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8620 Steel VS. 1020 Steel


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In the market for a new set of sticks and after hitting a few different brands I've found that I love the feel of forged clubs. I've been playing a set of Ping S58's and am looking to get into a set of Mizuno MP-63's or Adams a12's. I noticed that they both claim to be forged but use different types of metals. Can anyone shed some light on the differences between the steels that each of these manufacturers use?

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1020 is a true carbon steel while 8620 is a steel alloy that is not carbon steel but shares some properties (like rusting) of real carbon steel. "8620 Carbon Steel" does not really exist and is a marketing term coined by the golf industry. Any steel with 4 numbers that starts with 10 is a true carbon steel. For example 1018, 1020, 1025, 1030 are all used in forgings and cannot be cast. Clubs that are made from 8620 steel are typically cast (like our Scratch 8620 wedge or a Vokey wedge) or "form forged" (like some Cleveland wedges or any club made from 8620 steel that says its Forged). I do not know of any golf clubs made from 8620 that are truly forged like a 10 series true carbon steel. The second 2 numbers are the carbon content of the steel and the lower that number the softer the steel. So 1020 and 8620 have similar carbon content but otherwise are very different and 1020 carbon steel is softer than 1025 or 1030 etc.

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8620 is a stronger alloy than 1020, so it may have a harder feel but will not wear down as fast. As already mentioned, it's typically cast, although some companies are getting inventive with their "pressing" operations after casting by claiming the club heads are "forged". Don't misunderstand though, 8620 is a soft steel, just not as soft as some others.

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Webster's gives us two definitions for the term "forged".

1. Metal shaping technique.
2. A false representation.

So even though some companies do not shape their irons by forging, they are still using the term within it's other definition. Sneaky sneaky.

[quote name='FairwayFred' timestamp='1311983682' post='3434717']
1020 is a true carbon steel while 8620 is a steel alloy that is not carbon steel but shares some properties (like rusting) of real carbon steel. "8620 Carbon Steel" does not really exist and is a marketing term coined by the golf industry. Any steel with 4 numbers that starts with 10 is a true carbon steel. For example 1018, 1020, 1025, 1030 are all used in forgings and cannot be cast. Clubs that are made from 8620 steel are typically cast (like our Scratch 8620 wedge or a Vokey wedge) or "form forged" (like some Cleveland wedges or any club made from 8620 steel that says its Forged). I do not know of any golf clubs made from 8620 that are truly forged like a 10 series true carbon steel. The second 2 numbers are the carbon content of the steel and the lower that number the softer the steel. So 1020 and 8620 have similar carbon content but otherwise are very different and 1020 carbon steel is softer than 1025 or 1030 etc.
[/quote]

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[quote name='King Kobra' timestamp='1311987761' post='3434849']
Webster's gives us two definitions for the term "forged".

1. Metal shaping technique.
2. A false representation.

So even though some companies do not shape their irons by forging, they are still using the term within it's other definition. Sneaky sneaky.

[quote name='FairwayFred' timestamp='1311983682' post='3434717']
1020 is a true carbon steel while 8620 is a steel alloy that is not carbon steel but shares some properties (like rusting) of real carbon steel. "8620 Carbon Steel" does not really exist and is a marketing term coined by the golf industry. Any steel with 4 numbers that starts with 10 is a true carbon steel. For example 1018, 1020, 1025, 1030 are all used in forgings and cannot be cast. Clubs that are made from 8620 steel are typically cast (like our Scratch 8620 wedge or a Vokey wedge) or "form forged" (like some Cleveland wedges or any club made from 8620 steel that says its Forged). I do not know of any golf clubs made from 8620 that are truly forged like a 10 series true carbon steel. The second 2 numbers are the carbon content of the steel and the lower that number the softer the steel. So 1020 and 8620 have similar carbon content but otherwise are very different and 1020 carbon steel is softer than 1025 or 1030 etc.
[/quote]
[/quote]


that is sneaky!!

what is the diff from form forged and a regular forging?

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[quote name='HITMANACTUAL' timestamp='1312164273' post='3440117']
[quote name='King Kobra' timestamp='1311987761' post='3434849']
Webster's gives us two definitions for the term "forged".

