Mark, O1 is a very good steel, and I use it often. However, I have a gas forge with a thermocouple which allows me to hold my O1 at 1475, +/- 5 degrees for the 15 minutes or so that you should be soaking it. (The Heat Treater's Guide recommends 1450 to 1500 degrees F for 10 to 30 minutes). That may be difficult for a beginner or someone with less sophisticated equipment to do.

Because it's about the easiest to heat treat, holds a good edge, and will make a strong knife or razor, I believe 1084 is a very good choice for the beginner.

If anyone is interested in some 1084FG (fine grain), Aldo Bruno, the New Jersey Steel Baron, is having some more made this August. He is selling it for a very reasonable price (in my opinion) and he can be contacted by email at