Spyderco Salt is makes knife blades that work in saltwater.  They use stainless steel that is capable of resisting corrosion and rust. A company like Spyderco Salt use the H1 steel for their blades which already gives you a vague idea regarding features. There are more details of this amazing steel that we have listed down below.


What is H1 Steel?

H1 steel is an austenitic alloy which means it contains elements like chromium and nickel in high amounts making it resistant to corrosion to a great extent. A Japanese Company called H1 steel Myodo Metal.


Chemical Composition:

The composition of the H1 steel is unique because it is austenitic. We have listed down information about the elements that the steel contains. So you get to know how each of these elements contributes to various features. Have a look.


  • 0.15% of Carbon: Enhances hardness level and increases resistance to corrosion and wear.
  • 14% of Chromium: Increases resistance towards corrosion and wear, edge retention and tensile strength.
  • 7% of Nickel: Increases toughness.
  • 3.78% of Silicon: Adds strength to the metal and makes it resistant to corrosion.
  • 1.12% of Manganese: Decreases the brittleness of metal and adds hardness.
  • 0.98% of Molybdenum: Improves strength of the metal, machinability, pitting resistance and corrosion resistance.
  • 0.05% of Nitrogen: Aids in edge retention and increases strength.


The hardness of H1 steel:

The rating of Crucible metallurgists shows that the hardness of the H1 steel spine is 57 to 58 HRC. The edge of the steel has better hardness which is about 65 HRC. To add more, the forums of Spyderco have shown that the Crucible metallurgists tested two different types of Spyderco knives.


One type has a plain edge manufactured with H1 and the other has its unique SpyderEdge made out of H1. Both of the knife blades had 58 HRC hardness at the spine. The plain edge has 65 HRC rating and the SpyderEdge had a 68 HRC rating.


The best part is that even though the H1 steel has such a high hardness rating, you will not notice brittleness. The high level of hardness at the spine which is 57 HRC is induced because of molybdenum and silicon in its composition and manufacturing techniques.


Properties of H1 steel:

  • Great Toughness: As you already know that the hardness rating is about 58 HRC which is considered low. And because of the low hardness rating, the toughness level is high as these two are indirectly proportional to each other. The stainless steel does not have brittle carbides because of great toughness but the ferrite is tender and ductile which is bound to happen because of great toughness. The stainless steel resists chipping and cracking easily because of its toughness.
  • Unsatisfying wear resistance: Resistance to wear is connected to the hardness of steel. As the hardness level is poor, the resistance also deteriorates. There are a low amount of carbides present in the steel resulting in low hardness. Also, the delta ferrite present in the steel lowers resistance towards wear compared to other steel types.
  • Decent edge retention: The edge retention capability of H1 steel is decent and not very high because of the poor wear resistance. However, if the edge of the H1 steel is serrated it showed a better capability of holding sharpness for a long period compared to when the H1 steel has a plain edge.
  • Excellent corrosion resistance: The corrosion resistance capability of the H1 steel is what makes it special. The steel does not contain a high amount of carbon yet the amount of nitrogen is high. Nitrogen does not interact with chlorine and will not cause rusting. As per studies, the H1 steel is considered to be at a lower level for being austenitic steel because it consists of 8% nickel and 18% chromium.


Yet, the element that increases corrosion resistance is the presence of molybdenum in the steel. You can easily use H1 steel around saltwater. The presence of a high quantity of molybdenum in the steel will keep away rust even if there is a presence of salt water all the time.

  • Ease of sharpening: You can give H1 steel your desired sharpness with simple inexpensive sharpeners. This is because of the low hardness level that makes sharpening easy.


Comparison with Other Knife Steel Grades:


H1 vs. VG10

VG10 has greater edge retention compared to H1 steel. However, H1 defeats VG10 in terms of corrosion resistance, ease of sharpening and toughness level.


H1 vs. O1

O1 steel is tougher compared to H1 steel and also it holds better edge retention. But for being resistant to corrosion and ease of sharpening H1 steel sits in the better place.


H1 vs. AUS-8

The edge retention capability of H1 steel is poor compared to AUS-8. However, the toughness level and corrosion resistance of H1 steel are higher than AUS-8.


H1 vs. LC200N

H1 steel and LC200N steel have a similar capability of resisting corrosion. But when it comes to edge retention and toughness level, LC200N is the better one.


H1 vs. S30V

S30V is expensive steel that is known for great edge retention, corrosion resistance and also has a high hardness rating. Yet, S30V cannot beat H1 steel in terms of corrosion resistance.


So, is H1 Steel Good?

Yes, H1 steel is good if you are willing to make knives that are for diving, fishing or marine because of its unbeatable corrosion resistance. Blades made out of H1 steel can easily handle contact with salt water. The negative side of H1 steel is that it has poor hardness and edge retention so it will not make a perfect knife that will require performing cutting chores.


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