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Author Topic: What are you using for a quenching oil?  (Read 12460 times)
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Scott Hurst
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« on: January 12, 2007, 06:30:48 AM »

I'm having a hard time finding Texico Type A around here.  I know I need to get a slower quenching oil.  What other types are out there?  Where do you find them?  Am I looking for a certain flash point? 

So far I've used water, brine, cooking oil, 10w-30, and transmission fluid.  I usually go back to either cooking oil or transmission fluid, but if there's something else that the steel will benefit from using, I want to use it.     

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Alan
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2007, 07:52:53 AM »

Ahh yes, The trouble with texaco Type "A"....

As far as i know, there are some types of quenching oil that are so close to texaco now, that theres really no difference.
I have read on BLADEFORUM about a few guys who use some other stuff thats now the same.

However, as I dont know the name of that stuff....Im not much help...LOL

However again, I have been told that all this stuff is more or less Mineral oil anyway...Mineral Oil with a few different things added.
So I think that just useing vet-grade mineral oil will quench a blade as best as anything else will.
I used mineral oil before I found 3 guys on the internet to go in with me and get my Texaco type "A".

The one thing I would give adivce against is useing any type of oil that will rot.
I know some guys use oil thats  found in plants and animals, but after a while such oil, (Being subject to spoiling) need to be watched, and or replaced.

I had this bad vision of having a lot of people over to my shop to watch me forge a blade, and when I wanted to show how to quench a blade, I then found that there was a skumy film on the oil...and the smell got everyone sick.

I will do a lite googleing to see if I can find whats being sold now thats the same as the Type "A"
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Alan
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2007, 08:21:34 AM »

From another forum I learned for some poster that Texaco type "A" quenching oil is the same as their Texaco light hydraulic oil.

As far as I know, the Hydraulic oil is Mineral oil with a few things added to raise the flash point.
However as I can tell you, I have a fire everytime I heat my oil.

I have used 3 different manners to raise the temp on my quench oil to 160.

-First I heated with an O/A torch as Ed Fowler does in his video.(This took too long, used too much gas)

-Next I set my quench tank on top of a electric burner hot plate, and used it to heat the oil, (Worked but took too long and sometimes I always almost forgot to turn off the hotplate and I risked burning down my shop)

- Now I just heat up a few railroad spikes in my forge, then dunk them into the oil, There is a bit of flame, sometimes I have a bit more fire to deal with than other times, it smokes up the place, But Yes, GAUD it's fun! (This works fast,,,really fast..., even on oil thats really thick and white due to my unheated shop being at about -20 below zero.)

So my advice is that if a guy cant find the type of quenching oil he was searching for, just use Vet-grade mineral Oil,,,it's about the same anyway.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2007, 08:23:53 AM by Alan » Logged
Scott Hurst
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2007, 02:17:16 PM »

Thanks Alan.  I use the railroad spikes too.  I know what you mean about the spikes in the oil.   My other favorite (though not reccomended) thing to do with hot steel not being forged is to take 2 inch ball bearing and heat it to red and grab it with a pair of tongs and go for a long toss at night into a snowbank.  Home-made comet. 


So now there two questions:
Is the general idea that we want the quench to flash or not? 
Does the flash point have anything to do with the rate at which the steel is cooled? 

I get a pretty good hardness (file won't bite) with transmission fluid, and it doesn't flash.  My 10w-30, I stopped using because it flashed and was hard to put out once it got going.  I started using the transmission fluid because I hear dit had a flash point above critical temperature and if it flashed, it meant I overheated the steel. 

I could be wrong (I wasn't watching for it) but I don't remember Ed's Type A flashing when he was doing the edge hardening in the video or DVD.  I'll have to check it out again tonight. 
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2007, 03:32:27 PM »

In shoptalk on blade forms a maker put up  a  list about quenching oils. These are astm rated quenching oils. This means that you know exactly how fast your oil will cool your blade. A very important event, when you know exactly the quench rate of your steel, you have the option of going to faster or slower quench rates and can do this with precision. There are probably some bulk oil supply houses in your area, look them up in the yellow pages, call and ask. It took me a while to find one that was willing to work with me and soon I had a 55 gallon barrel outside my shop.

Many times I heard one oil or another was "Just like it". Fine, but be able to read it in writing, a guarantee of what you just bought, other wise you may never know.

When I use my Texaco type A oil to quench blades, I know what I have, it will not change. I never change my oil, I simply add to it when the quench tank gets low. I pre heat my oil to 165 degrees f. before Quenching my blades. This is a little hotter than texaco recomends, but it allows me to get a little better cutting performance over blades quenched in oil at 135 f.  This is my way and it works for me, you will probably need to experiment a little to find what works best for you.

