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questions about tempering

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So I am really confused about the whole tempering thing... for example: what is the difference between running the colors with a torch and oven tempering... what is the process for torch... how do you know how long to leave in oven... should you leave to cool in the oven, or let cool at room temp... who, what, how, when, where, and why? Lol I am really confused by this whole process... so if some1 could explain it to me, or better yet if a smith in my area could show it to me... that would be great.

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A visit for a day or two with someone that really understands the process woiuld shorten the learning curve for you a lot.
It is simply not as easy as me typing a paragraph and you read and you got it. And bsides there has been a lot written on here by folks that are a lot more knowledgable than me.
For staters go to the knfe section of the forum and read the sticky. Then to the blueprint section andbp0078. And then you not understand it but you may have a bit more information about what you seek. For one thing a lot of the questions you ask need to be for one steel. Many steels are different, and some require different tempering. And not to offend but you know that tempering comes after hardening right? I ask as I do not want to take it for granted that you do and you did not mention it. If you have that part down then yoiu are ahead of a lot of folks. While you are looking at the data think about how you can test for yourself after the whole heat treat process to see if you have wot you were looking for. I believe in the knife forum there is a description of the way the ABA tests blades,If you follow the guidelines you can tell for sure how you are doing with HT.
Let me 'splain; Lets say I tell you to heat to a certain color and then stick in the oven at this temp for this long for the steel you have. Then you test it by bending it in a vise and just as you start to bend it snaps. Because you have some long gloves and eye p rotection you are not injured. I have given youi bad advise and put you in harms way. If you use data from the site that has been placed there by someone that really has schooling in the iformation given you are a long step aheaad in the process. Then you should always test each pice and keep an accurate log of wot you did with details and with that log you may be able to repeat good work when you need it and not repeat failures.
I know this is a longer non answer than you asked for..........

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Let me narrow it down and see if that helps (no mystery metal) ok so I just got about 5 ibs of 4140... can some1 explain the processes for tempering (including quench please just so I know I have it right) a hammer and a knife... that way I get some information about to opposite ends of the spectrum... something that needs to be tough, and something that needs to be hard.

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Do you understand that "tempering" is secondary to hardening?
Before any tempering steps are taken, it is necessay to get the steel to a fully hardened condition that is achieved by getting the steel to a temperature in the range of 1450-1500 degrees, without being too hot, or too cool, and quenching into a media that will extract that heat so as to bring the steel's temperature down to about 900 degrees in a few seconds.
This sets up the steel's internal atomic structure so as to precipitate a transformation that results in a condition that is extremely hard and brittle.
"Tempering" is the second step that helps to complete this transformation and, at the same time, relieves some of the built up stresses that result from creating this new condition.
Before you chase down tempering times, colors and temperatures, FIRST you need to get the steel fully HARD.
Focus on that FIRST.

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