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All about 14C28N Steel

Knife steels can either make or break your culinary journey. Therefore, choosing the right one before setting out on any culinary adventure is crucial. When talking about suitable knife steel, especially best budget buys, knife enthusiasts never forget to mention the 14C28N.

The 14C28N is said to be an impressive mix of affordability, hardness, edge retention, and high corrosion resistance for all sorts of quality kitchen endeavors. Let us learn why the 14C28N is a popular steel choice among knife devotees and whether this steel is suitable for the knife of your need.

What is 14C28N?

The 14C28N steel, or the Sandvik 14C28N steel, is a Swedish high-carbon stainless steel made by European Materials Technology Company called Alleima(formerly known as Sandvik). It is basically an upgrade to the 12c27 and the 13c26 knife steels.

The 14C28N steel contains a high hardness threshold with a carbon content of about 0.6%. Regardless of having a high carbon content, the steel’s microstructure remains uncompromised, implying easy re-sharpening.

The hardness range on the Rockwell scale for 14C28N is between 55-62HRC. With added features such as corrosion resistance, edge retention, and stability in addition to this hardness level, this steel can quickly become the blade for your chef knives, pocket knives, knives for hunting, and even fishing.

14C28N steel composition

Carbon C0.62%
Chromium Cr14.00%
Manganese Mn0.60%
Nitrogen N0.11%
Silicon Si0.30%
Phosphorus P0.02%
Sulfur S0.01%
  • Carbon: The most crucial steel alloy in any steel is carbon. Carbon helps to build hardness, strength, and edge retention in steels.
  • Chromium: Another important alloying element found in 14C28N is chromium, known to improve steel hardenability, tensile strength, and provides resistance to corrosion.
  • Manganese: Manganese is added to 14C28N to improve the steel’s hardness.
  • Nitrogen: Nitrogen is known to enhance hardness, strength, and wear resistance in steels.
  • Silicon: Silicon also increases strength in steel.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus improves machinability and hardness to a certain extent in steels.
  • Sulfur: Sulfur improves machinability in steels.

14C28N steel properties

14c28n steel properties

14C28N hardness

When going through different knife steels, you will come across HRC ratings. The Rockwell Hardness Test or the HRC ratings provide a measure of hardness for any knife steel. A high HRC rating implies that the steel is hard, whereas a low rating suggests otherwise.

The hardness level of the 14C28N is between 55-62 HRC, making it hard steel. With the highest achievable carbon threshold of 0.6% in the Sandvik knives category, the steel boasts no alteration to its microstructure which means that this Sandvik knife is not even brittle like others.

Moreover, this hardness level of the 14C28N makes it highly versatile for a wide array of knives, such as chef knives, pocket knives, fishing and hunting knives.

14C28N edge retention

Edge retention denotes how long a knife will hold its edge before it needs re-sharpening. In the case of the 14C28N, you can expect pretty good edge retention owing to the presence of carbon and chromium in its composition, which increases its hardness and, thereby, edge retention.

Even though these knives are sharp, you can expect them to stay that way for quite some time before taking out your sharpening tools. Regular sharpening tools will be good to go once you figure out how to sharpen your knife steel.

14C28N toughness

There is always a trade-off between hardness and toughness in knife steels. The 14C28N boasts a more refined grain than many other steels which allows it to become harder without making it brittle during the heat treatment process. 

Moreover, in the case of 14C28N, the highest hardness threshold has been achieved without altering its microstructure. This microstructure without alteration implies that you can expect decent toughness and carry on tasks such as batoning without risking knife chips.

The steel also boasts edge stability which means microchipping and folding edge chances are minimal. However, it is better to take care of your knife steel after tough tasks for longer life like you would for any other knife steel.

14C28N corrosion resistance

You can expect a high corrosion resistance from the 14C28N steel thanks to the large percentage of chromium in its composition. Since the knife steel offers such an excellent resistance to corrosion, this steel can easily be used in knives that are required to work in wet and humid conditions or even with wet ingredients.

Keep in mind that the 14C28N was born due to a need for better corrosion resistance in the first place. This area is primarily one where the 14C28N cannot go wrong.

14C28N wear resistance

If you want to buy a knife that can give you prolonged use without significant wear and tear, you may consider the 14C28N for your knife steel. This resistance to wear and tear is because carbon and manganese provide 14C28N with an excellent resistance to wear and tear.

14C28N sharpening ease

Despite having a hardness that Sandvik hadn’t previously achieved, the 14C28N remains easy to sharpen as its microstructure remains unaffected even after its upgrade from 13c26. Rest assured, regular sharpening tools can easily do the sharpening you’ll need to do once a month.

14C28N steel comparison and equivalent

14c28n steel comparison and equivalent

While going through information on the 14C28N, you will come across different reviews with conflicting opinions on toughness, edge retention, and even sharpening ease, to name a few. Here is a comparison with a few similar steel for your ease:

14C28N vs. AUS-8

The steel similar to the 14C28N and regarded as an equivalent is the AUS-8 steel. Both being upper mid-range steels of the culinary world having similar chemical compositions, you can expect comparable performance from the two. Moreover, both knife steel tends to hold their edges well, with the 14C28N doing a slightly better job. The 14C28N was born out of a need for better corrosion resistance and is better at this area compared to the AUS-8 steel. Wet conditions and ingredients will be better to handle with the 14C28N. Toughness levels are almost the same for the two, while sharpening is easier for the AUS-8.

14C28N vs. D2

Let’s compare the 14C28N with the high carbon, high chromium D2 steel. Here is a comparison table for ease:

 14C28N (out of 5)D2 (out of 5)
Edge retention23.5
Sharpening ease31.5
Corrosion resistance42

The above factors are the main things buyers look for when buying steel. While 14C28N and D2 are both pretty to look at, buyers always regard one over the other. D2 is mainly considered decent budget steel that comes with better edge retention than the 14C28N. However, this edge retention comes at the cost of sharpening ease for D2. If you are thinking of buying the D2, be prepared to put some hard work into sharpening the D2. The 14C28N, however, is easier to sharpen even with your standard sharpening tools. Moreover, when talking about corrosion resistance, 14C28N wins the race thanks to the larger percentage of chromium. Toughness is more or less the same when encountering demanding tasks, so it’s better to take care of your knife for both kinds of steel.

14C28N vs. VG-10 steel

 14C28N(out of 5)VG-10(out of 5)
Edge retention24
Sharpening ease33
Corrosion resistance34

While slightly more expensive than the 14C28N, the Japanese stainless steel VG-10 offers better features such as better edge retention. This edge retention in VG-10 is attributable to the higher carbon present in the steel. Moreover, while both steel doesn’t rust easily, the VG-10 performs better yet in resisting corrosion than the 14C28N. The 14C28N also performs better during tough tasks, while the VG-10 tends to roll over and chip during similar encounters. Lastly, both steels perform similarly to each other when it comes to sharpening them.

Is 14C28N suitable for knives?

Now that we have gone through pretty much a lot on 14C28N, it is easier to decide whether the 14C28N will make suitable steel for your knife.

The answer is yes. This steel is a good choice whether you want it for indoor kitchen knives, such as your chef knife or utility knife, and even outdoor ones, such as your handy fishing knife.

Good hardness and edge retention, high corrosion resistance, and flexibility make it an admirable all-rounder steel choice for your knife needs.

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