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  #1  
Old 01-02-2005, 07:05 PM
Sammy Mickel Sammy Mickel is offline
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Leaf Springs

Are these things, leaf springs, generally good for making knives across the board or should you look for certain years/ models? Second queston, do you need to pretreat them any before you start working them to shape?
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2005, 08:01 PM
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prizzim prizzim is offline
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Because they've spent a "life" under load and in a particular shape, I'd anneal them at least a couple times before doing any forging. Then flatten them, normalize, and see if they still have a memory. You want to get rid of that first.

The other risk is cracks - small little ones you can't see at first, but might show up during your heat treat. That's just part of the territory with recycled steel - and it all depends on how the spring was used during its life as a spring.

Your question points at my third priority, which is alloy - that will determine how you heat treat, if you're really trying to get all you can out of the steel. Some are better than others, yes, but if you're getting seconds as a major source of steel, you'll have to adapt to sub-optimal material and develop a HT routine that'll make a decent knife without knowing the exact content of your steel. Usually that means a gentle oil quench and 2 hour temper in the 300-350 F range. Less rockwell points, but good solid knife material that can be had in droves if you get a good donor.


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  #3  
Old 01-02-2005, 09:28 PM
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Prizzim's offered some good guidance. I use a good many leaf springs as forge fodder. To minimze the crack problem stay away from the ends, holes and contact points as these are the greatest stressed areas. Above all make and test a couple off blades before you start in on the steel in ernest. I've had many pleasent experiences with salvaged springs and only a few disappointments. Enjoy yourself.


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  #4  
Old 01-03-2005, 11:45 AM
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Sweany Sweany is offline
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Wirebrush or grind the rust off the spring, heat to a dull red look at the spring closely in dim light. The Cracks will show up as thin dark lines


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  #5  
Old 01-03-2005, 04:55 PM
C.M. Arrington C.M. Arrington is offline
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Bump what everyone else said. The ones I've made with L/S are tough knives.
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2005, 05:42 PM
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Cold Steel Cult Cold Steel Cult is offline
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What would a fair price for leaf spring from an auto junk yard? How big is the spring (i,e, how many 9-10 inch knives can be made with creative cutting)? I've always wanted to forge and I think it's high time I started.


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Old 01-03-2005, 10:21 PM
Sammy Mickel Sammy Mickel is offline
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re: leaf springs

thanks for the info guys, I'll let you know how it goes when I get a chance to crank up the forge.
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  #8  
Old 01-04-2005, 08:16 PM
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Price - Dunno, never paid for one. Just get the word out and they start showing up in every corner you look. Best place is when you find two full sets from a 3/4 ton '57 GMC in the back of your pickup one fine day!
Really, just talk it up a bit from your car enthusiest buddys, especially dirt track boys. The springs are out there for the asking (and trading).
Get or borrow a Port-a-band and buy a couple of bi-metal blades and you can cut them up any way you want. Makes them easier to get in the forge for annealing, forging, etc.
As far as how many blades you can get out of a spring - to variable to say but mainly depends how good you can handle a hammer.
Great material at a great price and stuff responds to forging wonderfully.
Have fun!


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Last edited by Crex; 01-04-2005 at 08:20 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2005, 08:40 PM
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jdlange jdlange is offline
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Price from a scrap yard yard should be low, dont go to a car junkyard go to a regular salvage yard. The place I go to lets me load up my whole trunk (prolly a good 150-200#) of leaf springs and coil springs and charges me 5 bucks, plus I always find some crane cable or some nifty drive chain as well. The heavy truck springs with 5 or more leafs seem to come up with less cracks, if you have access to an oxy.acet torch rig it makes the process of dissasembly much easier, I stick one end of the bundle in a vise and blow off the bolts, they snap apart pretty easy. Then you can torch em to size and even profile a bit if you want with the torch. Also try any truck spring repair shops, they might let you have old ones for free just to get rid of em.


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  #10  
Old 01-05-2005, 07:01 AM
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truck spring repair shops

That's where I got a whole pickup full of 'em for nothing. I think it was the county's main shop they used- a whole monster-sized dumpster just full of the things. Any time you're around D.C., I'll point the way for you.


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  #11  
Old 01-05-2005, 08:57 AM
cactusforge cactusforge is offline
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One tip is to stay away from a spring that is brock or a spring pack that has a broken spring in it. That is asking for trouble. I used a lot of old springs when I started, when some one asks you what the steel is you tell them OCS for a Chevy spring or OFC for a Ford spring or OS for unknown origin. Gib


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  #12  
Old 01-05-2005, 06:29 PM
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Hey Gib I like that "OCS" business. I picked up one set of OMS from an old Mercedes 2 1/2 ton truck and the base spring was about 1" thick (metric always a little off) and 5 1/2" wide. Man, what a set of springs! Almost needed a 1 ton to haul them off.

I'll stick with the portaband saw for cutting up the stuff. Better control, less waste, and no burn slag to contend with. Stuff really does cut quite easily with the right blade.

Get'em, heat'em 'n beat'em!


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  #13  
Old 01-11-2005, 05:42 AM
Danaan Henry Danaan Henry is offline
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I've done a bit of work with some leaf springs from a little toyota pick up and this stuff is tough. I don't exactly know what it is I made but the blade is 13 1/2 inches long 3 1/2 inches wide at the bottom of the blade then it just tapers into a point. It took a lot of hammering to make it but all in all it's a very nice peice, really strong. I haven't had any problems with any cracks showing up in the peices I've done. I found though that it's a lot easier if you make a tang first because of the tongs I have I just can't get a real good grip on a regular peice of leafspring. I also started working with some D2..................... that's all I have to say about D2.

Danaan


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  #14  
Old 01-13-2011, 08:56 PM
Radeo Radeo is offline
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i would venture to guess that more than 90% of the leaf springs you will find are going to be 5160. thats just what I was told by a metalurgist that gets paid to figure out what scrap metal is, in order to recycle it into other stuff. he works at a place in Indiana (can't remember the name of the place for the life of me) and they turn scrap metal into things like mining truck rims and other stuff. He said if i ever want any checked, just to give a scrap piece to his dad and he would get back to me.
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  #15  
Old 01-14-2011, 09:13 AM
Tai Google Tai Google is offline
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Old thread but, while we're on it...

I think grinding the surface off and checking for surface flaws is also a good idea.

... just take a sample, normalize it a few times, take it up to a red/orange heat (daylight in the shade), hold it there a few minutes, quench it in some warm oil,? and see what it does. Most of that spring stuff responds fairly well to that. You can always tweak your temps., times and medium a bit to optimize the steel, if needed.


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Last edited by Tai Google; 01-14-2011 at 09:24 AM.
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