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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Tue 05 Aug, 2008 9:30 am    Post subject: Proper Barstock for a ground blade?         Reply with quote

Hey guys,

I was just wondering if anyone could give me a link or a nod in the right direction concerning some high quality bar stock for making a blade that won't be tampered with in a forge (considering I don't yet have one). I was thinking maybe 5140 or 6150, but really don't know all of the scientific differences in the properties, and could use some guidance and basic advice for searching this stuff out. Thanks!

-Gregory-

(p.s. I am talking about longer blades here, as well. Not just knives or such. I'm sure that might make a difference!)

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Justin Kirck




Location: New York
Joined: 25 May 2008

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue 05 Aug, 2008 9:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is an amatuer (wow, i know i misspelled that) response. For a longer blade, you're looking for durability and flexability. From what work I've done/seen, 5160 seems to be a favorite, but so does 1060-1075. It really becomes personal taste. 5160 has just a touch of chromium in it, which gives a 'more thorough heat treat', as the 10-- series just is 'plain old carbon steel'. If you are not doing any forging at all, not hitting it with any hammer at all, I'd recommend starting with 5160. if you are going to forge, begin with the 10-- series. 1060 at the least, and 1075/80 at the most for right now.

www.admiralsteel.com is a good place to look.
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G Ezell
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Location: North Alabama
Joined: 22 Dec 2003

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Tue 05 Aug, 2008 11:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd suggest L6 for long blades, but it is near impossible to find as barstock.
5160 would be a second choice, and a very close second, at that. It is deep hardening, but not so deep hardening that you can't get differing properties in different parts of the blade. Don't expect pretty hamons, though. The toughest knives I've ever worked with were 5160, and I have no doubt that with the hardness reduced slightly it would make excellent swords. Some very good blade-makers are using it for swords. I believe 6150 is very similar to 5160.

The 10 series steels (1060, 1075, etc...) are also very good, although I would hesitate to suggest 1095, that's really more carbon than you need and it has to be quenched fast, really fast, to get full hardness. However, I have seen some beautiful, durable swords made from it. The second number after 10 (the 95 in 1095, for instance) is a reference to the amount of carbon, in the case of 1095 it has approximately .95% carbon. Anything under .4% is getting into the really soft, mild steel range, and under .35% will barely harden at all. So, a good range for swords would be .5% to .85%, or 1050 to 1085, give or take... Wink The number designations only apply to US steel, though, the Europeans have a different system that I'm not really familiar with.
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R D Moore




Location: Portland Oregon
Joined: 09 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Aug, 2008 1:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you visited this site yet? http://anvilfire.com/
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Aug, 2008 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Admiral steel has 1080 series steel bars at fairly affordable prices that you can order straight off their web site store. This is an o.k. spring steel - blade material that is not difficult to heat treat. For a low cost learning experiment, not certain of your heat treaters' skill, it might make sense to use this. The L6 "substitute" that they also sell has a reputation around some forums as exhibiting severe warping during heat treat. (I have not tried it, so I can't confirm that.)
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Wed 06 Aug, 2008 3:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies, guys! I'm wondering what the differences are with the 10 stuff (1085, etc) versus the 5160, 6150..? What do the numbers represent in this second set? Also, I don't plan on doing any heat treating to the blade if I can help it. I'm not going for something that is absolutely functional, but rather something to make a realistic looking reenactor's piece. Thanks again!

-Gregory-

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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Aug, 2008 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

10-series are low-alloy steels, meaning that there isn't much in it besides the prerequisite iron and carbon. 5160 is similar with some chromium added which allows deeper penetration of hardness. 6150 is a more highly alloyed, with other elemets to refine grain structure and so on. The last two letters in the number refer to carbon conten, the first two represent other alloying elements. I can never seem to recall all the alloys and their corresponding number pre-fixes.

Honestly if you don't intend to make a functional blade and will not be heat treating it at all I would not worry too much about what steel you use since you won't be realizing the full capabilities of the alloy anyway.
As an alternative you might consider buying a low-end sword that has a blade large enough to grind into what you want.
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