Another variable is the volume of your quench tank. My tank is 18 inches long made from heavy wall pipe with an inside diameter of about 4".  You need enough oil to handle the heat load the steel brings to the event. There are probably many formulas to predict volume and the like, what I have works and maybe some day I will explore further.

You want to use a quench oil with a high flash point. My oil is pretty safe. When you watch my DVD you will see the fumes burn. When you edge quench a blade it will fume, these fumes are a little obnoxious. Usually I have a fan running to pull the fumes out of my shop. When doing the DVD we did not want the sound of the fan competing with our words of wisdom, so I simply used to torch to burn off the fumes. This had no significant effect on the steel.

Some oils have a lot of addatives in them. These are what can get you in trouble when you breathe them and as the addatives burn off, your quench rate changes.

When seeking the high endurance performance blade you want to control as many variables as you can. The quench medium and environment is a very significant variable that can be easily controlled without a lot of cost.
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Alan
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2007, 05:07:13 PM »


So now there two questions:
Is the general idea that we want the quench to flash or not? 
Does the flash point have anything to do with the rate at which the steel is cooled? 

First as for the question, Do we want the quench oil to burst into flame?....
The answer is: NO,,,
(remember were are perhaps a bit foolish to be dipping red hot steel in oil, but we are not crazy!)

The fire I have,  (every darn time I quench) is a fun, yet a pointless effect of doing a quench of hot steel in oil..It just happens, it's not what I was shooting for...

The many quenching oils might have some stuff added to them to make them not so easy to burst into open flame,  But just useing a high flame point oil is not what is the most important thing with the oil.

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Alan
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2007, 05:14:21 PM »

  My other favorite (though not reccomended) thing to do with hot steel not being forged is to take 2 inch ball bearing

Where you getting ball bearings like that?
Mine are at most just 1 and 1/2 inch ....


and, I may try to video another fun thing to do in the winter.
If you take hot water outside when it's -20 below zero, and toss it into the air, it turns into snow in mid-air.

Tonight I may get the wife to take a video of the cool effect .
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Scott Hurst
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2007, 05:39:35 PM »

I looked in the yellow pages under bearings.  Capeway Bearings in Plymouth, MA had them at the time.  I bought ten of them new at $14 each.  That was maybe five years ago.  They said they could get me three inch ones for $60.  Go on ebay, search for 52100 steel and make sure you search titles and descriptions, there's a guy in Boston selling a whole bunch of different sizes.  The prices are alot better than what I originally paid.  The only good part about buying them new is that you know where they've been and most times you can find out what the steel specs are. 


I kind of liked the bearings. Its pretty cool to be able to say that you made a knife out of a 2" ball of steel. 

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cdent
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2007, 03:58:20 PM »

Hi Folks,
I've made deliberate efforts to track down any 'real' quenching oil in my area and have come up empty. I'm looking for consistency and I'm thinking of going to a high purity mineral oil from a local chemical supply house or possibly mail ordering some Brownells Tough Quench. Can anyone comment on where these two stand relative to other popular quenching oils as far as speed, effectiveness, quirks, repeatability, etc.? I'm a newbie and currently using canola due to availability and I've resisted jumping around and trying other 'home' type oils. Thanks much for any comments.
Take care,   Craig
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Alan
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2007, 07:41:22 AM »

Hi Folks,
I've made deliberate efforts to track down any 'real' quenching oil in my area and have come up empty.
Who would use this type of oil anyway?
Who needs a supply of quench oil in 55 gal drums?

I can only think of a few types of work on very large tools that would need to use a quench oil. 
So I bet it is hard to find any types of true quench oil sold in smaller amounts that a kinfe maker would need.

Years ago I got 2 small cans of Texaco Quench oil from a friend, and I doubt I will ever need to get any more for the rest of my life. 
So of the many, many people I know personally, Im the only one who has ever looked to get some quench oil, and I only needed to get it once in my life,

Thats not a real good market to stock quench oil for if you were selling it.

From what I have heard, Vet-grade Mineral oil is very pure and is the basic stuff that many types of real quench oil are made of anyway.

