Aus 8 Knife Steel: Comprehensive Analysis and Evaluation

5.11 Tactical Scout Knife In Aus *8 Blade Steel

Aus 8 knife steel is a high-quality stainless steel that is widely used in the production of various knives and cutting tools. Originally developed in Japan, it has gained popularity due to its mix of excellent properties such as hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance.

This steel derives its reputation as a top choice for knife makers and enthusiasts for its ability to strike a balance between performance and affordability.

The composition of Aus 8 steel contributes significantly to its desirable properties. It contains higher levels of carbon and chromium compared to other stainless steels, which results in increased hardness and resistance to wear.

The vanadium content in the alloy also enhances the steel’s toughness and edge retention, allowing for sharper and longer-lasting cutting tools. Aus 8 knives are often heat-treated to further improve their performance and durability.

Key Takeaways

  • Aus 8 steel offers a combination of hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance ideal for knives
  • The steel’s composition and heat treatment contribute to its edge retention and sharpness
  • Popular in knife making due to its balance between performance and affordability

I carried this old 5.11 Scout folder as a work knife for years. And while it didn’t hold an edge as long as some of the better “super steels” out there, it always did the job and put up with a ton of abuse.

5.11 Tactical Scout Folder, what is an edc knife.

Overview of Aus 8 Steel

I have found that Aus 8 is a popular stainless steel used in the production of knife blades. The steel is known for its balance between hardness, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening.

Its chemical composition consists of approximately 0.75% carbon, 13-14% chromium, and smaller amounts of manganese, molybdenum, and vanadium. This mix of elements contributes to the steel’s overall performance and durability.

When it comes to manufacturing knife blades, I believe that Aus 8 steel offers several advantages.

First, the steel exhibits good sharpening capabilities and, when properly heat-treated, sustains a sharp edge. This is important for various cutting tasks and ensures consistent blade performance.

Second, Aus 8’s corrosion resistance is a significant factor that contributes to the longevity of the blade. It means that the blade can be used in different environments and conditions without the worry of rusting or deterioration.

Moreover, I have seen that the toughness of Aus 8 steel is another notable feature. It generally performs well under stress and has an increased resistance to chipping or breaking, compared to other steels in similar price ranges. This is crucial for applications where knives are subject to heavy use and may incur accidental impacts.

When deciding on a knife, it’s essential to consider the blade’s steel in addition to the design and intended use. Aus 8 steel, with its combination of attributes, can be an excellent choice for those seeking an affordable, durable, and versatile option for their knife blade.

Composition and Properties

As an experienced researcher in the knife industry, I am familiar with various types of knife steels and their properties. One of the popular choices in the market is AUS 8 steel. Here, I will provide a brief overview of the composition and properties of AUS 8 knife steel.

AUS 8 steel is a high-quality Japanese stainless steel, consisting of several alloying elements that contribute to its performance. The primary components include iron as the base element, and a mixture of carbon, chromium, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, silicon, and nickel as alloying elements. The exact composition of AUS 8 steel is as follows:

  • 0.7-0.75% Carbon
  • 13-14.5% Chromium
  • 0.5% Manganese
  • 0.1-0.3% Molybdenum
  • 0.1-0.26% Vanadium
  • 1% Silicon
  • 0.49% Nickel

The combination of these elements results in a steel with excellent properties for knife making. Starting with carbon, it has a significant role in increasing hardness and edge retention. The presence of chromium in AUS 8 steel makes it resistant to corrosion, while manganese enhances strength and wear resistance.

Molybdenum and vanadium are also essential for improving toughness and wear resistance. They aid in the formation of hard carbides, which contribute to better edge retention. Silicon serves as a deoxidizer, making the steel less susceptible to oxidation. Lastly, nickel strengthens the overall alloy and promotes toughness.

AUS 8 steel offers a balance between strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance, making it suitable for various knife applications, including kitchen knives, folding knives, and hunting knives. With a Rockwell hardness of 57-59 HRC, AUS 8 steel performs well in terms of edge retention and sharpening ease, while being tough enough to withstand everyday use.

