Blade Steel

SK-5 - Blade Steel

author image by -

Steel Composition

carbon 0.80 %
chromium 0.30 %
manganese 0.50 %
phosphorus 0.03 %

The SK-5 is a high carbon steel widely recognized and used in Japan, known for its ability to hold an edge and its excellent toughness. It’s often used in various tools and knives. The steel is known for delivering an excellent balance of toughness, hardness, and edge retention. It’s a great choice for EDC knives as it provides a lot of performance while remaining affordable, placing it in the mid-range price category.

Advantages of SK-5 as Knife Steel

The SK-5 knife steel benefits heavily from its excellent sharpness and durability. Known for its fine grain, it provides clean and precise cuts, making it great for EDC knives. It also offers decent edge retention and is relatively easy to sharpen.

This steel is also highly revered for its toughness, showing resistance to chipping and breaking which adds to the overall durability of the SK-5 blade. Furthermore, its affordability makes it a favorite choice among knife enthusiasts on a budget.

Disadvantages of SK-5 for Knives

While the SK-5 knife steel has many advantages, it also has some drawbacks. For instance, it has moderate corrosion resistance, meaning it may rust if not properly maintained. Regular cleaning and oiling can help to keep rust at bay.

Another disadvantage is that while it does offer good edge retention, it might not perform as well as some more premium steels when it comes to holding an edge. This might require more frequent sharpening depending on use.

Steel Rating

Steels with good edge retention will stay sharp longer, reducing the need for frequent sharpening

Edge Retention

3/6 Points

Toughness is the steel's ability to absorb energy and deform without breaking


4/6 Points

Corrosion Resistance measures how well the steel can resist rust and oxidation

Corrosion Resistance

2/6 Points

Sharpenability refers to how easily a knife blade can be sharpened to its desired edge


5/6 Points

This is a relative measure based on typical market values. The actual price can vary widel


6/6 Points

A higher HRC number typically indicates a harder steel, which can hold a sharper edge


57 - 59 HRC
Please be aware that this rating should be understood as a comparative measure. It's simply a rough estimation in relation to other knife steels.

Is SK-5 Rust Resistant?

The SK-5 knife steel has moderate resistance to corrosion. While it's quite resistant to minor rusting and staining, it's not fully rust-proof. It requires maintenance to keep it in optimal condition. Regular cleaning and oiling, especially after use in damp or corrosive environments, can help reduce the chances of rust development.

How Durable is SK-5?

The SK-5 knife steel typically falls within an HRC range of 57 - 59. This delivers a good balance between hardness and toughness. The hardness of this steel contributes to its decent edge retention while the toughness ensures resistance against chipping and breaking. This makes SK-5 steel well-suited for EDC knives that need to withstand varied tasks without constantly needing repair or sharpening.


The SK-5 knife steel has built a strong reputation for its excellent balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. It is well-known for being used in high-quality Japanese knives and tools, particularly those used for outdoor or utility purposes. This steel is appreciated for offering good performance at a more affordable price point.

Similar blade steels


In conclusion, the SK-5 knife steel is a reliable option for those seeking a balance between performance and affordability. It offers very decent hardness, toughness, and edge retention, making it an excellent choice for everyday carry knives. Despite its lower corrosion resistance, regular maintenance can help to keep your SK-5 knife in excellent condition for a long time.