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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Mon 24 Dec, 2012 2:18 pm    Post subject: A sword made from semi truck leaf springs?         Reply with quote

I am in the oilfield and regularly drive Semi trucks to haul cement to rigs so we can cement the casing in the wells and other jobs, I took my truck to the mechanic earlier today for a problem and I noticed "what I already knew existed but not in this context" the leaf springs, which are designed to absorb massive weight bumping up and down such as driving an 80,000 lb truck down a rough lease road with pits and holes everywhere over many thousands of miles.

The steel is obviously incredibly tough and flexible, but it isn't a floppy flexible. If you were to hold a sword sized piece of this stuff, I doubt you would be able to bend it very much even if you used all of your strength, however it will bend a lot before it were to snap, it just takes a huge amount of force.

Maybe there is some other factors that I am not aware of but this seems to me to be the ideal steel for a sword. Intensely strong with the ability to flex greatly if enough force is applied to it like a full bodied thrust into a dense object. Has anyone here ever thought about this before or perhaps it has been discussed already?

This is what I'm talking about
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R.M. Henson




Location: Honolulu Hawaii
Joined: 14 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Mon 24 Dec, 2012 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It depends on what kind of steel alloy it is. I'm not a professional mechanic or anything, but to my understanding many of the steel components on trucks and cars have small amounts of certain metals to increase strength, corrosion resistance, and flexibility, but might decrease it's ability to take on a strong sharp edge or resist impacts.

If the springs have been used already, I can imagine the stress from it's service life could possibly reduce it's potential as a sword.

I suppose it also depends on what you want to use it for. I've seen interesting looking forged pattern welded swords made from chainsaw blades, they may not have been "ideal" as a sword but definitely functional.

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Scott Woodruff





Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Mon 24 Dec, 2012 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Truck leaf springs are an old standby for do-it-yourself knife and sword projects. There are countless articles, posts etc on the net on this subject. Some people have even made decent enough swords by beating the spring flat while cold and grinding to shape, though that is a less than ideal way to go about it. Apparently most modern American springs are 5160, an excellent sword and knife steel. Other steels you are likely to find include EN45, 1095 and maybe a few other similar steels. The drawbacks are that you never know exactly what you are getting. I have found that different springs can have different characteristics, and this can make it difficult to get the steel to do exactly what you want it to during heat-treat. Also, it is better to use new springs, as old ones can have hidden, internal corrossion, stress fractures and other weaknesses. The nice new springs shown in your pic could be used to make some nice swords. The hole in the middle can be problematic, so you would have to incorporate that in the design. You can cut the springs in half diagonally through the hole so that you have two isoceles traingular pieces. This is a good way to go about it because some of your mass distribution is already being defined in the blank. You can hammer out the narrow part to be wide and thin or leave the point thick and narrow, but either way it makes it easier to get a good mass distribution without excessive polar moment than forging or grinding from a blank with even mass distribution down its length.
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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Mon 24 Dec, 2012 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Woodruff wrote:
Truck leaf springs are an old standby for do-it-yourself knife and sword projects. There are countless articles, posts etc on the net on this subject. Some people have even made decent enough swords by beating the spring flat while cold and grinding to shape, though that is a less than ideal way to go about it. Apparently most modern American springs are 5160, an excellent sword and knife steel. Other steels you are likely to find include EN45, 1095 and maybe a few other similar steels. The drawbacks are that you never know exactly what you are getting. I have found that different springs can have different characteristics, and this can make it difficult to get the steel to do exactly what you want it to during heat-treat. Also, it is better to use new springs, as old ones can have hidden, internal corrossion, stress fractures and other weaknesses. The nice new springs shown in your pic could be used to make some nice swords. The hole in the middle can be problematic, so you would have to incorporate that in the design. You can cut the springs in half diagonally through the hole so that you have two isoceles traingular pieces. This is a good way to go about it because some of your mass distribution is already being defined in the blank. You can hammer out the narrow part to be wide and thin or leave the point thick and narrow, but either way it makes it easier to get a good mass distribution without excessive polar moment than forging or grinding from a blank with even mass distribution down its length.


Really? Dang, and here I thought I might have discovered something. Laughing Out Loud
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Dan P




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 28 Jun 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Tue 25 Dec, 2012 8:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

5160 which is usually the steel in good leaf springs is crazy good for making blades. I have a pair of 5160 custom made knives and they are probably the toughest fighting knives I own. But the steel will also tarnish and corrode really easily so you have to take care of it.
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Marc Blaydoe




Location: Maryland
Joined: 29 Sep 2006

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Tue 25 Dec, 2012 3:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe the standard material for kukris made in Nepal is surplus leaf springs from India.
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Boris Bedrosov
Industry Professional



Location: Bourgas, Bulgaria
Joined: 06 Nov 2005

Posts: 700

PostPosted: Wed 26 Dec, 2012 4:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi, Christopher!

