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Derek Estabrook




Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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Posts: 129

PostPosted: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 6:42 am    Post subject: L6 Flexibility (Without the Anime Magic)         Reply with quote

Once again a curiousity question that I'm hoping will be answered by one the great smiths on the forum who work with the material. First off, I know the material is overhyped, but I do like the material when done by one of my favorite smiths. I wouldn't buy a 01/L6 blade from just anybody any more than I would use a wall hanger for wood chopping. Now, I know that the steel can be made tougher than most blades and most claim superior shock resistance, but I'm wondering whether it meets typical sword flex standards for returning to true. I have seen smiths test for master bladesmith using the material, but that was with long knife standard size and doesn't necessarily reflect its flex with a sword, though it does begin to make the answer lean more favorable without a conclusive result. Now, I'd appreciate it if only smiths who have worked it would answer, since I'm perfectly capable of making conjecture on my own. Not that your input wouldn't be appreciated, but I'd like a little more info from those who know.
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Joel Whitmore




Location: Simmesport, LA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 342

PostPosted: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 12:20 pm    Post subject: Those who know         Reply with quote

I have a sword made of L6 which is heat treated to martensite and not the famous bainite. Perhaps you would do better posting this question on a baldesmith website if you only want smiths to answer.

Joel
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Derek Estabrook




Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 129

PostPosted: Sun 26 Mar, 2006 10:46 am    Post subject: Correction         Reply with quote

My bad. Lets restrict posts then to more skilled responses. Those who have tested the blades, own them and know a little more about them, forged with L6, metallurgists, etc. Not just people guessing though please. Yeah, maybe you're right about the bladesmithing website, but I fiqured this is a pretty good website for info like that. Perhaps you'll share some more about the blade Joel. Tell me about the blade. Even if it doesn't answer my question, I love L6s and would like to hear about it. Well, I just love quality swords in general. Who forged it? What is the major difference between martensite and bainite? I've heard a little bit about it, but unless I can feel the blade in my hand sometimes I can be like a high school student in intro to physics where I can understand the material, but really have a hard time getting into it.
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Joel Whitmore




Location: Simmesport, LA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 342

PostPosted: Sun 26 Mar, 2006 4:43 pm    Post subject: About my balde         Reply with quote

My sword was made by Kevin Cashen. It is made of L6. Martensite and Bainite are different crystaline forms of the steel. These crystaline forms occur depending on how the blade is heat treated. Matrensite is a hard and flexible form of steel. Bainite is very hard and very flexible form of steel. Bainite has been used for some years in industrial parts where extreme flexibility is required. From what I have been able to gather L6 is one of the easier forms of steel to get to form bainite. Making bainite is no secret as any smith will tell you. The knowledge has been around for years. The legendary Howard Clark became mythical when he decided to make katanas out of L6 bainite. These katanas took huge amounts of abuse and held up like champs. Randal Graham took this knowledge and began to heat treat some of his Euro blades to get bainite. Since then L6 bainite has become a sort of "super steel" that everyone seems to long for.

When I had my version of Anduril made by Kevin Cashen, I talked at length about a possible bainite heat treat. Kevin, who is a master bladesmith, explained to me that L6 is a steel that will hold up supremely well when heat treated to martensite. Bainite would be more springy and tougher overall, but how many people would put thier sword to that level of abuse (chopping concrete blocks or bening the blade more than 90 degrees). Kevin also explained to me that he was much more familiar with heat treating to martensite than with bainite. I have had other blades 5160 steel with martensite heat treats take abuse above and beyond the abuse any sword was meant to take.

To answer your initial questions L6 bainite sword blades are very flexible and very tough. The only detrimental thing I have head ( and this is only anecdotal) is that there is some dimished capacity of the L6 bainite to hold an edge. I hope some smiths do chime in on this and correct any mistakes I have made here. I really love my blade and would not trade it for anything in the world. You can probably find posts here by doing a search for Anduril. Hope this helps.

Joel
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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Mar, 2006 6:02 am    Post subject: Re: About my balde         Reply with quote

Joel Whitmore wrote:
My sword was made by Kevin Cashen. It is made of L6. Martensite and Bainite are different crystaline forms of the steel. These crystaline forms occur depending on how the blade is heat treated. Matrensite is a hard and flexible form of steel. Bainite is very hard and very flexible form of steel. ...

Joel


Martensite is not a very flexible form of steel, it's infact the most brittle one, and I think it's never used in swords. Sure, you get martensite structure after the quench, but you have to temper the blade to a more stable steel structure to relieve the stress and get rid of the brittleness.


