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*I realize I accidently posted in the blacksmithing forum instead of the bladesmithing forum...however I am finding it difficult to put this in the appropriate area, my apologies!*

 

So I'm working on my second knife project (posted my first one earlier), and I had some questions with regards to the heat treat (which I am planning to do tomorrow).

The piece itself is a dagger I am working on out of 1095 steel. I have the profile and grinding done for it, and am getting ready to heat treat, but a bit nervous about the quench. I am planning on using clay along on the spine of the dagger on both sides, but wasn't certain if there was a certain time to apply the clay, or if you just put it on before you begin heating the blade for the quench? I was thinking this would help keep the spine from getting overly hard and brittle, which would give the dagger more strength and flexibility of movement when thrusting into hard objects (not that this is the intention, just trying to learn and practice things for now.) I also was thinking this might help prevent cracks/breaking of my blade for the quench. The reason for this is because I am going to attempt to quench the blade in water, not oil... I am going to use some hot railroad spikes to heat the water up, which I am hoping will decrease the chance of any serious damage to the blade. My question there is, when I got to quench the dagger, do I plunge it in tip first with the edges perpendicular to the ground, or the flat of the blade? Are there any hints, tricks, or tips that could help me from ruining this piece? (I mean if I did, I would treat it as a lesson learned...but I'd like to avoid a catastrophic damage if possible). Also, any advice on fixes if the blade develops a warp or a crack during the quench? Thank you all for reading this....hope I made sense above haha.

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Welcome to the forum, Jonathan! There is a ton of information on this forum, so when you are unclear on something, look it up, and chances are, you will find what you are looking for.

I very strongly suggest that you keep it simple, especially since this is your second blade. The clay idea, sounds like a recipe for failure to me. Depending on the size of the blade, you may be able to do a full quench, then a soft draw temper with a torch heating along the center, and letting the heat run out to the edge. It would have to be a pretty wide blade for it to work, though. My recommendation is just to do a full quench in oil, and a full temper in the oven. You will not be battonning a dagger, so you really don't need to worry about blade failure, for its intended purpose, if you successfully heat treat it. Why are you wanting to do a water quench? You will be dealing with temperatures in the thousands, and water can only heat to a maximum of 212 degrees, so not much difference in the long run! I suggest you stick with the methods that have been established and are proven to WORK. Good luck with it. I hope it all works out well for you.

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Investigate tempering tongs for a differential drawing of the spine *Much* simpler than trying to get a differential hardening in 1095.

I would also suggest you test the use of water in a quench for that piece FIRST (and WHY HOT WATER?  You heat oil to lower it's viscosity, not the issue with water.)

I only use water when oil doesn't give me what I want---and then I would look into something like Parks 50 instead of water!

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Thank you both for your responses!  I suppose wanting to do the water quench was more so a matter of ease/a character flaw in thought (thought process being "I already have everything for a water quench, why get the stuff for an oil quench if water will work, just be a little harder).  I know now that was not the best idea, so when I head to the forge this morning to do the quench, I will bring with me the galvanized wide metal bucket I got at lowes, and some oil, and do an oil quench.  I will also hold off on the clay idea for this blade, as recommended, and probably give that a try on some smaller pieces as practice first in the future.  As for heating the water...was just a suggestion I had relieved, did not know the purpose of heating the oil was it's viscosity, not a temperature issue...thanks for setting me straight on that one Thomas!  Hopefully everything goes well, and if it does I'll probably have a picture of the finished piece up in a couple days....as long as the quench goes good....I'll be working on the guard and trying a hidden tang handle on this one!

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Also recommend oil.  Suggest you preheat your canola oil to between 120 and 140 deg. F before quenching for best effect and do a full quench. 

The tempering tongs that Thomas mentioned are a great idea, but will certainly require some practice to use properly.  Might want to hold off till you have more blades under your belt.

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7 minutes ago, Latticino said:

Also recommend oil.  Suggest you preheat your canola oil to between 120 and 140 deg. F before quenching for best effect and do a full quench. 

The tempering tongs that Thomas mentioned are a great idea, but will certainly require some practice to use properly.  Might want to hold off till you have more blades under your belt.

Thanks will do!  I'm definitely going to try to get a lot more practice blades under my belt...ordered a 48" piece of 1084 that should be arriving soon....gonna cut that into smaller pieces to work on more practice knives...that will not reach the 17inch length of this current piece.....haha

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11 hours ago, Jonathan Smidt said:

ordered a 48" piece of 1084

Might also look into 5160 leaf or coil spring drops from your local automotive spring shop.  Used springs can be a bit questionable (though I have used them at times and they are ideal for practice), but I understand that they often have to cut down new stock and will have offcuts in their recycle bin or dumpster.

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1 minute ago, Latticino said:

Might also look into 5160 leaf or coil spring drops from your local automotive spring shop.  Used springs can be a bit questionable (though I have used them at times and they are idea for practice), but I understand that they often have to cut down new stock and will have offcuts in their recycle bin or dumpster.

Thanks will do!! any steels in particular I should stay away from for now? or materials in general??

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The only common high carbon steels that I have personally used that I would recommend against until you get more experience is 52100.  Others have had issues with forging O1 as a beginner, but I found it not much of a problem.  Best if you stick with one or two types of blade steel at first anyway, so you can focus on your forging and grinding and not worry about heat treatment IMHO.

Personally I think 1080, 1084 and 5160 are great "go-to" steels for a beginning blade smith.

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I would recommend staying away from tool steels for now, ESPECIALLY air hardening ones. They require a lot of finesse. These include (but are not limited to) O1, D2, S7, and A2. 

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So I have a question I haven't heard much talk about, Jonathon was talking about putting clay on the spine to not harden it as much as the blades, could you use an edge quench to accomplish this?  Or is there a different reason to perform an edge quench?

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Depends heavily on the alloy but yes the edge quench would work as well, just harder to match the curves in a blade with one.

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On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 12:04 PM, ThomasPowers said:

Depends heavily on the alloy but yes the edge quench would work as well, just harder to match the curves in a blade with one.

With regards to that, for future reference, if the blade has edges on both sides (for this instance I was working on a dagger), can you still do an edge quench?  or is it best just to do a full quench on any blade that has edges on both sides???

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45 minutes ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

Full quench and use heavy tempering tongs to differentially temper 

Thanks! I'm definitely going to have to look into tempering tongs for the future!

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