440c stainless steel is one of the most commonly used stainless steel alloys by custom knifemakers. It is also a very popular choice for consumers who buy knives. However, not all knifemakers are able to work with 440c.
Known as a high-carbon martensitic stainless steel, 440c has strong corrosion resistance and excellent tensile strength. It also has good oxidation and heat resistance, and is available in a wide range of forms, including sheets, bars, rods, pipes, and wire.
It is a hardened stainless steel that can withstand higher temperatures than softer grades of stainless steel. It also holds sharp edges longer than softer grades of stainless steel, which makes it ideal for use on knives and other cutting tools.
The material is a high carbon alloy that contains 1.0% to 1.20% carbon and 16-18% chromium, along with traces of manganese, silicon, copper, molybdenum, and phosphorus. It has a number of advantages, such as moderate corrosion resistance, high strength and dimensional stability, and an attractive appearance.
A variety of machining procedures are possible for this grade. Most machining operations can be performed in the annealed condition, although some may require quenching. For parts that need extensive machining, free-machining versions of the grade, Type 440F or Type 440F Se, are recommended.
440C is known for its ability to attain, after heat treatment, the highest strength, hardness, and wear resistance of any stainless steel. This grade is often used to manufacture such things as ball bearings and valve parts. It can also be used to manufacture many other types of mechanical parts, such as gears and axles, and is very versatile.