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Heat Treating and Metallurgy Discussion of heat treatment and metallurgy in knife making.

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  #1  
Old 06-18-2016, 08:27 PM
brano880 brano880 is offline
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Heat treating/tempering O1 steel?

It's my first time making a knife and I heat treated it with a MAP torch in a makeshift forge. It was a dull red inside so I thought it was a good temperature to quench. Once I took off the lid, it began to cool off really quickly and within 10-15 secs before I quenched it wasn't glowing at all. Once it reached about 125 F, I stuck it in to temper at 400F for 2 hours. I feel like I might not have gotten it hot enough. Would it be safe to re-heat treat it? Would it be worth the work in the end?
Any info is helpful, thanks
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2016, 08:42 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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If it was not glowing at all I can guarantee that you didn't have it hot enough when you put it in the quenchant. Always check the blade with a magnet and then get it a little hotter and hold for a couple of minutes at that color and then go directly in to the oil. If the blade last color a quickly as you said I'm wondering if you even got it up to austenizing temperature. Failing that, the tempering temperature is immaterial.

O1 really doesn't lend itself to hardening with a gas forge. You need to be able to hold the blade at about 1450-1475 for 10-15 minutes to heat treat it properly due to it's carbon and tungsten content. Your equipment would be better matched by something like 1080, 1084, or 80CrV2.

Doug


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  #3  
Old 06-18-2016, 09:06 PM
brano880 brano880 is offline
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Thanks for the quick response. How would you recommend treating the steel?
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  #4  
Old 06-19-2016, 03:39 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Doug has it right.

O1 tool steel is a great knife steel. But as Doug said best to learn and use 1085 steel in a forge. I was the heat treater in a machine shop and O1 and D2 were mostly what I did. I used a programmable kiln for the most part. We didn't have a forge. I use a forge now down at the college (I live in an apartment) and I use old Nicholson or Heller files, O1, 15n20 and 1075-85 for knives in the forge. I send the air quench alloys out for HT. I will also use kit knives as well sometimes.

O1 has 0.5% chrome and 0.5 tungsten with about 0.3% vanadium and close to 1% carbon. If you are going to HT it in a forge that's OK as it will still come out hardened, but will not be optimal for the alloy. Also I don't think you need to anneal it since I'm guessing you didn't change it much.

To HT the O1 in a forge have a strong metal magnet, some magnets are made of some kind of composite and will crack and fall apart when put on a red glowing knife blade, like those black square magnets you can buy at Sears. O1 by the way is a little more forgiving if you get it a little too hot than the 1000 series steels like 1085. Please note I used the word little twice on purpose.

Have your quenching oil warmed up to about 130+ degrees, but no higher than 150. Eyeballing the knife blank takes practice, but take a plain piece of steel of the same thickness and time how long it takes to get to a bright red glow for O1. Pull it out and check quickly with the magnet when it gets red hot. Note your times and then prepare to heat treat the knife. It would be better if you have a backdoor on your forge so you don't overheat the tip of your knife. When the magnet stops sticking to the blade then put the knife back in for about 5 minutes or a little longer depending on the thickness of the blade, holding the knife where it won't overheat and if you have a pass through oven you can easily keep the blade from overheating by working it back and forth. If you do not have a pass through then just put the blade back into the coolest spot in the forge and watch it to make sure it doesn't get too much orange, if you can't help it from turning bright orange then take it out and quench quickly. Mapp gas burns hotter than propane by the way.

Now here is the catch. You're not using a kiln to HT the O1 to where it would be optimal so you don't know exactly what the "as quenched" hardness is because you cannot be sure of the quench temp of the knife. Using a kiln it should be Rc65 and if the quench temperature is at or above 1475 a little it would be close to 65 depending on how long it was held at that temperature. Another catch, the non-magnetic temperature is around 1435 if my memory serves me right, so you want it a little hotter than that, but O1 can be safely heated up to 1550, so you have some leeway there as the grain growth would be minimal.

Also your 400 degree temper needs to be higher about 450 for O1, quickly grind a shiny spot on the blade and temper to about the color of cardboard as a start and you should be about Rc60. A new file won't bite very much into it, but don't worry if it's a little softer as O1 is a good edge holder even when it's a little softer.

A lot of info and kind of complicated, but since it's your first knife I tried to give you as much info as I can and taking into account that you are a beginner. Use the search engine for questions you may have. Also here is a link for O1.
http://cintool.com/catalog/Oil_Hardening/O1.pdf
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  #5  
Old 06-19-2016, 08:40 PM
brano880 brano880 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmontg View Post
O1 tool steel is a great knife steel. But as Doug said best to learn and use 1085 steel in a forge. I was the heat treater in a machine shop and O1 and D2 were mostly what I did. I used a programmable kiln for the most part. We didn't have a forge. I use a forge now down at the college (I live in an apartment) and I use old Nicholson or Heller files, O1, 15n20 and 1075-85 for knives in the forge. I send the air quench alloys out for HT. I will also use kit knives as well sometimes.

O1 has 0.5% chrome and 0.5 tungsten with about 0.3% vanadium and close to 1% carbon. If you are going to HT it in a forge that's OK as it will still come out hardened, but will not be optimal for the alloy. Also I don't think you need to anneal it since I'm guessing you didn't change it much.

