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Pros and Cons for 1095? vs 5160? Cores in San Mai


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I have tried searching but no luck. I know from my search that when using wrought iron or mild steel on the outside carbon will migrate from the high carbon core to the areas of lower carbon. 1095 seemed to be the most commonly used core, but other than the high carbon content and the material being readily available at a very low cost in the form of old files, I couldn’t find much to inform me why it might be preferred over something like 5160. 
 

l have many old files to play around with as well as several leaf springs from some sort of large Ford truck and a small pile of leaf springs from small utility trailers (small as in like what you would use to haul a golf cart). I also have 4 or 5 used coil springs from some unknown vehicle types.

I know from past reading it is best to use known steels, and used springs could have stress fracture, but I have them and am not selling knives. Something which behaves like 1095 or 5160 for my purposes now is just as good as known 1095 or 5160. 
 

Does 1095 tend to crack or warp during heat treatment more or less than 5160?  Is one easier to forge weld to WI more than the other.

Is there a table which shows which cores are best suited for use with WI or other different types of steel?

Thank you,

Don

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assuming equal parts of steels like 1/2 inch steel in middle and 1/4 inch on the sides in the mix,  and a perfect world, 5160 - 60  WI = 10

60 +10 = 7/2 = 35 points of carbon, which is barely hardenable due to carbon migration.

95 +10 =  105/2 = 52.5  points of carbon, a much better content

 

now its not a perfect world and you will lose carbon to the air while forging, so your final numbers will be lower, its your call

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Don, one thing to keep in mind is carbon migration. The the carbon from the 1095 will migrate into wrought iron and you will loose some of the benefits of it. You won’t have that problem with 5160, the chrome and manganese can mitigate easily at all. On the other hand, 5160 can be harder to get a good forge weld, due to the chrome.  
Personally, I had a lot of weld issues making hawks with 5160 bit, then switched to 1095 and my problems were gone and I don’t really need a really are but for a hawk. (Of course if your using files the carbon content if probably closer to 1.2%)

Just my limited experience, hopefully Steve will jump in to give advice for an experts standpoint.

David

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Steve, looks like we were posting at the same time.

One question, with alloys like 5160 how much of the hardness is from the chrome and manganese? (I do have some 5140. I could do some testing with, but right now I’m stuck. Burn ban went into effect yesterday, and my forge is outside. Working on getting a new garage/forge built...but that’s a story for another day.)

David

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Thanks to both of you. 
 

it only just now occurs to me you may have covered this in your book, Steve. I will pull them out again. When I bought them I didn’t think I would ever be trying this and would have just skimmed over it if it were there. 

 

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The basic method is to weld a layer of a carbon migration barrier between the HC and LC; pure nickel is one I I know of; some of the stainless will work too but the flux to weld them with is quite toxic if you breathe the fumes.

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