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I've got to make some lightweight chain, and I've got some annealed steel wire that's just the right diameter that sure would be easy to make links out of, cold.

Can I make up the chain, then harden it? I'm thinking something like "Heat to XYZ degrees then quickly quench in PDQ."


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If it has sufficient carbon the heat quench will harden it. and if it is hardened it must be tempered to reduce the hardneww a bit or it will likely be brittle and fracture under stress.
However as you said you were going to make the lengths by cold forming then why bother to try and heat treat as the open ends will be the weak spot?

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John, thanks, it worked.

Rich it's not going to be under much load, but the wire was so soft I was worried the links would pull open. It hardened up enough that that shouldn't be a problem, but it's not so hard as to be brittle.

Should work, thanks guys.

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A lot of times that wire will ... work harden. Just bending/forming it will harden it up. I've made a bunch of watch chains from those rolls of "utility" tie wire. And it stiffens up well and will hold my pocket watch to my vest real well. I've also done similar things with barbwire. I untwist it, straighten it, and then work it as needed. I even make fish hooks out of it, and "vent picks" for flintlock guns. The bending/forming hardens them up all by itself. But the vent picks I do heat them to put in a decorative twist, and then quench.

So it all depends upon what metal the wire is really made from.


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