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BLADETRICKS KNIFE MAKING MATERIALS:
This is a small list of steels most commonly used to make my Bladetricks knives, karambits, tomahawks and hand tools.
All the steels, titanium, handle materials and glues I use to make my custom knives are carefully selected and purchased from trusted suppliers. My intention is to make the most functional and practical knives at reasonable prices, that will serve their purpose and will last.
O1 tool steel:
O1 is the original oil-hardening (the O stands for oil quenching), “non-shrinking” tool steel that can be hardened to the Rockwell C 65 range.
O1 tool steel has been around for decades and has become an industry standard and it is considered THE reference of tool steels. O1 might not be as fancy as other modern alloys, but it's a real workhorse, tough and reliable with the proper heat treatment.
1070 - 1075 spring steel:
SAE 1070 and SAE 1075 are spring steels used in the manufacture of different products (springs, shafts, swords, saw blades, heavy machinery parts). They provide exceptional yield strength while resisting wear. This allows objects made of spring steel to return to their original shape despite significant deflection or twisting and making them ideal for the railway industry. As high-carbon steels that can be oil or water hardened, AISI 1070 / 1075 steels also perform well in hand and machine tool applications.
1070 / 1075 spring steel is an excellent choice for Survival and tactical Knives . Tough as nails , 1070 / 1075 spring steels are tougher than 1095 steel and than most stainless steels. They are easy to work, easy to sharpen and they will take a keen edge without effort.
4340 alloy steel:
4340 is a nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloy steel known for its toughness and its ability to attain high strengths in the heat-treated condition. It has very good fatigue resistance.
This richly alloyed heavy-duty steel alloy possesses much deeper hardenability than the 4100 series (4140 and 4130 alloy steels), with increased ductility and toughness, and its high fatigue strength makes it ideal for all highly stressed parts in the most severe conditions. It may be used in both elevated and low temperature environments and has good wear resistance.
Ti6Al4V Grade 5 titanium alloy
Ti6Al4V Grade 5 titanium is considered the "workhorse" of the titanium alloys and the most frequently used. It has a wide use in the aerospace industry, high-end sporting goods, medical implants and the aerospace industry. Grade 5 titanium is specifically formulated to be flexible, resistant to deformation and to prevent cracking and breaking.
Grade 5 titanium alloy has a very high tensile strength, making it is less likely to break under stress.
Grade 5 titanium alloy is lighert than steel (+/- 30% lighter).
Grade 5 titanium alloy is highly resistant to corrosion in saltwater / sweaty environments.
Grade 5 titanium alloy is generally considered non-magnetic.
Grade 5 titanium alloy is difficult to grind
Grade 5 titanium alloy doesn’t hold an edge very well (improved if the edge is carbidized)
Grade 5 titanium alloy is difficult to sharpen
Grade 5 titanium alloy is NOT a good substitute for a working knife blade and is generally not recommended for a utility / hard use knife as it does not hold an edge for repeated use. But a Grade 5 titanium alloy blade will excel as a tactical / last ditch everyday carry (EDC) knife or tool for short-term cutting or used in hot (sweaty) or marine environments.
BLADETRICKS HANDLE MATERIALS
Described as “the Steel of the Plastic Industry”, micarta is a laminated product created by the impregnation of layers of a substrate (paper, linen, canvas or nylon) with a resin and then formed utilizing heat and pressure. The notable properties of these laminates include impressive resistance to shock, heat, stress, and corrosive chemicals.
Bladetricks only uses canvas micarta as it is the toughest of the three. It has good mechanical and impact strength with a continuous operating temperature of 250º F / 121º C and is recommended for high-strength parts.
We only work with industrial grade canvas micarta for our handles (knives, karambits, axes, tomahawks and other tactical tools) as it guarantees the most consistent results and the best performance.
The combination of toughness, resistance to elements and look make canvas micarta the best option for Bladetricks handcrafted tactical and outdoor knives handles. Its characteristic exposed cotton fibers at the surface makes it particularly warm, comfortable and grippy, specially when wet.
G10 is a high-pressure fiberglass laminate composite material created by stacking multiple layers of glass cloth, soaked in epoxy resin, and by compressing the resulting material under heat until the epoxy cures.
G10 is the toughest of the glass fiber resin laminates, specified for its extremely high strength and high dimensional stability over temperature. G-10 is favored for its high strength, low moisture absorption, and high level of electrical insulation and chemical resistance. These properties are maintained not only at room temperature but also under humid or moist conditions.
G10 is difficult to cut or machine, requires special equipment and its dust is toxic.
On a Bladetricks knife, G10 handle scales are pinned / riveted and glued (epoxied) to the handle section and then textured, providing an elegant and secure grip.
Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon:
Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (AKA FRN or GFN) is a nylon-based polymer that is reinforced with Glass Fiber.
The main characteristics of glass filled nylon are very high rigidity, high mechanical strength, a high degree of hardness and toughness. It also has very high dimensional stability, good fatigue strength and high mechanical damping properties. All these properties make this material suitable for use in parts that are exposed to high static loads over long periods in high temperature conditions.
FRN is lighter and more flexible and less rigid than G10, thus allowing to manufacture lighter handles and lighter knives and tools.
As a knife maker, the only objection against this material is the impossibility of gluing it due to the properties of nylon, but it can still be riveted, pinned, bolted or screwed.
Often perceived as a cheaper material (which it is), Glass Filled Nylon makes for a very tough knife handle material and can take serious abuse and is an excellent option for tighter budgets and / or knife users looking for a light blade.
Parachute cord (also paracord or 550 cord when referring to type-III paracord) is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of parachutes. This cord is useful for many other tasks and is now used as a general purpose utility cord by both military personnel and civilians. This versatile cord was even used by astronauts during the 82nd Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
The braided sheath has a high number of interwoven strands for its size, giving it a relatively smooth texture. The all-nylon construction makes paracord fairly elastic.
On a knife / tomahawk / tool handle, a properly executed paracord wrap will provide a lightweight, low profile footprint and a very secure grip.
The major advantage of two component epoxy adhesives is that they are suitable for bonding nearly all substrates: metal, plastic, glass, ceramic, wood and many types of rubber. In general, they have high resistance to physical and chemical influences and in addition they have high long-term stability. Depending on the type, they can withstand continuous temperatures from 200oF (95°C) up to 390oF (200°C).
The work life (time adhesive can be processed and bonded after mixing) can vary from a few minutes to several hours. Assemblies (mostly tang and handle material on a knife) must be fixtured until the adhesive has cured sufficiently to have enough strength for handling and additional processing. Final cure and ultimate strength is obtained over hours to weeks depending on formulation. In general, adhesives that cure faster have lower final strength than those that cure more slowly. Most adhesive formulations also include modifiers to increase flexibility or toughness of the cured adhesive. This results in bond lines that are able to resist more peel and cleavage stress as well as impact.
Bladetricks only uses Araldite as epoxy resin glue to bond the handle onto the knives. The Araldite company pioneered several new adhesives, intended initially for the aeronautical industry and IOHO it is the best and most reliable epoxy adhesive that can be found.