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I am making a series of knives using 1095, 1084 and 5160. 

Which blades would, or should, have  the best edge retention.  Please assume the blades all have the same edge geometry, and I am using the same hardening and tempering for all. 

The shop is in the style of around the year 1850. No electricity.

To be specific, after normalizing I heat to non magnetic and let the work soak for a few minutes and then quench in canola oil . After hardening I take the work home and, within 3 or 4 hours, temper it to around 400 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit in my kitchen oven. I'm using separate a type K thermocouple to  indicate the temperature because the oven controls don't indicate the temperature very well.

Any suggestions would also be welcome.

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Using the same heat treat for different alloys usually indicates that the knifemaker doesn't know what they are doing.

Asking about edge retention and not stating how they will be used usually indictes that the knifemaker doesn't understand how edges wear.

I could probably design  tests where each one of those alloys would be best; however if they don't reflect the intended use they would be rather meaningless.

Hi I want a simple answer to a very complex question!

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If you wish to limit your tech level to 1850 in the name of"Tradition?" Then you can't really use any of the steels you list, they didn't exist in 1850 and certainly not 5160, I don't believe 5160 was developed till what the 1940s, later?  

What kind of oil was being used to quench high carbon steel in the 1850s: fish, seal, whale, was mineral oil available in any quantity? Coal oil would be entertaining . . .from a distance. :o

My advice is to learn to make blades in the easiest most successful manner before trying to do it the hard way. If you can find someone willing to teach you cir 1850s: methods, tools and techniques then go for it. However if you're asking for basic information on a public forum I suggest leaning how to do it the easy way first.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Since this belongs in knifemaking HT  I will relocate it.  I recommend reading some of it before proceeding.

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1084 does not need or respond well to soaking, and waiting 4 hours to temper is asking for troubles. 1095 is shallow hardening and does like a short soak, 5160 is deeper hardening and is also different, anymore is a repeat of what I already posted in the heat treating sticky, 

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