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Old 06-15-2010, 17:19   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Heat treating and forging equipment questions

I saw the thread about heat treating. I can't post there so I started this thread. I have a chance to buy a used dental oven. It's very similar to a heat treat kiln. I also have a chance to buy a small forge. Up to now I have been making knives using steel from old sawmill blades.

I want to start heat treating and maybe forging. I'm not locked into the used pieces I mentioned and can buy new equipment if needed. I don't know anything about the set up requirements for it. I figure it requires maybe 220v AC but I don't know how much ventilation is required or how much surrounding heat will be produced. I have a rough small workshop out the house and more workshop in the basement. I don't have a garage but I do have one concrete floor unfinished room on the ground floor. I figure the quench must be pretty close to the oven as the way I understand it, the steel must be above 1250 F when it enters the quench, even though I know it's normally heated above this. I'd like to know about temperature control of the oven and measuring temperature of the steel, soak time and what's required for proper heat treating. The temper temperatures sound easy enough as long as there is enough temperature control. I don't know what equipment options there are for a fairly large home shop or what's required to use it.

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Old 06-16-2010, 17:51   #2
George Tichbourne
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 75
The first thing in your plan should be determining exactly what the sawblades are made of and search for heat treating characteristics for that particular steel. The answer will determine how hot the oven must get to start the heat treatment and how the steel should be quenched including what material to use to quench the steel. Quenchants can be air, water, light oil, and heavy oil. Personally I would not like to quench anything in oil indoors and I can bet that the wife would most definitely not like it at all.

As for forging, not all steels like to be forged. The simpler carbon steels like the 10 series (10XX) and the 5200, 5100 series forge well and are forgiving to variations in heat treating technique. Stainless and semi stainless steels must be heated and forged in a non oxygen atmosphere.

From a fire safety angle setting up an outside forge is almost a necessity.

The good side is that knife smiths are very free with their time and information. I would ask around at some of the knife forums and I bet you could come up with a local bladesmith to help you out.

George Tichbourne - Custom Knifemaker
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Old 06-22-2010, 22:09   #3
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Right now I am only using sawmill blades because I have no means to heat treat them. I want to move on to other steels and heat treating. The sawmill blades are rough cut with a plasma cutter and then I grind them to shape. I know some of the grinding will soften them but work out pretty well. I don't know the steel of the sawmill blades. They are huge blades though. I was thinking to place the forge outside the house in some sort of shed I could open and close. I'm not sure what's required for a an electric heat treat oven/kiln. I'd like to set one up inside the house if that's possible to safely. I'm fairly new to the internet and I do plan to check in to some knife making websites. Thanks for the advice.
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