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    Username Post: 440A Stainless Steel        (Topic#748197)
    09-06-05 01:50.31 - Post#748197    

    Pretty much I am just looking for opinions on this type of stainless steel. I recently got a Ka-Bar Next Generation and discovered that it's blade was made of this type of stainless steel. I am sure its not the best grade, but I wasn't looking to spend a ton of money on a knife. Plus I needed stainless because of the swamps and low lands I go in.

    Master Member KnifeNut!
    09-06-05 06:17.22 - Post#748371    

        In response to Riverbravo

    440A is a decent non-premium stainless. Rust resistance is high and edge retention, with a proper heat treat, is fair to good. 440A has gotten an undeserved bad rep due to many junk knives being marked "440" even though many are not 440A at all (or if they are, they are not heat treated correctly). Before switching to 420HC, Schrade and Camillus (among others) used 440A for many years.

    - Frank
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    09-06-05 12:38.35 - Post#748655    

        In response to frankk

    The KA-BAR firm uses 3 different steels for those types of fixed blade knives. They use 1095, D2, and 440A steel. The reason your particular knife is made using 440A stainless and synthetic handle material, is because that particular model knife is geared to fill the need of those that want a pretty high corrosion resistant knife. The 440A stainless steel is common, and therefore it helps keep the cost of the knife reasonable. As the other poster mentioned, it can serve well when properly manufactured, which the KA-BAR's are. The other steel KA-BAR's in this blade style (in 1095 and D2 steel) are better in their own fields, but the 440A stainless KA-BAR is the better of the three steels when it comes to "wetness abuse" and/or maintenance neglect. The blade will even serve well in salt water conditions (ocean diver), as long as you add just a little bit of care.

    Using something like 440C would have made the knife better in certain ways, like in edge holding ability, but then the corrosion resistance would have suffered a bit.

    KA-BAR's sister firm, I believe called Cutco, manufactures well made American manufactured kitchen knives. Most, if not all, are made from 440A stainless steel. They know that if this steel can take the constant abuse and wet conditions of your wifes kitchen, then it should be able to handle the wetness and maintenance neglect that some KA-BAR knives may be subjected to.

    Being that you chose a KA-BAR knife, it sounds like you made the right choice in their available steels (since you mentioned the wet conditions you expect to be using it in). With hard use, you will have to sharpen it more often than the other two KA-BAR steels, but you should not have any problems with rust and difficult maintenance (again, only requiring limited care in that arena).
    09-07-05 02:30.00 - Post#749056    

        In response to JimmyJimenez

    Thanks for the info guys. I had no idea Ka-Bar is related to Cutco. We have had a set of Cutco knives in the kitchen of almost 10 years and never once had to do anything to them. If the Cutco knives are really made out of 440a then I am not worried in the least about my Ka-Bar. Thanks again.
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    09-08-05 09:17.09 - Post#749935    

        In response to Riverbravo


    Pretty much I am just looking for opinions on this type of stainless steel. I recently got a Ka-Bar Next Generation and discovered that it's blade was made of this type of stainless steel. I am sure its not the best grade, but I wasn't looking to spend a ton of money on a knife. Plus I needed stainless because of the swamps and low lands I go in.
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    09-11-05 03:36.55 - Post#751548    

        In response to DGGG

    Choosing the correct steel for the job is always the main concern.

    The basic 420 grade stainless steel (a grade considered lower than 440a) is known by many to be a lowly quality stainless steel. Even with the best quality controls during heat treating, it simply does not take the sharpest of edges, and tends to easily lose what little it does achieve. What it does do well, is to resist corrosion to a very high degree.

    Then there is the common 1095 carbon steel, which is pretty easy to sharpen, sharpens to a nice degree, hardens well, and holds an edge pretty nicely. But,.... unlike the 420 stainless, it must be very carefully maintained to keep corrosion away (not something most divers want to focus on).

    So just looking at these two faily common steels, one can see why one may be a better choice over the other (depending on it's intended use).

    Lets say one needs a divers knife, the 420 steel requires more often sharpening, will wear down much faster, but,....... will also be very resistant to the salt water and possible maintenance neglect.
    A 1095 carbon steel knife will have the better performance in almost all respects, but rust will almost certainly become a problem. The salt water will work itself into unseen areas, and even if you think you have carefully maintained the knife, in no time at all one can end up with a structurally compromised knife. Even the usually achievable sharp edge on 1095 steel is no advantage if that edge consistantly turns to rust.

