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Author Topic: Hardening with a torch  (Read 1815 times)
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Ed Fowler
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« on: January 30, 2015, 07:09:01 PM »

I forged 8 blades, all about the same profile. Several reasons for this, I wanted to get in the grove or working with smaller blades and doing it over and over again is good for practice.

When I first watched Bill Moran heat blades with a torch I was in awe!!  He was as delicate as I would guess Rembrandt was with his brush. Slow and easy, 2X flame and he gracefully painted the color into his blade until the edge was non-magnetic while the spine remained magnetic. One side, then the other - back and forth, when he reached the desired temperature - checking with a magnet - he carefully evened the heat to a uniform color in the bottom third of the blade - both sides the same. Then quenched in pre-heated Texaco Type A.

When I got home I ground out a practice blade of mild steel and practiced every day. Very slowly I got better, today I still feel I have a lot to learn, but my blades work well.

A few thoughts that came to me today while hardening the blades for the second time:

Have a good purchase on the tang with your vice grips.

With small blades use a smaller tip on your torch.

Make sure the tip comes off of your torch at the same angle every time you harden a blade.

Direct the flame from the center of the blade toward the edge.

If there is a kink in your lines that will distract from uniformity of your heat on the blade, lay the oxy-acet lines out so there is no resistance to the movement of your torch as you "paint the blade".

Take time to have both sides the same color before you quench, alternate sides with each pass, watch the color line across the bottom of the ricasso for uniformity from side to side.

Do not drink a bunch of high test coffee before hardening, you will have the shakes.
If for any reason you do not feel well, postpone hardening for a later time.

When you etch a blade and notice any differences on one side when compared to the other, it is likely the difference can be traced to your work with the torch. Read the etch carefully and learn with each blade. Minor differences will always be there, in nature there is no absolute bilateral symmetry, but we can come close.

Little stuff that makes a difference.    

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Daniel Rohde (D-Vision)
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2015, 08:12:29 PM »

Thanks Ed good things to keep in mind!

Do you have any pictures of you blades?

DR....
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2015, 08:07:34 PM »

The first two hardening cycles are necessary and a true benefit to the performance qualities of your future blade. They do not have to be perfect, but I look at them as an opportunity for me to learn the characteristics of the blade, differences in geometry require you to use your torch to take advantage of you plan when you forged the blade.

By the time you are ready for your third quench you should know the blade well and the third quench is the most significant of all, do your best and get ready for the information your etch and future testing will reveal.
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Daniel Rohde (D-Vision)
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2015, 08:59:10 PM »

I agree the third quench is important usually if my third quench doesn't go well I give it a fourth. Is that a problem?

DR...
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wnelson aka. dedox
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2015, 04:52:30 PM »

I remember drinking coffee(black) before drilling a piece of wood, the result was not pretty!
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 04:39:18 AM »

You can harden it again, I have done up to 7 hardening quenches the blade came out great, but not much better than 3.
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mreich
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2015, 06:14:15 PM »

I've done a pretty fair amount of practice hardening with the torch. I used to take half a dozen blades and practice with different tips, torch settings, etc. I still like to have a practice blade to harden before I harden new blades.

Now the tip means less to me. I don't care if it's a little heating tip, or a cutting head, or a welding tip. If you get it set right and aim it at the right place on the blade, and use the correct angle of fire to blade , you will win.

Always use enough fire!! Within reason, the faster I can heat a blade the better.

The more heat I have available, the less I have to use that concentrated heat of the "cone". I aim the cone in front of the edge, and use the "side" of the flame at a 45* angle. I can see the color of the steel a lot easier if I don't have such a bright flame to stare through. It's a lot easier to avoid spot overheating if you don't use the concentrated heat of the tip of the cone.

JMHO  YMMV 
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