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I Forge Iron

quenching oil?

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Vegtable oil, corn oil, olive oil... any light oil you have on hand.

Clean transmission fluid is good, too, but it doesn't smell as good as cooking oil.

Be sure you pre-heat it before you quench. Just heat up a piece of scrap and drop it in your quench tank.

Also, you might want to keep a fire extingusher handy.

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Whatever oil or quenching medium you use, it must be consistent, every single time. When hardening and tempering, remove as many variables as you can - life is hard enough. I prefer mineral oil for tools and plain water for everything else. As far as mineral oil is concerned, it's just what I use; some guys use a different kind of oil as it works for them.
Used oil? Absolutely never, ever, not even for junk stuff! :x :!: Used motor oil is to be sent for recycling and re-refining - it contains high amounts of ash, sulphur and all the stuff you never want in steel. Why use it to form the hardened part of edges or tools?

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I've had good results with different oil over the years but I really prefer to use vegtable oil (most everything I make is 1050-1095 or 5160) and the real benefit for me isnt metalurgical. I usually harden 10 or more sword blades or 20 or more knives at a time so by the time I'm done I'm covered in it. Petroleum oils stink badly and are hard to get off you & your clothes, the veggie oil just smells like you've been in the kitchen & washes off easy. It also makes a nice black finish for wrought iron stuph. For me the "big thing" isn't so much the hardening, its really the tempering that makes the difference. I'm a firm believer in "triple drawing", like with alot of things the old timers knew their stuph & the old tools that really impressed me were the ones that had "triple drawn" stamped in the steel. It didn't take many destruction tests on my own peices to see the difference between other methods & triple drawing.

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ARCHIE; Make sure you normalize at least twice and check for straight after your first quenching. Adjust any thing you need on the next heat, then quench again.

I use 5160 and 52100 and will quench three times checking for straightness each time.

5160 quenches the best at 130 to 135 degress.

52100 at 160 to 165 .

I don't know how warm for 1095. I would start at 130.

Good Luck


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I bought 5 gallons of Texaco Quench-Tex about 20 years ago and still have most of it in an old milk can which has the flip top on a chain in case of fire and the metal body is safe in the shop. It is a thin mineral oil and works well for oil-hardening steels.

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