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Old 07-05-2014, 07:19 PM   #1
SamHarper
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Default File knife without annealing

Kevin Smith told me on this thread. . .

http://discussions.texasbowhunter.co...d.php?t=464053

. . . that I could make a file knife without annealing it first. So I thought I'd give it a try. I worked on it yesterday and today and just finished it.





Although it saved me from having to do any heat treating (except tempering), I'm not sure it was worth it. It took me several hours to grind this knife, and it gave me a crick in my neck from looking down at it. I had a difficult time drilling holes in it, too. I did like Kevin said and used a torched to heat the handle part, but I didn't get it soft enough at first and I destroyed a couple of my drill bits. I tried again and heated it until it was slightly red, and that time I was able to drill the holes.

I wondered how I might heat the handle up without destroying the temper on the blade. I ended up wrapping the blade up in a wet rag and putting that in a vice. It seemed to work. Here's the rainbow it created.



I was most concerned about ruining the temper while using the angle grinder, but I'd just grind a little, then pour water over it, then grind some more. I never got any rainbowing, so I assume the temper was good, especially because of how hard it was to grind. I went through two 50 grit belts that were nearly stripped down to the cloth. Then I used two 80 grit belts.

I'm pretty happy with how the knife turned out, but I'm not sure I'll do that again. It just took too much time, and I'm lazy.

Thanks for the idea, Kevin! I learned something new.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:31 PM   #2
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Looks great!
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:32 PM   #3
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Looks nice sam. Curious why you didn't just anneal it all and harden it again? Just because you could?
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:35 PM   #4
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You did good, get some carbide bits.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:38 PM   #5
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Did you clamp the knife in a vice?
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:41 PM   #6
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What grit did you start grinding?
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:46 PM   #7
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This knife is without heat treat, I did temper before grinding.

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Old 07-05-2014, 07:47 PM   #8
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I started with 36 grit and worked it down.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:48 PM   #9
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Looks nice sam. Curious why you didn't just anneal it all and harden it again? Just because you could?
Yeah, I thought I'd give it a try. Previous attempts at heat treating didn't go smoothly, so I thought this would be a good way to end up with a good knife without having to stress out about whether the heat treating goes smoothly or not.

Besides, heat treating is a pain for me. I have to do it at night so it's dark enough to see, and it's too hot to burn a forge outside, and it's time consuming, waiting for the charcoal to burn, etc. One day, I'll make a gas forge.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:49 PM   #10
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You did good, get some carbide bits.
I ended up buying some cobalt bits. The ones I destroyed were cheap bits I got at Big Lots, so no biggy.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:51 PM   #11
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Did you clamp the knife in a vice?
I did when I annealed the handle. I had the blade wrapped up in a wet towel to keep it cool.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
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What grit did you start grinding?
I started with a 50 grit belt, wore that completely out, then used another 50 grit belt and wore that one out, too. I mean I wore them completely out. By the end of those two belts, I was getting close to finished, so I switched to an 80 grit belt.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
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This knife is without heat treat, I did temper before grinding.
That handle is going to be really pretty. I'm curious how long it took you to grind it and what grit you used.

I tempered mine before grinding, too. I put it in the oven at 450F for two hours, let it cool, then did it again.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I started with 36 grit and worked it down.
Yeah, I need to get a rougher grit.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:55 PM   #15
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I've never had a problem drilling, use new bits carbide is the way to go.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:58 PM   #16
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Kevin, I'm curious how you got the handle part soft enough to drill holes without ruining the temper on the blade.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:58 PM   #17
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That handle is going to be really pretty. I'm curious how long it took you to grind it and what grit you used.

I tempered mine before grinding, too. I put it in the oven at 450F for two hours, let it cool, then did it again.
I do 425 twice at 1 hour, let I t cool before you put it back in.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:02 PM   #18
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Kevin, I'm curious how you got the handle part soft enough to drill holes without ruining the temper on the blade.
the vice acts as a heat sink, I think people worry to much about this, heat the tang where you want the pins and be done with it.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:04 PM   #19
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I saw a good detailed video on heat treating today.

Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hw4Rl0uG7ok

Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wqbiU5sC30
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:06 PM   #20
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Also his carbide drill bits will cut harder material so it doesn't need to be as soft to drill.

Why don't you use the torch to harden them? That is what I have used with good success. With a torch, you can even just edge harden them. No need to heat the entire blade. Just apply heat back towards the rear of your bevel, fanning it up and down the blade, and the heat will carry out to the thinner edge of the blade.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
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the vice acts as a heat sink, I think people worry to much about this, heat the tang where you want the pins and be done with it.
I didn't think about that. That sounds simple enough.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:15 PM   #22
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Also his carbide drill bits will cut harder material so it doesn't need to be as soft to drill.

Why don't you use the torch to harden them? That is what I have used with good success. With a torch, you can even just edge harden them. No need to heat the entire blade. Just apply heat back towards the rear of your bevel, fanning it up and down the blade, and the heat will carry out to the thinner edge of the blade.
Thanks. I will try that. Do you alternate blowing the heat on both sides, or just heat one side and let conduction heat the rest of it?
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:17 PM   #23
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The knife looks awesome!
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:21 PM   #24
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Thanks! I'm pretty happy with it.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:24 PM   #25
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I only heat one side. Wouldn't hurt to rotate it if the blade is thicker than an 1/8 or so.

Beats the crap out of heating up a forge. You can fire up the torch and be done in about 2 minutes.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:26 PM   #26
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I only heat one side. Wouldn't hurt to rotate it if the blade is thicker than an 1/8 or so.

Beats the crap out of heating up a forge. You can fire up the torch and be done in about 2 minutes.
yep.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:29 PM   #27
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I only heat one side. Wouldn't hurt to rotate it if the blade is thicker than an 1/8 or so.

Beats the crap out of heating up a forge. You can fire up the torch and be done in about 2 minutes.
I wonder how it would work on my big ole Bowie knife. I made it out of a Farrier rasp, and I've been fretting for a while about how I'm going to heat treat it since my forge is too small.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:34 PM   #28
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Sure looks nice. There is sooooo much to learn about the different steels and processes for making different knives...I’d love to learn, but doubt I have the patiences for such art.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:37 PM   #29
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It will work fine for the bowie. You might do it in a relatively confined space. Maybe stack up from bricks or something, to keep air flow off of it and to help insulate some. The issue you will have with a larger blade and small heat source is keeping it all at critical temp. But it can be done. I made a large pig sticker for a friend that the blade was 12+ inches.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:52 PM   #30
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Not to hijack a thread but if you heat till red hot actually goin on the back side toward orange and then quickly bury deeply in ashes and let cool for 8 hours you will have an annealed pc of steel. Now do all your grinding and drilling and filework. Then simply take a torch with a bloom and heat the larger areas of the blade first to draw the heat away from the heat sinks created by the tip being thinner and the sudden drop in thickness from the Choil to the plunge and slowly work the heat around until you get an even red to orange hue - take a speaker and clamp it face down on a table so you can drag the blade across the magnet to see when it becomes nonmagnetic at this point run the temp up about 2- 300 degrees more as when you leave the flame to when you quench your going to lose a couple of hundred degrees then ease the tip in first and slide the knife into the quench solution being careful not to move the tip around too much. Hold it in the quench for about 2 min and then wipe off excess oil and let set for a few min then submerse in a mix of dry ice and acetone slush for 5 1/2 hours after that let it sit for 8 hrs. (Kevin and I have a diff of opinion on this part but am willing to go mono a mono with him anytime) After the quench process is done let sit for a few hours to stabilize the steel and start the temper I like to do a triple draw temper after the first temper I like to drop the Temperature five degrees each time so no conflict comes between the first and hardness setting temper. I would never try to grind a tempered knife but that's just me once tempered a knife can only take so much abuse before the blade degrades
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:01 PM   #31
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Well you **** sure make a quality knife, thanks for your input.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:44 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by chopsknives View Post
Not to hijack a thread but if you heat till red hot actually goin on the back side toward orange and then quickly bury deeply in ashes and let cool for 8 hours you will have an annealed pc of steel. Now do all your grinding and drilling and filework. Then simply take a torch with a bloom and heat the larger areas of the blade first to draw the heat away from the heat sinks created by the tip being thinner and the sudden drop in thickness from the Choil to the plunge and slowly work the heat around until you get an even red to orange hue - take a speaker and clamp it face down on a table so you can drag the blade across the magnet to see when it becomes nonmagnetic at this point run the temp up about 2- 300 degrees more as when you leave the flame to when you quench your going to lose a couple of hundred degrees then ease the tip in first and slide the knife into the quench solution being careful not to move the tip around too much. Hold it in the quench for about 2 min and then wipe off excess oil and let set for a few min then submerse in a mix of dry ice and acetone slush for 5 1/2 hours after that let it sit for 8 hrs. (Kevin and I have a diff of opinion on this part but am willing to go mono a mono with him anytime) After the quench process is done let sit for a few hours to stabilize the steel and start the temper I like to do a triple draw temper after the first temper I like to drop the Temperature five degrees each time so no conflict comes between the first and hardness setting temper. I would never try to grind a tempered knife but that's just me once tempered a knife can only take so much abuse before the blade degrades
Sam is going to read that and say well I'm going to heat it with a torch and dip it in oil

