Case Hardening a Knife???

Discussion in 'Hammer & Tongs' started by EastCompassoKnivery, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. EastCompassoKnivery


    Feb 26, 2014
    Hi, its been a while since I've been on the forum but I had a spur of the moment question that I figured that knife makers would be the best ones to answer...

    To set some background, I recently finished knife number 60ish (I wrote it down but my notebook is nowhere to be found) as seen below, [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    I have been at knife making for a while now and I am always looking for new and different things, though they may not be practical, to try with my knives, just to have some fun with it.

    I recently ran across a process know as case hardening. In the video the man attempted to case harden mild steel. Having worked with it when i was just starting out (pre documentation days) I was very impressed when he got the blade to around 50-53 RC. After looking in to it some more I saw that it is used in rifle making and it leaves a beautiful pattern on the metal, one which I would like on a knife.

    So my question is, could you case harden a knife steel such as 5160 or preferably AEB-L (what I use 99% of the time) with any decent results? If so how?

    I have an even heat oven so temperature control shouldn't be an issue, I am willing to pick up any other materials for the process as well.

    I realize its not the best way to harden a knife but thats not the point, I just want to have some fun with a knife ill just keep for myself.

    Thanks for all the info:)
  2. tattooedfreak

    tattooedfreak Steel mutilater is more like it.

    Mar 12, 2010
    Im not sure you could do it the way you want. Case hardening involves packing your object in a carbon rich material (bone dust, sawdust, charcoal) and then baking it at high heat with the intent of imparting some carbon to the steel. It is used specifically for surface hardening a mild or low carbon steel to give some wear resistance while keeping the flexibility of the mild steel. It rarely gives you any major depth and you would have to do it after forming the knife and even then, once you sharpened it, you would probably grind through the case harden. As for doing it on 5160 or AEB-L.. chances are you would through harden them just in the process of case hardening.
  3. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Short answer is - NO!
  4. EastCompassoKnivery


    Feb 26, 2014
    Alright, thanks for setting me straight... glad i didn't jump in and waste a blade. I appreciate the feedback:)

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