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Mike Blue

Marquench isn't nessecarily new...

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Just interesting thoughts after Mike Blue's hammerin... we did a whole bunch of heat-treating at the end, something like 20 or 24 blades, didn't count, but anyway, did it all in the little salt rig I had up there, doin the marquench thing.

 

During the conversations of the weekend, I brought up the fact that there is not much new about the process... oils available a long time ago burned then the same way as they do now, once they reach somewhere in that 400-500 range, depending on oil, it burns.  

Make it hot till it holds a flame on it's own, it becomes a self-regulating low-temp quenchant.

Some medieval and a lot of renn period blades got heat-treated that way.

 

Just thought it was cool brain food...

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Guest Tai
Aren't there other things besides salts and oils that could have been used? I was thinking maybe somethings like sugar, wood rosins, tar, things like that?

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Historically sugar n salts would be far to rare and precious to use in the smith's shop, animal fat-based oils on the other hand were pretty common.  Some vegetable-based oils have been around for centuries too. Rosins and stuff, I don't know, I've never read about them or seen any indication of the material in studying papers published of archeological sites.

 

Lead quenching is what we'd call Ausquenching, fairly high-temp quench that would convert thin enough stock to banite, or mixture/variation thereof, mostly in the early clock industry where it's a great way to heat-treat small wound springs without deforming them too much. Early gun parts were quenched this way too.  As far as blades go, I'm not sure, but I've read over the years of a couple of accounts where some later stuff, perhaps 16th or 17th century onward, may have been quenched in lead because of difficult small cross-sections, like rapier or foil for example. I think the lead thing was less used in cutlery in general though.

 

Another neat thing that's been around since the dawning of steel is distilled vinegar, as a shop acid for descaling, I always found that interesting.

 

Trip hammers and drop hammers date back to at least early Egypt, and the Roman Empire used them intensively throughout the empire's existance.

 

Since we're on the subject, a little rant... coal is NOT a "traditional" smith's, or bladesmith's fuel. Charcoal is.  Coal didn't find it's way into shops till early into the 1800's and had taken over completely by late in that century, simply from the lack of available charcoal, which was going to the gunpowder industry. Later, it got hard to get simply because of massive deforestation. Personally, I'll always feel that coal is nothing but a piss-poor replacement for charcoal, the king of forge fuels.  Someday, I'll be able to use it a lot more, for now, I'll have to stick with  liquid-coal-in-a-bottle.

 

SOmetimes I think I live in the wrong time.

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Sugar wasn't commercially available until crossing the oceans became more (sic!) reliable.  Then Napoleon fought wars over the stuff.  Some of the caribbean islands changed hands as many as fourteen times between the English and French during those scuffles.  Depending on how you view the subject, most sugar was readily converted to molasses and often thereafter to strong rhum.

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It is not advisable to use either rum or rhum as a quenchant. :D

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Well I don't think about rhum as a quenchant unless perhaps you refer to thirst.  I prefer the plain typewriter label found in local markets:  Strong rhum, overproof

 

One of Sour

Two of Sweet

Three of Strong

And Four of Weak

 

Aaah!

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I think animal fat with rosin dissolved in it is pretty close to the recipe for 'greek fire', good stuff to fling at your enemies' ships but not too good to have catch on fire in your shop. Anyone know how long mineral oil has been around? I think it boils around 500F.

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