While I have no doubt that what you described is a far superior process. Some of us...well...aren't custom knife smiths. What we make needs to be functional and not too painful to look at it.

Regardless, I also appreciate the information. Knowledge is power.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:52 PM   #33
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Sam is going to read that and say well I'm going to heat it with a torch and dip it in oil
He speaks the truth. You lost me at "dry ice and acetone."
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:55 PM   #34
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Quote:
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Sam is going to read that and say well I'm going to heat it with a torch and dip it in oil

While I have no doubt that what you described is a far superior process. Some of us...well...aren't custom knife smiths. What we make needs to be functional and not too painful to look at it.

Regardless, I also appreciate the information. Knowledge is power.
Quench solution IS oil and for the best free oil go to a fish fry house and get there canola oil - works great and smells yummy and it's FREE
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:09 PM   #35
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Dry Ice and Acetone slurry will take carbon steel past the RA nose (Retained Austenite) on carbon steel you can add 2 points Rockwell by dropping the quench to -100 degrees this will also add it without adding ANY brittleness to the steel dry ice goes to -110 . This is called sub zero quenching - wont work on stainless alloys as you need to reach - 380 degrees to cross the Ra nose so you have to use liquid nitrogen which is -420 degrees and is called Cryogenic quenching. Since this is part of the quenching process you'll either need to do this right away after oil quench or do a snap tenper of 350 degrees for 1 hour to stabilized but should still be done within 8 hrs. Then after that you'll want to wait a few hours to stabilize before tempering to prevent pearlite formations
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:22 PM   #36
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I like to keep my quench oil at 80-120 degrees any cooler and the tip will warp or worse the blade will bacon!!!! If your goin to do a hamon by sliding the edge athrough the quench just be careful as it flames up sometimes!!
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:24 PM   #37
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Chopsknives, you need to write a book or do a youtube video and explain all this in debate. Most books on knife making (or anything else) never go into enough detail. Seeing the details might make your procedure seem a little less intimidating.
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:28 PM   #38
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Turns out there are more than one Kevin Smith and since this Kevin Smith isn't the one who started a bunch of S*** with me on Handmade Knifemakers on facedbook it seems I owe him an apology and will have the ol'lady fix me up a dish of crow!!! I did give yall some good pointers (IMHO) But nonetheless offer my humble apology!! Sorry KEV
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:32 PM   #39
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Thanks Tim.
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:43 PM   #40
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I like to keep my quench oil at 80-120 degrees any cooler and the tip will warp or worse the blade will bacon!!!! If your goin to do a hamon by sliding the edge athrough the quench just be careful as it flames up sometimes!!
And don't forget to keep an eye on your temperature of the your quenching oil; 2 times this month during the normalizing process I looked down and it was at 160 or higher.... Then it's time unplug my pot and sit and wait until it cools to temp. (makes me feel like a dummy)
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:49 PM   #41
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And don't forget to keep an eye on your temperature of the your quenching oil; 2 times this month during the normalizing process I looked down and it was at 160 or higher.... Then it's time unplug my pot and sit and wait until it cools to temp. (makes me feel like a dummy)
Now ifin we're gonna start the dummy list I'm afraid I've got a FEW to add there!! I really like it when during hollowgrinding /I fail to notice the masking tape around my index fingers just happens to be on fire!!
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:50 PM   #42
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Speaking of hamons, the idea of heat treating with a torch got me to thinking about using some clay or something on the back of the blade, heat the edge, and quenching to see if I can get a hamon.

