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heat treating problems

Discussion in 'Hammer & Tongs' started by marcstantoine, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. marcstantoine


    Oct 1, 2013
    Hi, i am having trouble hardening my knive, and i am not sure what went wrong. i use 1084, a small propane forge and canola oil. i know this is not the optimal setup, but it worked on one of two knives i heat treated (the first one). what i do is i get the blade to a glowy red color, almost orange, then i quench it verticaly without hesitation in my "quench tank" wich is basically cans of beer tied with duct tape into a tall cylinder. i pre-heat my oil to about 120F. the last knife i tried to heat treat just wont harden! i tried twice and i wonder what could have gone wrong and what can i do to harden it properly without sending it to a professional service or buying a kiln since i am kind of very low on budget (i am a student).
  2. bluntcut

    bluntcut KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 28, 2012
    Yesterday, I ran into similar problem with my 1st 1084 blade - heated to 1500F with Evenheat oven, quench in 120F canola. A file still can shallow bite into the blade. Got the same thing for 2nd attempt at 1515F. 3rd try, I did a quick dip into 5 gal water bucket, then complete the quench in oil. Tempered to 405F - a file can barely scratch this blade. I broke the tip to take grain picture - doesn't look good does it :)
    20131007 1084 tempered 375F small.jpg
  3. Cody Hofsommer

    Cody Hofsommer

    Dec 2, 2011
    It might not be enough oil. You should have a gallon or so. Did you check the temp with a magnet? It should be one color (1475-1500) past the point when magnet top sticking to it (1414).

    Good luck
  4. sunshadow


    Oct 2, 2006
    Try grinding off your decarb layer. A file will bite on the soft steel you have on the surface that no longer has any carbon in it while your underlying steel is dead hard. The file test is often misleading because if this

    Try grinding off .010 inches and try again

  5. scott.livesey


    Nov 10, 2011
    get a bigger quench container, check thrift stores for something about 6" diameter and over 12" tall. use magnet to check temperature. buy a temperature crayon for 1475F(about $10). try with oil at room temperature. table salt melts at 800C which is real close to the 1084 sweet spot, put a small pile on handle and wait for it to melt.

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