1. Metal shaping technique.
2. A false representation.

So even though some companies do not shape their irons by forging, they are still using the term within it's other definition. Sneaky sneaky.

[quote name='FairwayFred' timestamp='1311983682' post='3434717']
1020 is a true carbon steel while 8620 is a steel alloy that is not carbon steel but shares some properties (like rusting) of real carbon steel. "8620 Carbon Steel" does not really exist and is a marketing term coined by the golf industry. Any steel with 4 numbers that starts with 10 is a true carbon steel. For example 1018, 1020, 1025, 1030 are all used in forgings and cannot be cast. Clubs that are made from 8620 steel are typically cast (like our Scratch 8620 wedge or a Vokey wedge) or "form forged" (like some Cleveland wedges or any club made from 8620 steel that says its Forged). I do not know of any golf clubs made from 8620 that are truly forged like a 10 series true carbon steel. The second 2 numbers are the carbon content of the steel and the lower that number the softer the steel. So 1020 and 8620 have similar carbon content but otherwise are very different and 1020 carbon steel is softer than 1025 or 1030 etc.
[/quote]
[/quote]


that is sneaky!!

what is the diff from form forged and a regular forging?
[/quote]

I believe form forged means the clubs are cast in the shape of a club the pressed 1 or 2 times. Whereas "regular" forged begins with a single block of steel and is stamped around 7 times to form the club.........

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[quote name='King Kobra' timestamp='1311987761' post='3434849']
Webster's gives us two definitions for the term "forged".

1. Metal shaping technique.
2. A false representation.

So even though some companies do not shape their irons by forging, they are still using the term within it's other definition. Sneaky sneaky.

[quote name='FairwayFred' timestamp='1311983682' post='3434717']
1020 is a true carbon steel while 8620 is a steel alloy that is not carbon steel but shares some properties (like rusting) of real carbon steel. "8620 Carbon Steel" does not really exist and is a marketing term coined by the golf industry. Any steel with 4 numbers that starts with 10 is a true carbon steel. For example 1018, 1020, 1025, 1030 are all used in forgings and cannot be cast. Clubs that are made from 8620 steel are typically cast (like our Scratch 8620 wedge or a Vokey wedge) or "form forged" (like some Cleveland wedges or any club made from 8620 steel that says its Forged). I do not know of any golf clubs made from 8620 that are truly forged like a 10 series true carbon steel. The second 2 numbers are the carbon content of the steel and the lower that number the softer the steel. So 1020 and 8620 have similar carbon content but otherwise are very different and 1020 carbon steel is softer than 1025 or 1030 etc.
[/quote]
[/quote]


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In older times, cold forging produced the strongest product, but it required alot of energy and force. I think somewhere in the early ninties, hot forging started to appear in consumer products (at least in high end bicycle components) and replaced cold forging, as it required less energy and force, thus lowering production cost. But hot forging doesn't produce as strong a product.

My guess is most, if not all 10xx forged is hot forged nowadays. I can't remember the last time I've seen a consumer product that advertised cold forging, golf included. Also, my guess is that Mizuno's form forged is a hot forging process, as you see the hot billet in their ads.

Does it make a noticable difference in golf? I don't know. It probably doesn't make a performance difference for me. But, nothing beats the feel of a pured shot from an iron made of forged 1020 carbon steel.

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  • 2 years later...

[quote name='duffer888' timestamp='1312176501' post='3440912']
In older times, cold forging produced the strongest product, but it required alot of energy and force. I think somewhere in the early ninties, hot forging started to appear in consumer products (at least in high end bicycle components) and replaced cold forging, as it required less energy and force, thus lowering production cost. But hot forging doesn't produce as strong a product.

My guess is most, if not all 10xx forged is hot forged nowadays. I can't remember the last time I've seen a consumer product that advertised cold forging, golf included. Also, my guess is that Mizuno's form forged is a hot forging process, as you see the hot billet in their ads.

