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Author Topic: quenchant???  (Read 1492 times)
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dwcustomknives
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« on: January 29, 2016, 04:30:56 AM »

howdy from texas,  newbie to the forum.

little about myself i have been making knives for almost 2 years now and have had the privilege of having John I. Shore and Marvin Winn for mentors.  i do strictly stock removal and have dealt mainly in stainless steels which i send out for heat treat.  I recently starting making some full tang bowie style knives in 1095 and was wanting to try 52100 and through some research found out about Ed Fowler and how well his knives perform using 52100. 

so i received my first stick of 52100 today and was wondering about quenchant type, for 1095 i use parks 50 since it needs a super fast quench, will this work for 52100 and still give the same performance. i understand i will have to work with the steel to se what works for me, but was wondering if any one out there has used it before?

one other question for now, i do hamons on my 1095 blades using clay and was wondering if anyone has used clay on their blades or is it strictly edge quenching?

thanks, i am sure i will have questions later as i near the heat treat stages of this journey.

Dustin Williams

   

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John Silveira
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2016, 06:29:25 AM »

Oh boy !  welcome aboard.

Ed has a whole method of working 52100 if you search a bit here. the more i've studied the methods and have seen videos of the results etc the blades really are performers.

the quenchant needed for 52100 is Texaco A - 18 second quench - medium speed.

The edge quenching is to retain a flexible spine that is unhardened . helps keep blades from snapping in two pieces from being full hardened.

Clay on 52100 will most likely not produce any hamon as the 52100 is deep hardening whereas 1095 will be shallow hardening and good for hamon lines.

Ed can hook you up with the Texaco A quench if you personal message you can find out about that.

i'll add a little something- the 52100 some guys will talk about long soak times at temp before quenching - i've come to believe that has a tendency to cause grain growth - i've seen guys post photos of their blades that use the soak technique and the grain on their blades seemed humongous. Also keeping temps just in that non mag or ever so slightly above is a good practice.

you'll probably get more precise answers to your questions .

ok - i'm out -

« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 06:30:59 AM by John Silveira » Logged
Joe Calton
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2016, 05:39:14 PM »

welcome to the forum Dustin!

52100 is a great steel, and a lot of fun to work with. I use Texaco for 52100, and have a pretty good supply that I got from ed. if I didn't have that {or when or if I ever run out of it}, I personally would probably work up a heat treat for 52100 with a veg oil. I use canola for 1095, and vegtable oil for 5160 and love them. veg oils are usually food grade, so the smoke that comes from quenching is likely to be much easier on you than a petroleum based oil. they are easy to come by, and cheap so you wont beat yourself up when you spill some. usually the veg oils also smell much better than petroleum oils, which can lead to a much happier home life :} I have never worked with parks, but from what I hear, it is too fast for 52100. I would probably start out with the vegtable oil that I use with 5160 if I had to start over.

I have not played with clay for getting hammons with 1095. while I do make quite a few knives out of 1095, and all of them are differentially heat treated, I do that either with edge quenching, or by differential heating, or controlling the grind to control the depth of the quench, or all 3 sometimes.

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ChrisAnders
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2016, 02:11:00 AM »

I will have to be the one to dissent.  I have a blade made by Luong Lu in California that was quenched in Superquench, which is a faster quenchant than ice brine (salt water).  The blade cuts very well, sharpens easily, and holds an edge quite well.  

Here's the theory on this, and I find it to be sound, though I'm still somewhat skeptical of some claims.  Luong does grain refining and carbide refining treatments and claims grain size similar to Ed's ASTM Size 14.  He also uses an oven and uses a hardening temperature of around 1425-1450 or so.  I'll have to double check this.  He also claims that his performance decreased as his grain size decreased.  What he found was that faster quenchants increased the performance.  His theory is that as the grains size decreases, the quenchant speed must increase in order to achieve full hardness out of the quench.  Now, I have not done extensive testing, as the knife is a loaner, but it shows better edge retention than the test knife I compared it to, though to be fair, the test knife had sharpening issues.  

