Custom Bushcraft stainless steel?

I have a 304 stainless steel flat bar and I would like to make a bushcraft knife with it. Is it the same heat process as for 5160 steel and if not Can you advice on how to go about it?
Thanks in advance

2 Comments on "Custom Bushcraft stainless steel?"

  1. You cannot heat treat it. 304 stainless steel is an austenitic stainless steel that is not heat treatable. Most stainless steel knives are made of a martensitic alloy such as 440c.

  2. Blue Oval Bastard | October 10, 2010 at 2:26 am |

    Firstly, as VLD said… 304 stainless is fairly untreatable; not too much you can do with it. And on top of that, stainless steels are nearly impossible to heat-treat as you would a standardized carbon steel (can you provide consistent temperature in an inert environment, and cool at the right rate?)

    The heat-treatment process for 304 is not nearly the same as if you were trying to treat 5160. Although 5160 is an alloy steel (alloyed with Chromium, and several other key components), it is *NOT* a stainless (although fairly rust resistant).

    Use the 304 for bolsters, and stick with 5160. It’s a great steel, and is very finely structured (small “crystals”). Further annealing processes (reducing to pearlite) will refine it even more, and make it more stable during heat treat (less prone to warpage & cracking). Although 5160 is merely a 60 point steel (~.60% carbon), it possesses fantastic edge holding abilities due in part to it’s fairly high chromium content. A flat (non-rolling) oil quench will garner a fairly hard surface, although I have water quenched it with some degree of success (tends to crack though…), hardening it even further.

    5160 is one of, if not the greatest steels ever. Holds a very fine edge, and is outstandingly tough. There is no stainless that can ever approach it.

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