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SK-10 steel heat treatment


Anson Shiu

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i finally found some info on heat treating sk-10 steel, but i can't rlly make sense of the instructions. there seem to be a few complicated procedures for heat treatment. are these all necessary? and at which point do i quench the steel? 

 

 https://www.steel0.com/SK10.htm

 

thx in advance.

 

Screenshot 2023-12-31 at 12.33.58 PM.png

Edited by Anson Shiu
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Like I said, the heat treat is complex and you will not be able to do it in a make shift setup.  Just the heat to 1900 and hold is pretty much not going to happen.  You don't quench this steel, it air quenches.  This does not mean that it's simple, it just doesn't need a liquid medium quench.  And yes, it you want it hard you need to do what it says.

On the plus side, I don't think you have enough temperature control to normalize this steel.  I don't think that you would be able to get it into a state where you can grind it.

 

I may be wrong, I don't know this steel.  The worst thing that can happen is that you will fail, which can teach you some important things.

 

Geoff

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"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Like Geoff says, this is not an easy steel to play with.  It requires holding at precise high temperatures for relatively long time periods to do much to affect it.  Not sure what you mean by sand quenching, but in industrial practice this steel is heat-treated in a vacuum furnace and quenched in an air bath.   

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Ok, one last try.  Abandon this steel, save it, maybe later on you will have what you need to work it.  Look for an old school kitchen knife.  If it has a black or grey surface when you find it, that will be perfect.  It will be a simple carbon steel, 1060 or something like it.  A torch will normalize it enough to work with a file and hacksaw.  Torch heat to non magnetic and quench in some sort of vegetable oil, peanut works well, but pretty much any veggie oil work.

 

What you want to do is very difficult, I would expect to fail.  If you fail, you will feel bad and maybe quit.  Choose a steel with a much higher chance of success.  That way you will get some positive feedback from the process and keep trying to make beautiful things.  I have failed much more often than I have succeeded (in terms of what I had in my head when I started a project) but my successes keep me going, it's worked for me for 30 years or so.

 

Good luck

 

Geoff

  • Like 1

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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I agree with Geoff. It's going to be impossible with the tools you have to anneal the SK10. The new file you bought even will be easier to anneal. You can probably go to a thrift store and get a worn out file really cheap though. Heat the file metal until it is orange hot with the torch, and let it cool slowly to room temperature, and it will be a delight to work with.

Edited by Carlos Lara
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Posted (edited)

alright. i came up with a diff plan based on your suggestions and advice: 

 

1. i found a few local heat treating services. 1 of them (ASSAB Steels) specializes in heat treating stainless steel and even has a vacuum chamber to do it, but according to google it is temporarily closed. i also don't know the price i have to pay for their services and if they would accept small orders like mine. i'm not in a hurry though and can wait till they reopen.  the second one is a local company. more reliable since their not closed but i have no idea if they have the equipment to heat treat steel like mine. 

 

2. i could also try to get some 1060 or 1095 or smth steel from a local metal supplier, and if they don't have carbon steel like that i could ask my extended family in the US to get some for me. anyone know if home depo sell carbon steel flat bar? 

 

thx for the help >

Edited by Anson Shiu
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there are several websites specifically for blacksmiths and bladesmiths; the ones I know of are Blacksmiths Supply Depot, Pieh Tool Co., and Centaur Forge. I don't know if any of these can be delivered to your location, but if they do, it will probably be expensive shipping. The 1080 steel only starts at $10 for 18 inches. It depends on your price range, but that steel will be enough for several stock removal knives. If all else fails, and you have the money, your extended family can order some and ship it to you because I don't think Home Depot carries good raw tool steel.  

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There are lots of other bladesmith-specific steel suppliers online, but all the ones I know are in the USA or Canada and shipping to HK would be prohibitive.  And no, Home Depot or any other ordinary hardware store in the USA do not sell tool steel, only low carbon.  You can get high carbon W-1 or O-1 drill rod at some locations of Fastenal, but you would need to forge those flat.  Working in an apartment with only propane torches, either Geoff's suggestion of old carbon steel knives or Carlos's of old files are your best bet for success.  

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