knife heat treating temperatures

Air quenching, Oil quenching, Salt baths, Vacuum furnaces…. Austempering: This is a process of hardening steel into Bainite, something we knife guys generally don’t use. Allow them to remain (draw) for 2 hours. 440C Heat Treat Procedure Wear heavy leather gloves and apron. Put the blade in the center of the oven away from the elements. Eventually I will, it is just a matter of time. Heating the Blade Step 2: Normalizing. Step 1 Place the steel into a heat treat oven or forge and raise the temperature to between 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit and 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit. All Rights Reserved. 7. The steel actually changes crystal structure at this point. Heat treating imparts special qualities of hardness, strength, and ductility to metals and alloys. Cryo Treatment: Cryo treatment, soaking steel after hardening but before tempering at temperatures at least minus -90F (dry ice range) to minus -290F (liquid nitrogen range) for eight hours. Overheating steel into the 1550F 1600F range and beyond and soaking it will grow grain. I double temper all of my blades which leaves them between 62-63 RC on the Rockwell hardness scale. The low tempering temperatures won’t cause you any scale or oxide problems anyway. Note: All the above procedure is based on our own experience realizing there are others using their own trial-error. A guy knocks over the oil, drops the red hot steel into the oil and instant fire! Another good method it to heat the blade until the magnetic properties are lost. After the blades have reached this temperature allow them to remain (draw) for 2 hours. Consider picking up a cheap table top oven at the thrift store if you are going to make more knives. Allow the blade to return to room temperature between temper cycles. Steel doesn’t like uneven structure. Evenheats' Set-Pro control can be programmed to automatically soak, for any amount of time desired, once temperature is reached. Keep washing the blade until no more black carbon is coming off. 5. 2. This is an oil hardening grade of steel which will require oil quenching. The risk is that the 321 will either fail, allowing air in, or stick to the blade inside. That doesn’t mean you only have 1 second to get from your heat source to your quench. The basic process is as follows: heat your forge up to the critical point for your steel (+1450°F depending on your steel). Harden at 1950°F and temper at 350°F. While we appreciate the compliment, there really are no secrets – and what works for us may not be your favoured solutions. Although we have not had any stress fractures, it is also a good idea to avoid sharp corners where possible and to deburr pinholes and other irregularities. Bar stock from the mill probably shouldn’t have to be Normalized, especially if it has been annealed. Done. A12:  Many of our customers finish to 800 grit before heat treat. We have seen 321SS stuck to a blade heat treated elsewhere. Heat the blades to 500°F, remove from furnace and roll them in a tray of compound. The next step is to oil your blade using good quality gun oil. You should have approx. While the blades are cooling leave the furnace door open and allow it to come down to 220°F. Dissolving salt in boiling water until it no longer dissolves makes a brine solution. Soak it in liquid nitrogen overnight or even a cooler full of dry ice. Reference data: ASM Book: Practical Heat Treating by Boyer. Allow the steel to remain in the oven for a "soak" time of at least 30 minutes. Normalizing is such an easy step it is worth doing. 2. Set the alarm for 1975 degrees F. This preheats the oven a bit. There are many techniques for creating a difference in properties, but most can be defined as either differential hardening or differential tempering. Cooling the steel to cryogenic temperatures furthers the conversion to martensite. Place aside for cooling. You will see somewhere, a lot of places in fact, that the steel really needs to be cooled off at a high rate, like 1 to 2 seconds and that is absolutely true. Visit most any of the knife making forums and search for heat treating for 1095 1084 or 1080. Material that has been forged could probably benefit. Special Thanks to Mick Koval (R.I.P) of Koval Knives for this Information. First segment: ramp as fast as possible (9999) to 1975 degrees F, hold for 5 mins. The older ones got the job done, but they took four hours to reach operating temperature. Same wrap – same temperature (1950F) - same soak time – same plate quench – same cryo as 154CM above. Immediately remove blades and quench in light oil. To anneal, heat to 1475F to 1500F, cool very slowly by leaving in a furnace (heat treat oven) to return to room temperature. Q12:  How far can a blade be finished