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  #1  
Old 10-26-2017, 09:48 PM
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Grayshadow95 Grayshadow95 is offline
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heat treat D2

After a less than ideal summer, I have finally been able to get back into my shop to try the plate quench heat treat process you guys provided me last spring.

After carefully wrapping the test blade in S/S foil I cooked it in my kiln, which takes almost an hour to reach 1850 degrees, and held it there for between 25 & 30 minutes. Quickly stuck it between two large pieces of aluminum plate, pressed down on the top one while blowing compressed air between the plates for about a minute. After about 10 minutes it was cool enough to hold with bare hands. Removed the foil, and was pleased to see not a speck of scale and it is perfectly flat. I then baked it in my wife's oven (which she wasn't real pleased about ) twice for 2 hours at 400 degrees, allowing it to cool to room temp in between baking sessions. Ran a mill file over the edge, which slide right across it with a nice ringing sound and didn't bite in at all. Also tried drilling into the tang with the same drill bit that I used to drill the pin holes, and it barely even made a mark on the metal. So, looks like it is pretty hard and ready for the handle. And then testing!
So, THANK YOU for all your great advice!

However, I have a question. I had placed a piece of scrap cherry in the foil wrap because someone suggested it might use up any oxygen that remained in the foil wrap before any scale could form on the blade. When I unwrapped the blade, I immediately noticed what looks like a thin layer of color-case hardening over the entire blade.
IMG_5051-1.jpg
IMG_5053-1.jpg
So, in the mean time, is this color-case hardening effect normal?

Last edited by Grayshadow95; 10-26-2017 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 10-26-2017, 11:03 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Don't worry about it.

It's just some discoloring the foil didn't prevent from a minute amount of O2, foil never prevents 100% discoloring, just scale and decarb. Did you sand it off before the temper, because the temper would have brought it right back.

Does the file dig into it at all? I usually tempered D2 at 425 for a HT temp of 1850 and that left me around RC 60 or a little higher and a good file should barely bite into it. A regular HS drill bit wouldn't drill into RC 56 either, just FYI, don't go by a drill bit test. If a good file won't bite into it it may be too hard and possibly brittle. I presume you know how to do a brass rod test? It won't hurt a thing to re-temper at 425 if it is too hard.
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Old 10-27-2017, 05:24 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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The color is absolutely fine....I don't use d2 much but I use a lot of stainless and occasionally some carbon but not much from what I know d2 is kinda semi stainless....I put a lil piece of balled up paper in the foil UNLESS IT IS DAMASCUS!!! if its Damascus especially stainless Damascus it can effect the etch and the pattern if you put ANY THING in the foil wih the steel. Anyway I always get some lil bit of coloration on it when it comes out no big never cause a problem...I have come to think the only way to prevent that is to run something like argon into the oven to push out the oxygen but that has its wn problems you would want to do that inside in a very in ventilated room. if you want to go that route I think ray has his oven set up like that. but really the color-ing is no big deal so I wouldn't worry

This is crucibles spec sheet for d2 take a look it will show how to hrden and also what tempering temps provide what hardness levels....keep in mind its a sarting point I always start with the spec sheet and improve from there.
http://www.crucible.com/PDFs/DataShe...dsD2v12010.pdf
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Old 10-27-2017, 08:09 AM
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Grayshadow95 Grayshadow95 is offline
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Jim,

No, I didn't sand the color off. After tempering I did spread a drop of oil over the surface which really enhanced the colors. I think it looks quite nice with the color left on, but I suspect it wouldn't be very durable. I love the color-case hardening on my Shilo Sharps rifle, but it has much more dark blue coloring.

IMG_5054-1.jpg
IMG_5055-1.jpg

The file test did leave several slight scratches on the edge but didn't "bite in" like when I was shaping the blade.

No, not sure what the brass rod test is, but after having watched most episodes of Forged in Fire, I suspect it entails trying to hammer the blade through a brass rod?
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Old 10-27-2017, 08:49 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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Yeh the color wont last forever that's for sure. I never liked the file test because the whole first year I knew of no one near by and the "bite a little" can mean a different thing to me than you...that is one of the reasons I got a hardness tester

Any way no hammering a knife through a rod is not the brass rod test that is a "Hollywood" style test they do on the show....a real brass rod test is done after the bevels are on and its sharpening put the brass rod on a table....lay the blade flat across the rod lift up the spine so you want just the secondary bevel (or edge bevel) is on the rod push down on the blade until you see the edge just slightly deflect over the rod now with keeping pressure on it roll the edge over the brass rod the length of the edge. Now if you put enough pressure to deflect that edge one of 3 things will happen the edge will chip wich means its to hard OR the edge will deflect but wont spring baclk slightly bending the edge forming something like a burr along the edge that means its too soft....what you want to happen is the edge will deflect but as you roll it across it will spring back to the original position. then its right
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Old 10-27-2017, 10:45 AM
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I've been looking for a used hardness tester, but so far haven't found one. I don't make and sell enough knives to justify the purchase cost of a new one.