But I'm curious about something. Whenever I've tempered a knife and it turns amber, or when I annealed the handle on the above knife and created that rainbow colour, the colours are only on the surface. A little sanding makes them go away. Is the same thing true with a hamon? Isn't a hamon just a difference in colour? If so, how is it visible after you finish up the knife by sanding it?
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:53 PM   #43
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You acid etch it to make it more pronounced and you sand your blade to 400# before heat treat
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:36 PM   #44
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take a speaker and clamp it face down on a table so you can drag the blade across the magnet to see when it becomes nonmagnetic at this point run the temp up about 2- 300 degrees more. . .
How can you tell it's 2 - 300 degrees hotter? Does it turn fully orange? Doesn't that cause the grain to grow excessively?

Quote:
I would never try to grind a tempered knife but that's just me once tempered a knife can only take so much abuse before the blade degrades
That is interesting. Pretty much everybody else has been telling me that I should leave a little thickness on the edge when I heat treat, then grind it the rest of the way after heat treating it. Do you grind it until you have an edge before heat treating? Or how thick do you leave your edge when you heat treat?

By the way, I was just looking at your web page, and DANG! Your knives are so sweet, I've got cavities in my eyes from looking at them.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:32 AM   #45
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Nice knife Sam, and a really interesting thread to follow.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:50 AM   #46
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Sam, if you do grind to final edge before heating, be very careful. With the material that thin it is very easy to melt the edge. I have done that more than once making broadheads.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:54 PM   #47
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And don't forget to keep an eye on your temperature of the your quenching oil; 2 times this month during the normalizing process I looked down and it was at 160 or higher.... Then it's time unplug my pot and sit and wait until it cools to temp. (makes me feel like a dummy)
Ive got a good one.quenching more than one blade makes the oil get above 120 real fast.figured this out the hard way
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:01 PM   #48
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Looks good
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:35 PM   #49
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Sam, if you do grind to final edge before heating, be very careful. With the material that thin it is very easy to melt the edge. I have done that more than once making broadheads.
Well, how do you do it? If you leave some thickness on the edge while heat treating, how do you make the edge after heat treating? Do you use a file, or do you just grind at a low speed and cool it frequently?

The knife I showed at the beginning of the thread, I ground the whole thing without it being annealed. I just tempered it in the oven. I don't think I ever got it hot enough to ruin the temper, even when I was putting the edge on it. It took a long time, though.
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:37 PM   #50
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Ive got a good one.quenching more than one blade makes the oil get above 120 real fast.figured this out the hard way
What do you do if you want to heat treat several knives in one round? If you put all the knives in the forge or kiln or whatever you use, and you quench one, won't have have to worry about grain growth while you're waiting for the oil to cool? Or do you not do multiple knives at a time? I'm just trying to be efficient. Since I don't have a gas forge or an electric kiln, heat treating has been kind of an occasion. I use a charcoal/coal forge.
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