5160 steel

Please,.has anyone ever quenched 5160 in water,..and if so are thin cross-sections likely to crack?

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Never have, but heard that it does.
Is it "like 5160" or "real 5160"? In other words is it -used- automotive springs/anitsway bars?
Thin sections? Heck you're going the wrong way (you prob'ly knew that tho?).
With thin sections (~.032") of 1095 I quench them in -quenching oil- and get full harness with less warping and no cracking than when I queched those thin suckers in water or brine.
I got my quenching oil from Brownell's. If you're serious, you can do better than that. A commercial oil distibutor sells it to the local spring shop/s.
You have to be pushy... the silly suckers that answer the phone don't know what quenching-oil is, is what I found after calling ~20 outfits in Phoenix.
ATF (automatic transmission fluid) is what I used early-on, not only will it smoke to beat heck and the smoke can catch fire (with you in it if you're standing in the smoke) but the "real" quenching oil does a better job. That's my experience anyway.
So what's going on? What are you doing/making etc?
Alvin in AZ
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thanks for the reply!I reckon it is real 5160,..used late model truck springs.Ive been forging kinves from some of it.I had been doing a differential hardening in plain jane veg oil,getting a nice hamon too.But a big bowie i forged out and finished as a kind of "test bed" doesn't seem to be as hard as i'd like.Not as tough as i've heard "5160" is supposed to be either.Nothing tests knives as brutaly as giving them to a 14 year old nephew. Reckon these sprigs arn't true 5160?When i can fire my forge again ill try a scraphunk in a water quench.i dove to stick with waterif i could.Being in suburbia,huge smoke plumes and noxious clouds arn't an option.
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Hamma Head wrote:

Ok -
I looked it up in my phone book size "Metals Handbook" by ASM.
Page 156 has 5160..
The top columns Tensile strength in Mpa and ksi Yield strength Mpa and ksi Elongation in 50 mm % Reduction in area % Hardness HB
5160 Nonnalizedat 855 C(1575 F)         1025 149     650 94         18.2     50.7     285 Annealed at 8]5 C (1495 F)         724 105     275 40         17.2     30.6     197 Oil quenched from 830C (1525 F)     1145 166     1005 146     14.5     45.7     341 and tempered at 540 C (1000 F)
Might try corn oil - every one will think french fries...maybe burning.
Martin
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Martin Eastburn
@ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net
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Cool I have one too. :) But mine don't have page numbers tho. :/
Mine's copyright 1985 bought it through Enco.
Do you see a "1.22% carbon steel" listing there somewhere?
I've never found a name or number label for that steel just the "1.22% carbon steel" discription.

That might be worth a try. :)
Becareful of the smoke tho it can catch fire.
"don't stand in the smoke" -alvin
I've always had a good lid for my quenching oil just because. But back when I used ATF I used the lid to smuther the fire a few times too.
Alvin in AZ
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snipped-for-privacy@XX.com wrote:

The better oil that is used in Kitchens is Peanut - it is very high temp before smoking. 600 F around that.
Gallons of oils like these can be had at Costco and other volume places. Might be better if it were used - e.g. not known to harm people to begin with.
Martin
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Martin Eastburn
@ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net
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when i quench in vegetable oil it almost always catches fire,..just smokes a little.The fire seems to keep the smoke down to a minimum.I've had people suggest quenching in transmission fluid before,..and the smoke from that might be a bit much for where im forging at.Likely not very good for your lungs either. The fire isn't a problem because i use old military ammo boxes for quench tanks,air tight and once the lids sealed it will keep ants and bugs out of your oil.Easy to move too,once the lid's dogged down.
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Hamma Head wrote:

Don't use ATF, or old crankcase drainings. Auto petro products have all kinds of narsty stuff in them that can contaminate the steel at quench temp, mainly lithium based soaps used for anti-foaming characteristics. This is high temp chemistry here. Why do you think it's labeled Detergent motor Oil? Any oil will flash a bit when you shove red hot steel into it. It usually goes out when the piece is totally immersed, removing two of the three legs of the fire triangle; ignition source and heat. It's the vapors that flash, not the liquid. .
Charly
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How big?

