Some steels are extremely versatile, but they may be more suited for industrial applications for use making beams, camshafts, and gears. Other knives offer a good mix of hardness and toughness that makes them ideal for various types of knives.
Then we have T10 steel, which is generally considered among the best options you can go with if you’re looking for a great katana sword. With this guide, you’ll discover the precise characteristics that make the steel great for these fabled Japanese swords. You’ll know T10’s pros and cons, and even its precise chemical composition.
We’ve also compiled a list of the best katana swords that make use of T10 steel. If you’re determined to get yourself a T10 steel katana sword, you’ll do yourself a favor starting with our recommended options.
What is T10 steel?
The T10 steel is regarded as a high-speed tool steel. A tool steel is generally a type of steel with some carbon and other alloying elements that make it ideal for making tools, bits, and cutters used to machine materials like wood, plastics, or other metals.
A high-speed steel (or HSS) is a type of tool steel is great for applications in which the steel moves very quickly. These applications include uses for drill bits and power-saw blades. The HSS can with stand the high temperatures generated by those great speeds without losing its hardness (or temper).
The T10 name is actually quite descriptive. The “T” in the name refers to its tungsten content, as not many steel alloys contain any tungsten. The “10” in the designation refers to the relatively high 1.0% carbon content.
It’s also been found that the T10 steel is terrific for use in katana blades. It has to be tempered properly, but afterwards it can exhibit the kind of toughness you need in any kind of sword. Without that toughness, you end up with hard but brittle steel that will just snap easily upon impact.
Common Uses of T10 steel
- Katana swords
- Turning tools and plane cutter
- Reaming tools
- Screw dies
- Milling cutters
- Hand-saw blades
- Cold dies
- Stamping dies
- Wire drawing dies
- Cold extrusion dies for aluminum alloy
- Plastic molding dies
- Small-size cold-trimming dies and punching dies
T10 steel Chemical Composition
- Carbon, 0.95% to 1.04%
- Silicon, 0.35% (max)
- Tungsten, 0.3%
- Manganese, 0.4%
- Phosphorus, 0.035%
- Sulfur, 0.03%
- Vanadium, 0.02%
- Chromium, 0.25%
- Nickel, 0.2%
- Copper, 0.25%
- Molybdenum, 0.2%
Carbon, 0.95% to 1.04%: The 1.0% carbon content is quite typical, and this carbon content helps to make the T10 quite hard. Most experts regard the carbon content as its most crucial element, and in here you certainly have a lot of it. The carbon adds strength to the steel, and makes it more hardenable.
However, too much carbon does lead to issues with ductility and weldability. That’s why you have to be careful in treating the T10 steel properly, so you’re able to get the high toughness level you need with swords.
Silicon, 0.35% (max): You always need a little bit of silicon, as it removes oxygen bubbles during the smelting process. It also helps with the strength and hardenability of the steel.
Tungsten, 0.3%: The main function of the tungsten steel here is to significantly increase the abrasion-resistance. It even helps with corrosion resistance.
Manganese, 0.4%: It helps to increase the strength and surface quality of the steel.
Phosphorus, 0.035%: Too much phosphorus isn’t good, as too much it can reduce toughness. But at this level it boosts the machinability a little bit.
Sulfur, 0.03%: This is another impurity you want to limit, as reducing the sulfur improves the surface quality of the steel.
Vanadium, 0.02%: It helps a little with strength, wear-resistance, and as a deoxidizer.
Chromium, 0.25%: With this tiny amount of chromium, it’s about boosting the strength of the steel.
Nickel, 0.2%: This tiny amount of nickel also boosts the strength a little bit.
Copper, 0.25%: This helps with both strength and corrosion resistance.
Molybdenum, 0.2%: It increases the overall strength (and creep strength in particular) and also the hardenability of the steel.
T10 steel hardness
The T10 steel can be very hard, though that will depend on the treatment. Usually, the hardness rating goes past 60 HRC, and it can even reach 67 HRC. That is extremely hard, considering how average knives have only a hardness level of 52 HRC or so.
That can be problematic for toughness, as hard steels are more liable to break of chip off. This is why the treatment keeps the hardness level more reasonable at 60HRC or so.
But the steel can also be treated to bring up the toughness levels. The blade can also be prepared so that only the blade edge is hard but the spine can be softer (and therefore tougher).
Does T10 steel rust?
Yes, it will rust—if you don’t take measures to prevent that issue from cropping up. T10 isn’t a type of stainless steel, since it doesn’t have enough chromium to qualify. And take not, even stainless steel will rust without proper care.
This is why you need to keep it dry. If it gets wet, then you’ll need to dry it afterwards. Then you also have to store the steel properly, which means keeping it in a low-moisture space. You may want to think about using desiccant drying agents to be sure.
Properties of T10 steel
That gives you good cutting power, and reliable edge retention. Wield a sword made with T10 steel, and you may even end up cutting through bone.
This is what makes the T10 steel better than other steels with comparable hardness. Hard steels are generally more likely to break, but the T10 steel blades can be very tough.
