Many sword enthusiasts will have heard of EN45 high carbon steel, but many people may be unaware of what it is and if it is any better than other steels.
In fact, many people who are interested in metalwork will have questioned the usage of EN45 high carbon steel once in their life and certainly will have asked themselves if this type of metal is any good for knives.
Luckily, we’ve tried and tested this type of steel and answer your most burning questions in this comprehensive review.
Want to know more? Read on!
What Exactly Is EN45 Steel?
EN45 steel is a type of stainless steel that has been specifically developed for use by knife makers. It was first introduced by Eddystone Knives in the late 1980s as an alternative to traditional stainless steels such as A2 or S30V.
The name ‘EN’ refers to European Norme and the 45 refers to the percentage of carbon content in the alloy. The higher the number the harder the steel becomes.
What Is The Composition Of EN45 Steel?
As mentioned above, EN45 steel contains 45% carbon which makes it one of the hardest alloys available. This means that it can take a lot of abuse without suffering from any major damage.
It also means that the steel is very durable and resistant to corrosion. However, it still may rust like normal stainless steel, so you need to ensure that you clean it properly after every use.
It’s also composed of:
Due to its composition, its hardness is 48-50 HRC.
What Does HRC Refer To?
HRC stands for Hardness Rockwell Chart. It is a measure of how hard a material is based on the amount of force required to indent the surface of the material. The higher the number, the harder the material is.
A scale of 1-130 is used with numbers increasing as the hardness increases. For example, a 50 HRC material would require around 2 kg of pressure to make a mark whereas a 130 HRC material would require over 10 kg of pressure.
You’ll find that the majority of modern day materials fall into the range of 60-80 HRC. However, there are some exceptions where materials can reach up to 100 HRC like titanium alloys.
As EN45 steel is around 50 HRC, we can see it is a strong steel.
The Properties Of EN45 Steel
The properties of EN45 steel are similar to those of S30V steel. They include:
- High tensile strength (up to 300MPa)
- Good toughness
- Excellent wear resistance
- Resistant to pitting and crevice corrosion
- Difficult to sharpen due to its hardness
How Can I Use EN45 Steel?
There are two main ways that EN45 steel can be used. First, it can be used for making some kitchen cutlery and other household items. Second, it can be used to make swords and other edged weapons.
If you’re looking to make kitchen cutlery, then you should consider using EN45 steel because it’s extremely tough and durable. You don’t need to worry about chipping or breaking when handling it.
If you want to make swords and other sharpened tools, then you should look at using EN45 steel. Its hardness allows it to hold an edge well and resist breakage.
Is EN45 Good For Knives?
However, if you’re planning to use this steel for making knives, then you should avoid using it. Because it’s too hard, it will not allow you to achieve a good cutting action. Instead, you should choose a softer steel like A2 or S30V.
Are There Different Types Of EN45 Steel?
When it comes to making knives, there are different types of EN45 steel. These include:
This is the most common type of EN45 steel. It has a high carbon content and is usually made by continuous casting. It’s often referred to as ‘C’ grade or ‘Carbon’ grade.
This is a low carbon version of Type 1. It’s also known as ‘Low C’ grade or ‘LCC’. It has a lower carbon content than the Type 1.
This is another low carbon version of Type 2. It’s also called ‘LC’ grade. It has a lower carbon and manganese content than the Type 2.
This is the hardest form of EN45 steel. Unlike the other grades, it doesn’t contain any chromium. It’s also called ‘Hard’ grade or ‘HR’ grade.
Which Grade Should I Choose?
Based on what you plan to make, you should pick the one that suits your needs best. If you’re going to make kitchen cutlery, then you should go for Type 1 or Type 2.
This is because they have high carbon contents which makes them very strong and durable. If you plan to make swords and other blades, then you should go with Type 3 or Type 4.
This is because these grades are harder than the others.
EN45 Steel Vs Other Steels
Because EN45 steel is so strong, it’s often compared to other steels such as S30V steel. This is because both of them have similar properties. The only difference between them is their carbon content.
S30V steel contains 30% carbon while EN45 steel contains 45%. Neither steel necessarily has the edge over the other, but what we are sure of is that EN45 high carbon steel is incredibly strong and can hold up against massive pressure.
What Did We Think About EN45 Steel?
We really liked how easy it was to work with. It’s super tough and holds an edge well. However, we did find that it’s difficult to sharpen.
Also, it’s quite expensive. So, unless you’re planning to make a lot of items, we would say it may be better to shop around.
The Bottom Line
EN45 steel is a popular choice among sword makers. But before you buy it, you should know all about its strengths and weaknesses.
It’s a great material for making swords and although you can make knives with this type of steel, it’s not the best option due to how difficult it is to sharpen it.
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