before heat treat? Once thoroughly heated, slowly cool in the furnace by dropping the temperature 20 … A4:  No. We use liquid nitrogen for cryo but dry ice in acetone will also do. Tempering at a higher … The economics of heat treating your own knives is straight forward math. Generally, in a forge, this means heating it until a magnet doesn’t stick and then “just a little more” to get the extra heat into the steel past non-magnetic. Moving a blazing hot piece of steel from heat to oil is where a lot of fires get started. Do not breathe in the fumes. Acetone is crazy flammable. After they have cooled to room temperature, place them back in the furnace at 275°F for 2 hours. They probably only need a couple hours in cryo, but we leave them overnight. At this time place them back in the furnace at the 950°F temperature. Draw temper to desired hardness Basically, heat it in your forge or oven and let it air cool. Because we treat other maker’s blades, we choose to use only 309SS foil. 125°F, place them in the furnace (at 375°F). The blade should be quenched either point first or spine first in order to minimize the chance of cracking or warping. This lowers the chance of cracking the blade. Heating and cooling applied to solid metal change its structure and physical qualities without altering its chemical composition. I put in some scrap steel I have heated up to help add heat mass and slow down the cooling rate. Done. Quite obviously, you are also going to need a forge of sorts. Note when heat treating multiple blades keep ample space between each blade for proper air circulation. Heat treating has obvious hazards. The downside of the extra carbon is that it requires more care in the heat treatment, avoid lamellar annealing and overheating. Different colors in the steel tell different stories about the steel and how well it was heat treated and tempered. Evenheats' Set-Pro control can be programmed to automatically soak, for any amount of time desired, once temperature is reached. Dry Ice or Liquid Nitrogen work equally well. Place blade in furnace and watch controller. You are looking for good firm contact. After the Cryogenic process there is a permanent change in the metal grain structure eliminating impurities (retained Austenite) and a complete refinement of the grain structure of the steel. Having said that, we are rarely out by more than 1 Rockwell point from where we aimed. Dip the blade point down in to the glass or plastic container that is holding the etching solution. 1080 or 1084 is a high carbon steel with .80% carbon (the 80 in 1080) and is proven, good quality knife steel with good edge retention. Normalizing steel allows the crystalline structure to be reset and redistributes the carbides back to uniformity in the structure of the metal. Once you have reached the desired contrast you pull the blade out and immediately rinse it in luke warm water & rub hand soap on it simultaneously. Having said all that, most don’t cryo treat carbon steels but you can if you want. A5:  Sort of – but the high range gives you reduced toughness and corrosion resistance. Once there is little or no attraction between the blade and magnet the blade will have reached the proper temperature and is ready to quench. Etching Instructions for Thunderforged™ Damascus Poor Man’s heat treating of 1095 – 1080 - 1084, Midwest Knifemakers Supply, LLC at www.USAKnifemaker.com, Knife Dogs Knife Forum at www.KnifeDogs.com. The oil should be warm, thin quenching oil that contains a safe flash point. The blades should be warm (approx. Do not forge below 1500°F (815°C). 4. Care must be taken when quenching in brine. Hardening: Heat to 1500F or past non-magnetic which is around 1425F. Evenheats' Set-Pro control can be programmed to automatically soak, for any amount of time desired, once temperature is reached. In practice, you heat the blade and keep touching a magnet to the blade. Dry ice is easier to handle but only lasts a day or so. After placing the blades in the furnace, heat to 1850°F. There is enough difference in temper temperatures here that you want to check out the specific steel for the proper temperature to achieve a desired hardness. The quicker the blade is cooled the more likely it is to crack. Tempering: If you did everything right quenching, your steel is around 65RC and fragile as glass. Agitate so the fluid moves evenly over both sides of the blade. There are two ways of giving 0-1a protective atmosphere before hardening: (A) You may use a non-scaling compound. It is up to you to abide by any and all laws applicable to you and your location. Quench 300 350 400 450 500 550 600 650 Eventually I will, it is just a matter of time. Hardening steel is the easy part; minimizing warpage is another. It is then allowed to soak at that temperature to assure a full even heat. The extra carbon makes heat treating more complex. Do not put any paper in foil. 2. After the soak time has elapsed, very quickly and carefully pull the package out with tongs, place over the quench tank and snip the end of the package allowing the blades to drop in the oil. The bottom line is that a knife is a tool and it needs to be able to function. In practice, we have used it successfully with our own blades without problem. Steel doesn’t like uneven structure. Put your knife in the pile of charcoal and heat it up. Evenheats' Set-Pro control can be programmed to automatically soak, for any amount of time desired, once temperature is reached. 