T10 Equivalent Steels or Alternative
Check out how the T10 steel compares with other popular steels for swords:
T10 steel vs 1060
Both are considered steels that can be used for swords. But the 1060 steel is mainly for the more affordable-lower-quality swords. The 1060 swords are generally considered entry-level swords, and it’s more suited for soft targets.
The T10 tends to be used for the pricier models. It’s stronger with unbelievable toughness, so it’s less likely to snap when used for a sword. This is why sword enthusiasts and collects often go with the T10 instead.
T10 Steel Vs L6
The L6 is also a tool steel. The “L” marks this as a low-alloy steel with not much carbon. But with the right steel treatments it can be incredibly tough. This is why it’s also very expensive. If a sword has been made properly with L6 steel, then it’ll probably cost more than a thousand bucks.
You get great performance with the T10 in comparison, without having to spend that much. The T10 is also easier to maintain. With the L6, you have to be very careful about rust.
T10 steel vs 1095
These 2 steels are very similar, and in fact the T10 started out as some sort of 1095 modification from China. The T10 is more expensive, but it flexes better than the 1095 so you’re less likely to end up with a broken T10 sword.
Is T10 steel good for Knives?
Well, it can be good for knives, in theory. It can offer good cutting power with nice edge retention, along with excellent toughness.
But it can be very fussy to work with. Compared with most of the good steels for knives, it doesn’t have good hardenability. So, it doesn’t respond very well with heat-treatment processes.
That’s why when it’s used for swords, the manufacturer always boasts that it’s been forged and tempered manually. That’s not an efficient production method when it comes to commercial knives.
Basically, knife manufacturers can’t really be bothered with T10 steel. there are plenty of other steels out there that are easier to work with, which can provide all the advantages you’d expect from T10 steel.
Why is T10 Steel Good for Katanas?
There are plenty of good reasons why katana aficionados are so willing to pay more for T10 steel used for the katana blade. Perhaps the most notable reason is the hardness of the steel.
That hardness gives it tremendous cutting power. There are legends about how katanas are tested by having a swordsman swing the sword across cadavers, and cutting through several bodies in one swing. Those stories may be apocryphal, but you may actually cut through a human being in half with a T10 katana.
This is especially true when the steel comes out sharp right out of the box. You will be able to enjoy that sharp edge for a longer time, with only special stones for honing the edge.
You don’t really need a lot of maintenance for the sword, either. You just have to hone the edge after using, and keep it stored properly to avoid rust issues.
Pros & Cons of T10 steel
Best T10 steel Katanas
Some parents might think that katanas are just toys, but if they’re made with T10 then these are definitely not for children. It’s like buying a small motorcycle—which can go up to 200 mph. The size may be right for kids, but that speed capability is simply too much for kids to handle.
The same goes for these katanas. You should be an adult if you buy these, and you must take care that your kids don’t swing this around like plastic lightsabers. These aren’t toys at all!
While it can be tempting to think that all katanas using T10 steel are good, that’s not really the case. They’re not all equally good, and you have to consider the price as well. Here are some T10 katanas that we think offer fantastic value for the money.
#1: siwode The Walking Dead Michonne’s Katana Sword
- It is the cost-effective katana, and has more than 30 million fans in the United States.
- The warranty period for this product is 2 years, and customer service is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- The blade is made by T10 steel
The specs are rather average, with a total length of 40 inches and a total weight of 3 pounds and 1 ounce. The blade measures 28 inches long and 1.25 inches wide, while the handle is 11 inches long.
This comes with a sling along with a scabbard, so, if you want, you can just hang this thing on a wall by the sling. It doesn’t have a carrying case, though, but then it may be problematic carrying this around on the streets.
The appearance seems a bit simple, with black for the scabbard and white for the handle. But it still looks impressive, because of its obviously lethal design. It uses real white ray skin along with bamboo nails for greater authenticity. The strap is made with brown PU leather
What siwode did with the T10 steel is quite terrific, as they forged this by hand and then used the traditional method of burning with soil. The hardness level here is more reasonable at about 58 to 60 HRC. That gives you more toughness to work with.
But the cutting power is tremendous. You can use plastic milk jugs filled with water for practice, and you’d be able to cut through them with a single slice.
#2: DTYES Japanese Katana Sword Real Sharp Samurai Sword
- Handle Length: 26cm/10.24in
- Blade Length: 71cm/27.95in
- Blade Thickness: 0.75cm/0.30in
- Weight (With Saya): 1.25kg/2.76lb (Approximately)
- Menuki: Alloy
- Hardness: 58 HRC
- Tsuba: Iron
- Blade Material: T10 Carbon Steel Clay Tempered;
- Blade Type: Shinogi Zukuri
- Habaki: Alloy
DTYES offers several model options for their katanas, and we went with the T10 Carbon Steel Clay-Tempered Blade-Black Iron Bamboo Tsuba Samurai Sword. Yes, it’s quite a mouthful, but you can just say it’s the T10 black iron model.
