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I Forge Iron

anealing <split from another thread>

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It doesn't work. If you want to anneal a certain steel look at the spec sheets and follow the directions just like you would if you are hardening the steel. You really need a controlled oven to do proper annealing. You can't get maximum softness by heating it up and letting it cool "slowly" in vermiculite. Save your time and just normalize the piece and go to the next step.

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Yup; a lot of the high alloy stuff is pretty much impossible to anneal without a computer controlled ramping furnace and so the bladesmiths need to pay strict attention to what the spec sheets say. (Sometimes they say Don't Normalize---some of the S series as I recall.)

However most general smiths are only working in the straight 10XX alloys or things like wrought iron derived steels and they do follow the paths worn smooth by generations of smiths. They do need to remember that if they step out of the old stuff, they better hit the books to see forging ranges and heat treats!  (I generally use the ASM handbook on heat treating.)

I've noticed that a lot of crafts get stuck in their processes and so forget that others may be doing things differently---like armourers tend to use the term annealing when they are actually normalizing, used to drive me up the wall.  Now as more are beginning to work in differing alloy steels they are having to learn about differing heat treats and working practices.

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