Does it make a noticable difference in golf? I don't know. It probably doesn't make a performance difference for me. But, nothing beats the feel of a pured shot from an iron made of forged 1020 carbon steel.
[/quote]

You've probably obtained your answer by now but I did some research and a Youtube video conducted by a big-wig from Mizuno who describes their process used at the Hiroshima production plant; although I can't shed light upon the difference between "cold forged", "form forged", etc. It did offer an excellent explanation of the benefit of forged irons vs. cast irons: Casting is the process of taking metal in liquid form and setting/pressing/mashing/molding it into a solid, whereas forging begins with solid metal that is super-heated to make it pliable. The difference is that casting produces 2 potential flaws that translate into the (lack of) feel they produce: 1. Shrinkage is inevitable (insert puns here as desired); 2. It produces miniscule pockets of trapped air, "bubbles" and/or other imperfections on account.

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The Key thing is how they Feel at Impact to YOU......
Both can feel great to different people.
I currently use Vokey Wedges......
I found Titleist 710 MB forged irons mid winter to lack feel vs Mizuno etc.
8620 will last longer if you play Every Day !!
Been through the Mizuno is softest thing..no Mizuno in my bag right now !
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I play 8620 wedges from Scratch and have been playing forged irons for years. To me, the best feeling clubs in my bag are my wedges. One of the main reasons I have not switched to the 1018 model from Scratch as of yet. The 8620 are just that darn good for me.

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[quote name='FairwayFred' timestamp='1311983682' post='3434717']
1020 is a true carbon steel while 8620 is a steel alloy that is not carbon steel but shares some properties (like rusting) of real carbon steel. "8620 Carbon Steel" does not really exist and is a marketing term coined by the golf industry. Any steel with 4 numbers that starts with 10 is a true carbon steel. For example 1018, 1020, 1025, 1030 are all used in forgings and cannot be cast. Clubs that are made from 8620 steel are typically cast (like our Scratch 8620 wedge or a Vokey wedge) or "form forged" (like some Cleveland wedges or any club made from 8620 steel that says its Forged). I do not know of any golf clubs made from 8620 that are truly forged like a 10 series true carbon steel. The second 2 numbers are the carbon content of the steel and the lower that number the softer the steel. So 1020 and 8620 have similar carbon content but otherwise are very different and 1020 carbon steel is softer than 1025 or 1030 etc.
[/quote]

Steel is the word used for material made mostly from the element Iron. "Mild Steel" is the term for Steel that has very few other alloying elements and it's designation number typically begins with 10. The second two numbers show how much carbon is in the metal - the higher the number, the more carbon and the more carbon there is the harder it can be made. Steels can be either Hardened or Annealed. If a steel such as 1040 is heated to a particular temperature and then cooled quickly, it will become hard. If that same steel is heated and then cooled very slowly it will be as soft as it can be, or "annealed". Even 1080 steel is quite soft annealed but has a high hardenability - not a high hardness. A knife blade is easy to work until hardened.
Now if we add some more elements to the mix (such as chromium or vanadium) we get "Alloy Steel". Various elements are added for different reasons, but typically it is for strength or hardenability. The steel alloy 8620 is very much a real thing and not some kind of golf industry fabrication. 8620 is much like 1020 but does have a smidgeon of Nickel and a dolop of Chromium to make it slightly stronger. It is real and does exist. Also, any steel may be melted and poured into a mold or "cast".

Forging is the act of "hot working" material into a shape and usually allows a nice flow of grain through the material. "Cold forging" or cold-working a material will promote work-hardening and usually increases the hardness as well as the strength. Casting steels does not promote more or less flaws in it than forging does. I've seen just as many inclusions and flaws in forgings as I have castings - maybe more. What casting DOES do is turn steel into a particular shape much faster than forging does and is therefore much less expensive to produce. Also, castings may be somewhat weaker due to the lack or organized grain in the material.

Hope this helps to clear up some of the confusion.