In summary, AUS 8 knife steel is a reliable choice for those seeking a versatile, high-performance knife with an advantageous balance of key properties. Its composition ensures durability and resistance, while its diverse alloying elements contribute to its overall success in knife applications.

Hardness and Toughness

When it comes to knife steel, two important factors to consider are hardness and toughness. As an AUS-8 knife steel user, I can confidently say that this type of steel offers a good balance of these properties.

Hardness is generally measured on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, specifically using the “C” scale (HRC) for knife steels. AUS-8 steel tends to have a Rockwell hardness in the range of 57-59 HRC, which is respectable for a stainless steel blade. This level of hardness allows for a sharp edge that can retain its sharpness for a reasonable time.

Toughness, on the other hand, refers to a material’s ability to resist chipping, breaking, or cracking under impact or stress. In many cases, hardness and toughness can be inversely related, as increasing hardness often results in reduced toughness and vice versa. However, AUS-8 manages to maintain a decent level of toughness even with its moderate hardness. This balance makes it an attractive option for users who require both edge retention and durability in their knives.

While I have found AUS-8 steel to meet my expectations in terms of hardness and toughness, it’s crucial to keep in mind that heat treatment and proper blade geometry also play a significant role in these properties.

A well-executed heat treatment can optimize the blade’s performance by enhancing the steel’s inherent characteristics and ensuring a delicate equilibrium between hardness and toughness.

In conclusion, AUS-8 knife steel offers a suitable balance of hardness and toughness that appeals to many knife users. With its adequate edge retention and durability, it stands as a reliable choice for various cutting tasks.

Edge Retention and Sharpness

In my experience with Aus 8 knife steel, I’ve found that it offers a good balance between edge retention and sharpness. This type of steel is known for its ability to hold a sharp edge for a prolonged period, making it highly desirable among many knife enthusiasts.

Aus 8 steel is notably easier to sharpen than some other high-end steels, which means I can maintain its sharp edge without too much effort. The steel’s composition includes a mixture of carbon and other elements, ensuring a tough and durable blade.

One aspect I appreciate about Aus 8 steel is that it holds its edge well without compromising on toughness. This means I can use it for various demanding tasks and trust that it won’t easily dull, chip, or break. Additionally, the steel is fairly resistant to corrosion, enhancing the knife’s durability even further.

That being said, it’s essential to hone the edge of an Aus 8 knife regularly, as I’ve found that doing so keeps the blade sharp and efficient while cutting or carving. Honing the blade not only helps maintain its edge retention but also helps prolong the overall life of the knife.

In summary, my experience with Aus 8 knife steel has primarily been positive, with edge retention and sharpness that consistently meet my expectations.

Corrosion Resistance and Care

In my experience, Aus 8 knife steel is a suitable choice for those who are looking for a blade with good corrosion resistance. As a stainless steel, it contains a sufficient amount of chromium to prevent rust and maintain the strength of the blade. However, it is important to note that although Aus 8 is rust-resistant, it is not entirely immune to rust.

To maintain the corrosion resistance of Aus 8 knife steel, proper care is necessary. Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful:

  • After using the knife, especially in wet or damp environments, it’s essential to clean and dry the blade thoroughly before storing it.
  • Oiling the blade periodically can help create a barrier against moisture, thus preventing corrosion.
  • Even though Aus 8 knife steel has decent corrosion resistance, it is best to avoid long-term exposure to extremely acidic, salty, or humid environments that can accelerate corrosion.

As for wear resistance, Aus 8 knife steel offers a balance between hardness and toughness. Its strength enables the blade to withstand wear and tear while maintaining a sharp edge, especially when properly heat-treated. However, it is essential to keep in mind that wear resistance can vary depending on the heat treatment process and how the blade is used.

In conclusion, Aus 8 knife steel provides reasonable corrosion resistance for everyday use, but proper care and maintenance are vital to ensure the blade remains rust-free and maintains its edge performance. Following these tips will help prolong the lifespan and maintain the performance of your Aus 8 knife steel blade.