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Derek Estabrook




Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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Posts: 129

PostPosted: Mon 27 Mar, 2006 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A replica of Anduril? Sounds very cool, especially with Kevin Cashen's name dropped in. I have to search for it now. So your verdict is that L-6 even Bainite still has very good flex. Well, it answers the first question and adds some great material for me to search. Well, about martensite maybe its more of a way of working martensite rather than just the presence of the material. I sincerely doubt Kevin Cashen would produce a brittle blade knowingly.
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Angus Trim




Location: Seattle area
Joined: 26 Aug 2003

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Posts: 870

PostPosted: Mon 27 Mar, 2006 8:26 am    Post subject: Re: About my balde         Reply with quote

Blaz Berlec wrote:
Joel Whitmore wrote:
My sword was made by Kevin Cashen. It is made of L6. Martensite and Bainite are different crystaline forms of the steel. These crystaline forms occur depending on how the blade is heat treated. Matrensite is a hard and flexible form of steel. Bainite is very hard and very flexible form of steel. ...

Joel


Martensite is not a very flexible form of steel, it's infact the most brittle one, and I think it's never used in swords. Sure, you get martensite structure after the quench, but you have to temper the blade to a more stable steel structure to relieve the stress and get rid of the brittleness.


Actually, Blaz, that's not exactly true, partially true yes.......

Martensite at "full hard" is brittle...... But once tempered, martensite can be fairly tough. Not as tough as pearlite, but far, far more flexible......

Two types of martensite to be aware of...... Plate martensite and lath martensite. The higher carbon level steels tend towards plate martensite, lath martensite is generally formed by steels with a carbon level of .6% or less. Under the electronic microscope, tempered lath martensite, and the good bainite crystals are nearly impossible to tell apart......

swords are fun
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Angus Trim




Location: Seattle area
Joined: 26 Aug 2003

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Posts: 870

PostPosted: Mon 27 Mar, 2006 8:34 am    Post subject: Re: L6 Flexibility (Without the Anime Magic)         Reply with quote

Derek Estabrook wrote:
Once again a curiousity question that I'm hoping will be answered by one the great smiths on the forum who work with the material. First off, I know the material is overhyped, but I do like the material when done by one of my favorite smiths. I wouldn't buy a 01/L6 blade from just anybody any more than I would use a wall hanger for wood chopping. Now, I know that the steel can be made tougher than most blades and most claim superior shock resistance, but I'm wondering whether it meets typical sword flex standards for returning to true. I have seen smiths test for master bladesmith using the material, but that was with long knife standard size and doesn't necessarily reflect its flex with a sword, though it does begin to make the answer lean more favorable without a conclusive result. Now, I'd appreciate it if only smiths who have worked it would answer, since I'm perfectly capable of making conjecture on my own. Not that your input wouldn't be appreciated, but I'd like a little more info from those who know.


I'm not a master bladesmith, just a machinist that makes swords......... but I have experimented with L6 {as well as 1065, 1075, 1084, 6150, and 4150}. I don't really have time to write a comprehensive review of the experiment right now, but suffice it to say L6 would make a very good material for AT swords if I could no longer get 5160. Like 5160, the L6 I played with naturally developed tempered lath martensite, making for a very springy blade with good edge holding capabilities..

I didn't do enough of it {sample size to small} to say it would be a better steel for my production purposes, but it would work. I think its real value in the sword world is its versatility for master smiths like Howard Clark and Kevin Cashen. But it would still work for small manufacturers like myself.......

I still prefer 5160............ though that has more to do with availability, cost, and the fact that the heat treating of 5160 for AT blades is pretty well tweaked in now, and there's no need to "fix what ain't broke"..........

swords are fun
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Derek Estabrook




Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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Posts: 129

PostPosted: Tue 28 Mar, 2006 7:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, Angus I think I'll take you at your word. Thanks for the information and I'm happy to hear from someone in the business who I truly respect. I wouldn't want you to change anything, 5160 is a very good material and the only thing I'd want changed is to have a few of your blades on my wall.

For anyone interested, I'm not sure about the policy for posting material from other websites, so heres a link to an article on Martensite.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martensite
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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 4
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Tue 28 Mar, 2006 11:02 am    Post subject: Re: About my balde         Reply with quote

Angus Trim wrote:

Two types of martensite to be aware of...... Plate martensite and lath martensite. The higher carbon level steels tend towards plate martensite, lath martensite is generally formed by steels with a carbon level of .6% or less. Under the electronic microscope, tempered lath martensite, and the good bainite crystals are nearly impossible to tell apart......


I know I oversimplified, and thank you for your clarification. Tempered lath martensite in steels with a carbon level of .6% or less is not really what people imagine at the word "martensite", when they imagine anything at all.

Except blue and orange fishes in an aquarium Happy



(P. S. I have a machinist education, but my knowledge of techical terms in English is very limited).


Extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour
Extant 15th century Milanese armour
Arming doublet of the 15th century
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