The knife-making market has a huge demand for premium super steels. Knifemakers will love super steel like 4034 as it is affordable and easily available in the market. Even though 4034 is not the steel that most knife makers opt for, it is convenient enough to serve the purposes all knife makers wish for. We will be exploring various other properties and chemical compositions of the steel.


What is 4034 Steel?

4034 steel is the invention of a reputed German company called Thyssen-Krupp. A lot of knife makers speak of 4034 steel as a budget-friendly German steel alloy. The 4034 steel has a similar chemical composition to 420 American steel. The only difference between them is that 4034 steel consists of a lower amount of carbon and has a softer nature compared to 420.


Amongst many other knife steel, 4034 steel belongs to the low-end steel family. That is why steel is used for making budget-friendly fixed and folding knives. You can use the steel easily for the making of knives that will be put to use regularly.


Famous knife-making brands like Boker, Cold Steel, Schrade and Smith and Wesson prefer 4034 for the making of diving, kitchen and utility knives. That is because of the hardness level and corrosion-resisting capacity of the steel.


Chemical Composition: 

The chemical composition of 4034 steel is very simple which makes it low-grade steel. The chemical composition of the steel consists of three elements along with iron. However, the steel can be classified as stainless as the percentage of chromium is above the threshold of 13%.

  • 0.5% of  Carbon: Works for boosting the hardness level and capacity of the steel to resist corrosion and wear of the steel.
  • 14% of Chromium: Increases the effectiveness of corrosion resistance, edge retentaining capacity, hardness level, tensile strength, and toughness level.
  • 1% of Manganese: Boosts up forge ability, hardenability, and wear resistance.
  • 1% of Silicon: This element is not always added by manufacturers, but sometimes it is included in the chemical composition for increasing steel strength and improving corrosion resistance.


Steel hardness

According to the Rockwell C scale, the hardness rating of 4034 steel ranges between 54 to 58 HRC. The hardness rating is similar to most softer steels in the market. As the hardness rating of the steel is not very high it has a moderate level of toughness. Steels that are classified to have high hardness have a rating above 60 HRC.


Steel Properties: 

  • Excellent Toughness: 4034 steel stands out for excellent toughness. Even though there are not many elements that work for the steel to have toughness. The presence of toughness is because of chromium in its content. The other reason behind the toughness is the low amount of carbon and less hardness level.
  • Great Corrosion Resistance: Great corrosion-resisting capacity of the steel is the second reason for the steel standing out in the market. Because of the presence of 14% chromium in the chemical composition of 4034 steel you
  • Good Wear Resistance: As the hardness level of 4034 steel is weak, you can expect great wear resistance from the steel yet there is a moderate amount. With proper maintenance, the steel can handle impact without causing any sort of disruption in its performance of the steel. However, if a manufacturer provides the steel with proper heat treatment the hardness rating can get a boost up to 60 HRC. Hence, you can expect a good performance of 4034 in terms of wear resistance.
  • Ease of sharpening: There are zero issues to face while sharpening 4034 steel as it is soft steel. You can use your finest sharpening skills to give the steel blade the right type of edge.
  • Okay edge retention: 4043 steel is poor at edge retention due to the soft steel nature that makes the edge lose sharpness very quickly.


Comparing 4043 with other knife options: 

4034 vs. 440C 

Both of these steels are stainless but the percent of chromium is higher at 440C compared to 4043. This makes 440C more resistant to corrosion and rust compared to 4043. There is also a difference in carbon content as it is present at a higher percentage in 440C compared to 4043. This makes 440C beat 4034 in hardness and steel strength. However, you can opt for 440C if you are on a budget.


4034 vs. AUS 8

AUS 8 is better in all aspects of steel than 4034 steel but the only difference is it is Japanese and 4034 steel is german. AUS 8 steel has an ideal balance of hardness and toughness, machinability, and is great at corrosion resistance, edge retention, and wear resistance. Usually, you get to see Japanese steel that is expensive but 4034 is an affordable one.


4034 vs. 1.4116 

Both of the steels have affordable price and are used for the manufacturing of low-end knives. But there are still some differences between the steel. However, 1.4116 has a greater percentage of chromium that enhances its corrosion resistance capacity. Furthermore, 1.4116 beats 4034 steel in edge retention and toughness.


So, is 4034 Steel Good?

Yes, 4034 steel is a good one to consider if you are looking forward to manufacturing budget-friendly knives. The steel is stainless so you can use it to manufacture knife blades that will be able to tackle rust easily and is also easy to sharpen with simple sharpeners. The steel is used for the manufacturing of both pocket knives and kitchen knives.


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