In particular, this is a full-tang blade made with the no-hi design. That means it doesn’t have the grove in the blade so you’re able to cut bamboo targets more easily. The overall length is about 40.55 inches, with the blade at about 27.95 inches. The handle accounts for 10.24 inches.
This is an affordable model, with the wooden handle wrapped with black imitation ray skin. You also have a black thin rayon cord with the menuki (the metal ornaments under the handle wrapping). The scabbard is made with hard wood, with a black synthetic thick silk sageo (the cord that secures the scabbard to the belt or obi. Your purchase also comes with a sword bag.
You’re really have to be careful with this too, since it’s extremely sharp right out of the box. With the price, it’s amazing how the sword can look great though the fittings aren’t exactly premium-quality.
Its performance is quite good, especially if you’re a newbie to swords. It’s very forgiving when you’ve not yet perfected your sword techniques, and it won’t easily twist. This is a sword you can show off, and use for cutting practice with bamboo targets.
#3: Xiang Full Handmade Real Japanese Samurai Katana Sword
- Overall Length: 103cm / 40.55in
- Handle Length: 26cm / 10.24in
- Blade Length: 71cm / 27.95in
- Blade Width: 3cm / 1.18in
- Blade Thickness: 0.7cm / 0.27in
- Weight: 1.25kg / 2.75Ib
- Hardness: 60HRC
Okay, with this one we start with more fine details in the design. This time, the handle is also black while the scabbard is lighter in color (with an intricate design of a samurai wearing a fierce mask). You also get fine details in the lighter-colored hand guard, which is made with pure copper.
This katana was made using traditional methods, which means it’s hand-made. Everything’s been done manually, including the forging, quenching, polishing grinding and the final assembly.
The hilt has 2 bamboo nails for a secure connection, making the whole thing quite solid. The blade has been polished so that it’s as shiny as a mirror. You get a very smooth blade, that’s able to cut through bamboo and fruits. With its toughness and 60 HRC, you’ve got quite the weapon here.
The specs and measurements are the usual, with 40.55 inches for the overall length. The blade is 27.95 inches long and 1.18 inches wide, while the handle is 10.24 inches long. It’s not too heavy at 2.75 pounds, and an adult should be able to control this (especially with practice).
#4: siwode Handmade Katana
- Made of T10 clay_tempered Steel Blade.Real ray skin.
- No blood groove,not include the display stand.
- When you own it, use the machine to maintain the oil, to avoid rust
This time we went for the Quanshenglong Copper Tang model, and this is the most affordable option on this whole list. At first glance, it looks simple with its red handle and black scabbard. The scabbard is quite plain, and so is the handle.
But look more closely and you’ll appreciate the finely detailed hand guard. Here, it’s made with alloy and has a design filled with writhing Eastern dragons. Stand back from it, and it looks a lot deadlier.
This is oiled when first taken out of the box, and its blade is straight and true. The edge has been sharpened perfectly, without a single scratch or any sort of imperfection on the blade.
The craftmanship is impeccable, and the fittings are tight. You can disassemble it if you want (especially for cleaning), but it will take some effort. You have to be very careful especially if you’re a newbie, as the sharp edge of the blade can be very dangerous.
This feels very solid, with a weight balance that’s quite forward-heavy. That means it can really project power, especially if you have longer arms. It may not be as fast as the lighter katanas, but this can probably hold its own if your opponent is armed with a Western longsword.
#5: Handmade Real Japanese Samurai Katana Sword
- Weight: 1.25kg/2.75ib
- Length: 103 cm/40.55 inches
- Handle Length: 26 cm/10.24 inches
- Blade Length: 71 cm/27.95 inches
- Hardness: 58HRC
- Sori: 1.8cm/0.71in
This is the Plum Blossom model from Eroton, and it’s also among the most affordable katanas on the list. But you’d think this is expensive, given the eye-wateringly intricate designs. You’ve got so many fine details on the hand guard and other parts. Even the scabbard has a lot of detailed drawings along its whole length.
But sine this uses T10 steel, this isn’t strictly for just putting on this play. This can be a serious weapon if the situation arises, as it’s a full tang sword with a razor-sharp edge. The hardness has been set at 58 HRC, making this less likely to chip when you have to use it. You can use this for cutting practice, with your bamboo targets.
Swing this around, and you’ll like the balance of the weight. It feels solid, and there aren’t any loose parts anywhere.
The specs are standard, as well. The overall length is 40.55 inches, with a weight of 2.75 pounds. The blade is 27.95 inches long while the handle is 10.24 inches long. If you’ve been using other katanas before this one, then it shouldn’t take too much time to get used wielding this weapon.
If you’re going to get a sword just to display it, then you don’t need T10 steel. But if you’re serious about your sword and you’re actually going to use the sword for cutting practice, then the T10 steel is just what you need. You will be able to cut through your bamboo targets with easy, and you won’t end up with a broken sword unless you really mess up!