While there are lots of fancy, high-end super steels that are truly impressive, there are also a good number of steel grades that hold their own despite being quite basic and rather innocuous. They may not be as hyped as others but they still offer great performance and dependability.
One good example of such items is the 1060 steel. This carbon steel is widely used for different kinds of blades so there are lots of options to try in case one wants to sample its performance.
Get to know the 106o steel better below.
What is 1060 Steel?
The 1060 steel may not necessarily be a world-famous steel grade but many will find themselves somewhat familiar with it. This is because it’s one of the 10xx steel series which is widely known for its dependable performance.
By definition, the 1060 steel is a high-carbon steel that is categorized in the machine-building category. It’s classified as a general-purpose engineering and structural steel. It’s not necessarily a very hard metal but it has enough strength and wear-resistant to make it a popular pick for applications that require such.
Like the other metals in the 10xx series, the 1060 is also named after its carbon content. It contains sixty points of carbon so it’s named to indicate such detail.
An important thing to note about the 1060 steel is that there are lots of other carbon steel grades from its range that have very similar components. Some only really differ in terms of carbon content and it’s entirely possible to find other steel grades with nearly identical carbon levels as the 1060. This can be a bit confusing at first so take note.
Common Uses of 1060 Steel
Using 1060 steel for knife products is not the only thing this metal is known for. It’s also used for the following applications:
- Manufacturing wrought products
- Railway wheels
- Automobile parts
- Gear racks
1060 Steel Chemical Composition
One of the most notable things about the 1060 steel is its simplistic composition. It’s not one of the fancier options out there with long lists of components and very high amounts of certain items. Despite this, it’s still able to deliver good results.
- Carbon, 0.55-0.65%
- Manganese, 0.60-0.90%
- Phosphorus, 0.4%
- Sulfur, 0.5%
Carbon, 0.55-0.65%: Carbon is among the staple components of many steel grades so it shouldn’t be surprising that this is the case, too, for a high-carbon metal. This gives the 1060 ample strength and hardness that it needs to carry out its tasks. Because it’s not too high, it’s not very hard and very strong but this also helps keep it from getting brittle.
Manganese, 0.60-0.90%: Manganese is added as a cleansing agent of sorts in steel as it helps remove sulfur and oxygen in the mix. As a result, it strengthens the metal and decreases its brittleness.
Phosphorus, 0.4%: While phosphorus is considered by some as an undesirable component in steel, it can still add some strength and corrosion resistance to the mix. They also help increase machinability, so metals like the 1060 are easier to work with.
Sulfur, 0.5%: Like phosphorus, sulfur is also often not wanted when manufacturing steels. However, in small amounts, it can still help improve its machinability.
Aside from these components, very small amounts of copper, molybdenum, aluminium, nickel, and chromium may also be found in the 1060 steel.
1060 Steel Hardness
The 1060 steel isn’t exactly a hard steel but it’s also not soft. Its toughness and wear resistance tend to make up for not being as hard as many super steels in the market today. It’s hard to find the definite numbers for the 1060 steel’s Rockwell scale rating but many put it around 55 HRc.
While the rating isn’t as high as some might like, it’s not the end all and be all of this steel. A product’s performance relies largely on the kind of heat treatment applied on the steel. So when treated properly, the 1060 can exhibit top-notch performance.
Does 1060 Steel Rust?
Since the 1060 steel only has trace amounts of chromium, the 1060 is not necessarily resistant to rust and corrosion. It will require some maintenance to prevent stains but those who want something that develops a nice patina might find themselves drawn to this steel grade.
Properties of 1060 Steel
What can one look forward to with the 1060 steel? Here are some of its key features that might suit various users’ needs:
One of the things high-carbon steel grades offer is toughness. They’re quite durable and can take on some abuse and rough handling. They won’t easily break or shatter but they can deform or bend out of shape since they’re not too hard or brittle. Combined with a good level of tensile strength, it promises not to break very easily under high amounts of strain.
This toughness makes the 1060 steel a good choice for swords and other large cutting tools like axes.
While the 1060 steel is not very hard, it still has a good level of wear resistance. It will not very easily wear out and can hold its edge for a good time.
Ease of sharpening
Again, since the 1060 isn’t very hard, sharpening it isn’t too fussy. Some say that it’s still a bit difficult to sharpen but it’s only when compared to the other 10xx steel grades with lower carbon content.
Due to its higher carbon levels, it’s slightly harder than the others in its series. This makes it slightly harder to sharpen but it’s still not as difficult compared to very hard metals.
1060 steel can also get quite sharp. This is why it’s recommended for those who want implements that are good in cutting.
The 1060 is also a good choice for rookie knife makers with its high machinability. It’s easy to work with and will allow forgers to test their skills as different heat treatments and techniques can have a huge impact on its outcome.
1060 Equivalent Steels or Alternative
Despite how simple and straightforward the characteristics of the 1060 can be, some might still find it a bit confusing. This isn’t surprising since there are lots of steel grades that resemble its composition.
So to further elaborate what this steel grade is like, below are some side by side comparisons with other popular metals that are often pitted against the 1060:
1060 Steel vs T10
When it comes to swords, the T10 is one of the most sought-after materials in the market. This is why it’s often pitted against the 1060 and the 1095 steel. All of them are high-carbon steel grades, too, so all promise great toughness and durability which are ideal for sword making.
What sets the T10 apart, however, is its tungsten base. While its composition is very similar to the 1095 steel, it’s made different by its tungsten alloy base. The 10xx series and numerous other metals have iron bases.
What does this mean for the T10? This construction makes it a high-speed steel and significantly stronger and more durable. It can also get extremely sharp, making it great for cutting.