Quality and Price Comparison

When it comes to the affordability and quality of knife steels, AUS-8 offers a good balance. As a mid-range stainless steel, it doesn’t quite match up to high-end steels like M390, S30V, or Elmax, but it definitely outperforms lower-end steels like 420 and 440C. In my experience, AUS-8 also holds its own against some better-known steels like VG-10 and AUS-10, providing it is heat treated properly.

In terms of price, AUS-8 falls within the affordable knife steel category. This makes it an attractive option for those who want decent performance without breaking the bank. It’s important to consider, however, that while the price of the steel is important, the quality of the knife also depends on the craftsmanship and design of the knife itself.

Comparing AUS-8 to other affordable knife steels, I found that it has some advantages over its peers:

  • 8Cr13MoV: AUS-8 is often considered to be a step above 8Cr13MoV in terms of edge retention and overall quality. However, the price difference might be minimal, so some might opt for 8Cr13MoV when seeking an even more budget-friendly option.
  • 420: AUS-8 is significantly better than the lower grade 420 stainless steel in terms of edge retention, hardness, and corrosion resistance. It’s worth the slightly higher price for the improved performance.
  • 440C: While 440C has higher carbon content and can achieve greater hardness, AUS-8 provides a better balance of properties in terms of ease of sharpening, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.

Now, when compared to some higher-end steels, AUS-8 may fall short:

  • 154CM: 154CM is considered to be a superior steel compared to AUS-8, with better edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance. However, it is also typically more expensive.
  • D2: D2 is renowned for its excellent wear resistance and edge retention. While it outperforms AUS-8 in these aspects, it is much more susceptible to corrosion and is also harder to sharpen.
  • M390, S30V, Elmax: All three of these high-end steels have superior edge retention, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance compared to AUS-8. Consequently, they also have much higher prices.

Given all this information, I believe AUS-8 is an excellent choice for knife enthusiasts who seek an affordable, balanced steel that performs reliably in various applications. While it may not be the best in any one category, its overall performance and value make it an attractive option for those on a budget or those who prefer a more manageable sharpening experience.

Heat Treatment Processes

As an expert in knife steel, I can confidently discuss the heat treatment processes for Aus 8 knife steel. Aus 8 is a highly versatile and widely used stainless steel, known for its excellent balance between corrosion resistance, strength, and affordability. Heat treatment plays a critical role in enhancing the properties of Aus 8 steel for various applications.

Firstly, the normalization process should be conducted in order to homogenize the steel’s grain structure. By heating the steel to around 900-1000°C and then allowing it to cool in still air, I can ensure a consistent microstructure throughout the material.

Next, the hardening process increases the hardness and wear resistance of the Aus 8 steel. I typically suggest heating the steel to a temperature between 980-1070°C, depending on the particular application requirements. After reaching this temperature, the steel is quenched in either oil or air, rapidly cooling the material and transitioning its microstructure into martensite.

To relieve the stresses induced during the hardening process and to enhance the toughness of the material, I recommend tempering the Aus 8 steel. My suggestion is to heat the steel to a temperature of 180-250°C, and then maintain this temperature for a specific duration. This process results in a tempered martensite microstructure, which provides a suitable balance between hardness and toughness.

When it comes to hardenability, Aus 8 steel displays a fairly uniform distribution of hardness values throughout its structure, mainly due to the relatively low carbon content. This allows for a consistent performance across the entire blade in terms of edge retention and wear resistance.

The Rockwell hardness (HRC) scale is used to measure the hardness of knife steels, including Aus 8. Generally, Aus 8 steel falls within the range of 57-59 HRC after the heat treatment processes. This range provides a favorable balance between hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance, making the steel suitable for various applications, including folding knives, fixed blades, and tactical tools.

Popular Aus 8 Knives

As a knife enthusiast, I’ve come across several high-quality knives that use Aus 8 steel, thanks to its durability and versatility. Aus 8 is a popular Japanese stainless steel that boasts a balance of toughness, edge sharpness, and corrosion resistance. It’s often used by reputable knife manufacturers like Cold Steel, CRKT, SOG, and Ontario Knife. Let me walk you through some noteworthy Aus 8 knives that stand out in the market.

