Whittling Knife Steel Hardness Chart

When choosing the right whittling knife, steel hardness is a key factor in determining if the knife is up to the task.

Knife hardness is often measured using the Rockwell C Hardness tests (HRC). This primarily measures how hard the steel is, but not necessarily how durable the blade is as durability is much harder to consistently measure.

The ideal hardness rating for whittling knives is between 58 and 62 HRC. Knives between this range will typically have the best balance of edge retention and durability.

Knives below 58 HRC will typically suffer from having a softer steel and will loose their edge faster and but have more flexibility preventing the blade from chipping.

Knives above 62 HRC can often be too brittle and the cutting edge may suffer chips during use and loose their cutting edge. They do however excel at being able to create a sharp cutting edge.

List of Knife Steels and Their Hardness Ratings

Below is a list of companies that make wood carving tools as well as some popular brands of knives with what steel they use and their hardness ratings.

CompanySteel TypeRockwell C Hardness
Value (HRC)
Case CutleryTruSharp Surgical Steel54-57
Deepwoods VenturesW1 Tool Steel60-62
Drake KnivesO1 Tool Steel58
FlexcutHigh Carbon Spring Steel59-61
Great Eastern Cutlery1095 Carbon Steel57-59
HelvieHigh Carbon Steel59-61
Lee FergusonHigh Carbon Tool Steel60
OCC ToolsO1 Tool Steel59-61
OpinelXC90 Carbon Steel57-59
PfeilSpecial Alloy Tool Steel57-60
Sarge Knives440C~58-60
Schrade65MN Carbon Spring Steel53-55
VictorinoxMartensitic Stainless Steel56

Brian Carver

A long time carving enthusiast that enjoys carving wood and stone. The main person behind the Carving is Fun website and YouTube channel. Always has way to many carving tools and is willing to try new and exciting carving projects!

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