picker77

Overkill homebrewed knife quench tank

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First post, newbie on here. I'm an old dude sneaking up on 78, and I've done a few "finish it yourself" and stock removal knives in the past (some depicted below), but I want to get much better at it and eventually get into simple forging. I needed a better small tank for edge-quenching, so I looked hard online for a low cost off-the-shelf "tank", but everything I saw was either too wide, too deep, too short, or too wimpy. The closest I found was heavy duty commercial steel baking pans intended for making big restaurant-size bread loaves, but they were rather thin metal, and were non-stick coated, which I didn't particularly want.

To get exactly what you want, sometimes you just have to build it yourself. With that in mind, I picked up five 18" pieces of 4" wide 11 gauge A36 flat bar from the friendly guys at Metal Supermarket for about $30 including nice clean and square band saw cuts. Material cost was less than cost plus shipping for most of the pans I saw online. From these panels, I assembled the 4 x 4 x 18 tank shown in the accompanying photos. It is built like a tank (sorry) and is the cat's butt for what I need in my little knife-making operation. At 11 pounds empty, it's probably overbuilt, but should be very stable in use, has a nice flip lid for fire safety and to help keep the oil clean, and includes stout handles on each end. The lid intentionally only opens down to a 45 degree angle (because of the tab stop), which allows quickly flipping it closed in the event of a flareup. Since my MIG welding skills are probably a three or four on a 10 scale I didn't want to run my ugly beads the entire length of each panel joint, which in addition to possible porosity and leak problems might also have created major warping, so I cheated: I first carefully fitted and clamped the five panels (three long and two end pieces) for minimal gap, and just lightly tacked them together at the corners and a few places along the long edges with a MIG welder. I then ground all the tack welds smooth on the outside of the tank, and applied JB Quik-Weld along the inside seams. After a few hours, I followed up with Quik-Weld on the outside seams. After letting everything set up hard overnight, I used a small orbital sander to smooth off all the outside seam Quik-Weld, did a leak test with water (there were no leaks), added the hinged lid and end handles, and painted the whole thing with heat resistant engine enamel. I used white for the inside, thinking it might make things easier to see during quenching, but it might not make that much difference. Anyway, for less than buying a less-than-satisfactory commercial equivalent, I now have a very heavy duty little knife and small parts quench tank that fits my needs perfectly. Now I'm off to Wally World for a gallon of Canola oil!

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I might have somehow double-posted two of the photos, if so can't see how to fix that, sorry!

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Nice looking tank and blades.  Personally not a huge fan of edge quenching after a bunch of discussion with some of the more metallurgically inclined bladesmiths I know, but each to their own.  The consensus seems to be that edge quenching maintains a mixed structure of austinite and martensite, which is less preferable from a toughness and edge retention standpoint than closer to full martensite transformation with proper tempering.  Apparently the sharp transition zone between the two structures can lead to difficulties. 

Differential tempering, on the other hand is another story altogether.  I've made knives using both methods, but not done overly extensive testing to look at results.  Just going by testing done by other folks whose opinions I respect and the logical arguments they make based on their metallurgical testing.  

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Mr. Picker,

Welcome to I.F.I.  & , also,  welcome to the geriatric section of the site. (there are a good number of us here).

Beautiful knives. Well done.

a good source of restaurant furniture, tools, etc. are restaurant bankruptcy auctions.

Many of our kitchen 'implements', were acquired from those sales.

Such auctions are common, because the average lifespan of those businesses is short. The number of surviving eateries is somewhere between 5% and 10 %, after 3 years.

There are sites on the net that advertise auctions,  in specific areas.

What are the handles made from?

SLAG.

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Thanks for the welcome and the nice words. There is enough metallurgical info out there these days to choke a horse now that everybody and the ship's cook is making knives, ha. Most of it is advanced calculus to me, I'm still working on algebra 1 where metal science is concerned. So far I've followed mostly an old book of Wayne Goddard's, hence the edge quench thing. Actually, I'm still just working on having my knives not looking like they were made by a fourth grader, ha. Most I've given away to my sons and grandsons. Have never attempted to sell one and don't intend to. As for the handles, Slag, I have a big box of scale material, but if my feeble memory serves, from left to right the first two are leftovers from deer hunts here in Oklahoma with brass guards shaped to follow the front contours of the piece of antler (#2 also uses an antler tine for part of the guard function), the third is Dymondwood (sp?) stuff from Jantz, I think the fourth is Amboyna burl, the fifth is natural box elder burl with a camphor cap, the sixth is camphor, seventh is stained box elder burl, and the fat skinner on the right end is from a chunk of Koa left over from when I lived in Hawaii years ago and built a couple of guitars from Koa. I'm not gonna run out of handle material for a while, I like to collect and stash bits and pieces of exotic woods, most of which has been stabilized. I use a home built 2x72 belt grinder with a 10" contact wheel which does fine, but I haven't yet figured out how to make it track well with the platen I built for it. Still working on that. I do want a small forge one of these days, though. I can make most tools, but it's beginning to look like I might need to sell my truck to buy a good anvil. :)

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Nah, good anvils are easy to come by IF you don't have your heart set on a "London Pattern." All you really need is something reasonably hard a little larger than the hammer face, shaft is good as is RR rail mounted on end. The rail has a lot of good surface in the web and flanges to grind specialty tools into, hardy, butcher, fullers, swages, bending forks, etc. etc. Charles Stevens started an outstanding thread where he demonstrated some possible tools to grind into Rail end. If you find you don't have THAT special feature you need and ran out of flange, web to grind you can flip it over and go to work on the other end. Hmmm? ;)

Nice blades. I agree about edge quenching I much prefer a progressive temper, lot's fewer issues like warpage.

