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I Forge Iron

question about annealing and tempering

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I was under the impression that you should anneal a piece of high carbon steel before you shape it into some thing like a punch or chisel. I found a web site that said to shape it, then anneal it, then normalize it, then temper it. I can't find the site now. (I thought I BM it.) I take my RR spikes and such and anneal them, then I shape them. Then I normalize overnight. Then I do any cleaning, grinding, or marking. Then I temper. I seem to have good luck with my setup. Do I need to change it or do you guys have any suggestions for me. I've just been quenching in plain old water. I've heard of "superquench", should I be using that or what?
I've had some requests here in the last few days for copies of my punches and chisels. I make the punches out of hay rake teeth, and the chisels out of "HC" or "WC" RR spikes.
Oh also my lead hammers have just gone nuts here the last few days. I've had some of the local farmers ask for tools made by a blacksmith! Most are older farmers that know what good, blacksmith made tools are like, compared to modern store bought tools. Hopefully this will turn into a nitch for me.

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Railroad spikes are not high carbon steel and so do not need prior annealing before working them---the HC is in contrast to the older spikes that were very low in carbon, the HC ones are at the lower end of being medium carbon. Why superquench is suggested to try to get just a bit more hardness out of a borderline alloy.


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