What Steel to Use for a Fillet Knife – Quality Factors

One of the biggest factors is the steel on which the performance and life of the knife depends. To achieve lasting peace for smooth cutting, you should consider the quality and material of steel which should have the following characteristics. It should be hard, corrosion resistant, flexible, etc all these are necessary for the knife’s durability. 

what is the best steel for fillet knife is such a big question which comes always in our mind when we start think to fillet the fish, it is good for the knife to be flexible so that it is easy to move the knife to remove the flesh from the bones. It all depends on the steel, so it is good to know about the different types of steel that help in choosing a knife to fillet the fish. Below we have mentioned some of the types of steel that have the properties that we need to cut precisely.

H1 Steel

It is one of the best inventions in Japan with great qualities and unique features including hardness, rust resistance, precipitation-hardened. It is best stainless steel with a low carbon and high nickel alloy, a rare synthesis in the knife industry. It is durable because it is waterproof, and has the ability to perform well in humid environments and wet conditions. 

Bohler Uddeholm M390

This is a great choice because it is a high quality stainless steel that is used by many professionals on a regular basis and has achieved excellent results. It is reliable and its features including hardness, edge retention, rust resistance, assure consumers that it will be perfect for use. It can be hardened to a relatively high degree without breaking fast. However, this does not mean that the M390 is too rigid, this means that the M390 can be slightly thinner, when compared to other types of steel. 


The LC200N is harder steel than the H1, which gives it better edge retention, as well as it has good edge stability, and it never gets dull quickly. Most amazingly it is a high nitrogen alloy tool steel that exhibits high corrosion resistance combined with high hardness even at hardness up to 60 HRc. Its features and performing capabilities give reasons to choose it for fish filleting even in boats. 

CPM S30v Stainless Steel

This is another great choice because of its performance and the quality of the material that helps keep the balance while filleting. The S30V is not difficult to sharpen, it is just a very hard wear resistant steel which makes it take a long time to touch up. It is considered the best steel for fillet knife. 

Best Metal for Fillet Knife

A Reliable fillet performs well and consistently without any failure. The material which is used in making a fillet knife should not be prone to failure because the knife’s blade is sharpened to a fine edge that must not break or dull.

To achieve these things, it is necessary for us to choose a high quality metal because if we ignore this aspect then it ultimately moves to edge dulling and impulsive failure.

Not all metals are good for fillet knives, so here I am going to describe the best metals for fillet knives.

  • Carbon Steel
  • Stainless Steel
  • Tool Steel

Carbon Steel :

Carbon steel is a more desirable material for making fillet knives because it provides hardness and strength to the blade that is needed against the impact and wear. Furthermore, correct heat treatment must be applied on high carbon steel because if you perform a rapid douse then the fillet knife may fracture due to brittle. Whereas if you allow that steel to normalise or anneal, it will become too soft and the knife will not hold a sharp edge for long.

Stainless Steel :

Stainless is another most used metal that is used for making a fillet knife. The additional advantage of stainless steel which also increases the chromium and other alloying elements that enhance the capability of corrosion resistance. Stainless steel for fillet knives are made out of martensitic stainless steel material. You should use a low carbon version of austenitic material and avoid it when you start making a knife unless corrosion resistant is the main part and blade is the second one. These low carbon play an important role in hardening the stainless steel and make the knife perfect corrosion resistant.

Tool Steels :

Tool steel is very famous and the most selected steel used for making a fillet knife. Major part of the tool steel contains carbon steel which increases the alloying elements for enhancing mechanical features. These alloying elements can increase the steel’s corrosion resistance at a good level but could not meet the level of stainless steel.

Factors that Affect the Quality of High Carbon Steel

Here are some factors that can affect the quality of steel that you need to be aware of.

Edge Retention

It is a blade resistance that directly affects its sharpness and reflects its working life. It plays an important role in easily cutting the meat and filleting the fish, without this element the use of the knife is hindered. So if you want comfortable work for a long time, you should consider this factor that it should be found in steel.


Flexibility is a feature that allows the knife to be bent so that it can be moved around bones to remove skin. The thinner the blade (2.5–3.5 mm), the more flexible it will be, so it’s best to choose a blade that is flexible enough to make it easier for you to filleting. 

Heat Treat

Heat treated is another element that must be in the knife as it increases the efficiency and strength of the knife and allows it to work longer. Aside from the H1, every knife needs it as an essential element and everyone should consider this when choosing the best fillet knife. The purpose of heat treating a knife is to harden the steel for considerable use and at the same time it must be strong and flexible so that it can retain its edge, and withstand continuous use. 

Ease of sharpening

If you are tired of repeating the sharpening process, then you need to get a steel that does not need to be sharpened again and again or a steel that is easy to sharpen and does not take much effort. No matter how good the blade is, if used continuously it becomes dull which is why you need to sharpen it. It is better to choose a blade which is made of soft steel because it is easy to do sharp.

Corrosion Resistant

This is a feature that must be found in a fillet knife because the knife gets wet during filleting which can lead to rust which can damage the edges of the knife and reduce its durability. You need to avoid these effects, the only solution is to choose a knife having corrosion resistant steel which can withstand rust well. With our experience we recommend using carbon and H1 steel as they are both known for this feature.

Learn more about: How to remove rust from knife blade

Carbon Steel Knife vs Stainless Steel Knife

These are popular types of fillet knives with some major differences and advantages, both designed for different types of users, as stainless steel is better for those who need to use it occasionally, while carbon steel is recommended for people who are professionals in their field.

  • Stainless Steel Knife is easy to handle
  • Clean and easy to maintain
  • Every new user can use it effortlessly. 
  • Learn more about stainless vs carbon steel.
  • Carbon Steel Knife requires more effort to maintain (clean & sharp) it
  • It’s more suitable for professional chefs as it gives more precise and smooth cutting.


What Kind of Steel is in Rapala Fillet Knife?

Rapala fillet knife made with full tang swedish stainless steel and a original leather sheath and single-stage sharpener makes the deal, making it the “go-to” fillet knife in the world of fishing.

Is Damascus Steel Good for Fillet Knife?

Damascus steel is strong, hard and flexible, these things are perfect for fillet knives. It is recognized by its wavy pattern design that enhances the beauty of knives.

Recommended for you

Leave a Comment