It also doesn’t hurt that T10 swords are around the same price as 1060 steel products. So it’s really a tight competition between the two.
1060 Steel v 1045
The 1045 steel may be the ‘minimum’ acceptable steel in swordsmithing, it’s not necessarily the worst option out there. In fact, a well tempered 1045 steel can be better than other stainless steel grades. It can get very tough and can offer good wear resistance.
But it’s in how it can get very straight and size accurate that makes the 1045 a solid choice for swords. It’s not necessarily hard, however, so it’s not recommended for very rough handling.
The 1060, with its higher carbon content, is simply harder and tougher than the 1045. This makes it a more attractive option for a lot of blade forgers.
1060 Steel vs 1095
The 1095 is deemed as the most popular one in the 10xx range as it’s the hardest in the bunch. It’s suitable for heavy cutting and can handle rough handling.
The 1060, on the other hand, is tougher and less brittle than the 1095 so lots of sword forgers and users prefer it over the 1095. While the latter can hold its edge longer, the tradeoff is not worth it for some, especially since it’s more expensive.
Is 1060 Steel Good for Knives?
The 1060 steel is widely used for blade manufacturing but it’s more commonly used on larger blades like axes and swords. This is because it’s a very tough steel and can handle quite a beating even in large sizes. Both medieval and samurai swords use this steel grade so it’s still quite versatile.
Pros & Cons of 1060 Steel
Best 1060 Steel Knives
What are the best 1060 steel knives and swords like? Here are a few popular picks that will help introduce this steel grade better.
#1: Musashi Japanese Tactical Samurai Sword
- Overall Length: 39 1/2″
- Blade Length: 29 1/2″
- Hand Forged Full Tang Blade
- Hamidashi style Iron Tsuba
- Razor Sharp Blade
- 1060 High Carbon Steel
- Simulated G10 handle
- Black sageo (Cord)
- Real hamon
Marrying tradition and modernity is the Musashi Japanese Tactical Samurai Sword. Technically, it’s shaped and designed as a traditional samurai sword but its handle design is fashioned after tactical knives so it offers modern ruggedness with history.
One notable detail about this piece is its hamidashi tsuba which is not often used in katanas. This help reduce its weight so it’s easier to wield.
Next to the interesting design, this sword is also noted for its great value. With a friendly price tag and a dependable quality, it’s hailed as a practical choice for those who want something that they can goof around with.
#2: siwode Handmade Full Tang Sharp Katana
- Package Dimensions: 43.11 x 4.29 x 3.5 inches
- Weight: 3 Pounds
- Material: high carbon steel 1060
Another popular beautiful, budget-friendly option is the siwode Handmade Full Tang Sharp Katana. This sword is noted for its attractive details as it uses bamboo nails and real white ray skin.
Despite its low price, it has good features. It has a nice heft to it that makes it feel substantial but not cumbersome. Those who intend to use it for martial arts training should take this into consideration.
The only drawback to this item is that some did not like its finish. Due to the low price, some details like the sheath’s design, is executed in a low-cost manner and it shows. Some recommend opting for the plainer versions for those who are concerned about such things.
#3: LQDSDJ Ultra Sharp Samurai Sword
- Length: 40.55”/103 cm
- Blade: 27.76″/70.5 cm
- Handle: 10.43″/26.5 cm
- 1060 carbon steel
Those who are after something that offers great bang for the buck without any pretensions might find the LQDSDJ Ultra Sharp Samurai Sword a good choice. It promises a sturdy blade in a very nice size and solid build for a friendly price.
The first thing to note about this item is that it’s from a brand that doesn’t try to pass as a Japanese sword maker, as its name might suggest. This sends a good message that it’s a practical option.
Despite this fact, though, it’s still a pretty dependable sword. It’s well made, especially for the price. The balance and details are all good so it doesn’t look or feel cheap. It is also very sharp which is exactly what buyers want in a bladed item.
Its ergonomic handle design is also worth mentioning. Many budget swords tend to cut corners in this area so this is worth highlighting. It has a comfortable grip that makes it easier to wield and handle.
#4: Musashi – Bamboo Fast Cutter Lightweight Katana
- 40″ Overall. Lightweight Katana
- 1060 Full Tang High Carbon Steel
- Hand Forged, Real Hamon
- Rare Double Hi on Blade, Rare Hamidashi Tsuba
- Extremely sharp hand honed edge – Ready for Tameshigiri
Rounding out these 1060 Steel reviews is the Musashi Bamboo Fast Cutter Lightweight Katana. Designed by a serious sword enthusiast, there are lots of interesting details about this item
For starters, it’s equipped with a few rare features, many of which are not commonly found in katanas today, much less budget-friendly ones. The double hi and hamidashi tsuba details are meant to reduce its weight while the real hamon on the blade adds great charm to the item.
The design was created with tameshigiri or the traditional art of target test cutting in mind. This is why it was meant to be durable and tough while also very sharp and capable of cutting different kinds of items.
As this item is also meant to be lightweight, it’s also created for fast movements and great responsiveness. The result makes it suitable for martial art training.
Making this item more dependable is the fact that it was chosen as the official weapon of the US Kempo Team. This promises that it can keep up with regular use and some rough handling.
The 1060 steel may be on the practical end of the scale on the range of steel grades but it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth looking into. It offers a dependable and practical option for those who are looking for a solid sword blade material.
As a middling steel grade in its series, it also offers the best of both worlds for those who can’t choose between low and high carbon steels in the 10xx range.
Have something to add to this 1060 steel review? Leave them in the comment section to start a discussion.