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I am looking to make a new spring for a leg vice out of a automotive leaf spring. If I re shape it in the forge will i need any special cooling treatment to retain its springiness?

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You should be able to heat it up and let it air cool. It will be springy enough for what you are doing. Watch the thinner sections, they can air harden enough to break. This isn't the ideal way of doing it, but it is the redneck way to get by.

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It is a leg vise, the spring does not need to be made from anything special. Mild steel will do fine, and allow you to adjust it cold when needed.

Phil

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I once had a 1/16" thick actual spring sections that i kept breaking all day trying to get it soft enough to work.
I ended up hardening it, and then heating all the way to just barely starting to show a little color in a dark room and letting it air cool. it has been working in my vise for several years now.

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Thanks guys, I'll give it a go with the 1/4 or 3/8" leaf spring. I don't think mild steel would suit, besides I won't learn what spring steel is like to work. Here goes....

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Your spring only needs to open the jaws... it has no role in clamping force. 1/8" or 3/16" is quite enough. If you are using 3/8" draw it out quite a bit!

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Question, how do they manufacture leaf springs that are stacked with the rolled bolt connection. I have hardened sections of spring for power hammer tooling (flatters). A lot of the tooling breaks clean and shows fine grain on the cross section (very hard) . Not all the spring pieces fail this way but they are all treated the same way (non-mag, then a water quench). Is there a better way?

Thanks,
Peter

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Peter a water quench is a bit fast for most spring alloys... oil would be better. Also springs should be tempered to a much softer state than you would for a blade. 750 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit is about right. You can use the greasy stick method to read these temps if tempering in the forge (search here should turn up descriptions of this method). If you are water quenching and not tempering your springs are likely much too hard.

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I agree with Big foot, and water is xx xxxx for springs...they usually fracture if you xx xx in xxxxx.

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larry and BFM,

Thanks for the reply. I make and treat most of the struck tools I use in the shop. Draw the temper on the business end and let the struck end aneal. However, the springs have always been a bit challenging for me. I got a pile of leaf spring stock, so i'll keep trying.

Peter

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Bed rails are just about right for vise springs.

I make hardies from leaf spring. Heat to non mag and quench in hot oil.
I use an old Fry daddy that stays right on 450f.
works a treat

my .02

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Bed rails are just about right for vise springs.

I make hardies from leaf spring. Heat to non mag and quench in hot oil.
I use an old Fry daddy that stays right on 450f.
works a treat

my .02


Poor man's martempering?
Phil

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Hey, Phil.
Yep.

On the old Outpost forum MAX the knife, started doing the PM mar tempering with some knives he was making. Works just fine.
I watched Bob Patrick from MO. forge down a piece of leaf spring for a hardy one time. A good idea I never forgot.

I leave the tool in the oil about an hour or so..

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I have made a legvice spring out of leaf spring. Shape it to the required shape, then heat spring to critical temperature (ie loses magnetism) and cool in wood ashes (to anneal and remove stresses). Leave for 3 or 4 hours then reheat spring above critical temperature (ie loses magetism: cherry red) then quench in oil - keep moving around. Remove spring from oil while still hot (approx 300 - 400 degrees C), then heat spring till hickory stick glides over surface smoothly. When this temperature is reached remove spring from forge and let cool in ashes or air. This is a workshop method of heat treating springs.
Hope this helps, good luck
Trevor

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I have made a legvice spring out of leaf spring. Shape it to the required shape, then heat spring to critical temperature (ie loses magnetism) and cool in wood ashes (to anneal and remove stresses). Leave for 3 or 4 hours then reheat spring above critical temperature (ie loses magetism: cherry red) then quench in oil - keep moving around. Remove spring from oil while still hot (approx 300 - 400 degrees C), then heat spring till hickory stick glides over surface smoothly. When this temperature is reached remove spring from forge and let cool in ashes or air. This is a workshop method of heat treating springs.
Hope this helps, good luck
Trevor
if you want ductility why would you quench it...cooling in air will normalize it

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I was doing a little drop diving at an Anchorage spring shop and asked the foreman about the heat treat. He said they brought the spring to critical and oil quenched, then brought it to barely visible red and water quenched it. When he took in the look of disbelief on my mug he invited me to hang around and watch a set of springs go through heat treatment.

