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Thread: Best steel for machetes? O1, D2, simple carbon steels?

  1. #1

    Best steel for machetes? O1, D2, simple carbon steels?


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    Hi everyone, what are your thoughts regarding steel for custom machete's? What is a good steel for this application?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    1055, 1075, 1095, 5160. Spring steels, in general, are a good choice due to the length, thin stock, and high impact that machetes are subjected to.


    Baryonyx Knife Co. ~Condors, Moras, Deluxe Tramontinas, and More!

    "To live at all is miracle enough."
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  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply, So simple steels are preferred? How about O1 and S7? Do these steels make good machete blades?

  4. #4
    As long as the machete has an RC of around the low 50's you ought to be fine, I'm thinking. I don't know of any machetes using O1 or S7, but that doesn't mean they don't exist!


    Baryonyx Knife Co. ~Condors, Moras, Deluxe Tramontinas, and More!

    "To live at all is miracle enough."
    — Mervyn Peake

  5. #5
    I wonder if RC is more important than the type of steel(within reason).

  6. #6
    RC is not more important than the steel type...but the heat treatment as a whole is the single most important aspect with regards to non-design-related performance. A spring temper on a particular steel will vary from steel type to steel type, but as I understand it (and I could be way off the mark--I'm no expert metallurgist!) the low 50's tends to be the "zone." I know, at the very least, that's what most machetes are heat treated to.


    Baryonyx Knife Co. ~Condors, Moras, Deluxe Tramontinas, and More!

    "To live at all is miracle enough."
    — Mervyn Peake

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Machetes are generally viewed as low cost, general purpose choppers. To me, toughness is more important than edge retention. This leads to simple alloys with medium carbon content. Low hardness does not always mean good toughness though. For steels like 4140, there is a peak in toughness when tempered in the low to mid 400 F range. Above that, toughness drops and doesn't regain the losses until tempered above 600 F or 700 F.

    I'd maybe choose S7 for a custom, since 1055-1075 are used in many production machetes. O1 will work if that's all you have, though I think it really shines as a thin slicing knife steel. I personally would stay away from D2, but many Kershaw Outcast users are happy with it.

  8. #8
    The 1055-95 steels are all great, and definantly worth their price but if ur making a homemade blade your probably gnna want to use a less common steel, I'd go with 5160. It's practically just as strong and tough as 1095-75, and it doesn't rust as easily. I think it's little pricier though

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    NY state
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    If you go down to the jungle where they are very common [yes Jungle not rain forest ! ] the standard equipment is a machete and a file . That's all they used for sharpening . You needed some toughness and easy to sharpen . 5160 is one of the better choices ,1075 also a good one..1095 is not a good choice niether is and high alloyed steel .

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    160
    My personal machete is 5160 differentially tempered. With a 58rc edge and a 48 spine... no reason for a machete not to have good edge retention.

    As FortyTwoBlades already said the heat treat is more important than the steel type but my two favorites for hard use bladed are 5160 and any high nickel alloy (L6/15n20/25xx).

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by npk View Post
    What is a good steel for this application?
    Thanks in advance.
    Honestly? The steel they make 10 buck Trams out of.

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