1055 Carbon Steel Guide

Peter Stec
January 21, 2013

1055 is a very popular choice for carbon-based steels. Its durability and toughness provide a suitable solution for any heavy-handed enthusiast. The percentage of composition between Carbon and Manganese as the only other component within 1055 gives the steel adequate shock and low wear resistance. Its carbon content ranges between 0.50 to 0.56%. The strength and edge retention of this composition make it the ideal choice for those applications with impact resistance and strength are required. Though it sits on the border between medium to high carbon content, it does not suffer from the same brittleness that higher carbon materials contain. The expense to create this steel type is also low to moderate which makes it a perfect choice for those on a budget.

Disadvantages of 1055

While 1055 excels at toughness and retention, it has little to no stain resistance. As a kitchen knife, this steel hold its edge for a long time but will succumb to discoloration and corrosion from contact with acidic foods. The blades may even turn black and in order to prevent rust, would need to be cleaned vigorously with stainless steel pads. It is also not often recommended for welding type use and could wear down quicker in this functionality, however it has been used for drill bits, nails, saws and woodcutting tools.


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1055 Carbon Steel would not be ideal for kitchen knives but it is a powerful choice for machetes, folding knives, swords, axes, and shovels. It is not used in high-end balisong knives, however. The quenched hardness that wavers between Rc 60-64 give this shallow hardening steel a tensile strength and abrasion resistance that can produce a powerful and long-lasting tool. Its edge retention is suitable for throwing knives and axes and the maintained Manganese keeps the brittleness just below acceptable levels. One very popular use for 1055 is for manufacturing in katana. These Japanese swords in terms of functionality rely on edge retention and durability. 1055 replaces the traditional folding of steels not just in terms of productions time consumption but expense as well. Enthusiasts with finances on the mind will prefer 1055 to higher carbon, traditional folding and even stainless steel blades as it meets the qualities mid-way, to all these alternatives.

Final Notes

When seeking a functional blade that will last and put up with a lot of wear and tear, 1055 is going to be one of the best choices in steel types. Overall its production value and applications have a broad variance which can be utilized specifically for the need. Many companies use 1055 in machete manufacturing. The carbon content for 1055 retains enough carbon to provide toughness for machetes, but not so much that it becomes brittle like 1095. Impact resistance is valued in the production of 1055 and so heavier use blades and knives become the backbone of its service.

About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like KnifeUp.com every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

8 comments on “1055 Carbon Steel Guide”

  1. i am interested in cold steels 1055 carbon bowie knife. I was curious that it is made in India , is the quality of 1055 vary because of where its made? i have no real knowledge of metallurgy and only know that Solingen Germany , Japanese steels and a few others have been the ultimate leader .

  2. Outstanding and perfectly useful review, told me everything I needed to know and got right to it. Not a wasted word. Thanks!

    1. I used to think 1095 was the best of the 10xx steels. How much I’ve learned since then. Right steel for the right purpose right? Now I have 1075 machetes and axes, 1055 machetes and swords, axes etc along with the trusty 1095 Kabars and Becker designs. All work admirably. According to your article now I need a 1055 Katana ????

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