Sandvik 14c28n Steel Review

Peter Stec
February 16, 2020


The Sandvik 14c28n steel is ideal for the manufacturing of steel knife blades. This particular steel grade allows for the highest attainable hardness without compromising the micro-structure integrity. This steel is often used in high-end knives by top-shelf manufacturers, and it’s also a good choice for custom knife makers.

In the 14C28N steel chemical composition, Chromium takes the crown with the largest percentage of the total chemical composition, categorizing the steel as stainless steel.

One can see Carbon as the second-highest chemical compound in this particular steel. This sort of composition sets this steel apart from other types of steel while ensuring that it achieves the ultimate goals of corrosion and rust resistance.

The following table gives you the complete chemical composition of the 14C28N steel:

CompoundComposition (%)Benefits
Chromium14Improves tensile strength & edge retention. Enhances corrosion and wear resistance.
Carbon0.62Improves wear, hardness, & corrosion resistance
Silicon0.2Improves strength
Manganese0.6Improves hardness and brittleness
Phosphorus0.025Increases strength
Nitrogen0.11Improves edge retention and strength
Sulfur0.01Increased machinability


With Sandvik 14c28n, re-edging along with edge retention is maintained with ease. Resistance to microchipping, rolling, or folding of the edge is better than decent. A 55-62 HRC hardness recommendation makes this a Knife Steel that is ideal for a number of blade applications, such as Folding Knives or Pocket Knives. 

A high corrosion resistance lends to a particular appeal in moisture intense applications such as a Chef would encounter. With a 55-62 hardness recommendation, any application where sharpness retention is an issue would appreciate this steel’s property. Sandvik 14C28N is fine-blankable which will translate into a smooth production process.

Edge retention

Edge retention (also known as strength) is your blade’s ability to retain its sharpness during usage. Whether it’s cutting up ropes or twigs or even cardboard boxes, a dull knife is never favored. The increased and improved performance you find during cut tests when comparing premium expensive steels to lower-end cheaper ones. Is truly remarkable

As we have noted from the composition table, this particular steel consists of a high percentage of Chromium and Carbon, which increases its hardness. Since this steel grade has a rather high level of hardness, approximately a maximum hardness level up to 62HRC, you can be assured that this steel will hold its edge.


Tough steel blades resist and reduce chipping, breaking, and total disintegration when subjected to impact, twisting, beating, and torsion. Usually, tough steel blades are best suited for camping and usage in harsh conditions. 

Whereas on one hand, a normal lower-end steel blade would chip, on the other hand, higher-end knives would be able to sustain intense batoning sessions, power on through staples, and smoothly glide through steel strapping.

When it comes to the Sandvik 15C28N steel grade, toughness seems to be a weakness for this particular level. Since the levels of hardness are high, toughness has to be compromised.

Corrosion Resistance

Do you often venture out into humid, salty, and wet environments? Do you often use your knife to meal prep and procure acidic food items like tomatoes, lemons, or anything citrus? Certain types of steel are excellent at resisting rust and corrosion and they can be left uncleaned and salty without any consequences.

Carbon steels usually pit and rust quite fast in wet and humid conditions if not cared for.

The maximum amount of Chromium required to make a steel stainless is 10%. In the Sandvik 14C28N, the Chromium content reaches new heights in the chemical composition at 14%, which makes this steal 100% stainless. 

This offers you great resistance to rusting and corrosion, and makes these particular steel blades ideal for various conditions, including humid and wet ones too!

Ease of Sharpening and Sharpness

One of the most overlooked yet crucial aspects of a steel blade is its sharpenability. You might find that with certain steels, it is much easier to touch up with a stone and is a rather quick and easy process. But certain harder steels can even take you all day long to bring them to the razor-sharpness that you want.

It is extra crucial if you are someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, in the wild, and a blunt and dull knife could actually cost you your safety in the wilderness. An important side note, an easy to sharpen knife would usually have to compromise on edge retention.

Since the 14C28N steel is rather hard steel, it will hold its sharpness for a long period of time before needing to be sharpened again. It is also easy steel to sharpen.