Nasty stuff for you and me but somehow don't think it'll effect the steel. But all I'm going on is that pattern welded knife makers claim there is no effect from borax as a flux. If either is true, then...

Yeah what Charly said.
Also, real quenching oil has additives to modify the quench rate and reduce smoke (a bunch) but still the trick is to be able to submerge all the "hot part" including the tongs if they got "hot" too. I've had my "real quenching oil" burning like it has a candle in the middle of the pool. :) Kind of weird looking but harmless. Not anything like what I had back when I used ATF. That ATF stuff is a bad idea really.
Quenching big stuff? ...you need a big quench tank.
Real quenching oil has another quality I forget to mention... longevity! It's designed to not have to be changed out as often for industrial production work. At this time I figure the dangged stuff will out-last me. ;)
With a preliminary grinding job down to ~1/32" thick on 1095 I've had better luck with my real quenching oil than with ATF or water or brine. YMMV.
Alvin in AZ
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For sure don't count on it being anything other than a "low alloy medium carbon steel". "5160" is a good enough name for it tho.
There's hundreds of alloys used for that and over a dozen that are common, they experiment all the time it seems.
As far as you and me we prob'ly can't tell the difference in most of them. :/ But 6150 has been talked about being very different acting under the hammer becuase of the V content.
I'm a knife grinder-outer and heat treat is all and amateur high carbon steel metallurgist.
Since I had to look it up to spell it... ;) Websters... 2: one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime [hobby in my case :] rather than as a profession
The book I read about automotive springs made a big deal about the inside and the outside of the spring being the same hardness so the whole spring will work together. Otherwise it'll fail, quick.
So the alloying is mostly for "hardening ability" the ability to harden deep enough for the job. There are lots of reasons to add alloying but their first concern was the get 1 hrc hardness (or less)difference through out.
Thicker springs need more Cr and/or Mo. Thinner ones don't need so why pay for it? ;)
Mn isn't a top choice for this job since it isn't as good of a grain refiner. Funny what a great alloying agent Cr is! :) (just so long as it doesn't get over about 5% Cr)

yeah that's the way to do it! :) try it and tell -us- about it. :)
I call it "hobby talk" there can't be too much of that IMO. :)
http://www.admiralsteel.com (?)
Has some 52100 and L6 I want to get, they also have some honest to goodness 5160 too. ;)
As far as strong knife stuff L6 is the way to go IMO.
Old circular saw blades and bandsaw blades were L6 (4370) but since the 50's they've been 8670-modified.
Alvin in AZ ps- "if you don't sound kooky when you talk about your hobby to outsiders, you ain't into very far"
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I wouldn't bet on the material untill you've worked and quenched it alongside a known sample. I think 5160 is a catchall for scrap spring material based on my own experiences. I've got some new stock 5160 and it's different than the scrap stuff that I was making assumptions about. Not a lot but different. I've been told you can get away with water quenching if you did everything just right up to that point. Normalize the hell out of it to reduce the grain size and hardenability. But why take chances. Mineral oil by the gallon from the feed stores is not very expensive and will not flame much and has almost no smoke. What more could you ask for? I've quenched short swords in the stuff without burning any oil to speak of.
You want tough 5160? Quench it two or three times (after you have done repeated normalizations of course). This will refine your grain considerably. Presumably it will make for a harder material too but I'm not ready to claim this part as first hand knowledge. I will vouch for the grain though.
GA
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If it were me, I'd quench almost any steel in oil if it was a thin piece.

