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Garrett awalt

Cant tell the difference between a 1095 and 5160 leafspring just looking.

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I have made many knifes before out of 1095 and files so i though i might try making a sword. But when i look for a 5160 spring i cant tell if its 1095 or 5160 or what cars have what type if metal springs in them. If you could tell me what cars have 5160 leaf springs 100% of the time in junk yards for my new sword i would much appreciate it. I dont want to work on then temper and harden a sword only to break it cause it was 1095 not 5160.

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Garrett,

Unless you buy retail steel from a reputable steel supplier you will never know exactly what you have.  Also, salvage yards do not know what kind of steel comes into their businesses.  The best that you can do with scrap steel is to experiment with it and see how it hardens in various quenching media (oil, water, air, brine, etc.) and how it tempers.  If I were to put in the amount of time and effort that it takes to make a decent sword I would first get very familiar with the steel I was going to use.  I would probably make several smaller blades with it and see how it worked and how it held an edge.

Automobile springs can be made out of some very odd alloys which heat treat in odd ways.  I have had springs that would not harden no matter what I did.  They went into the scrap pile.  Life is too short to mess around with exotic alloy scrap.

Also, and I hope you know this and just wrote it backwards, you harden steel first and then temper, not the other way around.

"by hammer and hand all arts do stand."

 

PS As I understand it 1095 and 5160 steels are pretty similar when it comes to blade making.  At the end of the day you might not be able to tell the difference.  And there is no guarantee that a car spring is either type.

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According to my Machinery's Handbook 30th ed, common alloys for coil/leaf springs include:

1095, 4063, 6150, 1085 4063, 4068, 9260, 5150, 5160

Please don't interpret this as a complete list of all the possible alloys. Different manufacturers during different time periods use different alloys and without sending a sample off to a lab you really never know what you have. I think George has the best answer, pick up a few and do some experimentation with it to see if it will suit your needs.

However, if you really want to use 5160, I would source it new from a reputable source. Especially since scrap springs have, generally speaking, undergone high cycle fatigue from numerous loading/unloading cycles. This may, to some degree, compromise the strength of your starting material and therefore your final product.

That being said, people use spring steel for swords and achieve the desired results all the time.

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Some scrap metal places have an XRF (x-ray fluoroscopy) gun that can tell the composition of a piece of metal in a matter of seconds. If you have a good relationship with the folks who run the yard, they may be willing to test a couple of pieces for you.

The problem is that even if you do know what alloy a particular spring might be, many leaf springs have internal microcracks from their lifetime of use, and one of those could easily cause a catastrophic failure in quenching or -- even worse -- in use. Far better to invest in a piece of new stock, where you won't have to worry about a hidden flaw wrecking your entire piece and wasting all the time you've put into forging, grinding, etc.

There's a list of bladesmith suppliers here: https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/31605-supplier-list/

 

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Looks like a case of: "I'm going to spend thousands of dollars worth of time making something; so I don't want to spend $20-$40 to get new metal and so get the best chance of succeeding!" Now if your time is worthless I have a 90' long 4' deep trench that needs to be dug in the NM sun....

As mentioned there is NO guarantee that a car spring will be a certain alloy---even if the OEM spring was 5160---what if the owner of the car had a spring replaced by an outside shop before it was junked?  A manufacturer can change alloys at whim as long as they provide the same properties in use. (Or unless the specification for the vehicle says: 5160 springs---I got my first drivers license back nearly 50 years ago and I have never seen a car ad that said what metal the springs were made from.)

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If you cant afford to buy the new steel at 4$ a Lb to make the sword, then you are not ready to be making swords, the risk of micro fractures will cost you your house in liability

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Welcome aboard Garrett, it also has a lot to do about where in the world you are located. Coil springs in the British Isles or in Russia, China and many other places will be made from different alloys.  Hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show where you are located as many answers depend upon that. Have you read the "Read This First" thread at the top banner?

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