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

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  #1  
Old 03-22-2016, 01:25 PM
RossA RossA is offline
 
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Pure Beginner's Question

I am not a knifemaker, although I love good knives. I have read different forums, blogs, etc. about knifemaking and heat treating. I was always under the impression (quite possibly wrong) that after a blade was almost fully formed, it was hardened at a relatively high temperature and quenched, then tempered at a lower temperature to reduce some of the hardness and impart some toughness to the steel. I know that this is very oversimplified.
I have been watching the TV show Forged in Fire, like probably some of you have. On that show, after they forge blades, they heat them and quench them one time, without a secondary heating and quenching.
Help me understand the one step vs. two step heat treat. Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 03-23-2016, 12:40 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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I had asked the same question too and one of the people who had been associated with the show, maybe a contestant, said that the tempering was done off camera. Probably because it is as interesting as watching paint dry. To get the performance that is required of the blades they would have to be tempered.

Doug


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Old 03-23-2016, 10:18 AM
RossA RossA is offline
 
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Aaahhh, so they really are doing the two step process, but we just don't see it? Am I correct that if they were only doing the first step the blades would be too hard and brittle?
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Old 03-23-2016, 11:24 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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You are correct. A knife blade, if properly quenched, comes out of the quenchant just about as brittle as glass. Let me add, however, that they have had instances where the contestant did not leave the blade in the quenchant long enough and allowed to cooling to slow too soon and produced a soft blade.

Doug


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Old 05-29-2016, 07:40 PM
Axeman58 Axeman58 is offline
 
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Location: Choctaw, OK
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If I might add to this, your estimation is exactly correct. As an example I'll offer something that has happened to me. I had shaped a blade that I utterly fell in love with WAY too early. I used my propane forge to harden the blade, and some canola oil as my quenchant. I kept moving the blade (a simple carbon), pulling it out to check temperature. When I was able to handle the blade with my gloved hand comfortably, I set my tongs aside, grabbed a rag and wiped the oil off he blade. Somewhere in the process of wiping it down, the point caught the rag and the blade fell to the concrete floor, and shattered into several pieces.
Tempering is an absolute must! It is another step towards the best blade possible.
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bee, beginner, blade, blades, carbon, fire, forge, forged, handle, harden, heat, knife, knife blade, knifemaker, knifemaking, knives, paint, quenched, show, simple, steel, toughness


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