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Hamma Head wrote:

Yes. I have a knife blade that I keep to remind me about 5160 and water... little radial cracks about one thickness apart. It tore itself apart in the water tank. I get good repeatable results from Veterinary grade mineral oil, full hard is about Rc 60-62. It comes in gallons at the Feed & Seed. I never really got a hard hamon, more of a change in luster. 5160 is a deep-hardening steel, so it's more predictable if you go with homogenous heat treatment.
Charly (who has seen a fair amount of 5160, about a truckload by now)
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Thanks for the reply!Using mineral oil as a qunchant is something i hadn't considered.Guess theres no substitute for experience!
Also,..when i said i had a "good hamon",..i reckon i should have mentioned that i got a hamon that showed up only really well (un-etched) after using a sharp-cutting abrasive,like synthetic water-stones to polish the blade. These springs are funny steel,..but ive got lots of it,mater of fact i refuse to buy steel.Theres just way too much laying around wanting to be made into something.Last summer i scored a 4 foot section of old railroad rail marked "usa" and "1916".Dunno what it is,..but it hardens in oil like a champ and throws sparks like 1095 on a grinder. I appreciate all the help and advice!
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How does that stuff compare to ATF? :)

Railroad rail is about 1080 (like a cold chisel) unless there is something odd about it for strength or extra wear resistance.
The trick there is they have to weigh the difference between rail wear and wheel wear.
A careful spark test using "known samples" will tell you the carbon content close enough.
Enderes chisels and punches etc = 1078 (they told me so in a letter:)
Most files are 1.22% carbon steel and some (one out of ten?) are something higher. (I had 66 of 'em;) All the hoof rasps seem to be about 1080 (1084?) even one that had an extra high carbon case on it, the core is still about 1080. Got about a dozen of those. ;) But those numbers are just my old junk... all my friend's files and rasps have grinding marks on them too. LOL :)
I had a hell of a time seeing it once it gets above 1%C tho. A for-sure known sample makes all the difference.
Wayne Goddard's $50 knifeshop book has a mistake in it because me and Howard Clark couldn't see enough of a difference between 1095 and what turned out to be "1.22% carbon steel". :/
Sorry 'bout that WG. :/
http://www.panix.com/~alvinj/testsamples.htm
Alvin in AZ (retired RR signal-ape) ps- where you at HH?
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Howdy,Alvin. Im not sure how that mineral oil will work,..its something Charley suggested.It sounds right thought,..something between water and oil in viscosity. I reckon your right about those old springs varying in alloy.Thats why i like 1095 for knives,..hardness from carbon without Chrome hocus-pocus.Even the "official" carbon content in 5160 doesn't look right to my eyes.But the final measure is the result.I did have some old leaf springs a local boy dug up from about two feet under his back yard,.i reckon they had been there at least 40 years,which worked and acted just like a plain high-carbon steel. One of the most fun things about fooling around with hot steel is getting to experiment and learn. I'm in southern Oklahoma,..right down the road from Jantz. last week i bought a pair of c-clamps for my drill-press(nothing like a knife whizzing around at 1700 rpm to get your attention...i was lucky it only cut me once!).On the package for those clamps ,they claim the body is made of"ductile/malleable iron".I wonder if this is true wrought iron?I had thought they had stopped making that in the late 60's.If i wasn't so cheap id just pop that sucka in the forge and see.Five bucks is five bucks! I've e-mailed the manufacturer,..but haven't received a reply yet.
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On Tue, 16 Aug 2005 19:45:32 -0500, Hamma snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Hamma Head) wrote:

