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WillG74

Quench Overkill?

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Hey I have a 55 gallon drum that I could use as a vertical quench tank. Now I know this probably overkill, but I figured that just maybe the money I spend filling the thing up will last. Maybe I wont have to change it out as often due to the large size. But would it be OK as a quench tank if I am willing to spend the money for that much quenchant? I haven't read anywhere that says the quench tank must be so big or small. Sorry for the noob question but I am one when it comes to stuff like this. I am having a hard time finding a long enough quench tank or long steel pipe around here for a quench tank and I can get these 55 gallon drums for $10 a drum. Thanks for any info I can get.

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Personally, I can't imagine ever needing the kind of volume a 55 gallon drum will hold, but then again, I'm not a swordsmith.... yet. When I was quenching vertically, I used a piece of 2 inch square stock welded onto a base so it would stand up. It worked just fine, and any junkyard should have plenty of it around.

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if its oil how are you going to warm it up ???

Edited by john marcus

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if its oil how are you going to warm it up ???

 

 

Uhm, Not sure. Any suggestions? There is a drum heater product that would work fine if I had $1500 to throw at it. LOL

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I've never warmed up my oil, but then I've never done much heat treating in the winter. If you've not going to be doing swords any time soon, I'd say just go ahead and get a smaller quench tank to start out with.

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I've never warmed up my oil, but then I've never done much heat treating in the winter. If you've not going to be doing swords any time soon, I'd say just go ahead and get a smaller quench tank to start out with.

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Even if you are doing swords that's over kill...

 

Unless it production line work then you would be in business! I like a 5-6" pipe welded on to a flat base and even this is a little much. The tank i used at Owens across the pond i think was 4" square tube about 3' long welded on to a base and it worked famously.

 

~~DJ

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I think it is a lot of overkill. You need at the min. 1 gallon per pound of metal being quenched. I do one or two knives at a time and have a 2.5 gallon container and that is lots.

 

Bob

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First off thanks for the replies. The water heater element is a good idea. I was just curious if other than the cost if there was a down side to using a 55 drum for quenching. I actually found a scrap yard around here. A new one opened up here just recently. I have been on the lookout for a 6" pipe I would rather have a little extra room in my quench. I will look for one today. Any ideas on how to find a 4" stainless steel pipe?

 

Oh, I had another Idea also. Could I, in theory, build a quench tank out of wood and line it with sheet metal and cut a hole in the corner for a plug to drain it, place a thick piece of steel at the bottom that covers the bottom minus the corner that the plug is in, and seal it with bathroom caulk? Just an idea. I personally prefer the 6" pipe, but I will work with what I can find.

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That sounds like a lot of work for a tank that might simply not work. Honestly, you can quench in just about anything. I've quenched in paint buckets, meatloaf pans and even the plastic bucket that drywall screws come in. But you're trying to build a permanent tank, and that's great, but there's no reason it has to be a convoluted process.

 

Since you have a scrap yard, you should be able to easily find something that will work perfectly. Grab yourself an oil pan from a truck engine. I first saw this idea used in a heat-treating video I bought, and I immediately built one. It works perfectly. When looking into an oil pan, there's a deep part and a shallow part. Just fill the deep part with your quenching oil until it just starts to ride up into the shallow part. This should provide you with enough oil to quench all but the largest knives, plus it has two other benefits. First, the shallow part of the pan can be used as a shelf to sit your cooling blade after it's been quenched. Second, there should be a small hole in the side of the oil pan where the oil temperature gauge used to screw in. You can use this as a means to deliver your own temperature gauge in the form of a basic kitchen probe thermometer and a bit of caulk or clay.

 

Edit: Here's a picture of someone quenching in a disposable foil cooking pan from a bunch of pictures that Ken Burns just posted: CLICK

Edited by Matthew McKenzie

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I started off in a sheet metal Welding Electrode can..... it worked well enough

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My quench tank is an old-fashioned soda-acid fire extinguisher made of stainless steel. (It's not long enough for swords, obviously.) It holds three gallons, which is plenty for my purposes. I can't imagine needing a 55 gallon quench tank for anything I'd be capable of forging without a power hammer and some helpers. :)

Edited by Matt Bower

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If there is a homebrew supply store, or even a soda distributor in you area, go pick up a soda keg.

 

They're stainless steel, hold five gallons of quench, and have an airtight lid.

 

For all but really long swords they work great. Also, you can pick them up for under $40.

 

You can see mine in the upper left hand corner of this photo.

 

cubed.jpg

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Update: Ok I found a couple old propane tanks at the scrap yard. they are a bit taller than the 55 gallon drums and only about half as wide. I am planning on buying a turkey fryer for the smaller knives that I need to make for practice. That way I can heat it up to the temp that I need and it is big enough for large knives. I am just trying to prepare for the sword length blades. The propane tanks have two holes in the side near the bottom of the tank. I figure I can just plug these holes and when I need to empty the quench I can unplug one of the holes. I just have to cut off the top after I fill it with water for safety, and make a lid for it and I am done. I am also gonna build a heat treating drum forge. Does anyone know where I can find 1" Kaowool at for a cheap price? Ellis wants $130 a roll Plus shipping and Ebay has some for around $117 for the Kaowool and shipping. If there is a cheaper place please let me know. I would appreciate it. I have to finish setting up my Chile forge and I'll be ready to at least start hitting some hot metal. Maybe tomorrow. I think I a going to get addicted the that scrap yard. I look at things there and think about what I can make out if them. LOL Now I just need to learn how to use my Stick welder and I will be set.

