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Leaf Springs And Brake Lines

Discussion in 'Steel, Hardware, & Handle Material' started by ToddR, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. ToddR

    ToddR Active Member

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    Hi all. It's my understanding that springs can be used for knife making. But, it seems, when I look up what specific ones to look for, there's not a lot of reliable or consistent information. Has anybody here used leaf springs to make knives? What types of vehicles, models, year etc. should i be looking for? The guy who runs the local garage is a good guy and has agreed to keep his eyes peeled for me but he asked what specfic types to look for. I also understand that 5/16" is about the thinnest they were made, in general. Any tips on how to think this down or is it simply grinding it out (save on steel, spend on belts : )

    Also, he's willing to give me all the old brake line i want to use as pins/tubes. Do these work well in knives? Anybody done this?

    I'm learning that the initial cost of the tools like the grinder and the bandsaw, while expensive, were not the costs I should've been concerned over. The cost of the consumables is brutal. The steel, pins/tubes, scale material, kydex, eyelets is crazy AND it's on going. Don't even get me going on shipping charges. Anyway, obviously i'm just looking for a way to save money by upcycling materials. Also, there's something cool about taking something going to the dump and making something usable and beatuful .

    As always, thanks for all the help guys. I really do appreciate having a forum where i can get help.
     
  2. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    I am waiting on a call from a manufacturer and the shipping and related charges will be more than the product.

    Any truck leaf spring will be suitable and in the 5160 category or similar spring steel. Basically any newer spring offcuts will be good and the bigger the truck the better. You can do the stock removal process but from a couple people I know who went that route it was long and brutal, having a forge is really the better way as you can take the small offcuts and hammer them out to size and thickness you want.

    The older the spring the more likely it will have small stress fractures that will show up after you have finished the knife and the owner is using it.

    Stainless steel brake line tubing would be best as it will polish up and not rust. you can also pick up kites or old fishing rods at yard sales and use the fiberglass rods as pins.

    large commercial mower blades can be 1080
     
  3. Kevin Cox

    Kevin Cox KC knives

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    This is my personal opinion springs is nice to play with but I find it hard when you spend all that time in making a knife from a old spring then heat treat it and get a hair line crack into it. Time and money wasted now that just my thoughts. For me new steel is the cheapes part of a knife making .
     
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  4. Kevin Cox

    Kevin Cox KC knives

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    [​IMG]
    Steel is cheap I spend 5 to 10 times the price of steel in handles but the steel makes the knife.
    This reminds me of people going out and buying a fancy rifle then putting a cheap scope onto it but everyone does thing different I'm not nocking anyone for the way they do things
     
  5. ToddR

    ToddR Active Member

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    You're probably right. The thing that hurts is shipping. I don't really think that the price of steel is too unreasonable but you pay almost the same again just to ship it. Maybe the problem is that I only buy 3 feet or so at a time. Maybe it's more economical to buy a larger batch, I dunno. I figured if it was all the same spring steel, why not? I really don't want to get into pounding out steel just yet. I have so much practice still to do just grinding. I will try to save by sourcing less expensive alternatives elsewhere.
     
  6. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    If you forge your knives, using reclaimed mystery metal seems to be a rite of passage, or part of a lifestyle (like Hipsters with apple-crate outfitted bicycles). While there's certainly merit to recycling old metal into new knives, it certainly isn't the easy or necessarily less expensive way to go.
     
  7. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Lots of beginners see free steel as a way to save some money and not waste good steel on mistakes. Unfortunately without a portable optical emission spectrometer for metal analysis there is no way to know the composition of the steel, XRF machines will only give you a guess that most people believe to be a indisputable fact.
    Without the composition the step of hardening the steel which is difficult for all beginners to get right particularly in a forge becomes more of a wild ass guess and hopefully close enough so the finished product is useable. Now the people with years of experience and testing of knives who could work out a heat treating schedule that would work well are the ones least likely to be using unknown steel.
     
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  8. Brad

    Brad Active Member

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    I agree with Kevin in this. I do use spring off cuts sometimes. I contacted the manufacturer and got the specs first. For example I have a blade I'm thinking about sticking a 80$ block of wood onto that has less than 10$ of steel in.
     
  9. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Shipping kills from the US. I have always found Canadian Knifemaker supply reasonable for Canada Post rates. I am not buying a truckload at time as I am trying to be lean. I get usually 24" or 36" lengths which do not incur oversize charges. As an example, I'll spend $100 on steel and $18 on freight or so. Not too bad. YMMV depending on your postal code.

    Dan
     
  10. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    I was planning on a purchase of A2 and a couple other types and going for broke, figure getting a year supply in one shot from an American Mill. A2 steel in Canada gets stupid expensive up to $6 per in for 1/4x2 waiting on a call back from the States but the price should be $1.5 per inch.
     
  11. jeff

    jeff New Member

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    mystery metal is fine for learning your knife making skills. Forging grinding and so on but when it comes to heat treating expect the worse. if your serious about making knives then buy the proper steel for the knife your making. use the mystery metal for practice
     

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