Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Heat treating -- the simple and not so simple

David Barnett
You'll be shaping most steels in their annealed (softened) state, Pam, then raising their temperature to change its crystalline structure to produce the carbides, which is what gives it its hardness. Each steel has different hardening temperatures and hardening requirements, and 3V has a more demanding regimen than W1 or O1.

W1 and O1 have a hardening range from 1450 to 1600 F. At the proper hardening temperature, the steel will no longer be magnetic, a common test. W1 and O1 are somewhat forgiving as to hardening range and how long to soak at this range, which makes it a natural choice for the home craftsperson who wishes to make their own steel tools.

One thing to keep in mind, simple tool geometries and shapes commensuately simplify bringing the tool to an even hardening heat and quenching it with minimal deformation. Thin tools can warp. for example, and tools with cominations of thicknesses and shapes can do surprising and challenging things during quench. But if you keep it simple, all you'll really need is a torch, forge, or furnace to bring it to hardening heat and you're good to go.

Other tool steels, however, are far less casually handled. Compare the ease of heat treating O1, which I can do sitting at my jeweler's bench to reshape and reharden tools several times in a working session, almost without having to think about it*, to the following for CPM 3V:

http://www.crucibleservice.com/eselector/prodbyapp/tooldie/cpm3vt.html

Big difference. First, you preheat, then harden (austenitize) with around a half-hour hold, then quench with air, salt, or intermittant oil, followed again by air. You temper three times (at least) for two hours a time (at least) and at much higher temperatures than the ubiquitous toaster oven that's a favorite for many O1 tool makers. And believe me, what I've summarized is grossly oversimplified.

I've done it, and while my little electric furnace (not even long enough for some chisels) has a few hundred degrees overhead above 3V's range, it's a pain compared with other tool steels available to me. I do like it's toughness for punches and point tools, though -- better than M4 for some uses -- so it can be worth the effort, especially if you sculpt certain stones.

So the easy way is to send it out. Fortunately, for you, there are numerous heat treaters in your area, both high-tech and low, and it will likely be worth developing a good relationship with one or more. The right one can be very knowledgeable and helpful when they're sympathetic to small tool makers and you can learn a bunch -- these steels, while complex to treat, are highly versatile, so it's good to experiment to find what optimizes your tool for its particular use. This is where a good heat treater can make a positive difference. Also, it's nice when you make a few tools and wait until they call you so you can piggyback your stuff on a larger commercial order, which can make it a lot cheaper than you might expect. Now see? Aren't you glad you live in Texas?
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*Recently, I was doing some wire and metal strip inlay into an ivory, ebony and steel object, with varying line widths; swells, curls, serifs and squiggles. If I'd had to rely on ready-made commercial tools and gravers, it simply wouldn't have been doable. At least I wouldn't have done it.

Making and remaking your own tools is downright easy and kind of fun. I'd torch it to forging heat (I use both an oxy/propane Smith Little Torch and a very small and cheap Bernzomatic air/propane torch with a hose to one of those disposable propane tanks), thicken, thin, curve and contour the working end of my tool, cool it, then file, grind (with a Foredom flexshaft), bring it to hardening heat, quench, temper (when needed), sharpen if it's supposed to cut, texture or polish if it's supposed to punch, then do whatever I'd retasked it to do. BTW, this is how engravers, goldsmiths, and other artisans routinely used to do things. It's one of the first things you learned.

Messages In This Thread

CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Re: Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Re: Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Re:Length of thread
Re:Length of thread
How do you sharpen your nib,Marv? *NM*
Re: How do you sharpen your nib,Marv?
What good would a short answer do? :D *NM*
Yet another new metal (long)
Priceless
Way to go Bill !
(Message Deleted by Poster)
Re: Sticks and stones... sounds like woodworking
(Message Deleted by Poster)
Re: Bravo!
(Message Deleted by Poster)
Re: Bravo!
Christ all mighty...
Finally!
So...
Your moderator, reading this subthread... *NM* *PIC*
But Bee-wee,we wuv you...
Re: But Bee-wee,we wuv you...
"...but I know he does..."
We do what we can
Re: CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
that is the problem
Re: CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
Re: CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
Re: CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
Re: CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
Re: CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
Re: CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
Re: CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
to repeat a chisel dulling discussion
Re: to repeat a chisel dulling discussion
Re: CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
I`m just happy...
Wait...
Metals
Re: Metals
must consider the whole process
Re: Metals
Re: Metals
As my dentist once said...
Bring on the Novocaine! A brief missive.
Cr-V question, then...
Re: Cr-V question, then...
realize significant gains???
View from the peanut gallery
In a nutshell (well, for me, anyway)
hardness, toughness
Re: hardness, toughness
could you explain the numbers?
You bet.
Re: You bet.
Re: You bet.
Re: You bet.
Re: You bet.
Where on earth? What on earth? Huh? Say whuh?
Since when has mass acceptance and ...
Re: Since when has mass acceptance and ...
Those are the numbers! *LINK*
Re: Those are the numbers!
I'm confused, Warren
Re: I'm confused, Warren
Re: Those are the numbers!
I'm impressed!
Re: I'm impressed!
"Sherman, set the Way Back machine for... "
Re: "Sherman, set the Way Back machine for... "
Why diamond wheels aren't used to grind steel
Re: diamond wheels - that's what I was after
Grinding Temperatures
Steve knows stuff.
Diamond wheels? Who brought up diamond wheels?
Re: Diamond wheels? Who brought up diamond wheels?
Your closing line reminds me of Dan O'Neill,
There I went again.
Re: There I went again.
Well, I was thinking about a diamond wheel. :) *NM*
Re: The diamond and HSS thing...
Re: The diamond and HSS thing...
Re: The diamond and HSS thing...
It's not so much a file protection thing as a... *LINK*
Just out of curiosity,
Re: Just out of curiosity,
Re: Just out of curiosity,
Re: "Sherman, set the Way Back machine for... "
Can you expand this thought Warren?
Good catch! *LINK*
Aim Hardness for 3V
Interesting and valuable *LINK*
3V Heat Treatment Schedule
Very helpful, Steve
Cryo
"How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm... "
The good stuff
I like bacon. :@) *NM*
Re: I like bacon. :@)
Gotta agree Warren
Re: The good stuff
Re: The good stuff
Re: "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm... "
Heat treating -- the simple and not so simple
Re: Heat treating -- the simple and not so simple
Tom's right, Pam -- but wait! There's more! *LINK*
Re: Tom's right, Pam -- but wait! There's more!
Re: Tom's right, Pam -- but wait! There's more!
Re: Tom's right, Pam -- but wait! There's more!
Steps to completion
Thanks, Bob, understood. *NM*
Re: Tom's right, Pam -- but wait! There's more!
Work hardening?
Re: Work hardening?
Re: Tom's right, Pam -- but wait! There's more!
"All your base are belong to us"
Re: realize significant gains???
BTW #2
Re: BTW #2
Suggestions Larry? *NM*
Let he who is without sin...
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
A model for decision-making
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: realize significant gains???
Re: Bring on the Novocaine! A brief missive.
Hi, Andrew! (and a couple things I left out above)
Re: Hi, Andrew! How do they make ...
Here ya go, George. *LINK*
Re:Thanks David, now I know.... *NM*
Different worlds,different approaches
Re: As my dentist once said...
Tow truck? Who needs a tow truck? *LINK*
Re: Tow truck? Who needs a tow truck?
Oh, see? I handed you a straight line back :D *NM*
Re: Metals
Re: Metals
Re: Metals
Re: Metals
Re: CPM 3V vs. CPM M4 ?
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