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Will,

 

What Robert said about 1 gallon of quenchant for one pound of steel is the rule of thumb. It's true, if a person wants to quench a bunch of blades, the oil gets too hot and has to be cooled down, but for smaller numbers, one gallon will be plenty, that is, it will perform correctly... or... has enough volume to dissipate the heat properly.

 

Somewhere Kevin Cashen and others were yapping about tank diameters for quench and/or salt tanks (verticals). I believe what the driving factor for some was needing to quench swords with a lot of curve to them. Those folks wanted 5" instead of 3" to 4" tanks.

 

You've probably done this but a thin wall (heats and cools faster) 4" square (about 5.5" across the corners) at 36" of oil (40" total tank height for head room holds 2.5gal. A round 5" X 40" tube at 36" of oil depth holds 3gal.

 

Mike

 

PS ~ If you buy commercial quenchant and treat it as recommended, I'm not sure you can live long enough to wear it out though use.

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Will if you go to second hand shops like the good will or salvation army in your area look for a NESCO roaster, it is a counter top cooker from the 1950's and has a heating element. I have 2 one with parks 50 the other with water. they are about 18" X 14" X 8" deep, I payed $8.00 for the blue one & $5.00 for the black one. they work fantastic! good luck Scott

shop_036.jpg

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Will, having overkilled many projects myself through pure ignorance and not having anyone around to learn from I think I can speak from experience on this. If you look around not even the best sword only guys are using large quench tanks, at least nothing as large as what your talking about.

 

I have a couple OXY tanks that were cut off, I want to guess 8 inches and even those I find too large and do not use. Right now Im tooling up for bigger projects and will most likely go with 4 inch stainless pipe welded onto a stainless bottom and then again welded onto a large piece of plate steel, whatever scrap I can find.

 

The bottom line here is increasing your volume beyond your actual needs will increase your costs for liquid and heating, double the volume double the costs. There is also the increased chance of moisture getting into your oil and accidents. While a propane bottle will be thick and should be pretty safe, thinner metals will for sure wear and hole faster than thicker metals.

 

If you are hell bent on having the ultimate quench tank maybe you should think about making several smaller ones and trying out multiple quenching or just having three or more different quenches available to experiment with. Any way it goes it will be interesting to see what you come up with, best wishes on your forging experience.

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Hello all

 

I wish I could photo my 4 quench tanks 2 of them I made out of 6 and 10 inch pipe and a flat piece of steal welded to the bottom. one is over 4.5 feet long for doing swords the other one is for daggers I have them mounted on wheels so when I am not making swords I can role it out of my way. for knifes I just use steel planter box I had laying around the shop. for long single edge blades I use a live stock watering troughs it holds 60 or 70 gallons of water. most of all this stuff I picked up as scrap so the cost is not very much. the real cost is the fluids I put into the tanks.

 

Bill Jones

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I use a 4 or 5 inch pipe about 40 inches tall, plate welded to bottom, holds a hair over 2.5 gal.

 

I can't help but notice He wants to keep cost down for Inswool, scrap steels to build it from junk yard, but has no fears about filling it with 55 gals of Very costly quenchant ?

 

did I miss something? :blink:

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Thanks for all the great replies and ideas guys.

 

Steve, I was getting input from people on what they thought about the idea and my main concern was if there was a negative to a larger quench tank in general. I am not crazy enough or rich enough to actually use a 55 gallon tank for a quench tank. I can see where you would be confused of my queries. I did state "In Theory" in an earlier post. I will be going back to the scrapyard today and will keep an eye out for some pipe to use for a quench tank.

 

Thanks again for all the cool ideas guys.

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Guest Rogerthedull
Thanks for all the great replies and ideas guys.

 

Steve, I was getting input from people on what they thought about the idea and my main concern was if there was a negative to a larger quench tank in general. I am not crazy enough or rich enough to actually use a 55 gallon tank for a quench tank. I can see where you would be confused of my queries. I did state "In Theory" in an earlier post. I will be going back to the scrapyard today and will keep an eye out for some pipe to use for a quench tank.

 

Thanks again for all the cool ideas guys.

 

 

Why not got to the local hardware store and get 4-5' of 6" galvanized stove pipe? Don't crimp it together, kind of flatten it on the floor, fold up the ends to make a long trough and solder them.

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Why not got to the local hardware store and get 4-5' of 6" galvanized stove pipe? Don't crimp it together, kind of flatten it on the floor, fold up the ends to make a long trough and solder them.

 

I think he is looking for vertical tank.... and i would be worried about the structural integrity of that thin of metal when containing gallons of boiling hot liquid and thrusting pointy red hot metal in to it. It might not spill (and make a horrid mess at best and burn the crap out of you worst), but why take the chance...

 

Now if the stove pipe you are getting is thicker than the about 20G stuff i have that might be another story.

 

 

 

~~DJ

Edited by DJPratt

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Can you imagine dealing with a flash fire from a 55gal tank filled with quechant, yikes!!!!

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Can you imagine dealing with a flash fire from a 55gal tank filled with quechant, yikes!!!!

 

911, what is the nature of your emergency?

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