Heating the oil makes it cool faster....
« Last Edit: January 25, 2007, 07:43:50 AM by Alan » Logged
Ed Fowler
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2007, 09:32:09 AM »

Two places that sell quenching oil:
McMaster-Carr  search in quenching oil, they list a 28 second oil and a faster one.
Another place,
www.shell-lubricants company products/pkf/volua.pdf
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cdent
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2007, 05:01:15 PM »

Hi Folks, Thanks for the replies. I live out in Hawaii, and I'm stuck with mail ordering a lot of things. I have a relative who could approach the local Shell distributor to see if I could get some of their voluta quench oils, and no dice. I'll try McMaster-Carr, it just gets confusing to know exactly what your getting when some suppliers repackage things. Thanks very much for the replies, and Ed I was one of the folks who picked up your new disc. Like it a lot and I'll probably have a question or two.
Take care,   Craig
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Robertv6
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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2007, 07:55:46 PM »

Since im in the process of reevaluating all aspects of my attempts at knifemaking, i found this thread and would like to pose a question.  Since im am trying to eliminate variables, my quenching oil is one of them.  I see here, be it texaco or shell quenching oil, they are pretty close in specs and on the data sheets.  The shell lubricants site lists the following.   


Selection Chart

Product Name Speed of
Quench GM Quench
Test Time Quench Time
ASTM D3520 - 70F Bath Temp
Voluta H 201 slow 28.0 sec 27.0 sec 90-130F
Voluta H 301 med-fast 13.5 sec 16.0 sec 90-150F
Voluta H 302 fast 10.7 sec 16.7 sec 90-150F
Voluta VH 401 slow 34.0 sec 37.0 sec up to 350F

   Do i want a slow quench oil, 28 sec: Voluta H 201
  medium-fast quench  , 13.5-16 sec:  Voluta H 301
              or fast quench,  10.7-16.7:  Voluta H 302

Are there any benefits to a faster quench?  Problems, like blade warpage because its too fast?  Or is a slower quench time preferable?  Whether i use texaco or shell, the cooling rates are very similar.  Also, Ed mentioned he heats his oil to 165, that it works better than 135.  Is there an optimal temp to heat the quenching oil to based on its cooling speed?

Thanks,

Robert
« Last Edit: February 09, 2007, 08:02:38 PM by Robertv6 » Logged
jdm61hb
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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2007, 10:39:53 PM »

When first started playing around with red hot steel and oil, i was using a witches brew of auto parts store bought sludge.  Motor oil, ATF etc. Almost all of the steel I have on hand now is W2 and Admiral 1075/80, so I bought 3 gallons of Tough Quench.  I have only quenched a couple of blades in it but it seems to work.  There is a bit of a learning curve for me on these steels that need to be quenched VERY fast.  The unusual thing about the test specs for Tough Quench is that it apparently has a "sweet spot'" around 150.  It quenches slightly faster there than it does at 100 or 200.  I still have a nice little stash of good 5160, both in 3/4 round that i got from Ray Kirk and in 3/8 X 1 !/2 round edge flat bar that i got from Uncle Al.  Will it "hurt" 5160 to quench it in fast oil?  If not, should I get it hotter or cooler than 150 to slow it down by a second or so?  I have a whack idea for heating the oil.  My current quenching setup is one of thse BIG 19 inch old fashioned enameled roasting pans that is blue with the white specks.  Everyones mom or grandmother had some of this stuff.  It is big enoug that i can get a 12-13 inch bowie with a threaded through-tang in it diagonally.  I have one of those little home deep fryers.  The controlbox and heating element are one unit.  i was thinking about taking it apart and sticking the heater on the end of the roasting pan. The low setting for the fryer is around 275 or 300, but that it when it is heating maybe 1 gallon of oil.  Any thoughts on my potentially hazrdous Rube Goldberg scheme? Grin
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Joe Mandt
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« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2007, 08:49:33 AM »

I used Tough quench for years, it worked great. Then when getting ready for my jouneyman test I purchased some new stuff and my first blades cracked. I got frantic kept forging blades and testing all with the same result. Then I decided it might be the quench and luckly had saved my old tough quench. I tried it and the blades did not crack. I called the supplier and found out that they has switched to a faster oil.
The faster oil works well with Damascus blades.

That is when I started looking and found a quench that worked like the old tough quench. This oil was Texaco type A. This is a 20 second oil, I have not tried any other oil since and only quenched my Texaco type A. Bill Moran mentioned early in my blade smithing that slow oil was the one to use. This is why I went to Texaco Type A.

The 20 second quenching speed of Type A has worked very well for me, Bill Burke tried some other oil pale paraffin I believe and he did not see the same results with it, he switched to Type A as soon as he could get some. My advice is to try the slower oils, compare them and see what you can achieve. When it comes to multiple quench the slower oil works very well.

If those of you who wish to experiment would add a torque whench to the equation we will have more meaningful data to compare results. I sincerely appreciate your thoughts adding to this thread.
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