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well,here goes with the questions

Discussion in 'Steel, Hardware, & Handle Material' started by spundj, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. spundj

    spundj New Member

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    Well here goes:
    In my readings, 5160 has interested me
    But being a newb, the question i have is regarding rc hardness,
    is there a specific rc hardness that is optimal for this steel,

    I have a knife with sr101, aka 52100 with whatever voodoo Busse uses
    is sr101 significantly superior , moderately, marginally, or flip a coin , than 52100
    i like this steel a lot but ,3/16 and 5 inches long, not the optimal thing for me,blade shape also not ideal
    i would like to try it at 1/8 ,3-4 inches long, full flat grind. also how would it perform at a lower hardness, say 56/57

    i ve also read about the many merits of 1084 steel,but no mention of edge retention,. if similar to 1095,i have 2 blades with 1095 steel ,one cost 100 dollars the other cost less than 20,the 20 dollar one is better in all aspects
    so how could i draw a conclusion based on that experience

    I dont want to become a knife maker per se , but i want to make a few ,i have bought a few popular and highly touted brand names, and some not so popular(Enzo and Hultafors, the scrapyard knife was a gift),of them,the highly touted are my most disappointing purchases. i guess i`m saying no more ,HYPE based purchases.

    Take a stab at making my own ,closer to what i want than whats available,
    i know i will enjoy the journey of making my own blade,
    i will be doing stock removal,and sending it/them out for heat treat.

    anyway thanks everyone in advance
  2. Rob W

    Rob W Active Member

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    it's to late my friend !! you have the plague and there is simply no turning back !!! welcome to the knife-making madness !!!!
  3. spundj

    spundj New Member

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    Hey , thanks Rob W
    Time will tell, and i`m in no rush lol
  4. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    You're asking some really good questions. A metallurgist could give you really specific information about each steel but from a knifemaker's point of view, it depends on how knives are made and how they're heat treated. Any steel poorly heat treated won't perform well and over-stressing the steel in the making can weaken it.

    With 52100, some makers (Ed Caffrey for one) who use it a lot claim it must be forged to get the best performance from it. They say forging will produce a much finer grain structure than can be achieved with stock removal.

    Ultimately, it comes down to getting used to a particular steel you want to work with.
  5. spundj

    spundj New Member

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    Thank you Mythtaken
  6. Grayzer86

    Grayzer86 Active Member

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    Here is a basic chemical breakdown of the two.

    SR101 and 52100 are virtually the same in chemical makeup.

    C: .98-1.10
    Cr: 1.30-1.60
    Mn: .25-.45
    Ni: .30
    P: .025-.030
    S: .025
    Si: .15-.30
    Cu: .20-.30
    Al: .050

    From what i have heard from several other makers, the typical target sweet spot is 60-61 for a hunter type knife that wont see heavy abuse in 52100. 56-57 may be a bit low for overall edge retention but would help with toughness. From my own reading i have done, 58-59 seems to be a fairly common target for a general use knife as it balances decent edge retention with toughness.

    This is a bit of info from Kevin Cashen, who by most accounts is pretty much a god of metallurgy and an expert on most all heat treating.

    Recommended Working Sequence For 52100

    Forging: Heat to 2100 °F (1150 °C) maximum, and do not forge after temperature of the forging stock has dropped below approximately 1700 °F (925 °C)

    Normalizing: Heat to 1625 °F (885 °C) and cool in still air.

    Annealing: For a predominately spheroidized structure which is generally desired for machining, heat to 1460 °F (795 °C) and cool rapidly to 1380 °F (750 °C), then continue cooling to 1250 °F (675 °C) at a rate not exceeding 10 °F (6 °C) per hour; or as an alternative technique, heat to 1460 °F (795 °C), cool rapidly to 1275 °F (690 °C) and hold for 16 hours.

    Grinding or Machining

    Hardening: Austenitize from 1475°F to 1550 °F (845 °C) and quench in oil. Lower austenitizing temperatures may be used depending upon the previous thermal treatments and resulting carbide conditions. If higher temperatures result in excess carbon in solution, retained austenite can become problematic.

    Tempering: As-quenched hardness as high as 66 HRC. After quenching, parts should be tempered as soon as they have uniformly reached near ambient temperature.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  7. spundj

    spundj New Member

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    thank you grazer 86

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