Luong's theory is sound, as it is well known that grain size has a profound influence on the required quenching speed for fully hardening the steel.  Coarse grains harden more easily, finer grains require faster quenching to reach full hardness.  Even though steels like 52100 have chromium and some other elements added to allow full hardening with slower quenchants, the reduction of grain size can still overshadow them if refined very small.  Also, though not relevant to this discussion, Luong also chooses the hardening temperature to provide the minimum carbon to reach maximum hardness, minimize retained austenite, and tempers to higher than usual hardnesses, avoiding the embrittlement zone between 450 F and 650 F common to low alloy steels.

I say all that to say that different quenchants are not unique to a different steel, but depend on the microstructure present in the steel prior to quenching.  If you find your blades do not perform as you want, you may want to change your procedure or your quenchant.  If you try a slow oil, switching to a faster one, or using the Parks 50 you already have, may show some gains.

I also find it interesting that 2 makers take opposite approaches in terms of quenching speed and still get good performance. 
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 02:14:40 AM by ChrisAnders » Logged
Daniel Rohde (D-Vision)
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2016, 02:51:48 AM »

Very interesting! Thanks Joe and Chris!

I do know that Mark Reich(HEPK smith) uses parks for his 52100. I believe that the temperature of the oil will affect the cooling rate of the oil.
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2016, 06:11:17 PM »

I am working on a series about testing for Blade. Hopefully I will be able to develop a full understanding about testing.

Cut is only one aspect of performance, there are others, tough and strong to name a few. The only way you can judge the methods used to develop a blade is through destructive testing, this is the means needed to develop a totally balanced blade for the intended purpose. We will never have all the answers, the more who work with the intent of balanced function the more we will learn.

Please do not be bashful about discussing all aspects of developing the blade of your dreams, we can all learn.
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dwcustomknives
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2016, 09:46:07 PM »

Thanks for the replies,  hopefully with in the nest few weeks I can have a couple cut out to start doing some testing on heat treating.  I will be using the parks 50 just to see how it does with the steel.  will quench it several times.
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John Silveira
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2016, 05:56:20 AM »

I will have to be the one to dissent.  I have a blade made by Luong Lu in California that was quenched in Superquench, which is a faster quenchant than ice brine (salt water).  The blade cuts very well, sharpens easily, and holds an edge quite well.  

Here's the theory on this, and I find it to be sound, though I'm still somewhat skeptical of some claims.  Luong does grain refining and carbide refining treatments and claims grain size similar to Ed's ASTM Size 14.  He also uses an oven and uses a hardening temperature of around 1425-1450 or so.  I'll have to double check this.  He also claims that his performance decreased as his grain size decreased.  What he found was that faster quenchants increased the performance.  His theory is that as the grains size decreases, the quenchant speed must increase in order to achieve full hardness out of the quench.  Now, I have not done extensive testing, as the knife is a loaner, but it shows better edge retention than the test knife I compared it to, though to be fair, the test knife had sharpening issues.  

Luong's theory is sound, as it is well known that grain size has a profound influence on the required quenching speed for fully hardening the steel.  Coarse grains harden more easily, finer grains require faster quenching to reach full hardness.  Even though steels like 52100 have chromium and some other elements added to allow full hardening with slower quenchants, the reduction of grain size can still overshadow them if refined very small.  Also, though not relevant to this discussion, Luong also chooses the hardening temperature to provide the minimum carbon to reach maximum hardness, minimize retained austenite, and tempers to higher than usual hardnesses, avoiding the embrittlement zone between 450 F and 650 F common to low alloy steels.

I say all that to say that different quenchants are not unique to a different steel, but depend on the microstructure present in the steel prior to quenching.  If you find your blades do not perform as you want, you may want to change your procedure or your quenchant.  If you try a slow oil, switching to a faster one, or using the Parks 50 you already have, may show some gains.

I also find it interesting that 2 makers take opposite approaches in terms of quenching speed and still get good performance. 

I noticed there wasn't any mention if Luong was multiple quenching or not . Just for comparison sake i have to wonder again the benefit of Ed's multiple quenching using the medium quench - could it be that the multiple quenches are doing basically the same thing ( result ) as Luong's ?

