Better than 12C27 and as easy to heat treat: 14C28N

Better than 12C27 and as easy to heat treat: 14C28N

Many makers want to use stainless steel for a cleaner look in kitchen knives, in the past we have used to suggest 12C27 as the stainless steel to start with. 12c27 is fairly easy to heat treat, at least the easiest stainless.

We suggest you might want to consider swapping to 14C28N:

  • better edge retention
  • can be hardened to higher HRC and retaining edge toughness (Sandvik recommends working hardness up to 62 HRC)
  • smaller carbides than for instance 440C makes for easier, faster sharpening
  • an improvement over 12c27 from the same maker, Sandvik steels

Heat treating 14c28N:

  • Temperature 1050 C
  • Hold time 5 min
  • Quench in oil or plates
  • Temper immediately at 200 C for 30 mins for about 58-59 HRC*
  • Optionally: Basic cryo before tempering at -20 C (normal freezer) adds another 1-2 HRC

*Sandvik describe tempering time required as only 30 mins per 2.5 mm thickness, but in the "More information" section say 2 hours so we would recommend 2 hours x 2 just to be sure.

Rehardening is not recommended for stainless steels, get it right the first time.

Link to Sandvik heat treatment :

More details on 12C27 and 14C28N:

Stainless steels produced in Sweden by Sandvik. 12C27 is a good all-round blade steel – easy to sharpen and strop, holds a decent edge and is corrosion resistant. It is a good and popular steel for smaller knives. For bigger knives, 14C28N – an upgrade of 12C27 – is more suited as it can be hardened to a higher HRC value without losing its toughness. In most steels, carbon is used to increase hardness but 14C28N uses nitrogen. This allows for higher hardness without compromising corrosion resistance. All that makes the 14C28N a superior steel compared to 12C27 when it comes to tougher tasks such as batoning – better edge retention without compromising toughness or corrosion resistance.

5th May 2021 Bjorn J

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