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

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  #16  
Old 01-25-2016, 10:50 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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1) I would go by what Kevin says about anything to do with metallurgy. He may not have a degree in metallurgy but he is well read in the subject and has the capability to test the effects of heat treatment, including a scanning electron microscope. So if he says he has not noted grain growth in 1095 with extended soak times under 1525 it's because he's done it and measured the grain.
2) Don't worry about how long you soak so much as long as you keep your austinizing temperature under 1525.
3) There is no reason not to use anti-scale if that's the way you want to go. As I said, I used an anti-scale compound. I just wasn't all that trilled with it.
4) Nope. 1475 is right on the money.
5) 5-10 minute soak is fine. So's 10-20. One hour wouldn't hurt anything as long as you kept your austinizing temperature down.
6) You can try canola oil. It should be warm because, as counter intuitive as it seems, it cools faster than cold oil. If that doesn't work you can go to one of the rapid heat treating oils or you can grit your teeth and try brine.
7) It's hard to temper to a given HRc without a tester. Most who say that they temper for an HRc of X mean that that's what they read on a chart that they have. The graduated files are crude at best. I do another version of the brass rod test. I try to drive the sharp edge of the blade through a 1/16" brass rod with a wood mallet and see what is any deformation I get in the edge. A sharp indent would indicate that the edge is too hard and chipped. An indent with a curled border would indicate that the edge was too soft. An HRc reading doesn't mean much unless you can correlate it to a certain performance.

Doug


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  #17  
Old 01-26-2016, 07:59 AM
David Eye David Eye is offline
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Thanks Doug.
If you or anyone else couldn't tell...... All I'm after is a basic proven 1095 "recipe" for HT using the type of equipment I will have. I will be perfecting my techniques as time goes by as everyone does.

One technique I can see I will have to play with is quenching using Canola oil.
Some guys just quench with Canola as normal and leave the blade in quench until completely cool to about 150F or less.
Some guys quench for about 7 seconds with Canola, remove blade (straighten if needed) and then back in quench.
Some guys quench for about 7 seconds with Canola and then remove blade and let air cool until about 150F.

I know, I know......whatever works for me!
As an added comment: I still feel confident that I can achieve success at 1095 HT with my elect. kiln (and anti-scale comp.) and hopefully using Canola oil as a quench medium. I also know practice and practice some more will be needed regarding physically making blades and the HT process.
Usually nothing any good comes easy, especially lately in my life! Unfortunately my patience and energy level is not what it used to be at my age.....but I will manage and stick with it. I had MAJOR heart issues that included open heart surgery and two heart attacks AFTERWORDS about 6 years ago, it was quite an eye opener. If I can get through that, perfecting my 1095 HT will be a piece of cake in comparison!!
DAVID

Last edited by David Eye; 01-26-2016 at 09:07 AM. Reason: small needed comment rather than new post
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  #18  
Old 01-27-2016, 09:45 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Eye View Post
... All I'm after is a basic proven 1095 "recipe" for HT using the type of equipment I will have.

DAVID
I think you have that! What has been offered in this thread is basic and "proven". But I don't believe there is an "exact" recipe and as you can tell, there is a lot of latitude.

I'm a newb at this and so I won't offer any tech advice but, one newb to another, it isn't that difficult but it is easy to "overthink" it. Think about it, people have been making quality steel blades for what, 2200 years give or take, with pretty crude equipment. An electric kiln is light years ahead of a charcoal forge with a hand pumped bellows and yet still, not that different. Both can be used successfully to produce a quality blade following the guidelines (which is as close as a proven recipe anyone can offer you) that the very experienced guys on here have outlined for you above. Using a charcoal forge "eyeballing" the steel color can produce just as good of a blade as a computer controlled kiln. It's not about the equipment, and as stated, there is no "exact" recipe. It's about the bladesmith producing something that works for them using the equipment they have and experience. You have to produce your own recipe that works with your equipment, and you should be able to do that fairly easily using the guidelines these guys have given. Just don't overthink it.

The important thing is to go get your hands dirty and have fun. Tweak as you go along.

And FWIW, I use an electric kiln. When the temp is stable at 1475 I put the blades in. The temperature will immediately drop dramatically down a little over 1300. Just opening the door and quickly placing in two blades drops the heat that much. My kiln will take 5 minutes or more to get it back to 1475. Then I start timing the soak. I have no doubt the blade quickly comes up to full temperature. (I use 1/8" stock) Steel is a fairly good conductor of heat and I just don't believe it takes more than a couple of minutes at most for it to get there. Can I prove that? No, I have no way to measure it. But if you're skeptical, as someone suggested, take the soak out to 12 or 15 minutes it won't hurt.


