I was given some 6150 that a friend of mine bought at Batson's symposium this year.It works nice but I believe that the carbon content is different in it than 5160,If I am correct you look at the last 2 numbers to see what the carbon content is and the first to numbers are the code for the other elements.Wayne Goddard should be able to help you out on the annalyses of the 6150,just email him,Or it may be in his Books,
------------------ Bruce Evans Handcrafted Knives
The soul of the Knife begins in the Fire!!!!!
Member of,AKTI#A000223 and The American Bladesmith Society
According to a table in Wayne Goddards book,
the steels that start with a 5, i.e. 5160,52100, are chromium steels, steels that start with 6, like 6150, are chromium vanadium steels. In the book Wayne also mentions using 6150 for the first time, and said he thought it was 5160, but it was much harder to forge and finish, and it came out after the heat treat a diffent color than 5160. He mentions it was used for heavy truck springs,
Goddard: "If a truck spring seems extra hard to work and showns a temper line when hardened it may be 6150 Chrome/Vanadium steel."
So 6150 is close to 5160 but has a touch of Vanadium, I guess to help refine the grain structure during heat treat. So 6150 should be pretty close to a touch better stuff than 5160. (I'm no maker, just a student and collector).
L6 is supposed to be a touch sumbitch, and I'd have to guess that's from the nickel content.
Well, here is from a Jim Hrisoulas book:
"Nickel increases toughness and strengthens the steel, but is ineffective in increasing hardness."
"Vanadium retards grain growth of steel even after long exposures at high temperatures. It also helps to control grain structures during heat treating. Usually present in small quantities of 0.15% to 0.20%. Tool steels that contain this element usually absorb shock better than those that don't."
More from Hrisoulas, condensed:
5160: wear resistance = high-medium
toughness = high
L6: wear resistance = medium
toughness = very high
Hope that helps some to frame this up a bit. Sounds to me like 6150 should better 5160 in all regards by a small margin... same or better edge holding, a bit better grain structure, a bit tougher maybe.
[This message has been edited by rdangerer (edited 06-06-2001).]
I REALLY APPRECIATE ALL THAT INFO AND IT SEEMS MY THOUGHT WERE IN THE SAME DIRECTION. I HAVE BEEN LEARNING L-6 FOR 2 YEARS, NORMALIZING, ANNEALING, AND GRINDING. YES, IT IS A SON OF A GUN TO GRIND AND PUT SOME KIND OF DECENT POLISH ON YOUR WORK. I'M WONDERING IF 6150 MIGHT BE EASIER TO POLISH AND BUFF, FOR A BETTER FINISH THAN L-6. HAS ANYONE TAKEN THIS STEEL THAT FAR?
At .5% carbon it will be quite a bit softer than 5160 and a lot softer than L6 if they're all fully hardened. The spec sheet says that 6150 tops out at 59 HRC at minimum tempering temp (300 deg F). 5160 gets about two points harder than that at that temp and L6 gets 4-5 points harder. 59 is soft in my book, but I mostly make kitchen knives. It sounds like it would make a great camp knife, chopper, hard-use belt knife, etc, but probably not the best skinner or chef. Wear resistance is highly correlated to hardness, so it won't have better wear resistance than L6 unless they're both at the same hardness, and honestly they'd be pretty darn close to each other. Because L6 is so tough I run it several points harder than I would do some other steels I use without danger of chipping- that right there makes it a pretty freaking good steel with good wear resistance.