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Quenching blades/less toxic quenchant.

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I was reading some posts and doing some research and I found when quenching in used motor oil that it emits carcinogens, which are hazardous to your health. I've been using a motor oil and diesel mixture for my blades for some time now, and have been exposed to these fumes sometimes. I was just wondering if anyone had any safer oil formulas that work well for quenching knives, I've heard of using quenchants such as vegatable oil, etc, but was afraid the oil too be to thin causing blades to crack. The steels I use are 1095,5160, and L-6 steel. Any advice would be appreciated on this matter.

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Gunters sell an oil quench designed for such a thing. I have a 5 gallon bucket of it, works great. Doesn't produce the smoke like the motor oil. The most I have seen react from it is a little flash of fire. Also I have not had a fire start on the surface like I have seen from the motor oil.

Email em @ brad@g3blacksmithing.com Tell them Rory recommended them to ya.

Hope it helps :)

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Fairly "safe" oils include food oils. There is, however, an increased incidence of lung problems associated with inhaling food oil mists, especially for Chinese cooking and excessive Pam use. The latter can even trigger acute symptoms from the additives in the spray coatings. Oil quench speeds can be adjusted by changing the temperature, and therefore, viscosity of the oil.

There is a growing movement towards simple homemade polymer quenchants. I have advocated the use of sodium polyacrylate dispersions, but I have seen reports of polyvinyl alcohol and carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) quenchants.

Try a few sample quenches on some knife shaped pieces to get an idea of what is going on.

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Reclaimed vegetable oil from a fast food place seems to work well for my 5160 blades (& your shop will smell like french fries!). I heat mine to 140-150F to help with viscosity. The 1095 may want a faster quench, but I know guys that oil-harden the shallow-hardening simple steels in warm oil without problems.

I've also heard about using veterinary-grade mineral oil, but I'm afraid I can't share any details.

If you have the bucks for something specific for blades, Ellis Custom Knifeworks sells the Parks quenching oils. I believe there are at least 2 types depending on quenching speed desired.


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