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best steel for axe/tomahawk

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by dusty1847, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. dusty1847


    Mar 20, 2009
    I need to know a good steel to make an axe or tomahawk out of. It needs to be tough and keep an edge. Not looking for any knid of brittle steel.
  2. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    5160 or 1060 would work great. A lot of commercial axes are made in these steels but unfortunately they tend to be heat treated on the soft side.

    The very toughest of all steels that can hold an edge is S5, if you can find some.
  3. wnease


    Apr 22, 2004
    mmmmm S5, just wish I could find some in this country that wasn't round
  4. 1066vik

    1066vik Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    4140 is a nice, tough steel, too.
  5. Kentucky


    Dec 13, 2008
    If I had my rathers 5160 or 6150..1050-1060 is good, 1045 is pretty good to. We use damascus scraps and file steel(1095+carbon added %1.22) for the bit often times and the body mild steel.. The temper is really the important thing. Axes and hawks were traditionally made with softer bodys and hard steel bits. That was because steel was so scarce though..
  6. dusty1847


    Mar 20, 2009
    what about tool steels?
  7. Ookami


    Mar 28, 2003
    Don't even go there. :eek:

    What the others said: either spring steel or Mild steel body with high carbon steel edge.

  8. Kentucky


    Dec 13, 2008
    Well you could, but when you buy tool steel or try to draw out a 2 pound chunck of tool steel by hand you will likely change your mind :D We made about 18 tools out of S7 for a customer once, and once is all Ill ever do it :D
  9. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    LOL, I was going to say you could try S7 -- heck of a workout.

    I'd just like to find a good maker that will make one to order from 5160.
  10. petah


    Jul 22, 2008
    Craig Barr. Shoot him an email and if he feels like making it he will.
  11. AfterTFD


    Oct 28, 2007
    If the head is to be forged by hand something like 1055 or 1085/4 (or what everyone else has mentioned) is a good choice.

    A super-awesome-asses-are-kicked tool steel isn't exactly the easiest thing to shape by fire and hammer.

    As for brittleness the heat treatment is far more important than the specific steel used. Any maker can take any normal boring steel and make it either brittle like glass or too soft to have an edge worth anything.
  12. omniviking


    Feb 9, 2008
    Gee Axes is tools
  13. wnease


    Apr 22, 2004
    agreed, tool steels for tools, spring steel for springs... er, but if 5$ a lb is a bit much for s7 5160 does make a decent blade

    sometimes you can get off cuts of a2 for 1$ per lb in axe head sizes not nearly as tough as s7 (which, just as a reminder, is not nearly as tough as S5) but with well designed geometry will probably do what yo need

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