- The following blades should be used with a #3 handle (sold separately) - blade #'s 10, 11, 12, 15
- The following blades should be used with a #4 handle (sold separately) - blade #'s 20, 21, 22, 23, 25
A little education about steel:
Stainless steel is somewhat of a misnomer. Even stainless steel can rust, but it is much more resistant to rusting than plain steel. The chromium content in stainless steel alloys is what generally prevents corrosion. Pure iron, the primary element of stainless steel, is extracted from its natural state as iron ore, it is unstable by itself, and naturally wants to corrode (rust). The chromium helps to procrastinate nature's attempts to combine the pure iron with oxygen and water to form rust.
The chromium works by reacting with oxygen to form a tough, adherent, invisible, passive layer of chromium oxide film on the steel surface. If damaged mechanically or chemically, this film is self healing as long as it has enough oxygen. Sort of like a self-healing skin.
Generally, an increase of chromium content improves the corrosion resistance of stainless steels. The addition of nickel is used to raise the general corrosion resistance required in more aggressive usage or conditions.
Other alloying metals are also used to improve the structure and properties of stainless steels, such as Titanium, Vanadium and Copper. Non metal additions typically include natural elements such as Carbon & Nitrogen, as well as Silicon. Luckily, carbon is both the best and the most cost-effective alloying material used to harden steel for blades. The only downside to using more carbon in steel is that it breaks somewhat more easily and is harder to weld, neither of which affects the use of surgical blades.
High-carbon stainless steel contains a minimum of 0.3% carbon. The higher the carbon content, the less formable and the tougher the steel becomes. Carbon's hardness makes it suitable for things such as cutting edges, and other high-wear applications like plow blades. Carbon thus helps makes the edge easier to sharpen, and helps retain a sharp edge longer.
This is why McCoy chooses carbon steel blades over plain stainless steel. Carbon steel blades can be honed to a sharper edge and will hold that edge longer.