View Full Version : 5160/A203E damascus

Mark Williams
01-29-2005, 08:37 AM
Should this mix be expected to hold and edge at all, or should it just be used for furniture or outer layer of a san mai configuration. I've got a big ole billet and it is some beautiful stuff. Is it more show than go? :D

01-29-2005, 09:00 AM

Seems to me you would end up with a carbon content of about .32 which if I remember correctly is too low to harden well. I am not sure if some of the other alloying agents increase hardenability or not but I wouldn't think it would increase it that much.

01-29-2005, 01:39 PM
Is it an even 50/50 mix or is there more 5160 in it? Alabama damascus makes some 5160/1018 stuff that alot of people thought wouldn't harden but I was able to harden it. At I knife show I finally got a chance to talk to the guy and it turns out that he uses 75% 5160 and only 25% 1018, so it ends up at about .51 carbon not counting any decarb. You could always try a quench test if you have enough of it laying around.

Ron Claiborne
01-29-2005, 02:34 PM
Mark I would think it will produce a good blade if you would tell me what the mix is may be I can help
Bowie 2 days Damascus Free

Mark Williams
01-30-2005, 06:49 AM
Well , the billet must have enough goodies to get hard. Had a friend test it. Rockwell hardness 60 . Quenched in 135 degree oil. I'll have to ask exactly how much of a percentage of the A203E was in it, All I know was 4 pieces. But didnt know how many pieces of the 5160 were used and the thickness of each component is unknown.

Ron Claiborne
01-30-2005, 08:50 AM
I did not think you would have any trouble getting it to harden and im glade you did
203e is a good mix in Damascus and we meaning the old heads that played with this stuff used it with other steel and I never heard of a steel that when mixed it would be unfavorable to the mix , im sure you know this but it was the pre -runner to first L6 then came along 15&20,they all look good in for brighter seam in the mix. If you would, would you mind telling as to where you got the 2o3E I would like to get some I liked it better than !520.
To get into trouble in carbon loss that will diminish to the point that the blade would not harden is caused by super high heats at very long soak times . With this stuff but not knowing the pattern the mix or the high heat held its hard to help when ask a question like this

Glade it worked out for you I know when you get it etched that you are going to really like the 203E and sounds like you did things wright and you have a good blade .
Bowie 3days Damascus free

Mark Williams
01-30-2005, 10:29 AM
The A203E really stands out. It's some purdy stuff for sure. This was a billet that I got from Brad Vise out of Alabama. Nice fella and sounds like he's got some nice stuff to work with at his shop. I asked him if he ever had a hammer-in at his place. He laughed and said he has a hammer-in every day, and for me to come on down as he could use the help. I'd love to take him up on it. :)

I would imagine Brad could tell you where to get some of the A203E. I'll do some searching and see what I can find.


Mark Williams
01-30-2005, 10:35 AM
Well that didnt take long. Did a search and it looks like Admiral Steel carries the A203E.

01-31-2005, 10:02 AM
I just got a billet of brad's 5160/203 mix, I haven't gotten to etch the newest but from the pictures he sent before I ordered it the pattern looks very nice. I've been buying billets from him for the last year or so, and have liked everything I've gotten. I'm not sure of the make-up of this new mix, but his standard stuff (5160/1018) was made from 4"x4" blocks and are 3/4" thick, the 1018" steel is 1/2" thick. His standard is 512 layer, but it still has a pretty bold pattern because of the starting amount of steel.


02-01-2005, 04:03 PM
I began using 203 E about 1979 It will except a little carbon migration. If you go at least thee to one with high carbon steel it make a good blade with lots of color . My opine is 15n20 is a better choice it will provide almost the same color and a much better cutting edge in low layered material. 203E can be bought from American alloy steel in houston texas . You can buy drop material or whole sheet at a very good price.
schwarzer The images in my Hunting scene knives were made using this material.

paul harm
02-12-2005, 07:38 AM
if I remember corectlly A203E has .18 % carbon - so if using 5160 , you'd want to use a much larger % of 5160 to keep the total carbon numbers up where it's good for knives . Even at a 7 to 1 ratio you'd only have a .54 % carbon - a little under the standard of .6 for knives . I'm not an expert , just going by the standard taught to me at the ABS school - I've used it with 1084 and it came out great . Paul

02-12-2005, 11:40 AM
Mark, have you taken any photos yet of the blade? I'd like to see the contrast of the steels.

S. Dunn
02-13-2005, 10:53 AM
In my opinion, 203E is one of the most beautiful steels you can use in pattern welding. However I won't use it on the cutting edge. I 've found it to be a poor performer. Edges will roll, even though the mix rockwells high (58-59). Ask me how I know this? I ve had one knife in 16 years, come back with blade damage, 1084, and 203E mix.
I only use it for the "look" anymore, and always center core, (san mai) it.
Just my opinion, and experiences with it. It may work for others!