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FREE Learning-The Skinny on 52100 Steel

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Keith Nix Knives FREE Learning!! 52100 Bearing Steel for Knifemaking

52100 is a "fast oil" hardening steel developed and still used for ball bearings and bearing races, capable of high hardness and excellent toughness. 52100 is known for taking an extremely fine edge, and is my choice for high carbon, low alloy steels for its high working hardness, great toughness, and overall balance of properties. Developed in the early 1900s, 52100 has about 1% carbon for high hardness. 1.5% chromium makes this steel more deeply hardenable, and the chromium also decreases grain size within the steel and slightly increases edge retention. This steel has been used to make many fine knives for years. Previously it was a forging steel, coming mostly in round stock, and from salvaged bearings and races. These days it can be found in flat bars suitable for custom knifemakers.

52100 is a very tough steel due to small, evenly distributed carbide throughout the matrix of the steel. In extensive toughness testing, 52100 comes out on top of O1, 1095, 440C, D2, A2, and many other knife steels held in high regard in the knifemaking world. Combined with its high attainable hardness this makes 52100 a great choice when corrosion isn't an issue. I highly recommend it for hard use Outdoor Knives, or in the kitchen when the chef prefers a non stainless option for a slightly keener edge. To get your own custom knife in 52100 steel, visit the Shop NOW!!

Out for a Sunday afternoon hike with the camera
Sunday afternoon hiking with the camera


Thanks for reading,


Keith Nix Knives

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