    What if one wants or needs a hard working blade that needs to be sharp, keep that sharpness longer, and just be plain ole stronger. In other words, a knife for general purpose use, and one that will not be exposed to extremely harsh conditions or consistant maintenance neglect, then the advantages of 1095 over 420 become so obvious.

    As for the Ka-Bar's 440A stainless, it is not as rust resistant as the basic 420 stainless, but still maintains a very high corrosion resistance, (while in some respects adding a bit of performance advantage over the 420). So does 440a have any place in knifemaking?.... IMO it does.

    Again, it all depends on what the knife is being used for, what it will be exposed to, and how it will be maintained.

    Going back to the Cutco kitchen knives produced in 440A stainless steel, they surely make for good blades when considering what the blade is being used for. Just imagine what a pain it would be to keep those same knives clean if they were made of 1095 or some other high carbon steel.
    Even cutting a block of cheese would consistantly leave rust on your food....... oh, how nice
    When you would wash your knives, they would need to be carefully dried, or they would drip rust stains in your kitchen.

    The 420, 440a, 440b, steels may be frowned upon by all of the custom knife makers. They may not be favored by many for use under many or most knife conditions, but that does not mean that they have no purpose, or that it's always a bad choice in a knife.

    It's a good thing that KaBar offers these utility knives under three different steel grades. The 1095 will fill most persons needs. The D2 is a very good upgrade choice for those looking for not only better edge retention over 1095, but also much better corrosion resistance. Then comes the 440a choice, which loses out in most respects to the other two steels, but gains heavily over them in the corrosion resistance field

    All have a place in the large scheme of things

    Edited by JimmyJimenez on 09-11-05 03:50.50. Reason for edit: No reason given.
    Journeyman KnifeNut!
    09-30-05 19:03.51 - Post#765519    

        In response to JimmyJimenez

    I own a Gerber AR-3.0 folder with non-serrated edge and the black teflon coating that is made from 440A. It's my working folder back in the Wal-Mart warehouse. It's mainly used to cut cardboard, tape and plastic of various types. Holds an acceptable edge, a lot better than the Buck Rush with 420HC I also tried using back there. I bought it knowing that it's not the world's greatest edgeholder; but it's a tough steel(a lot tougher than the teflon coating) and Gerber has the heattreat right. About once a week I hone it on a worn 700 grit Trizact belt and buffer. Satisfies me.
    11-16-05 09:05.53 - Post#797048    

        In response to jcb

    KaBar used to use Sandvic 12C27 as the blade steel for their "Next Generation" knives. A few places like still have that steel in the description for those knives which I believe to be incorrect. When did KaBar switch to 440A for this series of knives and how could the average person tell the difference between the two? I have several I know to be 12C27 because that is what KaBar was using when I bought them but most of us couldn't tell by looking either way. I was surprised to be looking at their website again recently after not having done so in a few years and seeing they are now using 440A...
    All About Guns dot Com

    05-21-09 01:16.12 - Post#1844576    

        In response to J_Blade

    This 440-A grade of steel has a bad reputation mostly because it is encountered in many low-cost knives, which are not properly heat treated. These knives bend easy under stress and loose their edge fast. If you compare a 440-A blade hardened to 52-54 HRC with a 440-C blade hardened at 58 HRC, the performance difference is, of course, huge! Anyway, a well heat treated blade in 440-A will kick the ass of most other stainless steels in hard use knives, because it can be hardened up to 58-59 HRC without being brittle at that hardness (at which most steels are chippable or breakable if hammered or pryed with).

    I have experience with many steels and 440-A is still one of my favorites. Despite I have knives made out of some very exotic steels, when it comes to heavy use, impacts and durability in wet and muddy environments at the same time, 440-A offers maybe the best balance of features. Its edge retention is not one of the best, but its edge is never disolved by rust, nor you have to care about your knife might break in the field or chip at the edge by missadventure.

    Check this test out, it's a 440-A knife and it's only 4 millimeters thick (not 6 as most hard use knives are):
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    05-21-09 12:29.50 - Post#1845106    

        In response to xor

    That knife test wouldn't convince anyone to consider 440A, or at least the particular knife in the test. It seems, in this case, that you do get what you pay for. I like 440A, and my Boker kitchen knife would easily out perform CTD's offering, though I try to stay away from chopping 2 x 4's. RC


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