1. Remove the blades, check for hardness after they are cool enough to handle. Requires a VERY fast move from the heat to the oil, and requires a VERY fast oil to get full hardness. As a rule of thumb there should be a gallon of oil for each pound of steel. Do regularly check on your blade while in the solution. We have had a number of people ask us for our “secrets” about heat treating knife blades. Heat to 1475F to 1500F (steel type depending) until the metal is just past non-magnetic. It should be avoided. That doesn’t mean you only have 1 second to get from your heat source to your quench. The oil quench is well suited to a large blade where toughness is more needed whereas the brine quench is more suited to the small skinner and folder blades where holding an edge is important. As the number one innovator in Knife Making and Heat Treating Kilns, Paragon has developed new ceramic fiber 2 and 3 zone models of their world famous KM series ovens. Drawing the Temper of the Blade Cryo treatment is an industry recognized practice in heat treating and simply wouldn’t exist as an unnecessary expense if wasn’t a legitimate extension of the heat treat, quench and temper process. If you have other work you want done, I use a half size trash can full of vermiculite. The steel will retain heat and survive a few seconds in the air as you move from heat to quench. Quenching the Blade Q10:  Does it matter where in the oven I place the blade? 59 RC. All equipment must be calibration checked periodically. Q6: Are there other ways to heat treat these steels? Pull the blades out for cooling and place them back at 200°F again for 2 hours. Knife Kiln vs. After the blade has cooled sufficiently, then you must “temper” the blade to slightly lower the hardness so that the steel is not too brittle and prone to chipping, cracking or breaking. ​​ You don’t need to harden the entire knife blank. It will also generally chip easier along the cutting edge. The straight math doesn’t tell the whole story though. With most low alloy knife steels, the steel transforms to austenite before reaching Curie, and therefore the nonmagnetic temperature is significantly lower, usually somewhere in the range of 1350-1380°F. A1:  Yes! We like hanging the blades from a coat hanger in the cryo tank. Tempering: If you did everything right quenching, your steel is around 66RC and fragile as glass. Generally, most guys heat to temperature in their forge as the last heat of the day, turn off the forge and let the steel cool in the forge overnight. Cras posuere imperdiet lorem, in aliquam urn. Heat treatment refers to the process where softer steel is hardened so that it stands up to use as a knife blade. If they are wrapped individually you may consider placing them in an optional furnace rack. Thunderforged™ is a trademark of Universal Agencies, Inc.™ all rights reserved. 125°F). In place of that, use low viscosity motor oil or even canola, vegetable or peanut oil. 5. The household freezer is no use at all. Hardening: Heat to 1475F or past non-magnetic which is around 1425F. After 2 minutes (or less) they will be hand cool, and ready to remove from the foil for cryogenics. Temper (twice for 2 hours) at 275F for RHC60 – 325F for RHC59 – and 375F for  an excellent RHC57-58. 3. At this time you will notice that a black substance will be coming off, this is the carbon that was removed during the etch. Wear eye protection. After reaching 1850°F start timing the soak time of 20 to 25 minutes. That’s why here at Precision Edge, we take great care in sourcing and preparing our blades. Q9:  321SS foil is much cheaper. Handle pin holes make that easier. The blade is very brittle at this point. Email rob@rangeroriginal.com with questions. ATS 34, 154CM Heat Treat Procedure Knife Making - How To Heat Treat A Knife | Super Simple DIY heat treating. Generally, in a forge, this means heating it until a magnet doesn’t stick and then “just a little more” to get the extra heat into the steel past non-magnetic. Always put them in the envelope the same way – so you can put them in spine down and pull them out by the handle, instead