View Full Version : Having a hard time with 1084...

11-11-2011, 09:42 PM
When I was making knives in '03 I was using the then prevailing recommendation "beginner steel" of O1. I never had a hard time getting it to harden and seeing the austenizing "ghosting" happen. I was quite pleased with my blade performance at that time. Now that I am getting back into knife making the prevailing wisdom seems to recommend 1084 for people with standard blacksmithing (blown gas forge) tools. I cannot get the 1084 to harden properly. Same forge I used back then, only re-coated and added a muffle pipe after initial attempts weren't successful. First using the color charts as a guage my steel is WELL into orange (1600'ish based on the color charts) before it becomes non-magentic. Working at night with back light. I've tried both 130 degree canola oil and brine (spring water and salt in 10% sol) when the Canola didn't work on both 1/8 and 3/16 samples and rough ground blades...still not hard enough to be brittle, a file skates marginally, but I never see the ghosting of transformation I did with O1. I've tried many samples and thickness, cherry red isn't even close to non-magnetic. When it gets to non-magentic it's very orange and has been soaked for 10 minutes or more and still doesn't get really hard. Quenchant is directly under the muffle pipe and in very quickly and agitated.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, 1084 theoretically should be the perfect steel for me...I'd really like to figure it out.

Thanks, Tom

Jerry Bond
11-12-2011, 09:43 AM
TAS, where did you get your steel? Because it don't make any sence to me, first of all how long do you wait before you check with the file? On 10xx steels you need to wait about 5 min before you check with the file. Canola oil is too slow , but the brine should have worked fine.
Keep us posted as to what you find out, Jerry

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11-12-2011, 10:41 AM
I got the 1084 from Aldo, I'm starting to think it's me and not the steel though. Thanks for the tip on waiting 5 Minutes Jerry. I will be back at it tonight and I will wait a little. I may have jumped the gun after using the muffle, the initial results appeared to be very much like the failures I'd had without it. This morning after they'd cooled completely they did snap like I'd expected them too last night. I snapped a ground blade that I'd done in Canola and a full piece of 3/16 that I'd done in brine. Inside they both look very velvety and even colored. I didn't try the file again but will this afternoon. I will also try to get a picture and see if you all think it looks ok.

Here's the only picture of the grain I could get to turn out. 3/16 x 1.25 quenched in brine.

Thanks again,

Doug Lester
11-12-2011, 01:07 PM
I think that you may have worked your problem out yourself. I reciently finished two blades with 1084 from Aldo and they quenched well in warm peanut oil after heating them to just above non-magnetic with a 3 minute soak. They are choppers so I tempered them at 400 degrees. I don't have an HRc meter to get a reading with but the edges bit into or cut through soft wire when struck with a mallet without chipping or rolling over and they make quick work of a 2X4. They shaved hair too, though I didn't test them for that after chopping.

I'm going to get some temperature sticks to check the austinizing temperatures for the next batch of blades that I heat treat because I have a hard time seeing the colors even on an overcast day at dusk.


McClellan Made Blades
11-15-2011, 02:19 PM
I'm a big advocate of Aldo's 1084, probbly one of the better steels on the market with the extra Vanadium it has, having trouble Hting it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, as it is the easiest to HT, of all steels out there. The only thing I saw with what you did that didn't seem quite right to me, is that you said you heated it to just below non-magnetic, when you really should be just above NON-MAGNETIC. And that is right before the quench, the way I've done it before was to take it to Non Magnetic, once I was sure it would not attract my magnet, I would put it back in the forge and let it soak for maybe 5 minutes depending on size. After that I would then quench, keep in mind, once out of the forge straight into the oil. I used Canola oil for over a year on nothing but 1084, it was the only steel I used, and it did wonderfully, made some big choppers, a few fighters, I think there is a skinner in there too. You can't go wrong with Aldo's 1084, it's a real treat to work with. Hope this helps, Rex