The blade of a hunting knife is made from specially rolled steel of the corresponding profile or from high-carbon steel by forging, cold stamping or hot stamping. Imported knives made of such steel bear the designation high carbon steel.
The higher the percentage of carbon (C) content in steel, the harder it is, and the better such a knife holds sharpening. The maximum carbon content in steel for the production of knives is about 2%; at a higher carbon content, the steel becomes non-forged. In the best steels this figure reaches 1.2%, in most inexpensive grades 0.6 - 0.8%.
The most important properties of the blade are hardness and elasticity. The hardness of steel is measured on the Rockwell hardness scale in special units (HRC), the corresponding mark is usually applied to the blade. The hardness of steel blades of good hunting knives ranges from 58 to 62 HRC. A reading below 55 HRC is unacceptable for a hunting knife. The exception is knives made of three-layer steel, when a harder layer is placed between two softer layers.
Real Damascus steel was made by casting in the Middle Ages in the Middle East. The secret of its manufacture has now been lost. Modern Damascus is steel made from bundles of steel rods forged into strips with different carbon contents. The strips are then twisted, forged again, welded together and a blade is forged from the resulting metal. Thus, the steel is, as it were, processed throughout its entire volume, which gives it remarkable strength, flexibility and beauty. The more strips were used to make steel and the more times they were twisted, the more patterned and finer the pattern is.
For the manufacture of crosshairs and pommels - very vulnerable places of the knife - a tough and hard metal is used, as a rule, copper-based alloys (brass, tompak, bronze, etc.), less often - mild steel. And it is already completely unacceptable to use aluminum or its alloys. To give steel wear resistance, corrosion protection and any special properties, it is alloyed with impurities of other metals. For example, small additions of nickel make stainless steel (marked stainless), chromium - resistant to wear, vanadium - hard and resistant to chemically aggressive environments.
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