L6 steel for knives

Oct 20, 2000
This is actually a follow up post. A friend who has a bunch of old 2 man cross cut saws suggested making some knives from them. I told him I thought the steel was L6 (I'd read that somewhere)but didn't even recall the recipe. However, according to some of you forumites, the stuff was supposed to be really good. I played along and sketched out a knife shape patterned loosely after my Wegner jr. The next day he plunked this thing on my desk. He'd cut it out with a dremmel tool, taking care not to screw up the temper. He relieved the handle to reduce weight, blued it like a gun, and wrapped the grip with black cord. His grind was a little crude so I took it home and sharpened it. It's an austere tool in the exteme, and rather sinister looking, but it's comfortable in the hand, light, can be sharpened like a razor, and it cuts like crazy. I did a number on a bunch of cardboard boxes and it holds and edge in the ballpark with the ATS-34 blade on my Wegner. While L6 makes a wonderful blade, this certainly revealed why stainless is so widely used on modern knives. The stuff rusts if you even look at it. I thought it an interesting steel comparison though.
Here is a hunter that I made out of L6 4years ago. This knife has been used to gut and dress 7 deer and numerous pheasent and squirrel. I have never had a problem with rust as long as I clean it right away afterwords. It is also from a saw blade.

I was able to get a hardness of 57Rc. Not bad seeing as I did it in my oven. This edge holds up and is easy to sharpen. The blade is differentially hardened....hard edge, soft back.

All-in all, not bad for my first shot at knifemaking.


[This message has been edited by remster135 (edited 11-22-2000).]