What is the Best Steel for Bushcraft Knives?

Look at this analogy. Human beings are not the same. Some are taller, more intelligent, kinder, more hardworking, etc. We are not the same. Some human beings are heads and shoulders above others. However, we are all human beings. This is exactly the situation with bushcraft knives. Some steels are better than the others, even though they are all bushcraft knives.

Choosing a bushcraft knife with the best steel is crucial to your outdoor activities as there are many applications for a bushcraft knife. Without the best steel, you might not be able to get the best out of your bushcraft knife. So, your bushcraft knife must have the best steel if you are going to enjoy using your knife.

In this post, we will discuss 2 types of steel blades and choose our pick out of these steels.

The 440A Stainless Steel

The most prominent feature of this steel is that it is cheap and easy to maintain as it does not fall into rust quickly. Most bushcraft knife makers rely on this steel when they are making their blades. We will not be exaggerating when we say 9 out of 10 blades that come from overseas are usually this steel blade. It is what is most available in the market, and its cheapness makes it accessible.

When we say cheap, we don’t mean that this steel is useless or lousy steel which you can only use for a short time as this steel is solid and durable. This blade offers more than its price and can do everything you expect a bushcraft knife to do. It also has the additional advantage of being easy to sharpen. In addition, it is not susceptible to rust, wear, and moderate corrosion.

1095 High Carbon

This type of steel is popular among bushcrafters. The reason for its popularity is its durability. If you thought stainless steel was durable, the high carbon steel floors the stainless steel in this regard. This steel is like the donkey of bushcraft knife steels. It takes some beastly amount of usage for this steel to show any form of weakness. It takes the meaning of durability to a whole new level entirely.

You can use it for a more extended period, and it wouldn’t dull or even get weak. It will keep its structure for a more extended period. When it is getting dull, you can easily sharpen it for it to retain its edge. Sure, this knife is usually on the pricey side, but the price is worth it for the period with which you will use it.

High carbon steel is immense, but you have a larger role to play in keeping it that way. You have to oil, clean it often if you don’t want it to lose its strength and structural integrity to rust. The high carbon steel is not resistant to corrosion as it is resistant to wear. If you don’t take time to maintain this steel after each use, be prepared for its eventual destruction.

The Best among the Two

Well, this is a tricky one, but high carbon steel edges out for us. This is a disrespect for other steels, but there is a certain durability that high carbon steel offers that other steels can’t match at the moment. High carbon steel is tough and sharp, but you need to care for your knife to rust. Some experts believe that the best form of high carbon steel for a bushcraft knife is softer steel. They claim this is because softer versions of high carbon are unlikely to break and can be easily sharpened and reshaped.

Martin Smith
Outdoor Expert at Bushcraft Explorer | Website | + posts

Martin Smith is not just your average outdoorsman; he is a dedicated explorer with a deep passion for survival and bushcraft. The natural world has always been his favorite playground, which led him to develop a profound understanding and love for bushcraft skills. His curiosity is insatiable, constantly driving him to uncover the secrets of the great outdoors and unravel the mystery behind survival in nature.

Martin is the creator and host of the popular YouTube channel, 'Bushcraft Explorer,' where he shares his experiences and teaches essential survival techniques. But he isn't just a content creator; Martin is a survival expert who has spent countless hours under the open sky, perfecting his bushcraft skills.

From constructing shelters and crafting tools to identifying edible plants and purifying water, Martin has honed his survival skills in the most challenging environments. His dedication to mastering bushcraft has shaped him into an authority in this field, making him more than qualified to share his knowledge with others.

But Martin doesn't just talk the talk; he walks the walk. He spends a considerable portion of his life outdoors, continuously expanding his knowledge base and skill set, all to feed his love for the wild and provide his followers with up-to-date, reliable, and practical survival tips. He is also an avid hiker and explorer, often traveling to remote locations to test his skills against nature’s challenges.

Martin's writing, much like his videos, is brimming with practical advice and insightful tips. Through 'Bushcraft Explorer,' he not only shares his profound expertise but also inspires his readers and viewers to embrace the beauty of the outdoors and the thrill of survival. His commitment to making bushcraft accessible to all is evident in his easily digestible content, making his work valuable for both beginners and experienced outdoorspeople alike.

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