Usually, with few exceptions, I use 65G leaf-spring steel for my projects. It's a Russian steel and 65 stands for 0.65% Carbon, G for 1% Manganese. The sources I've seen state this steel as an equivalent to US 1566, German Ck67 or British 080A67 (as I don't know much about these steels, I'm not sure if the sources were correct or not). I've made swords as well as knives, I have ground blades, but also a couple of forged ones.

What I could say in short is that I'm quite pleased with this leaf-spring steel. Although it's not period, the results are very good and the blade could take a lot of shock and bend without cracking and/or snapping. This, combined with good edge-retaining (with this I mean the ability of the blade to keep the cutting edge as long as possible) and the relatively low price, make 65G very good choice, at least for me.
But just bear in mind that these results could be achieved only if the heat-treatment is correct. If you heat-treated the blade, using the leaf-spring technology, expect cracking. From my experience so far, I could say that you need a blade, which is slightly softer than the leaf-spring. And if you would use old springs, I would recommend you to normalize them very well first, in order to get rid of all internal tensions they've acquired during their life-time. Of course, as Scott Woodruff already mentioned, there could be a lot of internal, invisible for you weaknesses.
And if you're planning to use the same steel as shown on the picture, it's good to know that 60Si2Mn (which should be virtually the same as the Russian 60S2A - 0.60% Carbon, 2% Silicon, 1% Manganese, A=upgraded quality) is better choice than my 65G. It's a steel specially designed for cyclic work, and thus - more durable.

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and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
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Last edited by Boris Bedrosov on Fri 28 Dec, 2012 4:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Scott Woodruff





Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Wed 26 Dec, 2012 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Indeed, Boris, I would love to get my hands on one of the silicon spring steel alloys, it seems like it would make an awesome sword. I knew about the 9260 Cheness uses but could not find a supplier. A quick google search shows that 60Si2Mn is readily available. Thanks for the tip!
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James Anderson III




Location: Charles Town, WV
Joined: 23 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Dec, 2012 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do not recall the maker offhand, but I remember someone from the late 90s who made all of their swords and knives from automotive springs.
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Jack Savante





Joined: 01 Jun 2010
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Posts: 78

PostPosted: Thu 27 Dec, 2012 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[/url]http://www.livesteelarmor.com/how/warsword.html[url]

These guys have instructions for making a sword out of a car spring.

I have to say, having seen car spring swords in action, something about them, maybe the heat treat or because they are reworked for the automotive industry, makes them noticeably tougher than commercially available swords. I've never seen one develop cracks either. It's a lot of work to get them free from their stack and straighten them though.
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Graham Shearlaw





Joined: 24 Oct 2011

Posts: 66

PostPosted: Thu 27 Dec, 2012 6:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

give how leaf spring are build to take a loaded truck with in there fatigue limit, the loads incounterd when used as a sword are nothing.
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John T.




Location: Sacramento, CA
Joined: 06 Jan 2010
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Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu 27 Dec, 2012 8:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marc Blaydoe wrote:
I believe the standard material for kukris made in Nepal is surplus leaf springs from India.


You are at least partially correct. The shop that makes the kukris for Himalayan Imports uses leaf springs with the following preferences reported on the HI website:

First choice -- Mercedes Benz
Second choice (almost never available) --Saab
Third choice -- Japanese cars

Apparently they pick them up from junkyards and find the work hardened nature of the used springs to be beneficial to their forging process. You can read more here: http://www.himalayan-imports.com/kami.html
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Jack Savante





Joined: 01 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Dec, 2012 5:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.livesteelarmor.com/how/warsword.html

A clickable version of the link.
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Ed McV




Location: Ontario,Canada
Joined: 06 Mar 2006

Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri 28 Dec, 2012 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I knew an armourer in Scotland that used the large dia.(6-8 ft.) blades from a sawmill for sword blades. He seemed to make excellent swords.
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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
Joined: 12 Dec 2007

Posts: 164

PostPosted: Fri 28 Dec, 2012 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Of the mystery metals out t here, old springs are probably the safest to make edged weapons from. You cannot, however, expect them to be any one given alloy. Yes, 5160 is often used but so is 9260. Or it could be one of the "simple" steels like 1070, 1080, or 1095 or something close to them. If you use the springs to form the swords from you will have to experiment to arrive at the correct heat treating method. Also be aware that you might run into stress cracks in the springs that will ruin the sword. Once you arrive at the correct heat treatment for that alloy you can use that for all the leafs within that assembly but you cannot assume that it will be the same of leafs not bound in that assembly so don't mix the leafs from different springs.
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