Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel is a lower-end Swedish steel especially popular with American knife makers for its specific properties which make it perfect for use in knives.
It is used in a massive variety of knives from kitchen knives to outdoor knives for activities like hunting, camping, and fishing.
The unique properties of this steel's chemical composition make it impressively useful for knife production, especially keeping in mind that this steel is lower-end and more accessible than more expensive alternatives.
This knife steel stands out, especially because of its high chromium content for an affordable steel.
So let’s go into the chemical composition of Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel and see what particular elements give it its qualities and what helps it stand out.
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What Is The Chemical Composition Of Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel?
- 0.60% Carbon (C)
- 13.50% Chromium (Cr)
- 0.03% Phosphorous (P)
- 0.40% Manganese (Mn)
- 0.40% Silicon (Si)
- 0.01% Sulfur (S)
So what do each of these elements contribute to the properties of this knife steel?
The inclusion of carbon in most knives is intended to increase the hardness of a knife, making it better at doing its job of cutting.
This hardness usually positively affects other aspects of the knife, like its wear resistance and edge retention.
However, steel makers are careful with the amount of carbon they include, because if too much is used it can lessen the toughness of a knife.
The impressive chromium content of this knife is used to improve wear resistance and is unique in how it can help protect against corrosion.
Sometimes the damage corrosion can do to knives is overlooked, but for certain applications, such as outdoor activities, the damage corrosion can do is potentially irreversible. That is why a good chromium content is necessary.
With over 12% of chromium, this steel qualifies as a stainless steel, meaning it is resistant to stains and abrasions which can come with a lower chromium content.
The manganese content in the steel improves its strength and hardness, this is due to the qualities of manganese after it is put under the heat treatment used in creating knives and steel.
Similar to manganese, silicone helps the strength of a knife, but it also contributes to a knife's heat resistance.
As well as helping with the strength of the Sandvik 12c27 Steel, Phosphorus also helps with the machinability of the steel, making it easier for manufacturers to work with.
Sulfur is also included to help contribute to the machinability of a steel, however, it should not be used in excess, as when it is, it is considered an impurity and can compromise the strength of the blade, obviously not being the desired outcome.
After all of this, how does Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel score in individual categories?
How Hard Is Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel?
On average the Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel scores around 56 HRC (Hardness Rockwell C) but this is variable on the heat treatment the steel receives and can reach up to 61 HRC.
56 HRC is already an incredibly impressive HRC, being used for almost every activity a knife is needed for.
However, the ability to reach up to 61 HRC makes this steel an extremely impressive choice for use in knife-making, especially considering that this is an affordable option.
How Tough Is Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel?
Compared to other knives with similar hardness, this knife steel has an incredibly stand-out toughness.
With carbon being so useful for hardness but detrimental to toughness, this blade uses less carbon than a similarly hard blade, instead opting for higher chromium to keep the blade hard, but so as to not compromise the toughness of the blade.
This means that compared to similarly hard knives, knives made with Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel are much more resistant to chipping and abrasions.
How Good Is The Wear Resistance Of Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel?
While not the best wear resistance on the market, the wear resistance of a steel is usually related to its hardness, and the Sandvik 12c27 is no different.
This steel still has an above-average wear resistance, meaning it can withstand most wear and tear an outdoors knife will be expected to.
This can largely be attributed to the carbon and phosphorus content of the steel. Just try and avoid putting this blade under extreme conditions, as this is not its intended use.
How Good Is The Corrosion Resistance Of Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel?
With the impressive 13.5% chromium content that makes this steel qualify as stainless steel, the blade subsequently has an amazing corrosion resistance.
This means that if you are using this knife in outdoor activities like fishing or hunting, the blade will easily be able to avoid incidental rusting and the damage that can come with this. And with this, the steel lives up to its title of stainless.
However, this steel is not completely immune to corrosion damage and still requires responsible care if you want it in working condition for years.
For a stainless steel like this, this would include care like oiling and drying after heavy use.
How Good Is The Edge Retention Of Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel?
Even though there are better options out there if you really prioritize edge retention, this steel is still above average in its ability to retain a sharp edge after extended use.
This is another attribute of steel that is directly linked to its hardness of a steel. With this steel’s impressive hardness because of its carbon content and chromium, the edge retention of a knife made from 12c27 is assured to be above average.
What Is The Machinability Of The Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel?
This blade steel does not stand out because of its machinability, however, because of the intentional inclusion of sulfur in its chemical properties, it is clear machinability was kept in mind when composing this steel.
So if you are planning to make knives out of this steel, it is definitely doable, but there are better options available if this is what you are looking out for.
How Easy Is It To Sharpen Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel?
Sandvik 12c27 is unique among knives with a high chromium content in how easy it is to sharpen.
With its good compromise between toughness and hardness, this blade will not need to be sharpened often, however when it comes to it, it is very easy to sharpen with even the most simple sharpening methods.
So Is Sandvik 12c27 Stainless Steel A Good Knife Steel?
If you are looking for an affordable but high-quality steel, the 12c27 is a trustworthy choice with no significant downfalls.
It has an impressive chromium content, making it hard but tough as well and manages to be easy to sharpen in spite of this. It also has an impressive wear and corrosion resistance.
The only real issue this steel has is its average machinability, with plenty more accessible options if this is what you are looking for in a steel.
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