O1 Steel

jcullen

Well-Known Member
Hi Folks, Is O1 Steel to advanced for a first knife attempt,,,,any do's and don'ts or should I get a different steel?
 

Calvin Robinson

Moderator Christian Forum
Hi Folks, Is O1 Steel to advanced for a first knife attempt,,,,any do's and don'ts or should I get a different steel?
I think it's a very good steel for beginners, I made my first real knives from o-1. It's easy to heat treat is the main reason I say this. Just remember it will rust if you look at it cross eyed.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
O1 is what a lot of us call "a very forgiving steel"....that means that you can make mistakes in the heat treating process and still come out with a very usable blade. So I thinking you've made a good choice with O1. 5160 is another "forgiving" steel.

Conversely, you have steels such as 52100...that I feel it's a requirement to "nail" the heat treatment. 52100 is one of those steels that will give you no outward signs that you messed up...until you finish the blade and try to cut with it...and it's cuts about like a sharpened piece of mild steel.
 

silver_pilate

Well-Known Member
I started with O1. It can make a great knife when done right. Something you may consider is whether you are going to do your own heat treatment or send it out. You can get O1 to harden ok with a very short soak at temperature and then a quench in just about anything (Canola works well). However, to get the most out of O1 in performance, it benefits from a longer soak at temperature, say at minimum 5 minutes. I soak my O1 blades at 1475F for 20 minutes before quenching. That length of time requires controlled heat (kiln or controlled forge). If you're using a torch or an uncontrolled forge, it can be tough to do without overheating. That said, if you're careful, it can be done well....

The first blades I made of O1 I hardened in a little one brick propane forge. I tired to hold at temperature for several minutes without overheating. The blades hardened, but they never did perform as well as blades I made later when I built a heat treating oven.

--nathan
 

LRB

Well-Known Member
I would say don't use it unless you have a way to heat treat it correctly. One reason is, if you can't properly HT it, why waste the extra expense of it. 1070/80/84 will give you a fine blade, is easily HTed by home hobbiest methods, and is greatly less in cost. If you really want to use 01, then plan on sending it out for HT. It is not as easy a process as some would have you believe, if you want a really good blade as a final outcome.
 

Fross

Well-Known Member
I second the recommendation for a 1070-1084 steel as your first. I started with 1080 from admiral and heat treated my first couple blades with a one brick forge using a magnet, it turned out very well. 01 REALLY benefits from that soak at temp, I bought some 01 after I finished my heat treating oven.
 
K

KB1SYV

Guest
My first knife is going to be a piece of 9" O-1. Starting on it Friday when I go up to Indian Georges. It's really easy to work with. Take the plunge!!!

Jeff
 

petie

Well-Known Member
All I use is Sheffield 0-1. Ibring it up to 1200 let it soak for 15 min then take it to 1475 for 15 min. I draw it back at 350 for 1 hr. All the heat treat books I've read reccomend doing it this way and it works pretty well. One of my buddies has one of my drop point hunter and has skinned 2 deer with it and it'll still
pop hair off his arm.
 
R

rgoad

Guest
I'm new to knife making and have 4 blades made out of O1. I have a gas forge and I have been able to harden the blades to a point that satisfied me. One of the knives dressed 3 wild hogs and would still shave afterwards. Good luck and let us see your project.
 

deker

Well-Known Member
I'm going to stick with the 1080/1084 camp here. It doesn't get much more simple or forgiving that a simple eutectoid steel.

O-1 can be challenging to do properly for the guy just starting out for a few reasons:

- It's a hypereutectoid steel which means is more carbon than wants to naturally fit in the iron matrix. This can cause all kinds of weird things that can frustrate you. Just an example. If you treat O-1 like a simple carbon steel and try to anneal it by heating it up and sticking it in wood ash, etc to cool slowly, you will get SOME soft steel along with a lot of big sheets of nasty carbides in the steel. So, this means when you try to drill it, etc, you're just going to eat tools.
- It's got alloying elements that can complicate things for the simple heat treater. To have O-1 really work properly it requires a good long soak (15 minutes or more) in a controlled heat environment. Otherwise, all the extra alloying elements that make it hold such a good edge won't be in the right place in the steel and you won't get the benefit of their presence.

Now, if you're sending it out for heat treat, ignore what I just said :)

If you plan to HT yourself though, do yourself a favor, save some money, and get some 1080/1084.

Tell you what. PM me your address and I'll send you a piece of New Jersey's Finest 1084 that I get from Aldo Bruno to get you started. It's great stuff and easy to work with.

-d
 

Wloch248

Well-Known Member
Tell you what. PM me your address and I'll send you a piece of New Jersey's Finest 1084 that I get from Aldo Bruno to get you started. It's great stuff and easy to work with.

-d
JCullen,

You had better jump ALL OVER that offer or I just might!

Nathan W.

BTW deker, I was actually trying to google where to get some 1080/1084 yesterday after reading this thread and just about the only source I found was Aldo. I tried looking back to see if I could find prices and sizes available but couldn't find anything. I just dropped $33 for a piece of 1 3/4"x 1/8"x 36" O1 from my local fastenal because I couldn't find much better anywhere else.
 

Fross

Well-Known Member
What the... I never got any free Aldo steel when i was starting! That is one heck of an offer, get on it!
 

deker

Well-Known Member
JCullen,

You had better jump ALL OVER that offer or I just might!

Nathan W.

BTW deker, I was actually trying to google where to get some 1080/1084 yesterday after reading this thread and just about the only source I found was Aldo. I tried looking back to see if I could find prices and sizes available but couldn't find anything. I just dropped $33 for a piece of 1 3/4"x 1/8"x 36" O1 from my local fastenal because I couldn't find much better anywhere else.
I know Aldo has some for sale thread on other forums, but it's easiest to just email him. Send mail to njsteelbaron(at)gmail.com. His 1084 is 1 1/2"x1/4" and comes in 4' bars. I believe his current price is $4/lb.

-d

P.S. A couple of pieces of steel are on their way to you John. ;)
 
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Wloch248

Well-Known Member
I know Aldo has some for sale thread on other forums, but it's easiest to just email him. Send mail to njsteelbaron(at)gmail.com. His 1084 is 1 1/2"x1/4" and comes in 4' bars. I believe his current price is $4/lb.

-d

P.S. A couple of pieces of steel are on their way to you John. ;)
Thanks. I will email him!
 

amcardon

Well-Known Member
I am a fan of Aldo's 1084 as well, I also get steel from Kelly Cupples who also stocks a good selection and is a great guy, you can ask him for his price sheet by emailing him...
 

Precise

Member
That's some good information! Too bad I found this place *after* I had already bought some O1.

So, any tips for heat treating O1 in a one brick forge? If I have to go buy new steel, I do...I'd just rather not if I can work with what I got.
 

LRB

Well-Known Member
Just do the best you can. You will probably still get a usable blade from it. It may even impress you in cutting abilities, but I found years ago, that HTing it in a forge seemed to impart a brittleness in it, as far as side loading. I didn't know what I was doing so there's no telling where I went wrong. Likely everything I did. Even a triple temper at 450° left it prone to point breakage. Since I got an oven, and AAA quench oil, I use 01 exclusively, and have had no more problems with it.
 
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