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I've been working on my fist blade, and have gotten to a point where I need to quench and (not sure what the term is, soften it again slightly) But have no good way to quench, I was going to use Old Engine Oil but didn't want to risk my health, and didn't know of any other affordable ways to quench besides water as I have heard that can do damage to your blade.

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Well your quench oil should be free, any place that uses a deep fat fryer will replace their oil on a regular basis. Ask about getting 5 gallons to quench in.  That's been discussed many times before here; did you do a search before asking?

Having a metal tank to hold it and a lid to snuff out fires when used can be free too.  I use a scrapped small welding gas tank---argon I believe; with the top cut off. To preheat the oil I have a chunk of steel on a heavy steel wire that I heat in the forge and hang on the side of the tank with the chunk just off the bottom on the inside.  The snuffer is just a can that fits over the top of the tank.  I have it set in a base I made that makes it hard to tip over in use.  I've known folks who have lost their shops as well as getting a jumpstart on the Freddy Kruger look from burning oil spreading through the shop!

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The alloy will play a role in the speed of the quenchant needed, but for general purpose quenching needs I use McMaster Carr's 11 second quench oil, which is ~$20/gal. I like it because it's relatively inexpensive and it is made specifically for quenching. If that's too much, like TP mentioned, I bet you could obtain some used fryer oil from a local restaurant for about free-fifty. Mineral oil, peanut oil, etc. will also work, but may require a slightly higher preheating temperature due to their higher viscosities when compared to commercial quenchants.

Just to make sure we're speaking the same language here, you want to quench your steel to harden it and then you would like to temper it back, yes? I do the tempering in the oven after hardening in oil. 

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Yes Thomas Powers, I did search before asking, I just wasn't sure of anywhere where I could get it because I think most fast food would have special things that would prevent me from doing it like deals with recycling companies. I have a bucket I was going to use, but wasn't sure if a plastic one would be safe to use.

And Frazer, I am talking about Hardening it and then tempering it back, and I know that many people use ovens and that was my plan.

 

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You'll probably have better luck with smaller family owned restaurants than a chain. Especially if you make the owner a bottle opener or something cool to butter them up a little bit. The bigger companies have more rules about what they can and can't just give away, even if it's worthless to them. Worst case scenario, someone says no and you go ask someone else.

Yes, always use metal for your container. Burning a hole through your quench bucket and spilling hot, potentially flaming oil all over the floor is not a good way to stay on your wife's/girlfriend's/parents'/local fire department's good side. I use a 50 cal ammo can because it fits a gallon just about perfectly and I can close it up when I'm not using it, but any metal container will do. I used a paint can for a while, but that ended up being to small for some things. KISS.

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Always an option. If you're buying, seriously consider investing in a proper quench oil as described above.

There are some good threads here about hardening and tempering; have you read over those?

And welcome!

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I have been reading over some of those, and they, for the most part, have been very helpful and I only created this one since I was struggling to find alternatives to getting used oils.

And thank you

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Funny I found an OLD ammo can that is quite tall and holds close to 5 gallons of ail just because I tend to quench long items rather than short ones and I traded for 5 gallons of Parks 50 as I have some 150 year old steels that I want to quench and they take a fast quench but shattered in brine.  My current vertical quench, the welding tank, is cheap canola oil; bought new at a big box grocery store.  The Parks is saved for special occasions...

Note oil is CHEAP compared to the time spent in a blade before you get to the heat treat part!  (Also if you plan to use the kitchen oven to draw temper, nice clean vegetable oil for the quench tends not to get you in as much trouble with your local kitchen tyrant!)

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Yes, the one I mentioned was a knifer blade forged from an old buggy seat spring, (ala Willie White),  when I quenched it in my regular oil it seemed a bit soft to me so I tried rehardening it with quenching it in brine and I still take the 4 pieces of it around to show off WHY the quenchant makes a difference. Second go at it is a Parks #50 blade!

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The quickest way to find someone willing to donate old frying oil is to buy some new out of your own pocket.

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However you find your oil PLEASE quench blades away fro the shop, garage, forest, etc. just incase the quench tank catches fire. My quench tank is a 15 gal grease barrel in a cut down 55 gal drum and I have the lids for both at hand. 

If you plunge the blade below the oil surface quickly and KEEP IT THERE till it's below the oil's flash temp you won't have big fireballs the TV producers on Forged In Fire like so much. They may look good on TV but they're just really annoying and can be dangerous in the real world. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Did you see the episode where one of the runner up contestants (an experienced bladesmith) was using  a fiberglass makeshift horizontal quench tank for a long sword inside his shop and it caught on fire. He was lucky that he didn't burn down his shop (it took 2 dry chemical fire extinguishers to put it out). All the time he was preparing to quench my wife & I were yelling at the TV don't do that.:wacko:

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Yes, spending a few extra dollars on a proper quench tank and a fire extinguisher are a lot cheaper than rebuilding your house and paying higher insurance premiums for the rest of your life.

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I know a smith that did burn down his shop and had severe burns trying to quench a longer blade in a plastic bucket tilted as he was low on oil.  He's restored a blacker powerhammer that was destroyed in the fire too.  Hence my use of steel containers with steel lids!

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I have 2 tanks

My sword tank is 6 inch pipe 46 inch or so tall. wide plate on bottom holds almost 3 gallon

My other tank is a large Oxy cylinder cut down to about 24 inch tall,  that holds 8 gallon both have lids to extinguish flame ups

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There was the guy on FIF who "custom made" a quench tank from ABS pipe and mentioned it not being the best so he quenched a sword in the driveway in front of his garage. The ladder wobbled or something but the sword melted through the side and while running down a still orange hot sword lit up. At least he didn't fall off the ladder into the spreading puddle of burning oil.

I catch FIF now and then, mostly looking for contestants with basic shop skills and it's rare. Almost all are better on a belt grinder than I am but I don't make blades. Some of these guys are scary.

Frosty The Lucky.

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