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Quenching 1095 knife


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On the way to finishing my first knife and, thinking ahead, I am wondering what to use to quench...

  • I have been reading past posts and there seems to be a lot of good things said about Tough Quench...if I was to go with that - how much would I need for a 12-13" OAL knife?
  • Anybody still use water? If so, I work in in an unheated shop up here in Connecticut - should I warm the water up?
  • What about canola (or the like from the grocery store)?

Any advice, thoughts, warnings, etc will be appreciated!

 

 

Thanks for all the help! This forum is worth it's weight in gold.....

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Hey Alan,

For just getting started I would use oil it's a lot more forgiving than water. Heat your oil up to about 125f and plunge it in tip/edge first and let it cool till it's completely black in the oil. Clean off the burnt oil and and draw temper.

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I have used brine to harden 1095 in the past. Considering that it was my first blade and not really worth claiming, other than it was a good practice piece, it quenched well in brine. The consensus of opinion around here is to use an oil quench even on water hardening blades, so I figure that there must be a good reason for it. If you want to try brine, which as I understand it keeps bubbles from forming one the steel and causing uneven cooling, heat the water to about 160 degrees and an just as much salt as you can get to desolve. The proof of this is that there will be a little bit of salt in the bottom of the tank that will not go into solution.

 

Doug Lester

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I use 1095 and vegatable oil (accually a mix of the various oils and fats from the kitchen). Heat the oil to between 125 and 140 F. You need enough oil to cool the blade fast enough to get below about 900 F in something under 1 second. My knives are typically 8-12" OAL (4-6" blade) and I can quench 3 or four knives in about 2 gallons (the size of my current quench tank - also from the kitchen). Oil works for knives because of the thin cross section, but water will work (though the risk of cracks increases). If you try water definately warm it.

 

What procedure are you thinking of for the heat treat? (By that I ask What is your heat source, How will you check for critical, Through quench or edge quench or clay coat etc)

 

ron

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On the way to finishing my first knife and, thinking ahead, I am wondering what to use to quench...
  • I have been reading past posts and there seems to be a lot of good things said about Tough Quench...if I was to go with that - how much would I need for a 12-13" OAL knife?
  • Anybody still use water? If so, I work in in an unheated shop up here in Connecticut - should I warm the water up?
  • What about canola (or the like from the grocery store)?

Any advice, thoughts, warnings, etc will be appreciated!

Thanks for all the help! This forum is worth it's weight in gold.....

 

 

Tough Quench is good stuff. Its a fast oil and works well for 1095. I believe Don uses it with 1095 and gets some great hamons. Don't try water or brine with 1095. It may or may not work. You would have to get everything just right or be very lucky not to crack your blade. Heat the tough quench to 125f-140f. Buy the 5 gallon size. Get a bucket as deep or a little more then your blade, Fill with oil. Heat oil. I do this by repeatedly heating a piece of mild steel to red hot and submerging it and stirring it around, until I have the desired temp. Then heat your blade to nonmagnetic and just a little more, and quench. Leave it in the oil until it is the same temp as the oil. Then temper immediatly. Good luck.

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What procedure are you thinking of for the heat treat? (By that I ask What is your heat source, How will you check for critical, Through quench or edge quench or clay coat etc)

 

ron

 

My thought was to edge quench...I rented a video with Willie White and he put the blade in edge first, holding the edge half of the blade in the oil (canola, I think) for a half second or so then completely submerged...I thought that looked interesting so I was going to try that if I could find a big enough shallow container.

 

I have a peice of mild steel that is about 1"x3"x14" or so and my thought was to heat that up and temper by laying the back edge of the knife on it and waiting till the edge got dark blue then quenching in water...but I am open to ideas.

 

I am working in a "Lively" style tub forge with charcoal so heating the entire 12" knife at once isn't a problem but I think I'll see the color change better using the big peice of steel to temper.

 

--------------------------------------------------------

BY the way - I am an idiot. Was working on the knife last night and wasn't holding it right with the tongs...I hit it and it sprang up and thru my upper lip to the tune of 4 stitches and a sore tooth.

 

What type of tongs do you folks find work best? These were converted horseshoe tongs...

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Sorry about the lip, that sounds really painful.

 

I don't like tongs, I use them, but I don't like them.

 

Here are a couple of places to buy tongs (I know, REAL blacksmiths don't BUY tongs! :angry: . OTOH, I'm not all that good at making tongs...).

 

Blacksmith Supply

 

Centaur Forge

 

Box jaw tongs work ok for flat stock, the right size V-jaw tong works for tangs. If you have a welder, weld a piece of mild to your stock and do away with the tongs entirely.

 

As for your HT of 1095. You want 3-5 gallons of quench material, more is better. If you are going to edge quench, use a stop block in the tank, I use a piece of aluminum tapped for carriage bolts in the corners. That way I can adjust the depth of the block simply. The knife goes into the oil, on top of the block, rock it so that the point, edge, and heel of the blade all quench. Hold it there until the color goes out of the spine (I HT in near darkness, it's much easier to see the heat color, and, once your eyes adjust, you can see a long way down into the red.)

 

If you draw the edge to blue, you will be way too soft. Use an oven, clean all of the oil residue off first (burning oil stinks). For 1095, 400 degrees is safe. Leave it there 2-4 hours, do that cycle at least twice.

 

Just my .02

 

Geoff

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Alan,

 

Since you are planning on purchasing some real heat treating oil (excellent choice), I would recommend getting some of Heatbath/Park Metallurgical's #50 quenching oil.

Heatbath says; "#50 QUENCH OIL Low viscosity quench oil that approaches water in quench speed, yet gives a more uniform, less severe quench than water. Recommended for open quench system operating below 120 deg F.

I purchased my oil from their Indian Orchard, MA plant, but they are not so accommodating these days. If you wish to try them, here is their contact info;

Heatbath Corp.

413-452-2000

107 Front St.

Indian Orchard, Massachusetts 01151 , USA

Fax: 413-543-2378

If you strike out with Heatbath, or don't want the aggravation, Darren Ellis now sells Heatbath's #50 and AAA oils.

 

Five gallons of oil should be plenty if you use an upright tank and quench tip down. These are my quench tanks, made from 4" automotive exhaust pipe;

 

Quench-tanks.jpg

 

As for tempering, I would just use your home oven. Get a good thermometer and go by that. Don't rely on your oven dial to be correct. I temper my blades two or three times, for at least one hour each time. Then I soften the tang and back of the blade by bluing them with a torch (which makes truing the shoulders and fileworking easier).

 

Here are the pages from the Heat Treater's Guide that deal with 1095;

 

1095-001.jpg

 

1095-002.jpg

 

Edited by Chris Meyer
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had good results with simple peanut oil warmed to about 130*. Even better if you can find used oil from a turkey fryer, that way you can get it free. A good edge quench works great on 1095, but I highly suggest tempering in a oven with a good tempature gadge. if you edge-quench, a soft-back draw is not really nessisary, and gadging tempering tempature by color is not really the best way.

 

If you can get the oil made for quenching, do so.

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