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[quote name='Swingingk' timestamp='1397695470' post='9107883']
[quote name='FairwayFred' timestamp='1311983682' post='3434717']
1020 is a true carbon steel while 8620 is a steel alloy that is not carbon steel but shares some properties (like rusting) of real carbon steel. "8620 Carbon Steel" does not really exist and is a marketing term coined by the golf industry. Any steel with 4 numbers that starts with 10 is a true carbon steel. For example 1018, 1020, 1025, 1030 are all used in forgings and cannot be cast. Clubs that are made from 8620 steel are typically cast (like our Scratch 8620 wedge or a Vokey wedge) or "form forged" (like some Cleveland wedges or any club made from 8620 steel that says its Forged). I do not know of any golf clubs made from 8620 that are truly forged like a 10 series true carbon steel. The second 2 numbers are the carbon content of the steel and the lower that number the softer the steel. So 1020 and 8620 have similar carbon content but otherwise are very different and 1020 carbon steel is softer than 1025 or 1030 etc.
[/quote]

Steel is the word used for material made mostly from the element Iron. "Mild Steel" is the term for Steel that has very few other alloying elements and it's designation number typically begins with 10. The second two numbers show how much carbon is in the metal - the higher the number, the more carbon and the more carbon there is the harder it can be made. Steels can be either Hardened or Annealed. If a steel such as 1040 is heated to a particular temperature and then cooled quickly, it will become hard. If that same steel is heated and then cooled very slowly it will be as soft as it can be, or "annealed". Even 1080 steel is quite soft annealed but has a high hardenability - not a high hardness. A knife blade is easy to work until hardened.
Now if we add some more elements to the mix (such as chromium or vanadium) we get "Alloy Steel". Various elements are added for different reasons, but typically it is for strength or hardenability. The steel alloy 8620 is very much a real thing and not some kind of golf industry fabrication. 8620 is much like 1020 but does have a smidgeon of Nickel and a dolop of Chromium to make it slightly stronger. It is real and does exist. Also, any steel may be melted and poured into a mold or "cast".

Forging is the act of "hot working" material into a shape and usually allows a nice flow of grain through the material. "Cold forging" or cold-working a material will promote work-hardening and usually increases the hardness as well as the strength. Casting steels does not promote more or less flaws in it than forging does. I've seen just as many inclusions and flaws in forgings as I have castings - maybe more. What casting DOES do is turn steel into a particular shape much faster than forging does and is therefore much less expensive to produce. Also, castings may be somewhat weaker due to the lack or organized grain in the material.

Hope this helps to clear up some of the confusion.
[/quote]

Great information, thank you! I've heard it said the same as you did that there is no difference in imperfections between forged vs. cast clubs. My opinion/writing above was strongly compelled by a video I watched MC'd by a high ranking (CEO? ExO?) of Mizuno, complete with electon-microscopic cross-sections of cast steel. I'm sure you'll agree, much of what we hear and learn is vastly influenced by the vested interests of the presenter(s).

Still, it is impossible for me to ignore, in my admittedly short-but-deeply-immersed time in the golf world, that forged irons clearly have a different feel than the great vast majority of cast irons, to me.

I will say there have been some stand-outs that have proven themselves to have feel incredibly similar to forged irons, notably the Cleveland CG-16 Tour 7-Iron that I demo'd earlier today. In a way it did seem like the best of "both worlds", meaning a marriage of GI Iron-type forgiveness (like those that tout multi-compounds, dampeners, perimeter weighting, inserts, etc.) with "player/forged-iron" feel and feedback. In short, well-stuck shots had tremendous, warm and gratifying feel (with results to equal: a penetrating ball flight), whereas mishits at the toe or some such let me feel the mistake like a forging, but did not make me pay for it (meaning they barely left target laterally or by yardage).

Still, it's the first time so far in my memory that I can say I had such an experience, which renews the question of why forged irons feel so different (and good, in my estimation...or bad, depending on how well the strike is made) vs. even the most popular, high-end cast irons of the world touting more cavities than a sugar-crazed adolescent and polymers than a NASA vehicle??

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...and a point of note: IMHO the most buttery, beautiful-feeling irons on the "new" market today are the Wilson Staff FG Tour v2, which happen to be 8620 steel forgings. Before them I thought the Callaway X-Forged 2013 irons were the bee's knees, and I chalked up the difference to the use of KBS Tour shafts stock in the FG Tours...until I A/B compared the stock Wilson Staff against the X-forged but with a KBS Tour shaft...result = advantage Wilson Staff.

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On paper and especially on golf forums there is a huge difference between the two.

