8 Steel Compares to other Knife Steels:

AUS-8 steel vs 440C:

AUS-8 steel and 440C are both popular stainless steels used in knife making, especially in mid-range to budget knives. However, 440C steel has slightly better edge retention and is harder, but it can be more difficult to sharpen than AUS-8 steel. AUS-8 steel is a good choice for those who value ease of maintenance and corrosion resistance, while 440C steel is a better choice for heavy-duty tasks and demanding applications.

AUS-8 steel vs S30V:

S30V is a premium steel with higher carbon content, which gives it superior edge retention and wear resistance compared to AUS-8 steel. However, S30V is more difficult to sharpen and is typically more expensive. S30V is ideal for high-performance knives that require superior cutting ability and durability, while AUS-8 steel is better suited for budget knives.

AUS-8 steel vs 420HC:

420HC is another budget steel commonly used in knives, and it has lower carbon content than AUS-8 steel. AUS-8 steel generally offers better edge retention and corrosion resistance, while 420HC is easier to sharpen. If corrosion resistance and edge retention are top priorities, then AUS-8 steel may be a better choice. However, if ease of sharpening and overall durability are more important, then 420HC Steel may be the better option.

AUS-8 steel vs 8Cr13MoV:

8Cr13MoV is another budget steel similar to AUS-8 steel, with comparable carbon content and overall performance. However, AUS-8 steel generally offers better corrosion resistance and is easier to sharpen. 8Cr13MoV is a better choice if you prioritize hardness and wear resistance.

AUS-8 steel vs D2:

D2 is a premium tool steel with higher carbon content than AUS-8 steel, which gives it excellent wear resistance and edge retention. However, D2 is more difficult to sharpen and is typically more expensive. AUS-8 steel offers better corrosion resistance and is easier to maintain but may not hold an edge as long as D2. If you need steel that can withstand heavy use, choose D2 steel. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more affordable option, choose AUS-8 steel. Conclusion:  AUS-8 steel is one of the most popular stainless steel that is commonly used in manufacturing budget-friendly knives. If you are looking for affordable steel that offers good all-around performance, AUS-8 steel is worth considering. However, it may not perform as well as other popular higher-end steels such as D2 or S30V.

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