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Thunter124
11-23-2010, 06:01 PM
The question I have: what options are available to someone who does not wish to spend 500+ on a heat treat oven just yet? Will a $20 toaster oven work for tempering medium carbon steel blades(1045), or is there a technique you can use with the forge to do it?

Thanks for any input
T. Hunter



(edit: last time I post a thread via cell phone "asdvice")

EdCaffreyMS
11-23-2010, 06:30 PM
If you have a kitchen oven, you don't even have to spend the money on a toaster oven (I assume we are talking about the tempering process)....in fact I would recommend a kitchen oven over a toaster oven any day. Why? Toaster ovens have way too much swing in temp....often as much as 100F+ from the set point. (every 25F above 350F, makes a difference in your tempering process) Just spend a few dollars at Walmart and by yourself an oven thermometer....then use it to verify that the temp you set on the oven dial, is actually the temp inside the oven. In most cases you'll never need more than about 450F for carbon/alloy steels.

Some folks MAY tell you that you can temper a blade by placing the spine on a hot chunk of steel and watching the colors run.....but it's a very haphazard way of doing it. Everything has to do with the steel being at a specific temp, for a specific amount of time.

Thunter124
11-23-2010, 06:42 PM
The only problem I can see is I got a shop at the bottom of a hill, have to go through our studio/garage, 3 doors and a flight of stairs to get from forge to oven.

Doug Lester
11-23-2010, 08:14 PM
You don't have to rush from the quench tank to the tempering oven, just don't leave one blade laying around quenched and untempered while you quench a batch of other blades. If you can't use your kitchen over, like the little lady gives you the stink eye when you suggest it, yes a toaster oven will work just fine. Either way, use a thermometer on the same shelf as the blade to measure the temperature. Don't go by the setting on the dial.

Doug Lester

Kevin R. Cashen
11-24-2010, 08:40 AM
You really don't have to worry about the rush to temper with 1045, in fact you may want to consider forgoing a traditional temper altogether with that steel if they are knife blades. 1045 does not have enough carbon to make plate martensite and will be entirely a low carbon lath type martensite, greatly limiting your total hardness but also not having the same demands of stress relief from a temper as the high carbon stuff. With the total hardness being that low you certainly wouldn't want to drop it any more with a full temper so perhaps a snap temper, if that. Low carbon steel with all lath morphology could go weeks or perhaps forever without showing any ill signs of no temper, so take your time on your way to a good heat source to think about what option may work best for you.

ARCustomKnives
01-14-2011, 08:56 AM
If you're simply concerned about convenience (as well as keeping the wife happy by not stinking up your kitchen), I've had good results with a mid quality toaster oven (about $30-$40 or so). As others have said, just make sure you get an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature, as there will be variation from what the dial says.
The oven I use (black and decker from walmart) seems to hold a very consistent temperature with the door closed.

McClellan Made Blades
01-14-2011, 10:33 AM
The question I have: what options are available to someone who does not wish to spend 500+ on a heat treat oven just yet? Will a $20 toaster oven work for tempering medium carbon steel blades(1045), or is there a technique you can use with the forge to do it?

Thanks for any input
T. Hunter
(edit: last time I post a thread via cell phone "asdvice")


THunter,
I'm not sure I'm understanding your question, I assume you are asking about hardening? As a HT oven that is $500+ would be for hardening, first of all the 1045 isn't a great idea for a servicable knife blade. I would whole heartedly recommend 1084, (IMHO) Aldo's is the best, that is arguable, but I'm sure the masses around here would agree more than less, it isn't expensive and Aldo is a GEM to do business with, of course there is other 1084 and you are the one that knows your finances. There are those that will tout the benefits of the "Super Quench", that has been reported to harden low carbon steel, if Wayne Coe sees this thread I'm sure he will post, personally I haven't done any testing with it yet, so I only have what others have reported, I do work with 1084, almost exclusively. That's what I'm experienced with , so that is what I advise, it easily HT's with a forge or even a torch, bring it up to non magnetic, and quench, a fast quench oil is the best for this steel, but not super fast, I have had great results with Canola oil before I bought a real quench oil, I now use McMaster Carr's 11 second oil with great results, once you have it quenched you can take it to your kitchen oven and like Ed said, use an additional thermometer, they aren't expensive and you can get them at Wal Mart, along with your kitchen oven. Side note, I have been using my kitchen oven now for the last several blades I've made, again like Ed said, the little toaster oven has too high and low swings in temp, the way the thermostat works in them, is to cut on full until it gets to temp and then it shuts the element off until it drops around 50 degrees, sometimes more depending on the unit, then it cuts back on to get back to temp. There isn't enough insulation in those little ovens to operate efficiently that way, if you do use your kitchen oven take a little time and clean the blade very well, extremely well, no quenchant left on it, no cleaners, completely clean, I suggest Isopropyl alcohol, because when it is applied and you rub it clean of gunk and whatever else is on it, it is drying and leaves zero residue. Next I use the oldest rattiest cookie sheet in the house, I think it was mostly used as a catch pan for casseroles and the such, and I marked it for my use only. If you do that there won't be any smells are fumes, at least that's my experience, and while I have (arguably) the greatest wife in the world, there really isn't anything to complain about, unless your trying to cook your knife with dinner, that could be a problem!
And BTW, don't do that!