Wear Resistance

While purchasing a steel knife, you need to ensure that it meets all your criteria. Someone might be looking for cutlery knives that do not have great wear resistance and someone might be looking for a knife that can withstand any condition and environment without falling apart at the first sign.

Since the 14C28N steel has a high content and is loaded with Carbon as well as Manganese, it is highly resistant to wear and daily tear.

Heat treatment

The hardening cycle begins by heating the steel from room temperature to the required temperature of between 1050 and 1090 C (1922-1994 F), the required temperature depends on the steel type.

For the Sandvik 14C28N, the hardening temperature required is 1050°C (1922°F), followed by a holding time of 5 minutes, quenching in oil.

The material is then quenched to room temperature in the space of fewer than 2 minutes, possibly followed by deep-freezing to between –20 and -70°C (-4 and -94°F).

This is followed by the tempering method, during which the material is heated to 175 – 350°C (347 – 662°F), depending on the desired hardness.

Real-world Performance

Here is what was found out about Sandvik 14c28n when used in real-world scenarios. The steel was used in a fixed blade knife design. First, after spiral cutting through 10 heavy cardboard postal mailing tubes, it would still shave the hair off an arm. After going through 20 tubes it would no longer shave hair but would still slice through paper with relative ease. 

After 34 cardboard tubes, the tubes would start to tear instead of slice and it no longer cleanly sliced the paper. When you consider that all these tubes were 2-1/2 feet in length, this is pretty good edge retention.


Kershaw Hen & Rooster KS1670OLTS Blur Liner Lock A/O Tiger St Hunting Knives

No products found.

The Kershaw Blur features a Black Tiger Stripe finished blade with a plain edge and an OD green aluminum handle with Trac-Tek inserts for superior gripping power in all conditions. Black reversible pocket clip for tip-up or down carry.

The Kershaw Blur is a favorite among knife enthusiasts. The Blur has the build and performance of a great general purpose knife with everyday carry friendly attributes as well. The Ken Onion designed Blur is an assisted opening knife, just give the blade a push with the ambidextrous thumb stud, and the Speed Safe technology finishes opening the blade! To close, just slide the liner lock to release the blade.  

I personally own a blur and yes, that part about it being a favorite among knife enthusiasts – it’s TRUE!

Sandvik 14C28N vs. other steels

14C28N vs. S30V

14C28N vs. S30V steel comparison chart
Edge retention4/108/10
Ease of sharpening6/105/10
Corrosion resistance 4/107/10

From this table, it is fair to deduce that the S30V steel provides better corrosion resistance, ease of sharpening, and edge retention. Whereas, the 14C28N provides better toughness.

14C28N vs. AUS 8

14C28N vs. AUS 8 steel comparison chart
Properties14C28NAUS 8 
Edge retention4/103/10
Ease of sharpening6/108/10
Corrosion resistance4/104/10

From this table, it is fair to deduce that the 14C28N provides improved edge retention and toughness, whereas the AUS-8 provides improved ease of sharpening. Both are equally resistant to corrosion.

14C28N vs. 440C

14C28N vs. 440C steel comparison chart
Edge retention4/104/10
Ease of sharpening6/106/10
Corrosion resistance4/104/10

From this table, it is fair to deduce that the 14C28N provides improved toughness but ranks the same as 440C in corrosion resistance, edge retention, and ease of sharpening.

14C28N vs. D2

14C28N vs. D2 steel comparison chart
Edge retention4/107/10
Ease of sharpening6/103/10
Corrosion resistance4/104/10

From this table, it is fair to deduce that D2 steel provides improved edge retention. 14C28N provides improved ease of sharpening and both the steels rank equally in terms of toughness and corrosion resistance.

14C28N vs. VG-10

14C28N vs. VG-10 Steel comparison Chart
Edge retention4/105/10
Ease of sharpening6/106/10
Corrosion resistance4/107/10

From this table, it is fair to deduce that the VG-10 steel provides improved corrosion resistance and edge retention, whereas 14C28N provides improved toughness. Both the steels rank equally in terms of ease of sharpening.

