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Very tough, low-alloy tool steel for strong house / work knives and as a gray element in damascus steel. Lire plus..


The 1.2003 is a simple, forgiving and robust steel. Due to the small addition of chromium, it has a slightly better hardenability compared to the unalloyed version 1.1248 / C75. As a result, with the usual knife cross-sections, it already reaches its full initial hardness when the oil is hardened (a quick hardening oil is a prerequisite). Tempered at 180-200 degrees, it has a working hardness of 59-61 hrc. The steel is forgiving and undemanding in forging and heat treatment and usually offers enough power reserves even if handled incorrectly. This is why the steel is particularly suitable for beginners who want to learn to forge and manufacture knives. 

The steel is suitable for powerful work knives or machetes. The steel can also be used for kitchen knives, but I do not recommend it for thinly ground laser geometries, as the steel tends to fold or bend in the area of ​​the thin cutting edge. 

I personally use steel as a gray element in the manufacture of decorative damascus steel. Particularly in combination with the 1.5634 and the 1.8974, a fantastic silver-gray-black contrast results when properly etched. In addition, this combination can be very easily conventionally flame-welded, resulting in a spring-hard, scratch-resistant, yet easy-to-grind Damascus steel, which is particularly suitable for the side layers of San-Mai (3-layer) blades. 

The steel can also be used for high performance damascus steel, especially when it comes to a robust damascus steel for work knives. In this case I recommend a combination with the 1.5634 and the 1.2510.

I myself do not offer a hardening service for the steels I sell. However, I can unreservedly recommend the hardening service of my colleague Jürgen Schanz. He works with a very experienced hardening shop that also carries out demanding heat treatments exactly according to customer requirements. If necessary, contact Jürgen Schanz directly via his contact form.

Available dimensions:





3x30x600mm = 436g

3x40x600mm = 588g

3x50x600mm = 733g


Carbon:                      0,75%                    

Silicon:                       0,324%

Manganese:                0,672%

Chrome:                    0,33%

Phosphorus:              0,009%

Sulfur:                       0,001% 

Manufacturing method:

Smelting metallurgy

Corrosion resistance:

Not stainless.


Rolled, sandblasted, annealed


The strips are cut with a pair of guillotines and can therefore have minimal warpage, which can, however, be easily straightened.

Recommended heat treatment:

Forging: Form forging (heavy deformation) between 1100 °C and 850 °C. Fine forging (minor deformation) between 850 °C and 750 °C.

Normalize: 2x Heat up to 820 °C and immediately cool in air to below 721 °C (Ar1). Then 3x heat up to 790 °C and immediately quench in oil until the glow color has disappeared.

Soft annealing: hold at 710 °C for approx. 30 minutes, then cool down in the furnace.

Hardening: 800 °C (5-6 min holding time) or 830 °C (3-5 min holding time)

Quenching: Oil, Durixol V35

Tempering: 175°C to max. 200°C. 2x one hour each, water cooling in between.

Achievable hardness: 58-61 hrc.

Note: A deep freeze treatment (-70 °C) between hardening and tempering can reduce the retained austenite content and thus increase the working hardness with the same toughness.

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