Bear in mind I'm not a bladesmith guy, I mostly play with fire, hit things with hammers and hang out on Iforge.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks, Frosty. I've read a ton of your stuff on here and it's always interesting and informative. I'll pay particular attention if and when I get around to building a forge. The local small metals store had about a foot of 5 or 6 inch 4140 shafting on their "cutoffs and drops" rack when I was there a couple of days ago. It wasn't marked and I didn't ask about the price on it for fear of interfering with my heart meds. Might make an awfully nice anvil stuck on end in a big stump, though. I do keep an eye on Craigslist and such around here, but even a rusty old chunk of rail or anything called an "anvil" seems to bring $100 or more, many time MUCH more. :(

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Picker,

Thank you for the heads up and speedy response.

The information is interesting and useful.

SLAG.

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Just plain old steel shafting is just fine, no need for high carbon or hard or . . . Anybody who grinds a point on a piece of rail and calls it an anvil wants idiotic too much for nothing useful. 

If you'll put your general location in the header you might discover how many members live within visiting distance. Every hour you spend with an experienced smith will show you many more hours or days worth than you can figure out on your own. Been there, done that. Being self taught is nothing special, certainly nothing to brag on.

Frosty The Lucky.

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4 hours ago, picker77 said:

I lived in Hawaii years ago

Where do you hang your hat now a days? If you haven't read this yet, I highly suggest it to get the best out of the forum. READ THIS FIRST

To fix boo boos it must be done within the 30 min window or a moderator will have to fix it after the time window.

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Thanks. I did read that, but had not yet updated my profile, something that's now done. As for location, I'm in a semi-rural area near Oklahoma City. Re editing, most other forums I've used offer the option to "preview" a drafted post prior to actually launching it - I looked for but didn't see that function here, although I might have missed it. At any rate thanks for the info!

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Where's preview? The, "dog eared page with looking glass," icon at the far right end of the menu bar directly above the text window is the preview button.

How's the weather treating you Picker, shall I add you to my prayers list?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Mr. Frosty,

Has said (written),  

"Where's preview? The, "dog eared page with looking glass," icon at the far right end of the menu bar directly above the text window is the preview button".

SLAG. asks what is a menu bar,  And where is the "dog eared page"?

I seem to have gotten along without it, these years.

Any shortcut is welcome.

SLAG.

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Well, dang. Just once I'd like to be smarter than this computer. Thanks, Frosty.  Nope, you can leave us off the prayer list for now, we got a LOT of rain the past few days (over 12") in the general Oklahoma City area, but we lucked out with only about 7" at our little hideout in the woods. Gonna be a while before I can get the tractor out, though. Everything is really soft.

Taking your and others advice about simple beginner anvils, I picked up a 10" piece of round 4-1/4" diameter D2 tool steel today for a fair price. One end wasn't quite square so the dealer took a sliver off to square it up for me. He cut it dry at sloooow speed on a very large band saw, and it took him over 30 minutes to make that one cut. This is some pretty hard stuff, although a file will grab it with a bit of pressure. I have some 1/4" wall 6" oil field pipe lying around, so I plan to devise a simple tripod legged vertical anvil stand, using 6" pipe with the D2 stacked on top of a length of 4x4, with both the 4x4 and the D2 held centered. Once I'm sure the overall height is good I'll pack the whole thing with fine sand. It will be fairly heavy, but I still need to be able to move it around in my shop, which is only 25x40 and is shared with several other things like a truck, a tractor, several mowers, and a lot of other small machinery. Sound reasonable?

Slag, if you click on the little reply typing window at the bottom to answer a post, it has it's own menus across the top, and the preview/edit toggle is that last symbol on the right. Thanks to Frosty for the education... :)

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20 hours ago, SLAG said:

SLAG. asks what is a menu bar,  And where is the "dog eared page"?

When you post a reply the menu bar should be at the top of where you are typing. If you hover over all the icons it will say what each is, preview is all the way to the right.

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Mr. Dragon,

AH  YES! 

I see what you mean,  now. Very helpful information.

Thank you:   for your response.

SLAG.

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On 6/13/2019 at 6:58 PM, picker77 said:

Thanks to Frosty for the education

Hey, I had to go look for it, I just post and edit instead of previewing. I'm too lazy to use the right tool if what I have at hand works. Of course I have mistakes out there that will probably be there as long as there are electrons running around in machines.

Frosty The Lucky.

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