Tell you what, PM me with you address and I'll send you a couple of pieces of Aldo's 1084fg that you can make into a blade, tell me the approximate length you want, the last I sent out, the cheapest to ship was 8 1/2" long, this steel is 1/4" thick and 1 1/2" wide, a great size for the beginner, you pay the shipping, and also post a pic of the finished blade, that's all I ask in return. Whatdoyathinkaboutdat? Newb's are the future of this craft, I've been at it now for a year and a half, and I'm still a Newbie, if it wasn't for the generousity of the folks on this forum and a few others I wouldn't be where I am today without there advice and encouragment, helping out other Newb's is the way I feel like I repay all those that have so selflessly helped me. So there are no strings attached to this offer, if you screw it up, (as I have done to so many fine pieces of perfectly good steel), just say so, the learning curve in knife making is SHARP! (My favorite pun), the only way you get better is by constant study, and making another knife! I had a newb in the shop awhile back, he was upset and talking about quitting, because he messed up what he considered an expensive piece of steel. I explained that there was a price to making knives, that will be collected one way or another, he could go pay for classes at one of the fine schools like "The Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing", or go to some of the makers like Ed Caffery that offer classes, which isn't cheap, and maybe he wouldn't make as many mistakes, or he could basically continue teaching himself, the same way I have, as well as so many others have done through these forums, he was quite upset about it, then I pulled out a box of my mistakes, it's a 30 to 40 pound box of my mistakes, he said, "You messed up that many?" I said, "Well, that's a few of them! There are many more I have re-designed, a lot of these I kept to remind me of what not to do, these were my lessons. Mistakes can be expensive, unless you learn something from them." I guess my numerous blunders made him feel better. With that said, don't feel like you have to produce, take it and make the best knife you can possibly make. Hope this helps, Rex

ARCustomKnives
01-14-2011, 01:47 PM
Concerning the temperature fluctuation in toaster ovens, I've found that the mid to high quality ovens (40 bucks or more) with 4 heating elements (2 top, 2 bottom) seem to hold temperature pretty consistently when the door is closed. I'm also assuming that it will be as least as good as any low to mid quality kitchen oven too.

Doug Lester
01-14-2011, 07:16 PM
You can also put a pan of sand in the toaster oven to buffer the heat from the cycling heating elements.

Doug Lester

Thunter124
01-14-2011, 10:14 PM
wasn't expected to see this 2 month old thread again, but that don't count for anything.

Anyways, I got a 20ft bar of 1-3/8 inch diameter 1045 from the parents for Christmas(100lbs of steel), so it looks like I will be working on it whatever the case. I've got all the materials ready to make the super quench and I'm finishing the forge tomorrow. Let me see what all I can make this 1045 do for me, and I will get back to you on that offer Mr.McClellan. I'll be working this stuff down into a couple blades to do some edge holding and toughness tests.

T.Hunter

McClellan Made Blades
01-15-2011, 03:13 PM
wasn't expected to see this 2 month old thread again, but that don't count for anything.

Anyways, I got a 20ft bar of 1-3/8 inch diameter 1045 from the parents for Christmas(100lbs of steel), so it looks like I will be working on it whatever the case. I've got all the materials ready to make the super quench and I'm finishing the forge tomorrow. Let me see what all I can make this 1045 do for me, and I will get back to you on that offer Mr.McClellan. I'll be working this stuff down into a couple blades to do some edge holding and toughness tests.

T.Hunter



Hunter,
First off my name is REX, I wasn't implying that the 1045 couldn't be used, the first thing I would think is to use it as mild steel furnishings, it would be great for guards, bolsters and butt caps. I've been wanting to make a guard out of mild steel just because I like contrast and a blued guard against a satin blade looks pretty slick! The offer stands Bud, just remember the one thing that all of the great knife makers posses is determination. When I read "The $50 Knife Shop", Wayne Goddard had one statement in there that really had an impact on me, I don't remember it word for word, but it basically says is, that no one is born with the talent to make knives, it is the determination to not quit, that even after failure you keep on working to make the knife you have pictured in your head. It's the character trait to never give up, never quit. Since you have the 1045, it makes perfect sense to use it. And 20 feet of it is a great gift! It's a good start to learn a lot, and remember to keep your first knife, you'll want to look back at it in the future, it is amazing to see the evolution of your skill develop. It will make everyone around you sick when all you can talk about is knives, but when that is the first thing on your mind when you wake up everyday and the last thing on your mind when you go to sleep every night, it's only natural to direct your conversations toward knives. With the internet you have a resource that is endless, just make sure the source of the information is credible, because there is a lot of bad advice out there. Plenty of good too, just remember that if it sounds too good to be true, investigate it, check the source, and if you can't find out anything that is concrete, you have this forum that'll direct you in the right direction. If you need anything that I can help you with feel free to ask, Rex