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  #19  
Old 01-27-2016, 11:04 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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It's more than the steel being a fairly good conductor of heat, that leaves a lot to interpretation, it's how good is air as a conductor of heat. That's what 's conducting the heat to the steel in an electric oven. Now if you were talking about a molten salt tank it would take almost no time to bring the steel up to temperature for quenching.

You are right though about learning the equipment that you have and tweeking the process go get your blades the way you want them.

Doug


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  #20  
Old 01-28-2016, 07:01 AM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Perhaps "absorbs" heat would have been a better illustration or term in reference to how quickly the steel comes up to temperature.


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  #21  
Old 01-28-2016, 09:01 AM
David Eye David Eye is offline
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Thanks WNC Goater for the comments, but I have to disagree with your opinion that I am overthinking it.

Yes, I do have MOST of a proven recipe for the equipment I will be using. The variable technique that needs to be decided on FOR MY FIRST ATTEMPTS AT QUENCHING remains unanswered. I would PREFER to TRY the one of three methods I mentioned that MOST experienced 1095 people have found to work for them. This might possibly save me some time, effort and money INITIALLY. I may or may not end up trying the other two methods in time.

I strongly believe in doing my research FIRST before purchasing equipment and just diving in blind, then I can choose what I feel are the best investments in equip. and time and effort. As I said before, I don't have a lot of money or time to be wasted. If you want to think I am "overthinking" things that is your prerogative....I call my in depth research smart when larger amounts of money and time are involved. I learned many, many years ago to not jump into MAJOR endeavors blindly and take my time with research FIRST. To each his or her own ways of "getting into a project/endeavor"......I think my way is smarter and safer and will enable me to have success much sooner with more money in my pocket. I won't be wasting my time and money on items and techniques that have already been PROVEN to NOT work the best by the majority of 1095 experienced people using an elect. kiln and Canola.

I only have two things left to decide regarding my FIRST recipe/technique of choice to try:

1) Which quenching method to try FIRST out of the three I mentioned. I'll bet anything that one of the three methods is used much more often by people using 1095 and Canola oil.

2) Which less expensive(than ATP641) anti-scale coating to try FIRST choosing from the following:

A) Some type of Borax/Boron mixture or straight water dissolved Borax.
B) Some type of soap.
C) White paint markers.
D) High Heat paint.
E) Milk of Magnesia (Magnesium Hydroxide)

Input from experienced people on the above two topics will possibly help me save some time and money versus doing ALL the experimentation myself. This way I have some info to help me make an INFORMED intelligent decision. If I don't get enough input/info from people regarding these last two items then I will just have to experiment myself, not as big a deal regarding the anti-scale coating as it is for the quench method. Yes, I will be initially using "coupons" and some ground sample blades which is necessary anyway but I am just attempting to keep this to a minimum due to time and money restraints.
Thanks, DAVID
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  #22  
Old 01-28-2016, 11:34 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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David, I tried coating a blade one time with a borax solution to guard against scale. If you use it clean it off as soon after the blade cools enough to be handled. I let it sit for a short while on the blade that I used it on and it etched the steel. Just say'n.

Doug


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  #23  
Old 01-28-2016, 02:29 PM
David Eye David Eye is offline
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Doug, thanks a lot, I appreciate the heads up.
This is some of the info I am hoping for.
Was your Borax solution just straight Borax dissolved in water or a more complex solution?
Did you let it dry on the blade before HT?
I know you left it on the blade too long after HT, but did it do a good job at averting scale/decarb?
DAVID
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  #24  
Old 01-29-2016, 08:42 AM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Eye View Post
Thanks WNC Goater for the comments, but I have to disagree with your opinion that I am overthinking it.
Thanks but perhaps you mis-read something. I never opined that you were overthinking it. Specifically, I said it's "easy" to overthink it and I said "don't" overthink it. But I never said in my opinion you were overthinking it. I encouraged you to develop your own technique as each one of us has to do. It is admirable to want to produce the best quality blade possible. My only point was that you had been given good advice from people with a lot of hands-on experience to achieve that end, but 1095 just isn't that complicated and thus, "easy to overthink".
Carry on & good luck.


