SUP9A Carbon Steel: A great choice for Long Blades & Machetes
All our parangs from Malaysia are made from SUP9A Carbon Steel. This steel is less well known than 1095 or 5160, and we occasionally have questions on it. So we thought it would be helpful to create this quick article and share information about the steel, it’s common applications, and how it’s a solid choice for longer blades, machetes, and our Parangs (particularly the Brush XL!).
Pretty much all machetes are heavy-duty cutting tools used for a variety of tasks, such as clearing brush, chopping wood, and self-defense. Ideally, the blade is a form of high-carbon steel, giving the tool the strength and durability needed to withstand the rigors of use.
A Quick History Lesson
SUP9A is a Japanese steel developed in the early 1900s. It is a high-carbon steel with a carbon content of 0.4% and also contains small amounts of other elements, such as manganese, chromium, and molybdenum. These elements give SUP9A its high tensile strength and toughness. The name "SUP9A" is derived from the Japanese steelmaking company Sumitomo Metal Industries, which developed the steel. The "9" in the name refers to the carbon content, and the "A" refers to the alloying elements.
This versatile steel is used in a wide variety of applications and is a good choice for applications where high tensile strength, toughness, and wear resistance are required. It is also a good choice for applications where fatigue resistance is required. It is widely used in Japan, and it is also becoming increasingly popular in other countries. This steel is great for machetes, springs, tools, machine parts, gears, shafts, bearings, fasteners, wire, and tubing.
SUP9A type carbon steel is a good choice for our parangs and other machetes because it has a high tensile strength and toughness. This means that it can withstand the forces of impact and bending without breaking. It is also relatively wear-resistant, which means that it can maintain its edge for a long period of time.
In addition, SUP9A type carbon steel is relatively easy to sharpen, which is important for machetes. SUP9A type carbon steel can be sharpened to a very sharp edge, which makes it ideal for cutting through tough materials.
Some of the benefits of using SUP9A in blades are:
- High tensile strength: SUP9A type carbon steel has a tensile strength of 700 to 800 MPa, which is very high for a steel. This means that it can withstand a lot of force before breaking.
- Good toughness: It is also very tough, which means that it can resist bending and breaking. Combined with the high tensile strength, this is great for longer blades used for clearing brush, hacking through poor visibility areas, and ground clearing. Accidentally cleaving full strength into a rock or post isn't going to snap your blade.
- Good wear resistance: SUP9A is also relatively wear-resistant, which means that it can maintain its edge for a long period of time.
- Easy to sharpen: SUP9A is relatively easy to sharpen, we all know when a machete becomes dull, it can be difficult to use effectively and safely. SUP9A type carbon steel can be sharpened to a very sharp edge, which makes it ideal for cutting through tough materials. Our Parangs are a little softer than the 1095 knives you would use for buschraft, meaning they'll be a little more forgiving on hard use and abuse and still sharpen up just fine for round two. We've found a puck or small medium grit arkansas stone is a great companion to both Bushcraft Parang and Hunter's Golok blades and they make excellent camp knives and general purpose woods tools.
Overall, SUP9A type carbon steel makes a great blade choice due to the strength, durability, and ease of sharpening needed for these tools. We’ve been playing with these Parangs for a few years now and haven’t had any complaints! We’re SUP9A fans!