Rod testing

A “Brass Rod Test” was also performed on this steel and the flexibility is very impressive, there was no evidence of chipping or deformation of the edge. The point was tested by repeatedly stabbing through a number of tin cans, then by hammering it through stainless steel sheeting of 0.5mm density. Although the point was somewhat blunted, it didn’t chip or roll. The durability of the steel was evident after it was repeatedly thrown into seasoned wood planking for over ten minutes, this was done after having been hammered through the 0.5mm thick metal sheeting mentioned above.

Finally, this knife manufactured with Sandvik 14c28n steel was placed in a pail of saltwater for close to 4 days after which no apparent corrosion was discernible. This Steel is very receptive to sharpening and to holding an edge with use. It is strong yet flexible and will perform admirably in multiple applications.


Sandvik 14c28n steel is a great material from which to make a knife. If you are considering buying a knife made of Sandvik 14c28n, do it! I can not recommend this steel any higher.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our guide to machetes. You should not use 14c28n for machetes but everyone knows that machetes are cool. Three pink pocket knives that your wife will love

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 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?

13 comments on “Sandvik 14c28n Steel Review”

  1. How does Sandvik 14C28N compare with S30V? My favorite older Kershaw is S30V and it sharpens easily for me and stays sharp using the Syyderco sharpening triangle sticks. That is truly the extent of my knife knowledge except I’ve been carrying a knife every day since I was a kid in NYC starting about 1939 and I use one at least ten times a day for any task you can think of.

  2. No offense, but this review doesn’t tell me much. How does this steel compare to 154CM, VG10, S30V, 13C26, 440C, etc.? Without a comparison to other commonly used knife steels, all we have is a bit of information but no idea where it fits.

    1. Plenty of camparisons. I have a file folder full of web sites that do just that. Use google and do some research. A quick overview is all this was intended to be and it is a good one. I have 60 knives or more and take a look at the various steels under a microscope and do some sharpening and use the knife and get a grip on the fact that no one steel does it all , but this one will out perform the average users needs day in and day out and not cost a fortune or take overly specialized skills to sharpen.

    2. I agree, this take my word for it I’m an expert on knife blades does not help me either. No offense intended, you probably have forgotten more than I will ever know about these things I need more to make a buying decision on a knife when the one I have seems fine.

  3. I just purchased my first 14c28n blade and anxious to see how it holds up to my everyday life of blade use! I currently own a Buck Vantage Pro with the S30V steel and it is awesome compared to my old 8Cr13MoV blades. Using them everyday to cut wire, paper, rope, and everything else, I’ve gotten very good at sharpening blades freehand. When i first used my new S30V blade I just knew it was on it’s way to being dull at the end of the day. But I soon found out it was holding a razor edge way longer than any knife I’ve ever used! When it finally gets to dull to shave I also found out it’s much harder to sharpen than any of my other knives. I run a 17 degree angle on my edges out of habit which makes it easier for me to sharpen time after time. Im ready to see how the 14c28n works out.

    1. Yeah ,you’re gonna want to strop those higher end steels to keep them sharp after daily use. If maintained regularly you shouldnt have to sharpen them alot.

  4. If i spend 30 t0 60 bucks on a knife and it comes with 14c28n i know from experience that i got a blade that will work well and hone with ease. Always satisfied with 14c28n. If i spend 150 $ and up, i expect something better. But with better steel i know i will have to spend more time to get sharp. 14c28n not a super steel but it satisfies my expectations.

  5. I’ve carried my Kershaw Leek in 14c28n a couple of months now, and its a hell of a razor. A few strops on my Arkansas stone after I got it and I havn’t had to sharpen it since. Perfect steel if your looking for that sort of edge, takes a good bit of abuse, though I myself don’t beat the hell out of it. Couldn’t recommend enough, great everyday carry.

  6. I have a Kershaw Skyline made with Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel. It’s my EDC. Edge retention is great… but it takes some work to get the edge. That should be expected. Compared to the 440 Boker I have, the Skyline always ends up back in my pocket (so I bought two, because I mislay it often). The 440 I have in the Boker may not have been fully hardened; or it is and the 440 just won’t perform as well. I can get an edge with the Boker 440, but not as sharp as the Skyline.

  7. 14c28n is an ok mid range edc steel.mostly good but any harder steel is hard to sharpen but 14c28n holds edge good for average people’s edc knives.most people who are not knife snobs can’t sharpen good. That’s my experience

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