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IS heat treat really the *soul* of the knife?

Mr.LaBella Apr 7, 2008

  1. Mr.LaBella

    Mr.LaBella ←The № 1 Devil→ Administrator

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    And please discuss YOUR methods- not secrets. The actual nuts and bolts ( mechanics ) of your methods. What works for you?


    If this gets out of hand I will self destruct.
     
  2. Mike Stewart

    Mike Stewart Knife Moderator/Bark River Knife & Tool

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    I still think that the Three parts of the soul are:

    In this order:

    Geometry
    Heat Treat
    Steel

    Mike
     
  3. L R Harner

    L R Harner They call me "Butch" Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    i would still rather have a crap steel that was heat treated right rather then a super steel that was treated like crap
    or are you asking how i do it with my kiln and Ln and all the toys
     
    Mark Terrell likes this.
  4. Mr.LaBella

    Mr.LaBella ←The № 1 Devil→ Administrator

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    I am talking about what YOU do to heat treat YOUR knives. Opinions such as the one you gave, and theory as in the one YOU practice, Butch :devilarmed:
     
  5. Ken Brock

    Ken Brock Who's Awesome? Super Moderator

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    first I dress in solid red robes

    then I sacrifice a beaver on the altar..........................................






    actually I just box up the blades and send them to Paul Bos to sprinkle some pixie dust on
     
  6. stephanfowler

    stephanfowler knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    I do all of my work with simple carbon steels

    1065
    1084
    W1
    W2

    and soon to add 1095

    I also very much enjoy having Hamon on my blades. so this process is geared towards that.


    First normalize the steel by heating to 1500 degrees, then hold in still air until the blade loses all color, repeat but at a slightly lower temperature, and again.

    after the blade is completely cool clean any scale off and thoroughly degrease the blade. Mix up satanite to a slightly runny consistancy (kinda like sour cream). Apply the satanite to the blade "in a pattern" the pattern can vary wildly depending on what i am looking for in the finished piece.

    if i'm patient i will let the blade sit overnight and let the satanite dry. usually i am impatient and will force dry the satanite with a heat gun (super duper hair dryer)

    heat the blade to (and this is VERY IMPORTANT and not pulled directly off of the TTT charts, these are temps that work for me)
    1065 - heat to 1420
    1084 - heat to 1450
    W1 - heat to 1430
    W2 - heat to 1430

    the trick here is SOAK TIME. let em soak, for a while. i listen to the radio while i work and will let AT LEAST one full song play with the blade at temp (i'm to lazy to get a timer, but i figure the song bit is good for about 3 minutes)

    quickly transfer the blade from the heat to parks #50 quenching oil (there are a lot of ppl using things like ATF, used motor oil, brake fluid, peanut oil, etc. i was never able to get the consistent results that i wanted out of those, so i stick with parks #50 which is VERY consistent)

    let the blade cool in the quench JUST until the oil doesn't flash burn when you pull the blade out (this will take some practice). the idea here is to stop the quench with the blade still at around 400 degrees (parks #50 flash burns at 450 i think)

    IMMEDIATELY put the blade in a temper oven at 400 degrees +/- for a good hour.

    let it cool and then back in the oven for a second hour

    polish, sharpen, handle, sheath, enjoy
     
  7. richard j

    richard j grumpy knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    since i only do the edge i have a friend heat the edge with his cutting torch with the oxygen reduced way down so it takes a while to reach temp. when it gets to the color i want i quench in either a mix of transmission fluid and motor oil or i use old canola oil. i always get hungry after quenching in used canola oil. it smells like my killer chicken nuggets cooking.
     
  8. Mark Terrell

    Mark Terrell knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Getting a proper heat treat is probably the single most crucial "non aesthetic" thing done to a knife blade.

    Heat treat determines the edge holding, toughness, finish capability, flexibility etc....

    I had an old time knife maker teach me about the HT process and I've talked a good amount with Scott DeVanna at Crucible as well.

    I start off with the recommended settings (soak time, temp, temper etc..) from the source (Crucible), then I factor in several aspects and adjust temps accordingly....

    - Thickness of blade
    - Length of blade
    - Desired finish
    - Humidity levels that day
    - How I'm going to quench the blade

    Quench is one of those things that is entirely subjective, and I use aluminum plates and various methods to ensure flatness etc... I only use air hardened steels as I just don't like the mess of oil quenching etc....

