L6 Tool Steel for Knife Blades
AISI L6 Tool Steel
L6 is a fantastic all-purpose knife steel, that can be used for both knives as well as swords. L6 is famous for it's use as sword steel heat treated until a Bainite microstructure is formed, which is not an easy process. This is extremely popular in the Japanese Katana right now and is starting to become more widespread as production companies learn easier and more efficient processes for harnessing the potential of L6 Bainite. This process was pioneered by Howard Clark, but is now L6/Bainite is produced by Hanwei Paul Chen as well.
In knives, it is common to see L6 used in larger custom fixed blade knives as well as used in combination with other steels such as O-1 in Damascus, but it is almost never seen in production knives. L6 is not an easy steel to work with and is relatively difficult to grind and heat treat in general compared with other steels.