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JamesK

Tempering question

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I’m currently tempering my tomahawk head at 450 for an hour. Would wrapping it aluminum foil during the temper secure it affect the temper in any way? Sort of a stupid question just making sure because I spent a while on this blade and the handle

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First, 450 is pretty low temp for a hawk, at least if you're going to throw it.  Second, an hour is not really enough, I often temper in 4 hours blocks, particularly on hard use items.  Third, I don't have any idea why you're tempering in foil, but if you've got the handle in the oven, that's not going to be good for it.

 

Geoff

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No, the foil won't help anything.  I temper my hawks with a plumber's propane torch.  I know the colors are not reliable, but they help.  The steel has to be absolutely clean, any oil or fingerprints throw off the oxide colors.  I hold the flame in the middle of the flat of the blade, edge down.  I play the flame around to keep the color even, watching carefully.  I want a wide band of even color so the entire hardened edge is close to the same temperature, and I take the edge to a full peacock blue as seen under daylight fluorescent tubes.  This is around 575 degrees f.  If done properly a file should bite fairly easily.  On a thrower I do this three times, sanding off the colors in between.  The length of time under the torch for a 1/4" thick by 3" wide head is around five or six minutes.  

Important caveat:  my hawks are mild steel with an inserted edge of 1084 that's about an inch wide.  The edge only gets hardened. If you use a different steel combo this may not give satisfactory results.

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3 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

No, the foil won't help anything.  I temper my hawks with a plumber's propane torch.  I know the colors are not reliable, but they help.  The steel has to be absolutely clean, any oil or fingerprints throw off the oxide colors.  I hold the flame in the middle of the flat of the blade, edge down.  I play the flame around to keep the color even, watching carefully.  I want a wide band of even color so the entire hardened edge is close to the same temperature, and I take the edge to a full peacock blue as seen under daylight fluorescent tubes.  This is around 575 degrees f.  If done properly a file should bite fairly easily.  On a thrower I do this three times, sanding off the colors in between.  The length of time under the torch for a 1/4" thick by 3" wide head is around five or six minutes.  

Important caveat:  my hawks are mild steel with an inserted edge of 1084 that's about an inch wide.  The edge only gets hardened. If you use a different steel combo this may not give satisfactory results.

Ok thanks for the help so far specifically on this build I’ve been working on. Since I have a mystery steel and no propane torch, do you think 450-500 at 2-4 hours is a good time for a good temper so that it’s tough but also fairly hard?

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With mystery steel anything would be a wild guess.  Sorry that I can't be of anymore help but that's the problem with an unknown steel.  You can't get around it.

Doug

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What Doug said.  Try it and see, but if it's still too hard to file it's too hard.

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