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Clamping vise for aluminum quench plates?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by JG Custom Metal Works, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. I’m looking to see what everyone was using to apply pressure with their aluminum quench plates. I’ve seen plates mounted in between clamps, vises, and some stand on top of the plates. I’ve been standing on my plates during quench. I’m 220lbs and I also push up on my garage entrance roof, to add to my downward pressure on the plates. I’ve tested the amount of downward pressure by doing the same on a pair of scales and it’s right at around 410lbs. So, I’m putting 410lbs of downward pressure on the plates.

    Would a vise put more pressure on the plates? If so, what would be the best route to go with such a vise? It would really need to be mounted on its side I would think, because otherwise it would be nearly impossible to do more than one at a time.

    I have a leg vise I’m not using at the moment that could be used, but am not sure where to get started.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Also, pics of your setups would be appreciated as well. Thanks!
     
  2. Natlek

    Natlek

    Jun 9, 2015
    I think that @JTknives has real one ....look here on BF for some video from him ?
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  3. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    I’m curious: does adding more pressure than what’s needed to counteract warping forces/achieve positive contact with the blade, really add any benefits?
     
    JG Custom Metal Works likes this.
  4. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

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

    Aug 20, 2004

    I have an old swing jaw pipe vise. The bottom aluminum plate is set on the lower jaw ( with a fex 2X4 blocks supporting the other end), and the upper plate is set on top of it. The upper jaw is adjusted so it is about 1/4" shy of touching. I open the vise hinge, set the upper plate to one side, pull the foil packet from the HT oven, and set it on the lower plate. I set the upper plate on top, flip the hinge closed,and turn the handle just enough to snug the plates together firmly. No more pressure is needed or wanted.

    I use the same plates for preventing warp on oil quenched blades.

    106205-62eb50f184b87de3c249027c2cdaa843.jpg 106206-126067ff6b71392ca68fa3f4bd762972.jpg 106207-a85c72f8b6b26067b67549e525e73074.jpg 106208-a9cc8bbefe2019f7786487003f0a1c59.jpg 106209-c72b1032c9d7257231a0fb8903b7388f.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018

  5. That looks like a good setup. See for some reason I thought more pressure would help with keeping the blade from warping. Does clamping blades in quench plates remove small warping? For instance, if you have a piece of AEBL, that has been straightened by hand prior to HT, but still just a tiny bit crooked. Would clamping in quench plates, with substantial pressure, help remove the last little bit of crookedness?

    My left brain says “of course not, it’s totally unrealistic to expect it to remove the “crookedness” by just holding it straight while it is cooling from a high temp. The blade is crooked because there is stress in the blade at those locations and the only way they can be removed(without heating to forging temp and hammering on an anvil) is to induce a counter stress, by bending it the opposite way when cool.”

    My right brain says “have hope!” Lol. “ It could work. With the blade being at a higher temp, clamping it straight, under high pressure, would surely have a greater effect than if it was done cold. It could very well help the blade come out straight.”

    In the back of my head I know my right brain is full of crap, but in the effort of “having hope,” will my minimally crooked blade come out straight if I clamp it real hard when quenching?
     
  6. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    I highly recommend a vise for quench plates. It speeds up the process a ton and keeps the plates square to the blade. When I head out to the shop I will snap a pic of my setup.
     
    kuraki likes this.
  7. probrwr

    probrwr Gold Member Gold Member

    57
    Dec 31, 2015
    Simple Little Life on YouTube has an episode where he used a woodworkers vise and mounted the plates to it. Then mounted the vise vertically on the bench. Quick release so getting the blade in is fast.
     
  8. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

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

    Aug 20, 2004
    Problem with any rigid clamp, like a wood vise or door hinges, is knife blades don't necessarily have parallel surfaces. The plates need the ability to "tilt" in any direction to conform to tapers as much as possible.
     
    mknife likes this.
  9. Augus7us

    Augus7us

    687
    Oct 9, 2014
    There is a guy on here that had 3 parrot vises setup with quench plates. I made a mental note as it looked effective.

    -Clint
     
  10. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    Usually, if I have to straighten a blade pre-HT, if I can't straighten by hand, I'll give a few whacks on flat surface with a dead blow hammer. Usually does the trick.
     
  11. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    Yeah true. I have solved that issue with my set up. I will post a pic tonight
     
  12. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

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

    Aug 20, 2004
    The solution is to have the bottom plate rigid and the top plate pivoting on one point only. That way it will comform to whatever the blade taper is.
     
    Jesse Latham likes this.
  13. Maineiac1

    Maineiac1

    339
    May 3, 2017
    I bought a harbor freight woodworker vise and screwed my plates to it.
     
  14. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

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

    Aug 20, 2004
    That works OK .... if the blade is shaped like a piece of wood.
     
  15. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    Ok, here is my secret. I found pictures on my phone when when I first set it up. It’s a standard quick release wood workers vise. The problem with them is the jaws are canted and don’t sit square so you do t get full contact on you blade. My solution was to make the upper jaw float. How I did that was drill and tap the plate and then insert a soft rubber sheet between the quench plate and jaw. Now the jaw can move and tilt to get full contact. Works VERY VERY good.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Scaniaman, Storm Crow, mknife and 7 others like this.
  16. i4Marc

    i4Marc KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2011
    JT,

    Mind if I borrow that idea?
     
    Bltien likes this.
  17. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    Have at it. It helped me out a ton so I hope it helps you.
     
  18. joedhiggins

    joedhiggins

    485
    May 31, 2016
    Great idea JT
     
  19. I’m thinking a book press would be awesome for a plate press and a kydex press. Now I just need to either find one or make one. Maybe something like this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  20. My quench plates are a considerable amount larger than those. I’m wondering if I could get two of those vises and attach the top of both of them to each side of my top plate. Then both sides of the plates would come down evenly and I wouldn’t need to make the “floating” feature. If I’m understanding the system correctly that is. I might have to build a little dedicated table or stand for it, but that’s no biggie. I have an extra one of those little Black and Decker/Craftsman folding “Workmate” tables that would work. One of these:

    [​IMG]
     

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