What is FC61 steel?
FC61 steel is a fine-grained martensitic stainless with carbon and chrome as its main elements. It is Henckels Proprietary Name for Sandvik13C26 Steel, and is used frequently in Miyabi Kitchen Knives.
The steel can be heat-treated and tempered to make tough and durable blades that resist corrosion. High-end knives are also made from FC61 steel in Seki, Japan. It’s ideal for surgical knives and razor blades.
FC61 Steel Composition (FC61 Steel Chart)
- Carbon 0.68%: Enhances edge retention, hardness and tensile strengths. It increases steel resistance to wear and abrasion as well as corrosion.
- Chrome Cr 13.00%: Formation of Chromium carides. This increases the blade’s hardness and tensile strength as well as corrosion resistance.
- Manganese 0.70%: Increases steel’s strength and hardness. The steel’s hardenability can be improved by heating it.
- Silicon Si 0.4% – Increases strength, heat resistance.
- Sulfur S 0.01% : Increases machinability. It is considered an impurity that can affect the steel’s performance.
- Phosphorous P 0.022%: This increases the strength and improves machinability of steel, but it is considered an impurity.
Steel FC61 properties
FC61 Steel Hardness
The Rockwell hardness for FC61 stainless steel is up to 61HRC. The heat treatment method used and the time taken to temper the steel will affect the hardness. The blade steel’s edge retention and wear resistance are positively affected by high hardness.
FC61 Steel Edge retention
The Rockwell hardness of FC61 blade steel is 61HRC. This steel has good edge retention, but not the best, especially in stainless steel. Although it has good edge retention, it will require sharpening if used constantly.
The FC61 Steel edge retention is less than Japanese VG10 steel. However, it is the same as AUS8 steel or 8Cr13MoV. However, it is marginally better than German stainless steel 1.4116 or X50CRMOV15 stainless.
Wear resistance FC61 Steel
Knife blades will eventually wear out from daily use. All types of steel are susceptible to abrasion. It is important to buy a knife that has excellent wear resistance. FC61 knives are a good example of this, due to their high hardness.
FC61 blades are extremely durable due to their high wear resistance. They can be used daily and require little maintenance. You can prolong the life expectancy of FC61 steel knives by using whetstones instead of automatic sharpeners.
Toughness of FC61 Steel
Sometimes, the toughness of steel is inversely proportional its hardness. Steel with high hardness has low toughness. The hardness of FC61 stainless steel is about 61 HRC, but its toughness level remains very high.
High purity in FC61 steel alloy composition is responsible for the high toughness. It is mainly made of carbon and chrome with very few impurities. This allows for the formation fine-grained carbides which can significantly increase toughness and hardness.
FC61 stainless steel toughness is better than most stainless steel; Its toughness level is equivalent/comparable to 14C28N steel, AEB-L steel, and LC200N steel. It is superior to SG2 and VG10 steels, as well as powder Crucibles steels such S45VN, S30V, and S30V.
Steel corrosion resistance FC61
FC61 stainless steel contains 13% chromium and is therefore resistant to rusting or staining. You will find the best FC61 stainless steel knives if you need one for harsh environments such as in the kitchen, or in areas with high humidity and salty waters.
Steel is very resistant to rust but can rust in corrosive environments. You cannot, for example, leave the blades in water overnight without worrying about them rusting. Proper care and maintenance is required. This includes washing and drying the knives after each use. For extra protection, apply a coating of mineral oil to the blades.
The corrosion resistance of FC61 steel is comparable to Japanese AUS 8 and Nitro V steels, as well as CPM 154 stainless.
It is easy to sharpen FC61 steel
Hardness directly affects the ease of sharpening a knife’s blade. FC61 is a hard steel that can be difficult to sharpen. This does not mean the blades cannot be sharpened after dulling. However, it will take more effort and time to achieve a sharp edge.
Whetstones are a better way to achieve a sharp edge when working with this steel. For a sharper edge, you will need to use the various grades of whetstones. Start with a 400 grit and work your way up to a 1000 or 4000 grit, until you reach the desired sharpness.
FC61 steel comparison
FC61 steel vs VG10 steel
The main difference between FC61 and VG10 Steel is that FC61 steel has twice the toughness than VG10 blade steel. This is due to its pure alloy composition, which greatly increases its toughness over other stainless and non-stainless metals. When used for cutting bone, FC61 blade steel is less susceptible to breaking or chipping.
Both VG10 and FC61 knife steels have excellent edge retention. VG10 steel has more carbon and vanadium elements in the alloy composition. This gives it a higher hardness and edge retention. It also offers wear resistance because of the formation of hard vanadium carides.
Both VG10 and FC61 are stainless steels. However, Japanese VG10 steel has a higher level of chromium in its alloy composition which gives it slightly better resistance to corrosion.
FC61 steel vs HTML2 (FC61 Vs HTML3)
Henckels uses SG2 steel under its own name MC63 steel. Sandvik 13C26 steel under its own name FC61 steel. The main difference between SG2 (Super Gold) steel and FC61 steel is that FC61 Stainless Steel has twice the toughness of SG2 stainless. SG2 stainless steel has a better edge retention and resistance to corrosion than FC61 steel.
FC61 Steel’s high strength is due to its pure alloy composition. It lacks other elements such as vanadium, and contains very few impurities like phosphorus and sulfur. FC61 steel’s grain is extremely fine due to its pure chemical composition. This allows for greater toughness.
SG2 steel on the other side offers superior edge retention because of its alloy composition containing high levels of carbon and other elements such as vanadium. These elements are responsible for the formation hard vanadium carbides which are great when it comes to edge retention.
Due to the higher amount of chromium in its alloy composition, SG2 stainless steel has slightly better corrosion resistance than FC61 steel. In daily use, the difference in corrosion resistance between these blade steels isn’t noticeable.
Is FC61 good knife steel?
All the qualities of a good knife steel are found in FC61 stainless steel. It is extremely tough, corrosion resistant, and wear-resistant. This steel has one drawback: it doesn’t hold its edge as well as stainless steels with similar hardness. It is also difficult to sharpen due to its high hardness.
This Miyabi 6.5 inch FC61 steel Nakiri knife is a great choice. Its heat treatment makes it stand out among the rest. It can reach 61HRC, and has a blade that is very thin, close to Usuba.