Knife and Tool Discussion > Making Knives and Sheaths

Heat treating formulas and recipes

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When we first got the forum software and were trying to figure out how we wanted this place to look, Kratos mentioned to me that it would be helpful to have a place for heat treating recipes. He said something to the effect of, "We need a place for HT recipes".

Now I thought he mean "hometown recipes" and I told him we were a bit small to have hometown forums just yet. Suffice it to say we got a good laugh out if it! :D

Anyhow, we do need a place where we can easily find and refer to heat treat recipes. So this thread is it.

I'll start by listing a couple of formulas I've developed by trial and error.

So first off, I use O1 almost exclusively because it's been easy to work with and it's slightly more corrosion resistant than the simpler 10XX series carbon steels due to a higher chromium content.

I use a 27" deep Evenheat knife kiln with their rampmaster controller.

I quench in mineral oil (horse laxative).

So for a typical 3/16" thick blade, I put the blade in the kiln at room temperature. I have the kiln set to ramp up the heat as fast as possible until it reaches 1225*F and hold there for 15 minutes for stress relief. Then it continues to ramp up to 1500*F and soak for 15 minutes for 3/16" steel, and about 7 to 10 minutes for 1/8" and 5/32" thick steel.

I have my quench tank right in front of the kiln and I try to get the blade into the oil as fast as possible. I have learned to agitate the blade either up and down or front to back, but never side to side, as this helps prevent warping. I heat the oil on top of a small electric tabletop range to 135*F before quenching. This is a slower oil that is not suitable for 1095 which requires a faster quench since it must cool to below 400*F in about 4 seconds or so for full hardness.

This gets the steel hard enough for an RC60 file to skate off of it.

After quenching I clean the oil off in hot soapy water and immediately move the blade to a 385*F oven for 2 hours, then take out the knife and let it cool in air. This gives me a hardness between RC55 and RC60, tending toward the softer side, as verified with my hardness testing files.

Another formula I use for making flint strikers out of 1095 is to heat as for O1, then quench in hot water. This gets the steel cool fast enough to get very hard. It can then be tempered relatively cool at about 325* for an hour or so just to relieve stress from the quench.

Here is a helpful link to Evenheat's heat treating information page. Lots of good info there for folks using electric heat treating kilns and ovens.

Hope you find this helpful. Please share any of your heat treating recipes here in this thread. Remember to tell us what equipment you're using, times and temperatures (or color temperature) and quenchant type and temperature. And of course, we need to know what type of steel is being treated.

WOW!!! :)
                    The stuff I've learned on this forum in just the past few days.....INCREDIBLE!!! Good Stuff! :)

and its only gonna get better :)

Man, I'm feeding on this like a Hungry guppy!!! :D

Hmm... seems way more complicated than my recipe: heating it up red hot until it is non-magnetic, dunking it in a coffee can motor oil, then throwing it in the kitchen oven at 375 for a couple of hours. Of course your results are likely better than mine LOL!


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