The SOG Seal Pup Elite is one knife I find particularly impressive. It’s a lightweight and versatile fixed blade knife with a tough nylon sheath for easy carrying. Its black TiNi coating provides additional corrosion resistance and a stealthy look. This knife is perfect for survivalists, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts who seek a reliable blade with high cutting performance.

Schrade Delta Class Sentiment Folder

Another interesting knife that utilizes Aus 8 steel is the CRKT Hissatsu. This tactical folding knife features a beautiful Japanese design, known for its high cutting efficiency and intimidation factor. The CRKT Hissatsu’s Aus 8 blade ensures reliable edge retention and sharpness, while the black TiNi finished tanto blade adds to the overall aesthetics and corrosion resistance.

The SOG Seal P, a sibling to the Seal Pup Elite, is also worth mentioning. With its durable black nylon sheath and strong Aus 8 steel blade, this lightweight knife is suitable for a variety of tasks. It’s an ideal choice for those who need a reliable and sturdy blade for everyday use.

Ontario Knife Company Besra Folder

Ontario Knife Company, known for its rugged and dependable knives, also offers Aus 8 steel knives, like the Utilitac II series. These folding knives boast textured G-10 handles for a secure grip, liner locks for safety, and a versatile design that caters to a wide range of applications.

Ontario Rat II folder

The CRKT CEO is another excellent example of an Aus 8 steel knife. With its sleek design and low-profile appearance, the CEO is an ideal everyday carry (EDC) knife. The slim, lightweight construction paired with the high-quality Aus 8 blade guarantee a reliable cutting performance.

In summary, Aus 8 steel knives are highly popular among renowned knife manufacturers like Cold Steel, CRKT, SOG, and Ontario Knife due to their incredible balance between toughness, sharpness, and corrosion resistance. Models like the SOG Seal Pup Elite, CRKT Hissatsu, SOG Seal P, Ontario Knife Utilitac II series, and CRKT CEO are all excellent choices for knife enthusiasts and users who appreciate the strength and reliability of Aus 8 steel.

Sharpening and Maintenance

In my experience, Aus 8 knife steel is known for being easy to sharpen and requires low maintenance. One of the primary reasons for this is its ideal balance of toughness, hardness, and corrosion resistance, which makes it suitable for both everyday usage and outdoor activities.

When it comes to sharpening, I find that using a whetstone or a sharpening rod helps me achieve a razor-sharp edge on my Aus 8 knife. The key to achieving a sharp edge is maintaining a consistent angle throughout the process. I usually start with a coarse grit stone to remove any chips or imperfections and then progress to a finer grit to refine the edge.

For maintaining the sharpness of my plain edge blade, I often use a ceramic or diamond rod for honing. These materials help me maintain the edge without removing too much material. It’s important to remember that honing should be done more frequently than sharpening to ensure the knife remains in good condition.

To protect my Aus 8 knife from corrosion and ensure its longevity, I make sure to clean and dry it properly after each use. While it’s corrosion-resistant, the carbon content in the steel can still react with moisture if it’s not taken care of properly. I also apply a thin coat of oil periodically to maintain its appearance and performance.

By following these simple steps, I keep my Aus 8 knife in excellent condition, ensuring it remains a reliable and efficient tool for various cutting tasks.

Applications and Uses

As a knife enthusiast, I’ve come across various types of steel used in knife making, and one of the popular choices among knife makers is the AUS-8 stainless steel. This Japanese steel has a reputation for its balance between hardness, corrosion resistance, and edge retention. In this section, I will discuss the applications and uses of AUS-8 steel in various industries and situations.

In the knife making industry, AUS-8 steel is typically used for forging versatile blades. Due to its balance of qualities, it excels in creating knives for various purposes, from kitchen knives to outdoor and tactical blades. Many knife makers choose this steel for its ability to withstand heavy use and maintain a sharp edge over time.

Another popular application for AUS-8 steel is in the production of scissors. These cutting tools require precision and durability, and AUS-8 steel provides the necessary characteristics to achieve this. From hairdressing scissors to industrial cutting equipment, AUS-8 steel is a dependable choice.

Within the food processing industry, food machines often incorporate AUS-8 steel components. This is due to its corrosion resistance, which ensures the machines remain sanitary and efficient. Its durability also ensures that the equipment can withstand demanding environments and continuous use.