of the tip. Wrap blades in tool wrap. The grate or wire mesh will allow air to circulate under the blades as well as around them for uniform quenching. The heat treatment of 52100 is different than that of many of the other alloy steels, including 5180, in that the hardening temperature controls the amount of Carbon that dissolves in the austenite - the condition of steel at high temperature where it is a solid solution of Iron and Carbon. Some guys will take a pipe and put one buried in the charcoal and duct tape the other end to their hair dryer. When it reaches 100F or less, start your temper cycles to reduce the stress. In this process, the steel is frozen to a temperature below 300 degrees fahrenheit and tempered. Avoid it please. Must be 18 to purchase. Even after you have oiled it, you can go back to step 1 to start all over to reach a higher contrast if desired. While blades are cooling allow the furnace to cool down to 950°F. All three of these, heat treat the same. I heat mine to temperature and then it in a bucket of vermiculite to cool slowly. We only ever use material sourced from Europe’s finest metal manufacturers and offer our own knife heat treatment service to guarantee the best quality blades. This is called the Austenite phase. All of our stainless blades get double wrapped in high temperature, 309SS foil envelopes – with double folded seams pressed down firmly. Once in a while, they warp a little. Cooling slower in the forge works better but cooking in the vermiculite works fairly well also. Special Thanks to Mick Koval (R.I.P) of Koval Knives for this Information. 1. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Fire will flare up where the hot blade meets the surface of the oil. You will see somewhere, a lot of places in fact, that the steel really needs to be cooled off at a high rate, like 1 to 2 seconds and that is absolutely true. Unauthorized Publication Prohibited This is what it looks like when I "heat treat" a blade. This can be done by heating up some junk steel and sticking it in the oil a couple times. Allow to cool slowly in still air. ... what temperature do you need to get to, and how long does it need to hold at that temperature. Remove blades from furnace and cut foil open. A propane (or MAPP gas) torch played evenly along the blade will get the job done. Just the blade is good enough. Normalizing steel allows the crystalline structure to be reset and resets the carbides back to uniformity. Below are listed the approximate Rockwell Hardness achieved at the various temperatures. This steel gets double tempered at 400F degree for about RHC60. You may copy them, publish them or use them as you please. I have never had one crack from cryo treating a blade after quenching but that just means I have been lucky. 1095 Black walnut custom knife handle – from my hero’s walnut tree, Full Sized Nessmuk with Multi Carry Sheath, Mid Sized Kephart with Tiger Maple Scales. It will adhere to the steel and form an air tight blade. Rinse in water & soap. Many people will say a properly heat treated steel should not need any cryo treatment as it only “makes up for a poor heat treat” This sounds good but isn’t necessarily true. Annealing: Heat to 1475°F (800°C). 2. Normalizing: Heat to 1575°F (855°C). Quenching is performed in either light oil (we recommend olive old with clove quenches well we find), or a standard quenching oil. You can even use water and something called “interrupted quench” but let’s leave that for another time. The second aluminum plate is placed on top and pressure is applied. Orton makes a product called TempChek which is better but still requires a rather complex cycle for a good result. Then finally I start cleaning the blade and sanding it down which brings it closer to what it will look like finished. 3. Necessary temperatures are determined by the type of steel you work with, so make sure of your own requirements before buying an oven for heat treating knives. Heat blade to between 1,400 & 1,500 degrees F. If you have other work you want done, I use a half size trash can full of vermiculite. Hint; Avoid getting closer to heating coils than necessary. Here is a link to a guide that you can use as a reference: The Heat-Treating Data eBook. Blades done our way can be cleaned up with just a buffer. Some claim they can tell hardness pretty close by the way a file skates over the steel. Evenheats' Set-Pro control can be programmed to automatically soak, for any amount of time desired, once temperature is reached. Once the blade is heated to austenite temperatures, it’s important to quench the blade so that the steel cools rapidly. After removing and cooled check hardness. You can see a slight scratch at the end of my thumb. A10:  Yes.

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