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  #25  
Old 01-29-2016, 10:10 AM
David Eye David Eye is offline
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Originally Posted by WNC Goater View Post
Thanks but perhaps you mis-read something. I never opined that you were overthinking it. Specifically, I said it's "easy" to overthink it and I said "don't" overthink it. But I never said in my opinion you were overthinking it. I encouraged you to develop your own technique as each one of us has to do. It is admirable to want to produce the best quality blade possible. My only point was that you had been given good advice from people with a lot of hands-on experience to achieve that end, but 1095 just isn't that complicated and thus, "easy to overthink".
Carry on & good luck.
Stating, I quote..." it is easy to overthink it" definitely implies you feel I am overthinking things. Anyone that would read that comment by you would agree. I'm not upset you stated that, but I do disagree with your opinion in relation to me and my need for research before "doing" and explaining the "whys". Everyone has an opinion and I am very careful to attempt to base my opinions on facts.
I would prefer to not dwell on it and just move on.
Thanks for your attempt to help.
DAVID
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  #26  
Old 01-29-2016, 11:52 AM
samuraistuart samuraistuart is offline
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David, you've helped me come to a firm conclusion on how much more time I am going to take to offer advice on these forums.

I will say this, most every single question you posted, they mirrored my own when I started heat treating knives. My goal was the best heat treat possible with the equipment I have, and immediately got in touch with Kevin Cashen. When I put forth the exact same questions to him.....his reply was, "You are overthinking this."

Just reading now a reply Kevin gave some time ago, slow ramp to heat is only needed in instances where 1. the piece is of complex shape (not a knife) or 2. the piece is large (not a knife)....from "Tool Steel Simplified" by Palmer and Luerssen.

Ask just about ANY knife maker who does their own heat treating, no name guys like me all the way up to Bob Kramer or Murray Carter, and on simple alloys like 1095, it is BEST to pre heat the kiln. In addition to excess decarb, as well as the best microstructure (no I am not talking grain "growth"), you may have a problem with the kiln over heating when it hits 1475 on the readout. Some kiln will overshoot that by 100F or more. Then what? It is BEST to place the blade in a kiln that has been pre heated at your target temp....and even let the kiln sit at that temp for a few minutes in order for it to stabilize the internal temp.

The ONLY "low alloy" carbon tool steel that I would recommend a slower ramp would be A2. In that case, due to the alloying of Cr especially, pre heat kiln to 1400, equalize insert blade, ramp up to 1750 AFAP, soak 20-30 minutes, quench. Even then....we don't put the blade in the cold kiln. We're putting it in at 1400.
I wish you good luck with your 1095 heat treat.

Last edited by samuraistuart; 01-29-2016 at 12:34 PM.
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  #27  
Old 01-29-2016, 12:47 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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David, I put straight borax on the blade like I would if I were fluxing the steel for welding.

Doug


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  #28  
Old 01-29-2016, 04:18 PM
David Eye David Eye is offline
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Stuart, thanks for the input and info. By the sound of things, you are probably fed up with me attempting to get some definitive and more exacting methods and techniques. You certainly don't have to continue, but I thank you for trying and sometimes succeeding nicely.
Regardless of what others have said, experts or not.....I personally don't believe in overthinking anything. The experts did tons of research and experimenting on their own and some of them have helped others out with what they have found. At this point in time I really only have those last two questions/items I mentioned recently....... (Quench method and anti-scale compound).
I would much rather be safe than sorry and not be wasting my time, effort and money.

I appreciate the additional reiteration regarding cold oven versus preheated oven, but I really am no longer questioning that area of HT.
Please keep in mind, my ONLY reason for MAYBE compromising by putting my blade in the oven at maybe 900-1000F is to make SURE the blade is definitely fully saturated to 1475F when the oven reaches 1475F and then soak for 10 minutes. No one could tell me for SURE how long it might actually take (in minutes) for the blade to be completely saturated to 1475F once the oven rebounded to 1475F other than MAYBE a couple minutes. I would rather play it safe and give it a little more time for some assurance and peace of mind. I, personally, would prefer to not soak my blade any longer than 5-10 minutes even though mentioned by possibly you.