I also noticed the bit about carbide refining - can you explain the basic difference in Carbide and grain refining ?

i'm currently working on an O1 knife and there's similar talks about quenches and performance and heat/hold temps. Some guys say using an oil will give mediocre results but O1 is clearly an oil quench steel. I'm going to try 2 quenches on it. Some of the discussions are air cooling is the better way to go.
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Joe Calton
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2016, 08:42:53 PM »

Chris, does that fella that you are talking about go by bluntcut on youtube and on a couple forums? if he is I know who you are talking about and he is a dedicated tester.

personally I think that the willingness to test, and test, and test again is what makes the high performance smith. add good record keeping, control over supplies and processes, plain ol stubbornness, and a desire to keep pushing to that and you've got the makings of a good smith. I see way too often makers who are not willing to test their blades, not only to destruction, but even non-destructive tests. often it seems {to me at least} that they think their knives must be worth way too much money to break one. I do remember feeling crushed when I first started out when a blade did not come out the way I wanted it to, after hours and hours of labor. I swear that some of my first knives had 80 plus hours into each and every one, and destroying one was a really big thing. but Ed encouraged me to keep on testing, and I am glad that I did and continue to do so. nowadays it doesn't bother me in the slightest to destroy a dozen or more blades to get what im after.
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ChrisAnders
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2016, 12:35:57 PM »

Yea Joe, that's him. 

John, I checked his procedure and he does a mix of thermal cycles, some with a air cool, and some with an oil quench, maybe 4 or 5 cycles.  I didn't see a definite number.  He also does an initial grain refining step at high enough temperature to dissolve all the carbides.  Hardening is done at low temperature, so maybe as low as 1400?F to 1450?F.  Blades are quenched in Superquench, cooled to 0 F, and tempered low, 325? in some cases.  The target hardness on the one I have was 63 HRc. 
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wnelson aka. dedox
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2016, 04:55:45 PM »

Is this the SuperQuench Luong Lu uses?

http://magichammer.freeservers.com/robb_gunter.htm
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John Silveira
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2016, 06:05:19 PM »

Yea Joe, that's him. 

John, I checked his procedure and he does a mix of thermal cycles, some with a air cool, and some with an oil quench, maybe 4 or 5 cycles.  I didn't see a definite number.  He also does an initial grain refining step at high enough temperature to dissolve all the carbides.  Hardening is done at low temperature, so maybe as low as 1400?F to 1450?F.  Blades are quenched in Superquench, cooled to 0 F, and tempered low, 325? in some cases.  The target hardness on the one I have was 63 HRc. 

what's 50 points carbon ?  is that more than 52100 for example with 1.0 carbon ?

i used to super quench everything - till i had a run of cracked blades - all flat ground - got some oil from Ed after that.
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ChrisAnders
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2016, 03:06:10 AM »

Yea Joe, that's him. 

John, I checked his procedure and he does a mix of thermal cycles, some with a air cool, and some with an oil quench, maybe 4 or 5 cycles.  I didn't see a definite number.  He also does an initial grain refining step at high enough temperature to dissolve all the carbides.  Hardening is done at low temperature, so maybe as low as 1400?F to 1450?F.  Blades are quenched in Superquench, cooled to 0 F, and tempered low, 325? in some cases.  The target hardness on the one I have was 63 HRc. 

what's 50 points carbon ?  is that more than 52100 for example with 1.0 carbon ?

i used to super quench everything - till i had a run of cracked blades - all flat ground - got some oil from Ed after that.

No, not more than 52100, since he's using 52100.  What he's talking about is the amount of carbon in solution (as opposed to the amount that is forming carbides).  Of the 1% carbon in 52100, he's trying to get 0.50% into solution, leaving the rest to form those very small carbides he's worked so hard to make.  The cracking is the risk you run with using superquench.  However, if you keep careful control of the temperature before quenching and refine the grain size, and refine the carbide size, you can mitigate the risk.  Less carbon dissolved into solution means less risk of cracking.  Smaller grain size means less risk of cracking.  You only need about 0.55% (give or take) to get hardness up around 64 after quenching, particularly if you cool below room temperature.  Tempered hardness can still be well above 60, with very small grains, and very small and well dispersed carbides.  Lower carbon dissolved into solution also means less retained austenite to deal with later. 
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2016, 10:45:06 PM »

 " Lower carbon dissolved into solution also means less retained austenite to deal with later. "

How do you deal with it later?
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ChrisAnders
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2016, 12:20:03 AM »

" Lower carbon dissolved into solution also means less retained austenite to deal with later. "

How do you deal with it later?

Continuing the quench below room temperature is one way.  Dry ice and liquid nitrogen are common enough.  It can also be done during tempering, which is highly dependent on steel type and temperatures.
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