Medical equipment is another area where AUS-8 steel shines. The high sanitary requirements of this field make corrosion-resistant materials, like AUS-8 steel, essential for tools and devices used in medical settings. The steel’s durability ensures that it can withstand repeated sterilization processes without losing its structural integrity.

AUS-8 steel also performs well in tactical situations, where knives and tools need to be reliable and robust. For example, the OG-218B Rapid Fire Blackhawk knife features an AUS-8 steel blade, making it an excellent choice for those who require a dependable knife for the most demanding circumstances.

In conclusion, AUS-8 steel is a popular choice among knife makers and various industries due to its balanced properties, including hardness, corrosion resistance, and edge retention. Its versatility lends itself to a wide range of applications, from kitchen knives to medical equipment and tactical tools. As a knife enthusiast, I can confidently say that AUS-8 steel is a reliable choice for many demanding applications.

Steel Will Argonaught in AUS-8 Knife Blade Steel


In my research and experience, I have found that Aus 8 knife steel is a popular choice among many users, thanks to its balance between durability, edge retention, and ease of sharpening.

It offers a level of performance that is suitable for various cutting tasks, both everyday and specialized. While it may not excel in every aspect, it provides an excellent value considering its price point.

I have seen Aus 8 steel being used in various knives and tools, from kitchen cutlery to tactical and survival knives. Its corrosion resistance makes it suitable for humid or coastal environments, while its strength and toughness allow it to handle demanding cutting tasks without failing. In addition, many users appreciate the ease with which the steel can be sharpened, making it convenient for maintaining the edge on a regular basis.

When comparing Aus 8 to other more premium steels, such as VG-10 or S30V, or high carbon steel like 1095, it is important to weigh the trade-offs in performance and cost. While higher-end steels may offer better edge retention or corrosion resistance, they often come with a higher price tag and may be more difficult to sharpen. In this context, Aus 8 presents a versatile option that performs well in most situations while also being accessible for a variety of users.

In conclusion, as a knife enthusiast, I can confidently say that Aus 8 knife steel is a reliable and practical choice for many users. It delivers solid performance across various attributes, making it suitable for numerous cutting tasks and environments. So, if you are looking for an affordable yet effective knife steel, Aus 8 could be an option worth considering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is AUS-8A steel good for knives?

Yes, AUS-8A steel is considered to be a good choice for knives, particularly for budget and mid-range options. It offers a good balance of hardness, toughness, and edge retention. The “A” in AUS-8A indicates an improved annealing process which provides added toughness to the steel.

What is the hardness of AUS-8 steel?

AUS-8 steel typically has a hardness range of 58-59 HRC (Rockwell Hardness Scale). This range allows for a good balance between edge retention, toughness, and sharpenability.

How does 8Cr13MoV compare to AUS-8?

8Cr13MoV is a Chinese stainless steel that is often compared to AUS-8. Both steels have similar compositions, but AUS-8 edges out 8Cr13MoV slightly in terms of performance. AUS-8 generally holds an edge longer and offers better corrosion resistance, while 8Cr13MoV is considered to be more budget-friendly.

What are the differences between AUS-8A and S35VN?

AUS-8A and S35VN are quite different in terms of performance and price point. AUS-8A is more of a mid-range steel, offering good performance at an affordable price. S35VN, on the other hand, is a high-performance steel that boasts excellent edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance, but it comes at a higher cost.

Does AUS-8 steel compare to 1.4116 steel?

AUS-8 and 1.4116 steel are similar in many respects; both are stainless steels with comparable compositions. However, AUS-8 is generally considered to be a slightly better-performing steel, with improved edge retention and corrosion resistance.

How does AUS-8 steel compare to AUS-10?

AUS-8 and AUS-10 are both stainless steels produced in Japan. While AUS-8 is considered a mid-range steel, AUS-10 is a higher-performance steel with better edge retention and corrosion resistance. AUS-10 also has a higher carbon content, which contributes to its improved performance, but this also makes it slightly more challenging to sharpen compared to AUS-8.