Hand Tools Archive

1084 vs. 1095 vs. O1

David Weaver
For some reason, when I bought 1095 bar stock, I expected it would be tougher than O1 due to its more plain alloy

I also bought 1084.

In the past week or so, I've made five irons. One of them is 1084, two are 1095 and two are O1.

O1 is easier to keep at higher hardness and eliminate any edge chipping vs. 1095. That's not a scientific statement, just based on the 1095 that I have, and I also can't be sure as they do sharpen differently (1095 belt grinds and sharpens very easily even compared to O1, same with 1084. I couldn't actually tell 1084 and 1095 apart if I didn't marker them).

I'm curious, but not sure if I'm curious enough to do a durability test on a test board to see where things end up. O1 should run longer than either, but at this point, of the 10xx samples, I like 1084 better. I think the edge is more stable.

And, lastly, 1095 stock is not a high value material and I don't think it has much industrial use. That leads to the potential that the stock just isn't that great compared to the US-made and branded O1 stock that I get, and there have been some reports of inclusions in 1095 from the dealer that I bought from (you also have to decarb it yourself by grinding a few thousands off with diagonal strokes on a belt grinder, but that isn't difficult and doesn't take more than about three minutes).

I thought 1095 might be interesting to try to approximate ward plane irons, but I think it's probably not worth the hassle. O1 is a better choice, and is probably closer to what's in early stanley plane irons, anyway.

I have 52100 on the way next (Which knife people seem to favor for fine edges over O1).

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