chris freeman

do i need to heat treat tool steal thats already been work hardened?

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i have an old set hammer that i never use that was a large punch. i needed a hot cut set hammer, so i turned it into one. i flattened it out and grinded it down. i did aneal it but do i need to heat treat it or can i just nutralize it and will it harden with work?

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yes, you need to heat treat it, if by 'flatten' you mean hot forged to a chisel profile then you have completely removed any work hardening that may have been present.  if you also annealed (by the correct usage of the term) the tool then you have just made it the softest it can be, which is not going to work very well as a hot cut.  you will need to harden it again, I don't think normalizing will do anything beneficial at this point.  you will not likely notice any discernible work hardening on a hot cut.

 

if your 'flatten' process did not involve hot forging prior to grinding then we probably just figured out why they are cracking :)

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Chris:  I'm not sure if your hammer is tool steel.  A picture might help.  Heat treatment depends on what you are going to use it for and what kind of steel it is.  There is a difference between annealing, normalizing, and heat treating.  So, what do you want to use the steel for?  If you just annealed it, it might be to soft for your needs and may need to be heat treated.  Good luck. 

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it was already a set hammer. i didn't turn it into one. it was just a tool that i never used and i really need a hot cut  set hammer. i did put it into the forge, not just grinding. 

so, if i quench it in oil should that harden it enough to use it for cutting. i use hot cuts for splitting axe boddies to recieve a cutting bits and such. so they are obviously precise cuts. the cracking that i was talking about on the other post was refering to some of my other set hammers. these ones were not forged by myself and are made by someone many years ago. i imagine they are at least 50 years old. they are in good shape though. i appologize, but i've been having a hard time uploading pics i'll keep trying though.

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Chris:  I'm not sure if your hammer is tool steel.  A picture might help.  Heat treatment depends on what you are going to use it for and what kind of steel it is.  There is a difference between annealing, normalizing, and heat treating.  So, what do you want to use the steel for?  If you just annealed it, it might be to soft for your needs and may need to be heat treated.  Good luck. 

hey dave, if i quench it in canola oil, will that work for hardening it? it's all i have right now.

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Alloy specific unfortunately, I'll let the HT veterans get in on that part, I just wanted to flesh out the background information beforehand.

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Chris:  I'm not sure if your hammer is tool steel.  A picture might help.  Heat treatment depends on what you are going to use it for and what kind of steel it is.  There is a difference between annealing, normalizing, and heat treating.  So, what do you want to use the steel for?  If you just annealed it, it might be to soft for your needs and may need to be heat treated.  Good luck. 

actually: anealing and normalizing are types of heat treating.  so is typical hardening.  Work hardening is only a surface effect.   As for using canola oil I have no clue. I dont know the alloy so I cant answer.  If you want to know why that matters, its all in the heat treat info I already wrote in the knife making section.

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Chris: Not knowing the specific type of steel you are using, it is difficult to know exactly if canola oil will work.  You can at least try it if it is the only oil you have. But, you don't want to just harden it.  You need to temper it, run the colors, to reduce the brittleness.  Where are you located?  If your lucky, maybe someone on this website lives near you or a blacksmith group could help you.  Good luck.  

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There's set hammers and there's hot cuts, but there's no such thing as a hot cut set hammer.  If you're using this tool to cut through hot iron, there's no need for it to be hardened and tempered.  The majority of the temper would just be lost as you use it on hot metal.

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