1095 steel review

1095 steel review – properties |composition|applications

AISI 1095 is high carbon steel with high hardness and wear resistance. These steels are suitable for the production of various kinds of daggers and knives due to excellent edge retention and wear resistance. High carbon steel has a factor of brittleness due to strong cementite network in the matrix but it does not prevent it from being the best knife steel. Carbon steel is prone to rust that’s why variant called 1095 cro-van steel is used for dagger making due to excellent corrosion resistance. 

In the below discussion, 1095 steel properties, heat treatment, metalworking are discussed. Also, we have to share our insight on cro-van 1095 steel. The comparison of this grade of steel with other steel has also been made to facilitate you in the selection of blade steel.

UNS Number


Other Designations

AMS 5121ASTM A29 (1095)ASTM A713 (1095)MIL S-7947
AMS 5122ASTM A510 (1095)ASTM A830MIL S-8559
AMS 5132ASTM A576 (1095)DIN 1.1274QQ S700 (C1095)
AMS 7304ASTM A682 (1095)MIL S-16788 (C10)SAE J1397 (1095)
AMS 5132DSAE J403 (1095)SAE J412 (1095)AMS 5121C

1095 carbon steel Composition

Elements1095 plain steel1095 cro-van steel
C0.90 - 1.030.90 - 1.03
Mn0.30 - 0.500.25-0.45
S< 0.050< 0.025
P< 0.040< 0.025
SiNIL 0.15-0.30 
CrNIL 0.40-0.60 

1095 carbon steel properties

Physical Properties

PropertiesUnits (metric)
Melting Point1530 C
Density7.85 g/cm3

Mechanical properties

For hardness test, you can review;

PropertiesUnits (Metric)
Yield Strength525 Mpa
UTS685 Mpa
Poisson ratio0.29
Elastic Modulus205 GPa
Hardness (Brinell)197
Hardness (Vicker)207
Hardness (Rockwell C)13
Machinability (Based on AISI 1212 steel as 100 mahinability)0.45
Elongation at break0.1
Reduction of Area0.4

The mechanical properties given above are for spherodized steel for enhancing machinability. To view properties of this high carbon steel in state of forging, quenching and normalizing, Follow the links below;

  1. Oil quenched from 800°C (1475°F), tempered at 480°C (900°F) – (Link)
  2. As rolled – (Link)
  3. Annealed at 790°C (1450°F) – (Link)
  4. Oil quenched from 800°C (1475°F), tempered at 540°C (1000°F) – (Link
  5. Oil quenched from 815°C (1500°F), tempered at 480°C (900°F) – (Link)

Thermal Properties

W1 steelproperties
Thermal Conductivity (W/m. K)49.8
Specific Heat Capacity0.461 J/g - C
W1 steelCTE Liner (µm/m - C)
100 C11
300 C12.4
500 C13.5

Electrical Properties

W1 SteelElectrical resistivity (ohm - cm)
0 C1.8E-5

1095 steel Forging

For knife production, the two most common methods used are material removal and forging. Forging involves heating and beating the steel to reduce the cross-section and shape into the semifinished product while improving the mechanical properties. 

In advanced processes, knives are edge quenched to achieve higher hardness or brittleness in edge region only leaving the rest of blades tougher compared to the edge. This gives the blade ability to withstand the impact and shock loading and resistance to breaking. 

Recommended Forging temperature for high carbon steel is 955oC to 1177oC.

Heat treatment 

This high carbon steel usually has a cementite network in its matrix. If annealing of steel is performed in a temperature range higher than 910oC, it could lead to a very brittle microstructure. The annealing in the austenite region is termed as Full – annealing. You can study the effect of full annealing microstructure on high carbon steel properties in the Annealing section. 


Annealing used for high carbon steel is inter-critical annealing to avoid the development of continuous cementite networks upon cooling. This can be further studied in the Annealing microstructure section. 


Annealing temperature chosen for 1095 high carbon steel is in between 810oC and 890oC.


Normalizing temperature for high carbon steel is the same as annealing temperature. In normalizing steel cementite network can be avoided to a much larger extent giving finer microstructure with less brittleness. 

The comparison of normalized and annealed microstructure properties can be seen below;

1095 steelAs-RolledNormalizedAnnealed
Tensile Strength (MPa)9651015615
Yield Strength (MPa)585525380
Elongation %
Reduction in Area %
Hardness HB293293174
Izod Impact Strength (J)777


Hardening is a fast cooling process involves the conversion of cementite and pearlite into martensite and retained austenite. 

The hardening process for steel depends upon heating temperature and quenching media. For 195 hardening treatment, temperature above A3 line and water quenching for smaller castings are preferred. For large castings, oil quenching is preferred to avoid quench cracks which can be found in heat treatment defects.


Tempering 1095 steel

The development of martensite in structure results in large thermal stresses within material along with retained austenite formation. No quenching process can completely remove retained austenite. The reason can be studied in the TTT diagram in steel

This retained austenite and martensite is converted to carbides to avoid brittleness and better machinability. Follow the Tempering steel process for stages which causes the conversion of retained austenite and martensite into carbides. 

Tempering temperature for this steel is in between 372 and 705oC.

Welding of 1095

1095 has an interconnected matrix of cementite which is difficult to melt. That’s why this grade of steel is not preferable for welding. 

1095 carbon steel Applications

Common Applications of plain carbon of steel of this grade are;

  • Springs
  • Cutting Tools
  • Grass Cutting tools
  • Grain cutting tools
  • Knives
  • Decorative swords
  • Japanese Katana
1095 steel applications
1095 steel applications


KaBar Becker 1095 Cro-Van VS 1095 steel

1095 cro-van steel has a small addition of chromium and vanadium in it giving it higher wear and corrosion-resistant. 

There is not much difference in both grades of steel except higher hardness and resilience can be expected with 1095 Cro-van steel. Chromium containing steel can also be considered long-lasting in terms of corrosion resistance due to the presence of chromium in small quantities.

D2 VS 1095

D2 is cold worked tool steel used for the manufacturing of large forging dies and specialized cutting tools. D2 steel is an alloy of high carbon and chromium giving it very superior hardness, wear, and corrosion resistance as compared to 1095 steel. In terms of cost, Carbon steels are always cheaper than alloy steel but for long and sturdy use, D2 steel is preferable. 

You can find properties of 1095 steel above and for properties of D2 steel, you can visit the D2 steel alloy guide.

1075 VS 1095 steel

For differentiating between 1095 and 1075 steel, its better to understand first, “what 1095 means?” 

In 1095, 1 indicates carbon as the main alloying element, and 0 indicates the absence of other alloying elements. 95 indicates the percentage of carbon in the steel. So, it is plain steel with no alloying elements and a carbon percentage of 0.95%. While 1075 is plain carbon with a carbon percentage of 0.75%.