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  1. #1
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    Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    Err, sorry 'bout the question, but I've searched for ages, and I don't think I've seen one answer to this ... so maybe there isn't one answer. I hope I've kinda understood at least some of the principles here, and that the question isn't a load of old ill-informed, badly thought through rubbish.

    I'm not far off starting this forging malarkey at home, I'll be using bits of mild steel to get the feel for shaping of steel, but not for tool use.

    I'll be grinding with hand tools (or maybe the disk-cutter), and having read lots of 'starting to forge' threads, 5160 or EN45 looks very much the way to go for tool use, but is 5160 and EN45 the same material ?

    I think that vegatable oil will be a bit easier to handle (actually, to dispose of) than an [engine-suitable] mineral oil, but equally, less likely to manage the temperature downwards without stressing the oil, and I assume as a consequence, compromising the quenching - given that the steel would be cooling faster, and therefore more 'stressed' (... but I could be making this up entirely of course ).

    Would a pre-heated vegatable oil be ok for quenching 5160/EN45 (probably using them aforementioned bits of mild steel ).

    ... if so, all I have to do is find some (or use 01 I guess )...
    Not even wrong ...

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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    I don't know if they are the same but EN45 will most likely be easier to get hold of, generally. In cutlery terms it is most commonly used for swords being a tough and bendy spring steel and certainly a low alloy steel like this is better suited to forging than O1. For smaller blades you might also want to try silver steel which has a higher carbon content than EN45 and so would be good for smaller blades where edge holding is a higher priority than toughness and is also a good steel to forge.

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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    Below is the compositionof EN45
    C 0.55%
    Si 1.75%
    Mn 0.75%
    S 0.05%
    P 0.05%

    And 5160
    C 0.56 to 0.64
    Max Silicon 0.15 to 0.35
    Manganese 0.75 to 1.00
    Phosphorus 0.035
    Sulfur 0.040
    Max Chromium 0.60 to 1.00
    Silicon 0.15 to 0.30
    Chromium 0.70 to 0.90
    Last edited by imagedude; 26-12-06 at 10:54 PM.
    If you will a good edge win,
    temper thick and then grind thin.

  4. #4
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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    EN45 is NOT the same as 5160.

    It's a poor substitue at best.

    It has a huge amount more Silicon at 1.75% compared to 5150 which has 0.15/0.35%

    5160 also has Chromium at 0.60/1.00%

    Although Carbon content is pretty much identical I find 5160 tougher, easier to work in all respects and far more responsive to various heat treatments than En45. In fact, I won't even use En45 as a working blade steel for several reasons that may not be relevant to this discussion (so I won't mention them unless asked).

    So no, you can't directly substitute 5160 with En45 - there really is no comparison between the two, from working with the material to the end product.

    Just my opinion of course, and not meant to reflect poorly on anyone out there currently using En45.

  5. #5
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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xunil View Post
    I won't even use En45 as a working blade steel for several reasons that may not be relevant to this discussion (so I won't mention them unless asked).

    So Barry, what are your reasons for not wanting to use en45 for a working blade then?
    Eric & proud!

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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    I have used both 5160 and EN45...I would be happy to make a kukhri etc from either steel, and have...

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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    The EN45 would be more similar to what the US system calls 9260, which has been in use in GM hot wound coils springs for a great many years, and makes fine blades, though they are not the same as 5160, to be sure. I don't like 5160, personally, but a great many here do.

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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    I used EN45/9260 for about a 100 westernised kukhris..I have one left, and I have never been able to break it, and I have tried!
    Edge holding is what one would expect from a 54 RC hardness blade, but I wanted a spring hardness, for durablity...

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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    Quote Originally Posted by zackerty View Post
    I used EN45/9260 for about a 100 westernised kukhris..I have one left, and I have never been able to break it, and I have tried!
    Edge holding is what one would expect from a 54 RC hardness blade, but I wanted a spring hardness, for durablity...
    You hit the nail on the head Zackerty.

    Edge holding at mid-range is as you'd expect it. Beyond that it's not, or at least it isn't in my experience.

