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I am a newbe to forging.  Up until know I have been using stock rolled/machined steel ( O 1) by stock removal and quenched in used Olive oil.  I use a temperature controlled kiln.   These are specialty knives for wood carving usually 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick.

Now I am teaching myself forging.  I have no experienced blacksmiths close that I can learn from. I bought a gas forge and an anvil.  Steel is used steel from a flea market.  Files, saws, etc. I intend to go on making full size knives.

My questions are: what oil  do I use for quenching? Is Olive oil OK?  If not, automotive oil?  Buy new oil meant for quenching?

Does quenching oil go bad?

HELP.

Lanny S. (Mac) McLaughlin

 

 

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The go-to oil for cheap is canola heated to around 130 degrees F.  It is the equal

to many commercial medium-fast quench oils.  Don't use motor oil.  It has detergents that absorb water, leading to unpredictable quench speeds.  If you're using scrap steels you need to know how to figure out what it likes, quench wise.  Down in the Metallurgy and other Enigmas subforum there are several discussions on how to do this.

Welcome aboard!

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Having industrial quench oil is the way to go.
O1 has a huge hardening window so you could buy Mcmasterr 11 second oil.
But for many other steels parks 50 is the way to go.

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It depends on the steel. 1084 go canola oil. 1095 or 01 parks 50. Gotta know the steels properties 

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2 hours ago, Justinschmidt said:

It depends on the steel. 1084 go canola oil. 1095 or 01 parks 50. Gotta know the steels properties 

Parks 50 is for "water hardening" steels only.  It's that fast.  O1 likes a much more gentle quench.

For example: with 1095 you have less than one second to drop the temp from 1450 to below 900 degrees.  With O1 you have something like 30 seconds to get from 1550 to under 900.  If pushed too fast it will crack.

Canola works well for most things, and does even work on 1095.  

Sorry to be throwing all this at you right out of the gate, Lanny, but as you can see there are some strong opinions here! :lol:  Commercial oil is great, but expensive.  This Parks 50 you hear about it such glowing terms is as fast as water until you get to around 700 degrees, then it levels off to be a much slower quench.  This prevents cracking.  It is, as I said above, ONLY for steels designed for water, like 1075, 1095, W1, W2, etc.  It's mostly prized by people trying to get hamon, the Japanese clay-coated temperline thing, because it's as fast as water but you don't have that 50/50 chance of losing the blade in the quench.  It's also fabulously expensive.

And yes, you do have to know your steels.  That's why you will always see us recommending buying a known steel rather than experimenting on scrap.  It's another reason I usually recommend hot canola as a quenchant, it's safe and cheap and works on water and oil- hardening steels.  If you score some air-hardening steel at the flea market it's probably not going to survive the forging attempt, but if it does it will not survive an oil quench in one piece.

Edited by Alan Longmire
needed more coffee to make sense
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For about the cost of a quart of some of the designer oils it is easy to see why canola is popular. If I built shrines in my shop to the pantheon of gods that are involved with bladesmithing and knifemaking the first two would be to

"Cahn Oh Lah"

and

"Ee Pox Ee"

Then one to

"Aunty Skales " AKA "Ai Tee Pee"

20171108_114352.jpg

  • Haha 1

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As few knives as someone like me makes per year, I would say canola oil is more than suitable for plenty of steels. 1075 must really like it because I can't stop getting utsuri in my hamons Since a couple months ago. I didn't know utsuri existed either though (thanks Alan). I bought some in the summer, and it's still working just fine. If i have to buy new once a year it will take several years before you reach the same expense as commercial quenchant.

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On 11/19/2017 at 7:02 AM, Alan Longmire said:

Parks 50 is for "water hardening" steels only.  It's that fast.  O1 likes a much more gentle quench.

For example: with 1095 you have less than one second to drop the temp from 1450 to below 900 degrees.  With O1 you have something like 30 seconds to get from 1550 to under 900.  If pushed too fast it will crack.

Canola works well for most things, and does even work on 1095.  

Sorry to be throwing all this at you right out of the gate, Lanny, but as you can see there are some strong opinions here! :lol:  Commercial oil is great, but expensive.  This Parks 50 you hear about it such glowing terms is as fast as water until you get to around 700 degrees, then it levels off to be a much slower quench.  This prevents cracking.  It is, as I said above, ONLY for steels designed for water, like 1075, 1095, W1, W2, etc.  It's mostly prized by people trying to get hamon, the Japanese clay-coated temperline thing, because it's as fast as water but you don't have that 50/50 chance of losing the blade in the quench.  It's also fabulously expensive.

And yes, you do have to know your steels.  That's why you will always see us recommending buying a known steel rather than experimenting on scrap.  It's another reason I usually recommend hot canola as a quenchant, it's safe and cheap and works on water and oil- hardening steels.  If you score some air-hardening steel at the flea market it's probably not going to survive the forging attempt, but if it does it will not survive an oil quench in one piece.

Haha this is what happens when your new and try to give advice. Thanks for the clarification Alan 

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What was that quote? If you ask 10 bladesmiths a question you will get 12 different perspectives?

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To all who replied to my posting on quenching oil, my many, many thanks.  As a novice blade smith, I REALLY value the education. 

I did discover that canola oil beats olive oil because canola has a higher flash point thus making it conduct heat more evenly before catching fire.

FYI I am an engineer familiar with working metals, but my experience is with precision heat treating ovens and milling machines.  Uhhh... Not much of that applies to hand making blades with fire and hammer.  But, the old fashion way is a lot more fun.   Novice I may be, but at 72 years old I want no longer to look at a calculator. Pencil and paper is just fine.  Shooting from the hip with no calculations is even better. OR just heat and hammer.

Bought the giant economy size canola oil from CosCo

Thanks again all for your help.  Got a lot more questions to ask soon. 

Lanny S (Mac) McLaughlin - the Irish Viking

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