Knife Making Steel bar, 1084 Carbon Steel in 3.5 x 38
The most popular carbon steel for new makers is probably 1084 Carbon Steel, due to ease of heat treatment.
The blade can be heat treated any way you can get it hot enough, no soak time or complicated temperature changes required.
For instance with a forge, a blowtorch or a kiln heating the blade until dull orange and checked against a magnet.
When the steel no longer is attracted to the magnet, it has hit critical temperature and can be QUICKLY quenched in canola oil.
Size of steel bar is about 3.5. Note they are cut from plate and vary from 38 to 40 mm in width.
The steel comes already annealed and ready to work.
Annealed means the steel is "soft" and workable with hand tools.
It can be drilled, filed, ground and shaped with relative ease. Look up hand filing jig on youtube for an easy to make hand filing jig for making even bevels.
This steel will need to be heat treated, either at home or by sending it away for professional heat treatment.
This is the steel used in the carbon steel basic knife making kit.
Heat treating 1084 Carbon Steel:
Heat steel to non-magnetic (about 815-820 C)
No hold time, quench as soon as hot enough
Quench in 30-40 C canola oil for a fast, effective quench
Temper twice, for 2 hours at 200 C (in a kitchen stove, for instance)
Optional: it is recommended to stress relieve the steel by heating it to red hot and letting it air cool a couple of times before quenching. This helps reduce stress in the steel before the (stressful) quench. If wanting to normalise to refine grain size, heat to 870 C and let air cool 2-3 times. Normalising is done if the steel has been forged, if doing stock removal this step is not usually done.