O1 tool steel is supplied in a surface ground condition. Many people believe that this is a good starter steel and it is if you can heat treat it correctly! It does need a soak to get the best from the steel. If you are just beginning in knife making and are unable to hold temperatures accurately for 15 minutes O1 is not the steel for you - instead take a look at the easier to heat treat steels such as 1070, 1075 or 1080+! O1 has good edge stability and wear resistance but it's not a tough steel.
Chemical composition and heat treatment information can be downloaded here.