View Full Version : Quenching Mediums...

Dana Acker
10-25-2005, 12:23 PM
We got on the topic of hardening RR spikes and that led me to think about all the different quenching mediums different smiths use. Vegetable oil is what's in my shop. Works well with the steels I use mostly, and it makes the shop smell like someone's cooking out there--plus it doesn't flash up easily--a real plus for someone fuzzy as me. ;)

Wayne Goddard talked about using old meat fat/grease/goop. Some others use scientifically developed quenching oils, and Larry Harley used to talk about "magic water."

What do you use?

If it's a concotion, give us the ingredients and mix proportions--like Super Quench, etc., so we can try them out if we feel like it. Thanks.

P.S. Might be helpful to know what kinds of steels you're quenching in your medium too.

I use mostly 1095, 1084, W1, W2--old files, and 5160.

10-25-2005, 01:25 PM
I only use super quench for non "HC" marked RR spikes. I have used on some very old steel that was not high carbon. If it used on carbon steel it would be way too brittle and probably crack during the quench.

My super quench recipe is:

1 gal distilled water
1Lbs. salt (non-iodized)
32 oz of dish detergent
8 oz of sodium metahexaphosphate

the 1 lbs of salt needs to be tweaked in your own mix. You start with 1 lbs and keep adding smaller amounts until it no longer disolves.

The recipe that is most common is to use Amway sparkle which is a anti spotting agent used in dishwashers. I found that sodium metahexaphosphate is a better wetting agent then the anti spotting formulas.

10-25-2005, 03:16 PM
For most stuff I use 50/50 ATF and 5w20 semi-synthetic motor oil (neither used from a car), it seems to work fine, nothing special though. In my slack tub I have a good amount of dawn and baking soda, I heard the baking soda prevents the instarust when you quench (doesn't seem to help) and the dawn is antibacterial to keep some nastyness out of there. Since the dawn lessens surface tention in the water, it probably quenches faster then plain water but not as fast as superquench.

10-25-2005, 03:35 PM
Hey Dana, always had luck with 2/3 Crisco and 1/3 bacon grease, kinda like a goop and I think the salt in the fat helps..Bud

10-25-2005, 04:01 PM
I use chevron jet turbine oil for regular quenching. It has a higher flash point but the larger blades will still flame up. I had the oil from a couple of turbine engines that I built from semi truck turbo chargers. Very loud and very worthless but a fun project if you do not have neighbors too close to you. :eek: 135 db of noise at full RPM.

10-26-2005, 10:54 AM
I use Goddard's Goop or water, depending on what I'm quenching.

The goop is 1/3 Transmission fluid, 1/3 parrifin wax, and 1/3 lard.
I find that over time, it's flashing easier - which means I'm burning something off in greater proportion, but I don't know what. I'll have to scrap it and make a new batch one of these days.

I also have a ton of used motor oil I haven't gotten around to taking to the recyclers - what steel might it be best for quenching?

10-26-2005, 11:29 AM
For me it's brownells for everything except 52100, and for that it's Texaco "A". Why "A" for 52100? Because Ed uses it, and has done a lot of testing to date. Still more to do though. I'm on a fairly strick diet, and don't think that smelling food related smells would help me much, I have very low will power with it comes to goodies. I will be experimenting with 52100 and water. I got a DVD from Charlie Ochs and he uses plain ol water, and the dunk time is about a second or so. He also gets great results.

Andries Olivier
10-26-2005, 02:02 PM
Fish oil. Does not flash up easily, almost no smell and it stays cool for long. It allows me to do up to 20 blades with 15 to 20 minute intervals before it gets to hot to use.

I've used a mixture of 2 parts ATF, 2 parts engine oil and 1 part diesel before, but found it to flash up easily and it also gets to warm to quick.

10-26-2005, 02:08 PM
For RR spikes, I have tried "Super Quench" (basically salt water with detergent and antifoaming stuff), peanut oil, and transmission fluid. By far and away, the best smelling and least problematic was peanut oil. Using tranny fluid means smothering a fire and sometimes a visit from the neighbors about the smell, but I think it gives me the best results with spikes.

Dana Acker
10-27-2005, 01:11 PM
Andries--fish oil with no smell you say? What kind is it and where do you get it? I remember being given "the tonic" (basically a fish oil based substance, created in Hell for the torture of young children) when I was a young'un, and man, oh man, what I would have given for fish oil that didn't smell...or taste. :eek:

10-27-2005, 01:36 PM

Andries Olivier
10-27-2005, 02:34 PM
Dana, yes interresting enough almost no smell. In the beginning I thought that my workshop would smell like a fried fish outlet, but it doesn't smell like fish at all. I also thought that I would have trouble keeping my 6 dogs from licking my quenchtank, but they're not interrested at all.

With the oil mixture I mentioned my wife had to close all doors and windows of our house when I heat-treated, but with the fish oil she doesn't even notice. I obtained it from a friend that runs a factory that makes bladesprings and coil springs for cars and trucks and some other springs and things for the mining industry. Not sure if there's a specific product name. He calls the stuff fish oil. I could find out for you if your interrested.

I think I have experience of "the tonic". The old folks called it "castor oil". Apparently it was made of cod liver oil, but I'm sure it also contained stuff such as Moo-poo and under the toe-nail gunk. Supposedly helped for any disease under the sun.

Dana Acker
10-31-2005, 08:06 AM
Yeah Andries, if you could find out, I'm kinda curious to know. Don't break sweat over it, but if you talk to your friend, ask and let us know. Thanks.

Dana Acker
10-31-2005, 08:08 AM
Uh, you quench "in" that medium? What does he have to say about it? :lol