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Did a little testing recently with the magical elixer known as "SuperQuench".  I hope to do some more in the future, and get some better data, but I thought I'd share what I had so far.  

 

Thus came about because I'm trying to make a knife for a customer out of a tiller tine he supplied (he gave me a box full of em). He specifically requested I use the tiller tine, and the deer antler he supplied, that way it's all from stuff that was his.  

After failing to get the tiller tine hardness above 44ish Rockwell with water quenching(I have access to a tester at work).  I decided to try the enigmatic superquench.  Here are my results. 

 

 

Tiller tine, raw, untouched, etc.  = 44 - 46 Rc.

Tiller tine quenched in water = 44 HRc 

Tiller tine in SuperQuench = 48-50 HRc

Mild steel (alloy unknown). As is hotrolled. = 3 HRc.  

Same mild steel, in SuperQuench = 42-43 HRc.

Edited by Stephen Stumbo

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As an addendum.   I will be moving forward with this blade by forge welding some 1084 to the tine for the edge. 

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Still too soft for a useable blade but that's impressive results!

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48-50 Rc is well within the range of medieval blades.  Just sayin'. ;)  Next you'll say it's not good enough because it rusts.  :lol:  (just messing with you!)

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13 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

48-50 Rc is well within the range of medieval blades.  Just sayin'. ;)  Next you'll say it's not good enough because it rusts.  :lol:  (just messing with you!)

Would you leave the martensite untempered? 

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14 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

48-50 Rc is well within the range of medieval blades. 

This is important context that is often not in people's minds.  

2 minutes ago, Joël Mercier said:

Would you leave the martensite untempered? 

Personally, I wouldn't worry about tempering.  Though Stephen mentioned he is going to forge weld on some 1084, so in that case tempering is important.  

 

Also something very important in things that don't harden much is going to be mass and depth of hardening.  For industrial information, look up info on the Jominy End Quench.  

 

Lastly, thanks for sharing Stephen!  Obviously this is of interest to people.  

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I talked to Robb Gunter who invented SuperQuench about spike knives. He recommended tempering, not to soften the blade but to refine the grain growth.

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7 hours ago, Jerrod Miller said:

Also something very important in things that don't harden much is going to be mass and depth of hardening. 

This would be my primary concern. If you have the equipment to test the hardness, take a piece of the mild steel, put it through the super quench and then grind strips across the face at increasing depths. Shave a few thousandths off in one area, about .010 in another and see how the hardness at those depths are.

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Wayne, i am unclear how tempering would refine grain growth, since the temperatures for tempering are so much lower than normalizing temperatures. Can you please explain this?

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I was repeating what Robb had told me.  He knows a lot more about that than I do.  The other person that you might want to discuss this with is Kevin Cashin.

BTW, it is good to hear from you again.

Let me know if I can help you again.

Wayne

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On 5/17/2019 at 10:54 AM, Joël Mercier said:

Still too soft for a useable blade but that's impressive results!

Most swords from the Medieval period up to the Napoleonic era were rarely over 50 RC, something in the mid-40's would be considered as quite a good blade. In a long blade, the ability to survive hard stress trumps how many rope cuts, etc. you're trying to get out of a blade. Most Solingen sabres were hardened in the 40's range.

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Yeah, I've heard that multiple times from Alan. :lol: Though Stephen says he's trying to make a knife out of it, not a sword...

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Yeah, the customer said when I first talked to him about the knife that he'd likely never use it, but I just can't let it out of my shop when I know I can do it better.   A forge welded edge of 1084 will address the issue well I believe.  

 

 

On 5/17/2019 at 10:28 PM, Joshua States said:

This would be my primary concern. If you have the equipment to test the hardness, take a piece of the mild steel, put it through the super quench and then grind strips across the face at increasing depths. Shave a few thousandths off in one area, about .010 in another and see how the hardness at those depths are.

That's a good idea.   I'm planning on cutting some pieces of the same mild steel, and quenching in different mediums, etc, and testing them.   I'll try to make sure I test hardness at varying depths also.  

 

Will report back when I have more results.  

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4 hours ago, Stephen Stumbo said:

 

On 5/17/2019 at 7:28 PM, Joshua States said:

This would be my primary concern. If you have the equipment to test the hardness, take a piece of the mild steel, put it through the super quench and then grind strips across the face at increasing depths. Shave a few thousandths off in one area, about .010 in another and see how the hardness at those depths are.

That's a good idea.   I'm planning on cutting some pieces of the same mild steel, and quenching in different mediums, etc, and testing them.   I'll try to make sure I test hardness at varying depths also.  

In blade thicknesses you'll need to test with either Vicker's or Knoop.  Rockwell is too big of a test; you'll be testing surface and a bit below surface.  You may see a difference, but you certainly wouldn't be getting the whole story.  

 

On 5/17/2019 at 5:02 PM, Wayne Coe said:

He recommended tempering, not to soften the blade but to refine the grain growth.

This definitely would not refine grain growth in a measurable way.  

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