5160 steel plane iron
I've just forged a 5160 https://tradocnews.org/5160-steel/ plane iron for a round bottom plane for making bucket stave's. I'll be cutting Cedar. This steel is much softer than others I've used for tool making, O1, H13, S7, D2 and A2.

I've got all the heat treating and tempering ovens with temp monitoring and control. This (5160) is a very forgiving steel and the iron is 3/8" (9.525mm) at the thickest end. The edge is ground in an arc with a 9" (228.6mm).

I've heat treated several test pieces quenched in Water, heated salt water (super saturated) and Texaco quench Tex 70 Oil. And 3 tempers from full hard RC 56-60 to medium hard RC40

With the rounded blade I want easy tune up of the edge. All the other steels I've used had very detailed tempering guides for hardness vs temp and time.

This is spring steel so detailed info has eluded me.

Has any one here made wood cutting tools from this alloy, and what worked best in your experience for soft woods? Maybe just use O1???


Last edited by Holand Legis on Sat 24 Aug, 2019 8:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
Hi Holand,

Not sure if this information will be any help, but just in case...
I use a close equivalent to 5160 for forging sword blades, and I know it to be definitely an oil-quenching steel.
The edge-holding qualities in my case are not quite the same. I make blunted HEMA weapons, heat-treated to around 50-52 RockwellC by another craftsman. Edges usually get slight dings and chips, but burrs are easily taken out with a file or coarse abrasive paper.
5160 is great for large blades, but it seems like an odd choice for a woodworking tool. I think you would want to temper at a relatively low temperature to get the most hardness out of it. You might find this article useful: https://knifesteelnerds.com/2019/04/01/how-to-heat-treat-5160/

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