To HT the O1 in a forge have a strong metal magnet, some magnets are made of some kind of composite and will crack and fall apart when put on a red glowing knife blade, like those black square magnets you can buy at Sears. O1 by the way is a little more forgiving if you get it a little too hot than the 1000 series steels like 1085. Please note I used the word little twice on purpose.

Have your quenching oil warmed up to about 130+ degrees, but no higher than 150. Eyeballing the knife blank takes practice, but take a plain piece of steel of the same thickness and time how long it takes to get to a bright red glow for O1. Pull it out and check quickly with the magnet when it gets red hot. Note your times and then prepare to heat treat the knife. It would be better if you have a backdoor on your forge so you don't overheat the tip of your knife. When the magnet stops sticking to the blade then put the knife back in for about 5 minutes or a little longer depending on the thickness of the blade, holding the knife where it won't overheat and if you have a pass through oven you can easily keep the blade from overheating by working it back and forth. If you do not have a pass through then just put the blade back into the coolest spot in the forge and watch it to make sure it doesn't get too much orange, if you can't help it from turning bright orange then take it out and quench quickly. Mapp gas burns hotter than propane by the way.

Now here is the catch. You're not using a kiln to HT the O1 to where it would be optimal so you don't know exactly what the "as quenched" hardness is because you cannot be sure of the quench temp of the knife. Using a kiln it should be Rc65 and if the quench temperature is at or above 1475 a little it would be close to 65 depending on how long it was held at that temperature. Another catch, the non-magnetic temperature is around 1435 if my memory serves me right, so you want it a little hotter than that, but O1 can be safely heated up to 1550, so you have some leeway there as the grain growth would be minimal.

Also your 400 degree temper needs to be higher about 450 for O1, quickly grind a shiny spot on the blade and temper to about the color of cardboard as a start and you should be about Rc60. A new file won't bite very much into it, but don't worry if it's a little softer as O1 is a good edge holder even when it's a little softer.

A lot of info and kind of complicated, but since it's your first knife I tried to give you as much info as I can and taking into account that you are a beginner. Use the search engine for questions you may have. Also here is a link for O1.
http://cintool.com/catalog/Oil_Hardening/O1.pdf
Thanks for the response, it was very informative!
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  #6  
Old 06-21-2016, 06:01 AM
WBE WBE is offline
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Non magnetic is 1414 F.
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  #7  
Old 06-25-2016, 11:43 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Thanks I didn't remember.

Getting old.
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  #8  
Old 06-26-2016, 05:45 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Don't be in a hurry to catch up Jim.....getting old is not all that much fun.

Note on magnet: As mentioned try test piece first until you get comfortable with "colors", very subjective thing and many variables will affect what you see including personal color perception. O1 will start becoming non mag just as it starts to show red past black. A solid mid range orange is pretty much what you want to see with no brighter edges. Usually bright orange is flirting with the top end of quenchable temp. This usually means your thinner areas -edge and tip - are going to be too hot.
Again, all this is subjective so you need to do some test blade pieces and get the procedure down pat before doing serious knives blades.

I agree 400 is a bit low on temper for O1. I prefer the 425 - 450 range depending on intent/design of blade.


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  #9  
Old 06-29-2016, 04:08 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Yeah Carl, I should have said bright red or a medium orange depending on how you look at it, just watch not to get bright orange as you said. I wear light copper sunglasses as the forge light hurts my eyes and I might add whenever I'm forging I wear the glasses and a face shield. Just one pop can ruin your day.
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  #10  
Old 06-29-2016, 05:20 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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>>Just one pop can ruin your day.<<
Maybe even the rest of your life (good call Jim).

That is something many smiths - and grinders - overlook.....eye protection. My policy both at home and at my hammer-ins is "No safety glasses, no play!"
No telling how many times I've had to get after adult, ought to know better, knifemakers trying the GQ look on top of their heads. That's a "O" tolerance issue for me.
Did have some destructive feather merchant walk off with my dydium coated glasses a few years back. Really miss them babies.

Another point about staring in forges - they are emitting high levels of infra red and alpha rays. Both are detremental to one's eyes. Staring into forges for long periods at a time can cause some real damage.
I always recommend setting the forge just below direct eye level and only using quick glances avoiding direct staring. If you start noticing a slight "grainy" feeling in your eyes after a session, you are well on your way to damaging your eyes.

Bladesmithing is a fun activity, but fraught with many dangers so be careful and think things through!


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  #11  
Old 06-29-2016, 04:15 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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I was a welder for many years and fabricator and if there was a face shield by certain machines like saws or the kiln I wore it and always wore glasses. Copper colored "drivers" block the most energetic light. I always wear them when driving too. They block the blue light to UV. I have had sparks get in my eyes while wearing safety glasses I can't believe the guys who couldn't be bothered to because they were grinding away from themselves. Mr Dumas.
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  #12  
Old 08-05-2016, 09:50 AM
shiny shiny is offline
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jimmontg, very good piece of information. Will look this up should I need it in the near future. Thanks
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