From crafting hunting knives using antler or bone handles to creating intricate pocket knives with various metal enclosures, if you enjoy crafting knives, there are a lot of great materials to work with for sure. However, when it comes to the blades of the knives you make as a crafter, this is one thing you cannot compromise on. While you may already know that using thermally processed steel for the blades of your crafted knives is the best way to go, if you are like a lot of knife crafters, you really don't understand why that is the case. Take a look at a few reasons why using steel that has been thermally processed through tempering and other temperature processes is important in knife crafting.
The steel is hardened during thermal processing.
Steel in its more natural state just after production is not as hard and resilient as you might expect. In fact, steel that has not been thermally processed can be easily dented and scarred with slight strikes against other objects. If you want a knife blade that retains its pristine surface with years of use, this process is extremely important. Otherwise, you would end up with a blade that would be pretty rough in appearance after just a few uses.
The steel is made less brittle during thermal processing.
There are several steps to creating true tempered steel, even though thermal processing is often thought of as a one-step process. Once the steel has been heated and cooled to give it its harder consistency, it is quite brittle. Therefore, the material could break or shatter with enough impact and that can dangerous with a knife blade. Tempering is usually a secondary process performed on steel that actually makes it less brittle. This is accomplished by heating the material to a certain degree and then rapidly cooling it.
the steel is made more resilient to corrosion through thermal processing.
Because thermal processing actually changes the molecular structure of the steel, it changes its porosity and even its overall density. Therefore, water and moisture that would normally cause problems with corrosion on the steel will not be such a threat when the metal isthermally processed. This is important with just about any type of knife you are creating because you want your finished result to be capable of standing up to repeated moisture and acidic exposure without starting to deteriorate.