I've never tried it and probably never will, I rarely need to make my own truck springs. However if a Mad Max apocalypse comes about I know how to do the springs.

For small, say watch springs bring to critical and quench, water or oil depending. Temper on a paper towel with a few drops of motor oil wetting it, light it and let it burn out. . . Never tried this one either. Hmmm, seems there's lots of things I haven't tried. Let us know what you try and how it works.

Frosty the Lucky.

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Oh HEY! I just noticed Coldchisel is new, welcome aboard glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in your header you may be pleasantly surprised at how many IFI guys live within visiting distance. It'll also help keep us old farts from relying on our memories when we're traveling and want a tasty snack or cold beverage.

Frosty the Lucky.

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Oh HEY! I just noticed Coldchisel is new, welcome aboard glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in your header you may be pleasantly surprised at how many IFI guys live within visiting distance. It'll also help keep us old farts from relying on our memories when we're traveling and want a tasty snack or cold beverage.

Frosty the Lucky.
yws i am new and glad to be a part of this community.i do not consider myself a blacksmith...im actually more of a welder/fabricator however,over the last couple years ive read up on blacksmithing and through trial and error ive learned many things.no swelled head,but i have made many chisels and ,punches out of old spring steel for metal, wood,and a couple of stone working tools[i have a friend whos a mason].my smithing tools include a 6inch leg vise attached to a welding table,which i built from cut pieces of rail and 3/4inch steel plates.table has a slag tub underneath,and an anvil that i made from 108lb rail that bolts to the table.hammers made from top edges of the same rail attached to 11/8inch solid rod.incase ur wondering,i live in upstate ny[adirondacks] and most of the train tracks have been out of use for years.rail, tie plates, switches and spikes are all over for the taking!!!i.one area where ive had difficulty is in quenching of spring steels.ive found that water usually results in surface cracks on thicker pieces.used oil seems to work for me.i hear of ppl using water without any issues.am i heating too much b4 quenching??.i quench at what looks to me like"cherry red" in dim light.ive had the cracking issue a few times with old and brand new leaf spring.the ones that are ok i usually draw temper to a bronze and this seems to be a safe temper for most chisels and punches as it is very hard but still has some ductility enough to not chip when used on cold steel.shaping and forming is where i need practice but its difficult right now as i dont have nearly all the tools i need and my forge is an oxweld w17 cutting/welding torch!!.ive been told this method has a tendency to heat the steel too fast and unevenly.ive used a firepit but obviously thats a lot more work to find wood and build a fire then let it burn down to a bed of coals!.as far as welding is concered,thats where my area of expertise is!the table i mentioned earlier i built with a lincoln ranger225 engine drive the trusty oxweld w17 and a small wire feed with .045 flux cored wire.its a beast.wieghs in around 1000lbs and is set in a concrete slab.ill upload some pics for those interested.very happy to be with a c ommunity of people that share the same passion as me.thanks everyone!

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Yeah, you've arrived for sure. You aren't the only one learning this craft . . . Heck, we all are. There's a lifetime's several times over worth of things a person can learn about steel. Just look at how many ways different people here make it work.

Bronze is good for cold chisels and probably good for stone chisels but I won't venture an opinion as I've never made one. I like pale straw for wood chisels and knife blades but that's just the edge. I draw the temper from the spine to the edge, blue on the spine and pale straw on the edge. This is a progressive tempered, I got the rest of the sentence written before I remembered the term. STUPID TREE!!

My portable welder is a Ranger 9 with a core flux wire feed if I wish to use it. I LOVE Lincoln welders. Sure, I know other guys love their Millers or whatever, it's a matter of taste like so much of what we do. Oh yeah, I use an All States Oxy Propane torch set, it's several times as efficient as oxy acet. consumables cost me less that 2% what oxy acet would and it's screaming fast for many things. And NO I do NOT use it to heat for forging unless it's an emergency or no choice situation. I much prefer a proper fire, even a camp fire is preferable.

Lastly, we don't give diddly do if you consider yourself a blacksmith or not. All you have to do is beat hot steel long enough and everybody else will and there you go.

Frosty the Lucky.

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how does one temper in water, It boils off at 212 F and I am not aware of any steel that gets any benifit from anything below 350F ?

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