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Reuben Q.

Beginner Knives (plus advice required!)

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Hello all, this is my first post around here. Ive been lurking for the last week or so and have been amazed by the quality of work that people are producing and also by the community spirit here.

Ive been interested in woodwork for a while and have recently started making my own tools, here are a few examples, questions to follow!

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This is the first tool that I made, the blade is very simple and ground on both sides. I also love what happens to cherry when you finish it, this is sanded to 600 and treated with danish oil.

 

 

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This is my second attempt. I made the handle and lid from one piece of wood so that the grain matches up. I also used some leather to help hide the epoxy that I mounted the blade with. I ground this one like a chisel with just one bevel.

 

 

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This is my first tool with a specific job in mind. I have been doing inlay work recently and find it hard to clean out the recesses into which the inlay will fit. This tool cuts flat while the handle stands proud of your work.

Thanks for taking the time to look at these! If you want any more photos or info check my blog.

 

 

My current metal work set up is *very* buget! I am using O1 steel which im heating with a propane/butane mix torch. I have zero control over the temperature, im quenching when the whole blade is glowing a bright red/yellow color and im quenching with vegetable oil at ambient temperature. Im tempering at gas mark 2 (not going to pretend I know how hot my oven is, but hopefully 100-200C.

From what I understand O1 steel needs to be soaked above the critical temperature for ~30mins to harden properly. How much performance am I losing from my steel by not soaking, and are there any steels that dont need to soak at critical temperature?

Whats wrong with vegetable oil?

Is it OK to use O1 for chisels with a thinner shaft, im worried that hardening up the shaft could make the tool more brittle and ideally I'd just harden the first few mm. 

Thanks to anyone that can help!

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome, and nice tools!

For the heat treatment part, first of all, I would advise you not to use O1 with your current setup. Simple carbon steels like 1080/1084 or spring steels like 5160 or 80CrV2 are best suited for beginners with basic setups.

If you gotta use O1, it needs no more than a 10 min soak for thick blades, if I remember well. If your setup doesn't allow you to keep a steady temp, you better not soak at all because you may overheat the steel and cause more damage than good. For the tempering part, just buy a used toaster-oven, drill a hole in the side and put a food thermometer though, close to where you will put your knife/tool. You will find that the temperature will vary a great deal so the trick is to put a tray filled with sand in the oven and bury the knife inside. The thermal mass of the sand will lessen the temp variation. 

Veggie oil will work well for most steels. Just heat it to the point you can't hold your finger in. Cold oil is less fluid and will cool your steel slower. 130°f is ideal.

You will find steel specific heat treatment info in the HT section.

 

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Spring temper your tool shafts using your torch. Fine sand the shaft and clean it with acetone. Put the blade part in a wet cloth and clamp on your vise. SLOWLY heat the tip of the shaft/tang. You will notice the steel will begin to show color. It will first become dark straw, straw, yellow and to on. Heat until it is blue and cool in water. Resand and do it again. Make sure the blade portion stays cool. 

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I agree with what Joel says.  That's sort of how I do metal-cutting chisels out of O-1.  I took the liberty of checking your IP address to see where in the world you are, since that helps us tell you what you may be able to find.  That said, you are in a location where you can get what's known as Silver Steel (trade name, no actual silver in it).  Think of it as W-1 with .35% chromium added.  It will not need time at heat, and will harden well in veggie oil just warm enough that you don't want to keep your finger in it.

While it will be easier to work with than the O-1, it is less forgiving about being overheated during hardening.  Yellow is too hot.  In dim light the color is a bright cherry red to me.  O-1 can take the extra heat because of the tungsten and vanadium content that help pin the grain boundaries.  These are also the carbide formers that make soaking a good thing to do with O-1. 

Plumbing torches are fine for hardening small stuff like that.  If you know any potters see if they have any insulating (soft) firebricks they're not using.  You can make a really nice mini forge out of two of those hollowed out (use an old spoon, they're that soft) and clamped together with the torch flame entering through a hole in one side.  Make a hole on both narrow ends as well as your access to the chamber.  With this kind of setup you will have greater control over the heat and oxidation.  If said potter has some ceramic wool, even better!  You just line a metal can with it, top it with some sort of refractory clay (also from a potter) and you have a forge. 

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I would also like to take this opportunity to recommend you look into decalescence and recalescence.  Do a Google site search of the forum for those terms, or even just a Google video search.  Those will really help the low tech heat treater.  

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Thanks for the responses!

I had a look and I can buy 'silver steel' from the same supplier I'd used for o1 and it comes in very useful sizes for me. Did I mention I'm doing all the stock removal by hand? :)

Thanks for keeping the suggestions low tech too, its reasuring to hear that you can get good results on a buget. I have been looking at making some kind of very small propane forge, it would be good to increase the size of blade that I can harden over time as I become more confident. I will also look into a toaster oven with temp probe.

When your aiming for a certain temper how big are the temperature windows? do I need to be accurate to 10degrees or 100?

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For tempering you need to be accurate to within 10 degrees, especially since you're probably using those overly large Centigrade degrees. ;)  

 

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This would help heat treat some slightly larger blades 

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Thats a very nice forge design Jeremy, thankyou. I also like the buget that its working with! I think I will try to construct something similar soon.

I'm also getting more confused by steel, the O1 stock that I have has this written on it:

'From a 500C preheat, raise pieces to 790C-815C according to size, hold sufficient time for temperature to become uniform, but do not soak longer than necessary. Quench into oil which should be conveniently placed to avoid heat loss' So its the preheat im missing and it doesn't need soaking?

typical analysis: c. 85-1.05 manganese 1.00-1.40 silicon .15-.40 chromium .40-.60 tungsten .40-.60 vandium .15-.30 if that helps

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Take a look at the link I sent you earlier. There is everything you need to know about heat treating O1

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Is that a normal C range for O1? 0.2% variance seems kinda large to me. A bit like 1075 vs 1095...

West Yorkshire Steel’s stated typical O1 C content is 0.95%

Edited by Charles du Preez

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4 hours ago, Charles du Preez said:

Is that a normal C range for O1? 0.2% variance seems kinda large to me. A bit like 1075 vs 1095...

West Yorkshire Steel’s stated typical O1 C content is 0.95%

Yes, and W1 has an even wider range of 0.70%-1.5%

That's why we should see the batch analysis before buying.

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Thanks Joël

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