I don't THINK I have to worry about "microstructure" as long as I don't let it take too long to get to 1475F and don't let it get over 1500F. If I put my blade in at 1000F I'm pretty sure it won't take too long to get up to 1475F and won't do any microstructure damage......time will tell how I like this method. It is unfortunate that Paragon suggests putting the knife blade in a cold oven designed for knife blades. If this isn't the best method for MOST knife blade steels, they really shouldn't print that comment in their manual......it only throws off newbies.

I WILL eventually perfect heat treating my 1095 knife blades and I will make sure of that by performing enough tests at various stages using various methods and techniques. Being Winter and very cold in my unheated shop in Wisconsin, right now I am finishing up my research and deciding what methods and techniques I will try first.
Thanks again for the help Stuart.

This is for Doug Lester.....Thanks for your latest comment about Borax. Apparently you are not fed up with me yet! You are helping me narrow down my last two areas of needing a little more info.
DAVID
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  #29  
Old 01-30-2016, 01:57 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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I know that you are trying to work things out, David. I know that a lot of this sounds like alchemy when you just start out. I actually didn't really remember how I put the borax on the steel until you asked for clarification.

Doug


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  #30  
Old 01-30-2016, 09:35 AM
David Eye David Eye is offline
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Doug, Thanks for all your help. I really don't have much left to find answers to and none of it is super complicated. I just don't agree with everyone's approach to HT, some I do some I don't. I do have an extensive technical background and I'm not new to research, facts, opinions, techniques, manufacturing procedures or when there is the need for more precise procedures, times and temp's.
I would just like to make some small comments to possibly clarify my thinking on heat treating for anyone that reads this, and is not directed specifically at you, Doug.

I can see that not everyone approaches heat treating the same and nor do I expect them to.
I purposely originally stated in my opening thread that I am a rather exacting/precise person looking for a few specific HT questions answered.
I feel that heat treating is also a more exacting process in order to achieve the same exact results each time it is performed on any given steel, thus my need to decide on an INITIAL proven recipe to try.
As stated many times, I also am attempting to save some time, money and effort. I have no need to reinvent the wheel here, but I did expect to find some "for sure" methods. It turned out that some for sure things were found, but one or two are still remaining.

I did find some answers which I am very thankful for. Right now I am down to two questions left that
I have been unable to find definitive answers to so far on this forum. I searched and searched and found some general incomplete answers that didn't have a certain "how" or sometimes "why" addressed.

I have no doubt there is a "best" way to heat treat 1095 while using an electric kiln and Canola oil as a quench medium. I have already stated that I realize people will have their own certain variations and techniques and still achieve some kind of success. Is everyone's success with 1095 as high a quality as it could or should be? Not necessarily, but they may think it is in their opinion. I can only hope that they all did the proper testing to be sure of that, or maybe it's really not that important to know as long as their knife works! At any rate.....it IS important to me.

1) The question of preheated oven versus cold oven I have found definite difference's of opinion. I know both methods will work, but I also know one is PROBABLY better than the other. I personally feel that a compromise or variation would be a plus, based on scale formation and to have assurance of blade being up to temp before the soak. I listed my variation earlier. I will be using my variation method, dead issue. I actually had not brought this question up recently because I had already stated I felt my variation would be worth trying and therefore a dead issue with me.

2) The quench methods I listed earlier are an important issue for me. I will have to make a decision on which method to try first. I was hoping to get more input on the three methods, but so far no one has wanted to clarify or expound on their chosen method. I would then have more to go by regarding why they chose that method....if they even had a real reason or just chose it because they read it once somewhere! They probably all work, but I have a strong feeling that one of them might be the better choice for 1095.

3) As far as which home brew anti-scale/decarb coating might be the best to try first is NOT as important an issue. I will just have to try different ones and note the results. I want to use an anti-scale coating anyway and I'll bet they all work to some extent. I have to do some final grinding/sanding with or without an anti-scale coating anyway. I will be leaving my blade a little thicker for HT.

I hope this may clear things up a little. I do appreciate all the help I have received thus far. If no one has anything more to offer regarding my last two items......so be it.
I am very confident that either way I will achieve success with 1095 for my style knife. If I didn't think so I would have never bought 1095. I just had some specific questions I wanted to gather some more info on in order to make educated intelligent decisions on and also hopefully save me time, effort and money. I also don't want to use any more of my 1095 for testing than I have to. Yes, it's a necessary expense but I want to keep it to a minimum.
I will not be repeating the above explanations, so don't worry!
I will just sit back and see if I get any more info on the two remaining items.
Thanks, DAVID
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