    Every time I've shot for a higher hardness at 59 or 60 RC at the blade edge En45 has been brittle by comparison to 5160.

    Maybe it's just me.

    I've tried loads of different heat treating methods with three batches of En45 bought from different suppliers (in case I'd got a bad batch on the first lot) and every time I go for a higher hardness it is far more brittle than the same blade in 5160.

    I've tried different quenchants, various combinations of single, double and triple tempering, sub-zero soaking or just hardening then straight to first temper without sub-zero soaking and En45 has always failed to impress as much as 5160.

    It seems to go from tough to brittle with little in between.

    I've always put it down to such a high silicon content or just me being kak-handed with it. Or perhaps a combination thereof.

    Believe me, I stuck with it for ages trying to work out a good process for higher blade hardnesses. After all, En45 is inexpensive a readily available - 5160 isn't, at least not in the UK.

    Since we all select steels based on our own experience of them, this is why I don't use En45.

    W1 and W2 are similar, but not the same. Ditto O1 and O2.

    I think the results anyone gets with En45 are almost academic though, since the question I originally replied to was "Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?".

    It isn't, and I think my first post was fair in saying that the two are in no way interchangeable - they work very differently and respond to heat treating very differently. Those, at least, are facts I think we can all agree upon.

    Or not, as the case may be.

    For those who use En45 I am not stating beyond refute that it makes a poor blade, period. I am stating that I can't get it to make as good a blade as 5160, and anyone who takes a glance at its metallurgic breakdown can see that it has a large proprotion of Silicon by comparison to 5160.

    If you take a look through the make-up of most good knife steels Silicon is usually at or well under 0.5%. CPM3V, O6 and 440C are three exceptions that spring to mind - I'm sure there are several others.

    Anyway, I still don't think someone starting out in forging could hope to imitate 5160's end results by using En45, which is the focus of this thread.

    Just one man's opinion - nobody has to agree with it.

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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    Thanks for all the responses so far, I think I can see where my confusion crept in now, from that post about GM's decision to use it in vehicle springs, I think I've read elsewhere that 5160 was believedto be a VW spring choice in some US markets - anyway it's the maybe sloppy interchangablilty in some stuff I've read online generally that's thrown me a bit, but back to the question in hand ...

    From the spec it's clear it's not the same stuff (dunno why I didn't think of looking for this first ), but the really illuminating info (for me) is coming from reading about different experiences of them in use.

    Good work.
    Not even wrong ...

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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    sounds like EN45 is crap for anything but reenactors and car springs.

    shame I used it for the cutting comp knife at Jacks hammerin
    Don't just tickle it...


    dave budd handmade tools knives, tools and courses makin' them! 2014 Course List NOW ONLINE!

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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    oh and the edge hardness was RC60 on it, well as close as my files could tell. It cut through all sorts of s**t and still had a perfect edge. Maybe I was sold the wrong stuff?
    Don't just tickle it...


    dave budd handmade tools knives, tools and courses makin' them! 2014 Course List NOW ONLINE!

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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    I have used en45 for knives and lots of woodworking tools and have had no problems or complaints .
    In a yankosentric knife world it would be good for us to explore more thoroughly the steels that are readily available to us in the uk or europe .

    having to import steel from the USA seems a bit imoral to me .there must be home grown equivelents here ?

  14. #14
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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Budd View Post
    Maybe I was sold the wrong stuff?

    Must've been a rare 15" piece of unobtanium Dave, sold to you by mistake, shame you sold it
    Eric & proud!

  15. #15
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    Re: Is 5160 and EN45 the same steel ?

    Well, I can only obviously only comment on my own experience which is obviously very different to that of other makers.

    However, the question was whether En45 and 5160 are the same.

    They aren't.

    By quite some margin.

    I personally don't feel they are in any way interchangeable based on their different element content, regardless of whether you get good or bad results out of using it.

    A tiny amount of any alloying element can have a dramatic effect on steel performance.

    We aren't talking about a tiny amount between 5160 and En45 though.

    We're talking about a full 1.5% more of one of the key alloying elements.

    I'd say that means it isn't the same.

 

 

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