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Old 04-11-2017, 02:35 PM
Grayshadow95's Avatar
Grayshadow95 Grayshadow95 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Michigan
Posts: 62

It's been a little while since I last posted a question, but having thrown my back out just after Thanksgiving, then having hernia surgery, and having to replace my old computer (can't complain too much though, I kept the old one going for 13 years!) Anyway, I was finally able to get back out in my shop!

To my question. I had purchased some D2 steel from NJSB, but after the responses to my questions last year I began to think D2 may not have been a wise decision. But, being frugal, I was loathe to just let it go to waste, so I have cut and shaped a couple blades. They are now to the point of needing heat treating. I found those old responses and have watched several U-Tube videos. It appears the best way forward is plate quenching. Several places sell aluminum quenching plates, for in excess of $150! Buying 1 inch thick aluminum to make plates would still cost close to $100. Not good options since I don't intend to purchase any more D2. However, I do already have in my possession a couple large, very flat steel plates over 1 inch thick. Can these be used to do the plate quench????

Also, where would be the most economical place to purchase stainless foil to wrap the blades during heat treating?

I have a very good jeweler's kiln that will reach in excess of 2000 degrees, and it heats up slowly so a nice even heat through the entire blade can be achieved.
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Old 04-11-2017, 03:15 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wauconda, WA
Posts: 9,487
You can use the steel plates, they just won't cool as fast as the aluminum would. That will affect your results but only testing it will tell you exactly what the difference might be. My guess is, no matter what you do to that stuff it will seem to make a decent blade. My personal issue with D2 is that a couple of the blades I made cracked about a year after the knives were finished and they were not abused. So, it might seem to be a good blade but only time and testing will tell.

We used to say D2 takes a lousy edge but it holds it forever ....


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Old 04-11-2017, 05:01 PM
damon damon is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: NE Tennessee
Posts: 354
if you just need a couple heat treated you could look at Peters HT....
finish up the blade as fine as you like..... tell them what Rc you want, and they'll even cryo temper it.
the S30V blades I sent out came back pristine.

or...... just go on and get the stuff to HT the D2 anyway, and then youll have it for whatever other steels you choose which can be HT the same way.

check scrap yard for thick chunks of aluminum. would be a good bit cheaper than brand new stock.
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:53 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Acworth, GA and/or Hanging Dog, NC
Posts: 3,320
Find a local place that does metal fab, talking big stuff not sheet metal. Most will have drops of Al bar stock being tossed into recycle bin. Little negotiating and you can get a couple of suitable bars for scrap price. Not that hard to come by.

Carl Rechsteiner, Bladesmith
Georgia Custom Knifemakers Guild, Charter Member
Knifemakers Guild, voting member
Registered Master Artist - GA Council for the Arts
C Rex Custom Knives

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Old 04-12-2017, 09:32 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Mountains of Western NC.
Posts: 743
For D2 I use a fan to quench. But initially I had some failures doing plate quenches and I worked in a machine shop so 2" thick plates were no problem. Since I was doing a dry ice quench I always did a one hour snap temper at 400 degrees as just laying it between blocks of dry ice caused a few failures. I mean like a week afterwards. Not often, but it did happen. It was Hinderliter heat treat that told me about the snap temper. Just dropping into LN causes internal stresses that may not show for some time, or may never show, but they are there nonetheless. Just my 2 cents. D2 is a picky steel and this is what worked for me, I used a 3 day quench in dry ice BTW and came out with RC59-61 which was my target.
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:19 AM
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Grayshadow95 Grayshadow95 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Michigan
Posts: 62
"For D2 I use a fan to quench."

Do you mean that you simply hold the heated blade in front of a house fan to cool it???
Or that you have a fan blowing air on the AL blocks while the heated blade are held between them?

One video I watched recommended blowing compressed air between the two blocks while holding the blade sandwiched between them to speed up the cooling process.

Do you do the "snap temper" before or after the cryo treatment?

Last edited by Grayshadow95; 04-12-2017 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:47 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is online now
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: putnam county NY ....about 45 mins north of new york city
Posts: 1,133
Ok so I have never used D2 steel...most of my stuff is stainless so depending on the steel and what I am trying to do sometimes oil sometimes plate and sometimes a 2 part quench. But what I do when I do plate quench (and I think this is kinda what jim was getting at.) When you pull the knife in the foil packet out the knife will be glowing so take a second to notice the position of the blade in the packet whats important is you want to notice is wich way the edge is facing. So I put it in the steel plates and take my air compressor and spray air into the space between the plates. Noww the reason I said take notice as to where the edge is since the edge you want to get the hardest I spray the air in between the plates on the side so the air is hiiting the edge and not the spine....I do move the air up and down the length of the plates but always on the side that the edge is facing.....I think this is similar to jim saying he used a far some concept but air compressor sparys more air.
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Old 04-12-2017, 11:09 AM
samuraistuart samuraistuart is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: San Antonio Texas
Posts: 130
You can oil quench D2, as a matter of fact, it is said to reduce RA levels over plate quench. Plate quench is faster than many realize, and can be faster than a slow oil. I wouldn't use Parks 50, don't get me wrong, as that oil simulates the speed of water, close anyway. Good ole canola would work. 130F canola is said to have a ball speed of 9-11 seconds, close to medium speed oil. That would be my choice of quench oils (if I didn't have AAA or similar). Oil quench, then clamp in your steel plates if warp is problem/concern. However, if in the future more SS and high alloy tool steels will be used, the aluminum plates are a great investment.
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:23 PM
Bob Hatfield Bob Hatfield is offline
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Northern CA.
Posts: 90
Grayshadow95 you can make some great knives with the D-2 you have on hand. As for the stainless steel foil. You can buy a 5 foot roll for 30 bucks from Texas knives that will heat treat 7-10 blades.
Be sure to double fold the edges of the foil to prevent any oxygen from entering the package.

Place your D-2 in the foil package and heat to 1850 degrees and hold at that temperature for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and plate quench and apply pressure to the top plate by leaning on it to prevent any chance of the blade warping for 30 seconds. You can get good results from the steel plates by freezing them in your home freezer for 24 hours prior to using them. Pull them out of the freezer about 3-4 minutes before you pull the D-2 blade from the oven.

The blade should be close to room temperature in about 5 minutes. Put in oven for a snap quench at 350 degrees for about one hour while your kiln comes down from the 1850 degree temp. Cool the blade to room temp and place in the kiln and quench at 400 degrees for 2 hours. Remove and allow to cool to room temp again and do another 2 hour quench at 400 degrees. Allow to cool and I will be surprised if you do not end up with a blade at 59-60 RC on hardness.

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