Could this be what they are referring to? This info is from the Lee Valley web pages. (articles/woodworking/about tools/ductile cast iron)
Ductile Cast Iron
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The product write-ups for every member of our plane family boast that the bodies are made of ductile cast iron.
In developing our new line of planes, we analyzed a wide range of planes made in the last 150 years. We wanted to incorporate the advantages of modern metallurgy with all the lessons we learned from the planes that never made it to market. First in the line of ductile cast iron products were our Veritas Chisel Plane and our Veritas Low-Angle Block Plane. Now that our plane family has grown substantially since the fall of 1999, we thought we should tell you a bit more about ductile cast iron. All cast iron alloys contain graphite. The shape in which the graphite particles are found, ranging from flake to spherical, plays a significant role in determining the mechanical properties of cast irons. The most familiar type of cast iron is gray iron; as such, the terms "cast iron" and "gray iron" are quite often used interchangeably. The flake-like shape of the graphite present in gray iron can concentrate stress and actually promote crack propagation. Simply put, gray cast iron is brittle, and this inability to absorb shock is why a bench plane cast from gray iron often cracks when it is dropped onto the shop floor. Back in the early 1940s, at the International Nickel Company (INCO) Research Laboratory in Bayonne, New Jersey, the task of creating a better cast iron was assigned to a man by the name of Keith Dwight Millis. Having researched various possibilities, Mr. Millis approached one of his superiors, Mr. Norman Pilling, with a list of elements that showed promise. Upon seeing the list, Mr. Pillings first instincts were to refute some items on that list. Then, it occurred to him that sometimes we have to learn the hard way; he let Mr. Millis proceed with the experiment at his own risk, mind you. So despite the warnings that this would be a very hazardous operation, Millis went ahead and added magnesium (as a copper-magnesium alloy) to cast iron. Millis discovered that the graphite in the resultant solidified castings was present in a ball-like form instead of flakes, as in ordinary gray cast iron. It turns out that this was an extraordinary finding.
What does that mean to the woodworker? The spherical graphite particles found in ductile cast iron, which is also known as nodular iron, do not cause stress concentrations and actually inhibit crack formation, creating an alloy with great strength and considerable ductility. Furthermore, ductile cast iron is not subject to the same creep and tension relief as gray iron, so it retains its factory-machined accuracy. Its toughness is halfway between that of gray iron and steel, and its shock resistance is comparable to ordinary grades of mild carbon steel. This means your Veritas plane will survive a fall from the bench without breaking and without becoming untrue because the shock relieved some inherent tension, as will happen with gray cast iron.
T.R.S. 02/04
Live forever or die trying.
WhenTheWifeLetsMe
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<snipped cool post, thanks :>

From John Neely's Practical Metallurgy... [starting with number 2... ;]
2. Grey Cast Iron. Much of the carbon is in the form of graphite. Other microstructures are pearlite [railroad rail] and ferrite [pure iron].
1. White Cast Iron. Most of the carbon is in the combined form of cemetite (iron carbide). This is a very hard, brittle material that often contains pearlite grains. It is essentally unweldable. [high manganese vs high silicon content of grey cast iron, is the main difference between #1 and #2:]
3. Alloy Cast Iron. This is cast iron to which alloys have been added to enhance certain characteristics, for example, an addition of nickel to retain austenite [non-magnetic iron].
4. Nodular or Ductile Cast Iron. The carbon is mostly in the form of spheroids and is produced during solidification by inoculating the cast iron with an element such as magnesium while it is still in the ladle.
5. Malleable Cast Iron. The carbon in malleable cast iron is also in the form of graphite spheroids but is formed as a result of lengthy heat treatment of white cast iron at high temperatures.
--------------------
There are many sub-catagories to these too... I don't really understand it all that good. :/
Anyway, ductile/nodular cast iron and malleable cast iron are two different animals. ;)
Bronze and brass are supposed to be certain alloys, but the sales departments of the producers of those alloys call them whatever they want (whatever seems to sell best?).
Same with cast iron, so just because it has it printed right on it that it's a certain thing, don't believe it ok? :)
I'm really only into high-carbon and tool steels as they pertain to knife blades and springs. The only reason I know anything about a bunch of this other stuff was from studying up to answer a question.
Like this one gave me the reason to study somemore just to get that "cast iron crap;)" more straight in my mind.
Alvin in AZ
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Thanks for the info,Alvin.In any event if one of thse clamps breaks ill see what it does when hot.
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Hamma Head wrote:

Damn son, you're right down the road from me; I'm in OKC. Email me direct, we'll get together.
Charly
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