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Old 05-10-2017, 04:17 PM
Beararmsforge Beararmsforge is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Fuquay Varina, NC
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1095 grain size

Here are some pics of a neck knife I made out of 1095 from metal superstore. It was 3/16x2inches. I ground it to shape then heated it up to non magnetic and held it there for about a min running it in and out of the forge. I then quenched it in canola oil that I had heated w a railroad spike that I heated to orange hot and cooled in the canola. I tempered it in the oven at 450 for 2 cycles, letting it air cool between heats. I screwed up grinding the final shape and just decided to break it to see the grain size. Problem I have no idea what grain size should look like. Any help would be appreciated. I use a single burner Mathewson forge.[PHP][PHP]
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Old 05-10-2017, 04:43 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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There's no picture here. But, the best way to find the answer to your question is to find a good high quality old file like a Nicholson and break it. That's what the grain should resemble ...


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Old 05-10-2017, 04:56 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Location: Mountains of Western NC.
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I don't see a picture.

Does it look like grey velvet? That's what it should look like. I wouldn't heat my oil up with a orange hot spike as it might get too warm depending on how many gallons your talking about. Get a meat thermometer as you want your oil around 130 degrees. Also for 1095 you need a quicker oil than canola, peanut oil is closer to a fast quench oil like Parks 50. 1095 is a shallow hardening steel if you don't have a fast oil. I've used automatic transmission fluid which is pretty thin, watch the fumes and flash fires also.

Always have a lid to cover your quench tank. Knives don't cause flashes much, but I used to heat treat machine parts and they most assuredly could cause a big flash fire.

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Old 05-11-2017, 03:53 AM
WBE WBE is offline
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Canola oil is the fastest of the vege oils, and faster than peanut oil, according to test reports I've read, and also Kevin Cashens findings. Candy thermometers are cheap, and most all grocery stores carry them.
ATF is entirely too slow for 1095, and better suited to steels requiring a medium speed quench, if you don't want to use a commercial quench oil.
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:36 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Location: Acworth, GA and/or Hanging Dog, NC
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My experiences have been the same as WBE's. Never got good results with p-nut oil, with warmed canola did marginally ok. Hard to beat Parks 50 for 1095. ATF has all those additives that make the smoke/vapor from a quench just a little to iffy for me to be breathing in. I don't recommend standing in any of the smokes/vapors, life's just a little too short to poke that bear.

Ray's dead on with breaking a Nicholson for comparitive purposes....just use an old worn out one.

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Old 05-11-2017, 10:39 AM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: NC Mountains
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I've made a number of knives from 1095 which seems to have thus far, worked out well. 1095 will harden in Canola but from my research, you're just marginally there. I've also noted, relatively NEW canola does fine. After 10 or so quenches, it seems to quit hardening. Don't know why, the color of the oil does change somewhat so perhaps the properties change as well. Something gets burned out? Dunno... But I learned early on to use fresh oil as much as possible.

But like has been noted, it is generally accepted that Canola is the fastest vegetable quenching oil but still only marginally acceptable for 1095.
It works very well with 0-1 which is a slower quenching steel. But then temp control pre-quench is more critical with 0-1. It needs a longer "soak" at critical temperature and that's very difficult to obtain and control in a forge.
If you are committed to 1095 and want to really learn and use 1095 you probably need to get some Parks 50.
Anyway, unless you're heating a couple gallons of oil, a glowing hot railroad spike will get the oil too hot. As noted, use a meat or candy thermometer and only heat it to 125-130-ish. For reference, that's nice warm shower temperature, not scalding. If you can hold your finger in it, and it's nice and warm but not scalding you're close. If you can't hold your finger in it, it's too hot.

So this may be helpful if you want to just keep it simple for now. Forge knives, have fun.

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Old 05-16-2017, 08:07 AM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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PS to above post.

I should qualify; the success I've had hardening 1095 in Canola oil has all been with 1/8" thicknesses. If I'm not mistaken, using thicker steel, say 1/4" or more would likely lessen the chances of successfully hardening 1095 using Canola Oil.

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Old 05-16-2017, 01:56 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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You just have to remember that 1095 is a shallow hardening steel that will only harden to a maximum thickness, depending on the grain size. So try as you might you may only get the blade to harden to 1/8" thickness or less. However, I have read from Kevin Cashin that he has gottten 1095 to harden out to about 1/4" without growing the grain.


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