    Oh, I've got nitrogen tanks out the ass, and the only steel I've ever, EVER been able to get a marked difference by "cryo quenching" was ATS 34 (which I don't use anyway....brittle shit chips out like none other...


    I'll think of more though....

    MT
     
  9. Mike Stewart

    Mike Stewart Knife Moderator/Bark River Knife & Tool

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    You have to re-temper after Cryo on all the air Hardening Steels.

    No more Chipping.

    I can give you the Temp by PM if you want.
     
  10. L R Harner

    L R Harner They call me "Butch" Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    i cryo every steel i have used i see it as well maybe it didn't help but it might not hurt ether
    hay i have LN here at the house just about all the time
    and yes cryo then temper not the other way around
    most of my blades sleep over night in the LN and to date i have had just one crack on me (and it was not just the cryo that did it)
     
  11. Mark Terrell

    Mark Terrell knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Thanks Mike, I already do it the way you mentioned though. I just haven't seen any hard and fast results. I've talked to several metallurgists, and most say there's very little to no benefit on powdered steels (CPM---) but may be some benefit on the 440C, ATS 34, 154CM etc... groups.

    Essentially, it's just more damn time to monitor this and redo that etc....all the while fixing something until it breaks..... At least it's that way for me....and I pretty much use the Crucible steels exclusively now so I guess I'm obsessing about a totally moot point:decisions.


    MT
     
  12. Mike Stewart

    Mike Stewart Knife Moderator/Bark River Knife & Tool

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    Cool.

    Mike............:devilzeek
     
  13. J. Neilson

    J. Neilson Caught in the Mosh Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    HT is certainly one of the key factors but, it takes a multitude of things to make the knife a good cutter and hold a good edge. Remember though, if the knife is un-weildy or uncomfortable, no one will use it enough to find out how great the blade is. There are a couple dozen aspects (big and small) to make up a great (even good) knife.

    I'm just a simple high carbon guy but, all of the steels vary to an extent in the HT, some slightly, some alot more so. In the case of HC steels (as Steve mentioned) the way you thermal cycle and anneal your blades will have a big part to play in your HTing. As well as how you forge it, too.

    I can give you numbers if you'd like. I regularly use 1080/84/95, W1 & W2, 5160, 52100 plus all these combinations mixed into damascus as well.
     
  14. Galloglas

    Galloglas knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Human beings are three dimensional. We need to balance mental, physical, and spiritual aspects to be fully rounded and not "off balance".

    Likewise, a great knife is a product of many things. Good design in terms of geometry and balance, good execution in terms of fit and finish and symetry, and good technical skills like heat treat and proper selection of steel chemistry for the given task of the blades design.

    I do not believe that heat treat is the soul of the blade/knife...like the spokes of a wheel, if it is not right or less than optimal for the steel chemistry, then the whole wheel will wobble and vibrate and be ineffective or sub optimal. But perfectly tuned heat treat in a poorly designed knife or a knife that is poorly finished/balanced will not "fix" the mix.

    A knife, like most other things, is a blend and a balance.
     
  15. Tinysd

    Tinysd Skull Cracker Brigade Member

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    I was looking at a couple of sites that had temps and times for heat treating. What size of steel are those numbers based on?

    I notice one that stated to add two hours for every inch of thickness. That leads me to believe all those are based an 1 inch thick stock.

    How do you come up with the correct time and temp for 1/8th thick or 3/16ths?
     
  16. stephanfowler

    stephanfowler knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    the rough answer is that if

    two hours = 1 inch
    1/2 inch = 1 hour
    1/4 inch = 1/2 hour
    1/8 inch = 1/4 hour
    1/16 inch = 1/8 hour

    however, all that information is "subjective"
     
  17. Tinysd

    Tinysd Skull Cracker Brigade Member

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    The subjective part is the bitch. :bwah:
     
  18. J. Neilson

    J. Neilson Caught in the Mosh Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Everything is variable. Seasonal temps/humidity, altitude, etc. The steel can have several variables itself. Your better off running temps and checking them with a magnet, again, I'm speaking of HC steels. Some of the numbers you may see are lab results, I know my shop is nothing like a lab so I prefer to test/check things for myself. It's a good idea to even do this for different batches of steel, not just different types.
     
  19. Mark Terrell

    Mark Terrell knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    I can scan in all my info sheets if you guys want to see them. Or I can just upload them to my site.

    This is also a bad ass site for HT info....

    http://ajh-knives.com/metals.html
     

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