1045 - 0.45% Carbon Steel - Sword Steel

1045 - 0.45% Carbon Steel

Usage:Kata / Light Target Cutting

1045 carbon steel is considered a good option for swords, particularly for those that are not intended for heavy-duty or combat use. It's a medium-carbon steel with approximately 0.45% carbon content. Here are some of the characteristics that make 1045 carbon steel suitable for swords:

  • Toughness: 1045 is known for its toughness, which is an important characteristic for swords that can withstand impact without fracturing.
  • Ease of Sharpening: While not as hard as higher-carbon steels, 1045 can be sharpened to a decent edge that is sufficient for many cutting tasks.
  • Flexibility: This type of steel is more flexible compared to higher-carbon steels, reducing the likelihood of breakage when flexed.
  • Cost: 1045 carbon steel is relatively inexpensive compared to other high-carbon or tool steels, making it a popular choice for budget-friendly swords.

However, 1045 is not as hard as higher carbon steels like 1060, 1095, etc., and therefore, it doesn't hold an edge as well. It is also more prone to wear and corrosion compared to steels with higher carbon content or added alloying elements.

Swords made from 1045 carbon steel are often considered good for beginners, for practice, for decorative purposes, and for light cutting tasks. For more demanding uses, such as heavy cutting or historical European martial arts (HEMA), steels with higher carbon content that can achieve greater hardness and edge retention would be more suitable.

How can I use a 1045 carbon steel sword?

  • Kata: Choreographed patterns practiced in martial arts, typically performed solo or in pairs, to preserve and transmit proven techniques without striking actual targets.
  • Display: 1045 steel swords used primarily for decorative purposes, focusing on aesthetic appeal with minimal physical use, thus preserving their condition.
  • Light Cutting Exercises: Cutting targets that require minimal force and offer little resistance, such as:
    • Half Roll Tatami Omote: Using a partially rolled tatami mat, which is easier to cut and suitable for a 1045 steel sword.
    • Occasional Single Roll Tatami Omote: A fully rolled tatami mat that provides slightly more resistance, suitable for occasional cutting to prevent blade stress.

Light targets are those that are soft or easily cut without excessive force. Common materials include tatami mats, pool noodles, and thin paper rolls. Correct edge alignment and cutting technique are essential to avoid damage to the blade during these exercises.


To protect 1045 carbon steel from corrosion, you can follow these steps:

  1. Keep it Clean: After use, clean the sword to remove any dirt, or residue. Fingerprints can also contain oils and acids that may encourage rust, so it's important to wipe the blade down with a soft, clean cloth.
  2. Dry Thoroughly: Make sure the sword is completely dry. Moisture is a primary factor in corrosion.
  3. Oil the Blade: Apply a thin layer of oil to the blade. Common choices include mineral oil, gun oil, or specialized sword oil. The oil should be applied lightly across the entire surface of the blade.
  4. Use Wax for Long-Term Storage: For long-term storage, some prefer to use a protective wax like Renaissance wax, which can provide a more durable protective coat than oil.
  5. Regular Maintenance: Even when not in use, swords should be periodically inspected and maintained. This includes reapplying oil or wax as needed.
  6. Proper Storage: Store the sword in a dry place with consistent, moderate temperature. Avoid leather scabbards for long-term storage as they can trap moisture and promote rust.
  7. Use a Dehumidifier: If you live in a humid environment, consider using a dehumidifier in the room where the sword is stored.
  8. Handle with Care: When handling the sword, try to use gloves or ensure your hands are clean and oil-free to prevent transferring acids from your skin onto the steel.

By following these steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of corrosion and keep a 1045 carbon steel sword in good condition for years to come.

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