Heat Treating 1045

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Posted · Report post

Hi guys,

I've done all the searches I can think of and haven't found any direct instructions on easily heat treating 1045 steel without being able to directly measure high temperatures, so can anyone offer any advice on doing it properly sans thermocouple/pyrometer?

I've made a hammer and followed the only basic hardening/tempering instructions I did find, which simply said to heat to a nice cherry red, quench 1" or so of the face end, polish quickly and wait for the blue color to develop, then quench fully. Well that didn't work worth a xxxx LOL The specific directions I found call for heating to 1500F then allowing slow cooling, reheating to 1500F then quenching, and lastly heating to 600-1200F (weirdly broad?) with a final slow cooling. Of course I understand what the steps are, but just don't have the means to measure such high temperatures... help!

Thanks

Matt

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Posted · Report post

for a hammer....heat the whole thing until it is nonmagnetic, then quench the whole thing in water....clean it up with a sander so it is shiny, then heat inside and out around the eye with a torch until the colors start to run.....when both ends are barely turning purple on the edges, fully quench. Clean up and sand it, then put a handle in it.

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Posted · Report post

1: are you sure it's 1045?
2: What were you quenching in?
3: What was the problem you saw---too hard or too soft or self destruction/cracking?

The devil is in the details!

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Posted · Report post

Yup, it's 1045 for sure- I bought it from a steel supplier, it's not scrounged material. I quenched it in plain water, not brine or anything and the problem is that it's a bit soft- the edges are rounding (it's a square-faced hammer).

Barely purple at the edges is earlier than I stopped the tempering- I waited until the face was fully blue, so certainly softer...

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Posted · Report post

Did you quench in a lot of water moving it constantly or with a hose directed on the face to get through the steam layer? Or just in a coffee can?

(also steel suppliers have made mistakes before; but they have a much better record than scrap steel does!)

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Posted · Report post

Oh sure, but in this case I saw the stock bar they cut my piece from and it was labelled 1045. I use a large probably 20L bucket full of water and yes, I kept it moving. The face was only just warm when I polished it with emery cloth. But then I did let it go completely blue before I quenched it again (a deep plunge again moving).

It was a second attempt though- the first time I quenched more of the length and I wasn't seeing any color change for what seemed like too long a time, so I heated it to cherry again, etc. I didn't normalize it either after forging or between heat treating attempts- perhaps I should have?

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Posted · Report post

another thing to remember is the number of times it was heated ...... if you heated it a number of times you can have carbon loss ... usually shows up if it took a lot of heats to punch and forge ...good luck!

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Posted · Report post

So, you never had help mislabel stuff? (You're right that it does lower the chance but it doesn't make it 0! I remember how shocked my kids were when I would correct things in their school books and going head to head with their teachers when they held to an obvious mistake "cause the book said so!")

If it is decarb you may be able to file off the soft layer and find a harder layer lurking below it.

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Posted · Report post

Ferrarivs...I'd have to repeat my earlier posting. The steps are heat to nonmagnetic, quench fully, heat around the eye until the colors run, then fully quench again when the edges just start to turn purple.......fully blue is too soft for a hammer face

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Posted · Report post

Ferrarivs...I'd have to repeat my earlier posting. The steps are heat to nonmagnetic, quench fully, heat around the eye until the colors run, then fully quench again when the edges just start to turn purple.......fully blue is too soft for a hammer face


I agree fully; you just drew the temper a little too far. This hammer is from a Ford pickup axle. It's a bit darker than it appears, in the pic. light purple, and is a bit soft but that's okay, it can't damage my anvils.

Frosty

5866.attach

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Posted · Report post

how do you keep the sides straight like that when youre punching holes in hammerheads?

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Posted · Report post

Here's a couple more examples of the tempering colors for a hammer...note there are just traces of purple on the face and pein. The bulge from drifting the eye is reduced by using a flatter on the sides while the drift is still in place.

HeatTreatColorsO1Hammer2.JPG HeatTreatColorsO1Hammer.JPG

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Posted · Report post

how do you keep the sides straight like that when youre punching holes in hammerheads?


Once we slit and drifted the eyes we forged the sides flat again using the drift in the eye to maintain the shape.

You need to reheat the hammer head and cool the drift before doing this step or they become one.

I tempered mine by heating the drift and putting it in the eye till the colors ran to what I wanted, then quenched. The drift needed to be reheated several times so the tempering heat had a good long soak to do the job.

Frosty

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Posted · Report post

Using a torch into the eye works quite well for bringing up the heat for tempering the face and pein... especially for larger heads....

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Posted · Report post

Ah, okay, thanks guys- that's the answer then, I just tempered it a bit softer than I should have. I'll give her another go and this time stop at slightly purple edges- thanks much!

Matt

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Posted · Report post

When I attended the Tom Clark Ozark School of Blacksmithing, Tom and Uri Hofi made many of their style hand and sledge hammers out of new 1045. After forging, they did not normalize. They just brought the hammers up to a low yellow heat and quenched them in a 5 gal. bucket of water. They did not temper them. I have duplicated their process and have produced very good hammers. I find them a little soft if you are hitting hardened steel (some chisels etc.), but they work fine on hot iron and are softer than the faces of my anvils, which is they way they should be.

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Posted · Report post

That's pretty neat. I've read Sims (Iron for the Eagles[i/], where he experiments with unfaced wrought iron hammers. He concludes that for forging hot iron, hammers can be very soft. After all, the anvil and hammer, even if both are wrought iron, are many times harder than the hot iron. He does note that after some time they can mushroom, especially if striking chisels etc.

I've been thinking about making some forging hammers from mild steel; cheaper and easier than a tool steel.

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Posted · Report post

I find that tempering hammers a little on the hard side is better than leaving them soft. Depends on you hammer control I guess.

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Posted · Report post

There are a lot of times you want a soft iron/steel hammer rather than a hardened one.

Using one on struck tools makes a huge difference. The tool has less tendency to mushroom but more importantly it bites into the hammer and gives you much better control of the end results.

Another good place for a soft hammer is over the hardy, even the best miss occasionally and while it's no problem sharpening a hardy it is time spent that could be put to better use.

For general forging I like a good hard hammer with a polished face. They just move metal better.

Frosty

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