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Thread: 5160 vs. L6 vs. S7 Tool Steel

  1. #1
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    Question 5160 vs. L6 vs. S7 Tool Steel


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    Which one is tougher?

    Which one takes a better edge?

    Which one cuts longer?

    The intended application is a 7 to 8 inch camp knife. I'm kinda leaning towards 5160 (differentialli quenched) as this is what a lot of people have used in the past. However, I'm curious as to L6 and S7's properties.

    Which one would you choose and why? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    On paper, S7 is the toughest, then probably L6. I've never seen impact test data for 5160, so I can only make an uneducated guess.
    Judging by carbon content alone, I would guess the L6 would cut longer.
    The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has gone.

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  3. #3
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    S5 is both harder and tougher than S7, but it is an oil hardening steel and you can usually only find it in round bar. You might find a source for 9260 flat stock, which is S5 with less alloy. 5160, L6, and S5 can all easily reach 60 Rc, but that's pushing it for S7. I would be as interested as anyone else in edge retention comparisons between 5160, L6, and others. The bottom line is, though, use the one that is easiest to get or work with, because all have successfully been used in choppers.

  4. #4
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    I agree that either 5160 or L-6 will work for you....I use mostly 5160 on everthing,but if I had a source for L-6 as available as my 5160 I would it allot more also.I have never used S7 so I cannot compare it to the others.
    Bruce

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larrin View Post
    S5 is both harder and tougher than S7, but it is an oil hardening steel and you can usually only find it in round bar. You might find a source for 9260 flat stock, which is S5 with less alloy. 5160, L6, and S5 can all easily reach 60 Rc, but that's pushing it for S7. I would be as interested as anyone else in edge retention comparisons between 5160, L6, and others. The bottom line is, though, use the one that is easiest to get or work with, because all have successfully been used in choppers.
    The 1 X 1/4 "5160' that Admiral sells is actually 9260 in that size only.

  6. #6
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    Check out the 8670M form Admirals(listed as L6 on the web page, but they have it correct on the PDF you can order from) It will make a great chopper, and does not have the air hardening troubles that L6 can. Much easier to soften for grinding and drilling.

    Ken Nelson

  7. #7
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    My choice would be L6. 5160 is tough but in my experience L6 will hold an edge longer and is also very, very tough. I have no use for S7.
    Don
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunfishman View Post
    My choice would be L6. 5160 is tough but in my experience L6 will hold an edge longer and is also very, very tough. I have no use for S7.
    I like the way Don is thinking on this issue. L6 is one of my favorite steels.


    At one point, my life was meaningless. Hobos spit on me and little children would run up and punch me in the groin.

  9. #9
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    I have to agree that L-6 is a better edge holding steel than 5160.I just use 5160 most because I have 1500 pounds of it,not much need in anymore steel for a long time L-6 would be my first choice otherwise.

    Bruce

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the replies! It's been really informative.

    Looks like L6 would be the way to go, however I can't find any L6 in flat bar stock. I'm currently using stock removal to make knives, so I can't forge down any round bar.

    I'm going to try some 5160, and when I finally get a place where I can forge, I'll try some L6.

    Thanks again for the replies!

  11. #11
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    Has anyone used 8670M form Admiral Steel? How does it compare to other L-6's?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry_Dodson View Post
    Has anyone used 8670M form Admiral Steel? How does it compare to other L-6's?
    After making several test blades from 8670, I've decided not to use it for a knife all by itself, but I think it's great for mixing with 1084, 1095, or W2 in damascus.
    The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price has gone.

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  13. #13
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    I believe that L6 will hold a better edge than 5160. But I like using 52100, 1095, myself but that's me. It's all in the maker hand at the end of the job.

    Barkes
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