So, the diameter of the brass rod isn't important. I have some 1 inch diameter round bar stock which sounds like it would be suitable.

I start the secondary bevel before heat treating, but not enough for a cutting edge, leaving just a hair thin "flat" on the edge. I don't like working with a fully sharpened blade while installing the handle, even with tape on the blade I usually find a way to cut myself!

Any other suggestions to "test" the blade before installing the handle?
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Old 10-27-2017, 11:37 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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when I heat treat I would never start the secondary bevel....99% of the time I don't even do the bevels I just profile the knife and HT bevels come later. it stops the chance of warping almost to 0% Another thing if your going to plate quench think about it if you do the bevels that part of the knife wont touch the plates it will only come into contact with the flats so it wont suck out the heat as quickly yes spraying air will help but if you don't do the bevels the whole thing will be in contact...like I said tho I never used d2 so I am not sure is it shallow hardening? I have heard some shallow hardening steels that its better to grind before hand but again the steels I use are fine doing everything after heat treat.

As to your question about the size of the rod I always used 3/16th and 1/4 rod but I don't see any reason you cant use bigger AS LONG AS YOU SEE DEFLECTION IN THE EDGE when you press down you should be good....a larger bar is going to have more surface area in contact with the edge so it might take a lil more pressure to get the edge to deflect but as long as you see that edge deflect as you roll down the edge you should get results.....

I doubt you will find a tester used maybe but it might take some hunting I got mine from grizzly. Also when ever I use a new steel I will make few different coupons and do a oil quench on some plate on others and different tempering temps then I will test the hardness then i will HT a quick simple blade and do things like things like cutting cardboard rope even paracord I have used if its a big enough I will chop threw some 2x4's and see what comes out the best.....every now and then I will test one at random see how long it takes to get dull. I don't use a lot of different steels just a few
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Old 10-27-2017, 12:02 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Here is a link to a brass rod test.

None of the tests you can do by hand are definitive, the file test depends upon the hardness of your file. I had a hardness tester at my last job and my Nicholson Black Diamond files came in at around RC 63-64. My Heller files given to me from the company were 59-60. So if your blade was 60 or better the Hellers would just scratch the color off. I always aimed for a hardness of RC 59-60 for D2 and didn't worry if it tested 61, but my Nicholson would bite into it if I pushed hard, hard being the operative word. D2 is tough to file.

I learned to do D2 from Hinderliter HT company in OKC (for my job) and that is where I got the 425 temper from and I won't go into cryo treatments. As quenched D2 is around, at 1850 HT, RC 64 and I would guess from looking at the charts your blade would be around RC 61-62 with a 400 degree temper. Hope you have a diamond sharpener because you'll be there all day with any regular stones. If you use a belt to sharpen it, be careful, you can accidentally HT the edge (turn it blue) if you don't have a very sharp belt as D2 is very wear resistant with the Vanadium in it.

In retrospect I wouldn't worry about the blades being too brittle, but they are very hard. If you intend to sell the knives be forewarned that if the buyer doesn't appreciate a super hard knife he will bring it back saying it won't take an edge if he is using anything but diamond to sharpen it. But it will hold an edge for a long time and that is the purpose of an extra hard blade. Here's the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woP1tqF-dsg


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  #9  
Old 10-27-2017, 12:51 PM
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Grayshadow95 Grayshadow95 is offline
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Yeah, D2 is tough to work even before heat treating, I went through several belts on one blade. My sander is only a 1x42, so I have to go slow during shaping. I use home made wooden jigs that I clamp the blade to when doing the primary bevel grind. I then use a file to start the secondary bevel.
Yes, I have a set of medium sized needle files that are diamond, and have three 6 inch diamond sharpening stones in various grits.