In reality- no difference whatsoever.

Club head design has more of an effect on feel. As does hitting the sweet spot on a regular basis.

And if you're truly a good golfer for real (on the course and not in a forum) and you hit the sweet spot on a regular basis, any difference in feel (both real and imagined) between forged v cast comes secondary to club performance- again design takes top billing.

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  • 7 years later...
3 hours ago, Dan in VT said:

Can 8620 carbon steel heads be bent to adjust the loft?  Thanks!

 

Yes.  3 degrees should be no problem, and maybe more but I'm not positive.

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13 hours ago, joostin said:

But feel in relation to the method of manufacturing (forged or cast) is unknown to us because we don't have apples-to-apples comparisons - ie. identical heads in 1025 steel forged and 1025 steel cast, or in 304 SS forged and 304 SS cast.

You can come close though. The Maltby M06 is a cast 431ss club that is almost the same as the Maltby M05/TE forged club head. The biggest difference is the amount of offset with the M06 having more.

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14 hours ago, joostin said:

But feel in relation to the method of manufacturing (forged or cast) is unknown to us because we don't have apples-to-apples comparisons - ie. identical heads in 1025 steel forged and 1025 steel cast, or in 304 SS forged and 304 SS cast.


 

 

There have been a couple examples of cast 1020 / 1025 / 1030 clubheads in the component world.  I have a set of Purefit blades that are cast 1020, and Dynacraft had 1030 CB and Blade clubheads for sale a decade and a half ago, before their merger/acquisition with/by Hireko.

 

Likely problematic finding examples of either now, if one were looking to perform a comparative test.  🙂

 

Edited by NRJyzr
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2 hours ago, denkea said:

Keep in mind that Rockwell hardness is just an indicator of 'surface' hardness.  It has nothing to do with ductility. 

Also, all steel used in the golf industry is cast.  1018 to 17-4.  Forging is a process where cast billets are heated and then stamped into a form.  

Good point. Those silky Miura forgings are made from steel that's initially cast!  Sorry purists!

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2 hours ago, denkea said:

Keep in mind that Rockwell hardness is just an indicator of 'surface' hardness.  It has nothing to do with ductility. 

Also, all steel used in the golf industry is cast.  1018 to 17-4.  Forging is a process where cast billets are heated and then stamped into a form.  

 

I don't think this is correct.  Forged club heads are made from roll formed steel rod.  Molten metal is cast into ingots, but then the material is rolled through several process steps before the rods are finally completed.  From a molecular material grain standpoint these finished rods have little in common with the cast ingots they started as.

Edited by Nessism

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Regarding cast 1018/1020/1025/1030 steel heads, they are rare.  I'm not a metallurgist, but it's my understanding that those alloys are not ideal for casting.  Tom Wishon has posted about this topic previously and mentioned that it's just fairly recently that foundries have found methods to allow casting these alloys.  I think that's why 8620 is so popular when it comes to cast carbon steel heads.  There must be something about that alloy that makes it more agreeable to casting.

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2 hours ago, NRJyzr said:

 

There have been a couple examples of cast 1020 / 1025 / 1030 clubheads in the component world.  I have a set of Purefit blades that are cast 1020, and Dynacraft had 1030 CB and Blade clubheads for sale a decade and a half ago, before their merger/acquisition with/by Hireko.

 

Likely problematic finding examples of either now, if one were looking to perform a comparative test.  🙂

 

 

Amusingly, if you search on ebay, there's a Dynacraft 1030 8 iron CB head out there.

 

Not sure I should be posting ebay links, so I'll just reference it.  

Disclaimer:  not my listing, and I have no affiliation with seller

 

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6 minutes ago, denkea said:

Ness, these formed rods were made from an ingot of molten steel then cast and formed into a final product.  

Cold rolling is a process after the steel is cast.  

 

Yes, I know.  But the grain structure of the metal is drastically different from that of a cast product. The rods can be either hot rolled or cold rolled.  Rolling aligns grain and increases strength, ductility, toughness, increases formability and ease of welding.  All good things.

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    • APPLY NOW: L.A.B. Golf MEZZ.1 Putter (Early Access) Member Testing! 10 Testers Needed!
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