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

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  #1  
Old 06-04-2012, 10:51 PM
hawk45 hawk45 is offline
 
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Large full tang knives.. heat treat the tang or just blade?

Maybe this is a stupid question, but should the full handle tang on large fixed blades (over 12" overall) be heat treated or left annealed for flexibility/durability? Or left a a lesser hardness than the blade?

Thanks,
Hawk
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  #2  
Old 06-04-2012, 11:31 PM
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Eli Jensen Eli Jensen is offline
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A hardened tang will be prone to breaking as it is hard and more brittle than annealed steel. This is why many factory knives are weak at the shoulders. If it is fully annealed, then it is very soft an can bend easily. This is usually how I do it as the handle material, especially bolsters, prevent it from moving enough to bend. Ideally though you would want a spring temper but that is a lot of work. Some makers harden the the entire knife and temper the tang further with a torch.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:00 AM
WBE WBE is offline
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How many factory or otherwise knives have you seen broken in or at the tang? A hardened and tempered tang is the strongest, but in acual use, I doubt it matters a lot either way. As you said, the grip gives support to the tang. If the junction to the tang is well radiused, it will be plenty strong in either case. An important thing to remember, is that we are making knives, and not pry bars.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:00 AM
Kevin R. Cashen Kevin R. Cashen is offline
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I am with Wick 100% here, there really shouldn't be a dimes worth of difference in a knife being used as a knife, or even being abused, with a full tang. If one wanted to take things to the full extreme and be able to say that every last percentage of strength was obtained, whether it would ever be noticed or not, you could heat treat the tang and draw it back to an appropriate hardness for maximum impact vs. tensile strength, but it is easier to just not harden the thing. Now if the blade is damascus, you have to harden it and draw it back or it will give a really goofy looking etch on a full tang.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:11 AM
hawk45 hawk45 is offline
 
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Thanks for the replies everyone..

So if I'm making a few choppers (with 1084) my best bet would be to find the best RHC for that task as opposed to say a smaller bushcraft or neck knife, which I would probably want to go for a higher RHC?

Thanks again,
Hawk
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:34 AM
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Eli Jensen Eli Jensen is offline
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I've never personally seen any break, I'm not a huge knife user. Only on Youtube. Yes they were abused.

And I sort of brain farted I was thinking about hidden tang, not full tang. Full tang should be good either way I suppose as long as its tempered and there isn't an excessive amount of holes drilled to reduce weight.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:02 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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For me the biggest reason not to quench the tang is so I won't have to use carbide bits to drill the pin holes. As Kevin said, the argument over strength vs toughness is just a matter of judgement and compromise. A pearletic tang will be less likely to break but a tempered martensetic tang will take more force to break than it will take to bend a pearletic tang. It's all a balancing act.

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Old 06-05-2012, 10:09 AM
hawk45 hawk45 is offline
 
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Thanks guys. Yeah, for my larger choppers I'm not drilling out any holes in the handle other than the pin/thong holes, the weight in the handle will give better balance too. I'll also drill out the pin/thong holes before HT while the steel is still annealed and soft. My plan is to do 2-3 temper cycles at 450 post HT.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:30 PM
Zeke/Pa Zeke/Pa is offline
 
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In my knifemaking days I fancied the full tang Loveless designs, from mostly O-1 which I had professionally heatreated to Rc 57-59.
Properly hardened and tempered, a full tang knife is fine .
Of course, ALL holes were drilled, including the hilt holes and the bevels rough ground prior to heat treat.

Last edited by Zeke/Pa; 06-05-2012 at 09:33 PM.
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back, blade, bolsters, bushcraft, damascus, drill, etch, fixed blade, full tang, handle, harden, heat treat, hidden, knife, knifemaking, knives, material, neck knife, post, steel, tang, temper


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