Have you ever tried to sharpen a Buck sheath knife? Those blades are very hard, and take quite a lot of work to sharpen. I've made a couple blades out of old wood rasps and out of W2, those were easy to sharpen in comparison. I was told by a knife smith at a gun show that D2 will produce a blade similar in hardness to a Buck knife, so I decided to give it a try. The one I am working on now will not be sold even if it survives testing. The next two will be for 2 of my brothers-in-law. After that I may see if I can sell some made with D2.

Good video, explains the brass rod test very well.
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Old 10-27-2017, 01:29 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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You're welcome Grayshadow. I was made the heat treater at my last job, because I was a college grad with some studies in metallurgy, not for HT, but for TIG welding and I made knives so since nobody wanted to do it, it became part of my job. Silly reason, but luckily Hinderliter was very helpful as I used them in OKC for my HT of stainless and D2, which technically isn't stainless, but with 10-11% chrome close enough. We had a 24" oven and any parts that were bigger I sent to Hinderliter. It was a very interesting side job and I learned a lot.
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Old 10-27-2017, 03:03 PM
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Grayshadow95 Grayshadow95 is offline
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Hay, it benefited you, and now it's benefiting others as well, so it's been put to good use!

My first "job" after graduating high school was repairing computers and other digital equipment for the US Navy. When I got out of the Navy in 78, I went to work for a company that started out being called Lear Incorporated, but after several transitions it was part of GE Aviation before I retired. I also went back to school in 78, but majored in math and minored in physics. Not a lot there to assist in my current hobbies!

I've been interested in making knives since I was a kid back in the mid 60s, and tried making a few throwing knives. Fortunately for me the old guy that lived across the street had been a lumberjack up in Alaska and enjoyed teaching his nephew and I anything we wanted to know including stick welding and woodworking. He let me use his shop and any scrap metal laying around. He also taught me how to sharpen any blade tools. He could sharpen an axe well enough to shave hair. That has proven useful quite a few times but also a bit of a pain in the butt, because a lot of friends and relatives ask me to sharpen their knives for them!

Anyway, thanks for all the useful info!
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Old 10-27-2017, 04:10 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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But yes grey shadow if your using a 1x42 I would think your doing the right thing grinding before HT unless you have a powerfull grinder and good ceramic belts you have to. A lot of the knives I make are made from stainless CPMS35VN and they do come out hard probilly a lil harder than the D2 but still same thing you need a diamond stone if your going to use stones. it will take forever on a different type of stone....I just recently started to learn to sharpen on the grinder I had a hard time at first but its getting better.....leaves a convex edge of corse tho.
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Old 10-27-2017, 04:39 PM
Bob Hatfield Bob Hatfield is offline
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Give you a little tip on using the quench plates. I have a small fridge in the shop and put my Alum. quench plates in the freezer part. On my D-2 and S30V knives I can get 60RC day in day out with my heat treat formula. Freezing the plates allows me to handled the blades within 4-5 minutes with my bare hands.
A lot easier then blowing air on the plates.


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Old 10-27-2017, 05:46 PM
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Grayshadow95 Grayshadow95 is offline
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Guru, haven't stepped up yet to pay the cost for ceramic belts, haven't made many knives from scratch or sold many either. Right now it's more of a hobby. I buy good metal sanding belts locally from Granger. My belt sander is an old Dayton, it has good power and does a good job, but it's a slow process. If I do my part, it gives me a good flat primary bevel grind because it has a flat steel plate behind the belt and I made an oversized tool rest.

Bob, wish I had room for a refrigerator! A cold beverage in the summer would be nice. This time of year I might try putting the plates outside the door of my shop while cooking the blade. In Michigan they should get cooled of quite well!
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Old 10-27-2017, 08:00 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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GreyShadow I used a Delta 1x42 with 8" disc up until this year when a Dayton 2x48 went on sale for $228 shipping included! They have it back up to $358 now. It needs to be modified some, but nothing very hard and at 3/4 HP TEFC motor and over 4000 sfpm it hogs the metal off. Great buy on my part, it weighs 67 lbs so with the shipping included was a steal. Zoro company sells it. It is better in some ways than a 2x48 Kalamazoo. My last job had the 2x48 Kalamazoos and they are very good.

I use the ceramic belts for both grinders, Tru-Grit has an economy ceramic that hold up pretty well, but it isn't lubed like the better belts are so you need to lube them with a good belt lube. Belt lube I use is called Formax and it runs cooler and makes the belt cut extra long enough for the extra expense. Also do you have a belt cleaner? The rubberized stuff?
http://www.formaxmfg.com/coated-abrasive-grease-sticks
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