Formerly the steel used for car leaf springs, 5160 is a classic, excellent knife steel that is considered a good starting point for many beginners and was the original suggested choice for American Bladesmith Society Journeyman performance test blades before more options became available to the community.
Unfortunately, the automotive industry has evolved so much in the last 60 years that there’s no longer any guarantee that leaf or coil springs are made from it anymore, which (among other reasons) makes trying to use reclaimed car springs a gamble, and why we’ve made supply it a priority since we began.
Over the last 40 years especially, many cutting competition choppers have been made out of it as 5160 is a medium-carbon deep hardening steel that is relatively easy to forge, heat treat, grind and finish that offers excellent toughness and durability, an ideal combination for larger blade projects and why, to this day, many production, functional swords, and choppers are made from it.
NJSB, LLC; is proud to carry on this tradition by supplying it in a blade friendly formula and “as processed” finish.
Our own stock is produced to industry standards and geared for the entire range of blades that makers can choose, regardless of their experience.
With a good heat treatment and edge geometry, 5160 continues to surprise makers with its dependability and versatility.
All our efforts mean one thing: makers can have ready access to this wonderful steel without having to worry sourcing it from salvage depots and the associated risks of trying to use recycled materials such as stress fractures or guessing the exact steel composition to accurately heat treat.
We suggest using a slightly slower quench oil, such as Heatbath AAA, McMaster-carr 11-second, or Houghton K so that the steel can fully convert to martensite and provide optimum working hardness after tempering