1095

#1
Carbon = 0.90-1.04
Manganese = 0.30-0.50
Phosphorus = 0.40
Silicon = 0.50

This chemistry is just a base, refer to the source/vendor for the actual chemistry.

1095 is a hypereutectic steel that makes an excellent blade when properly heat treated. However, it does require a well regulated heat source in order to soak the steel at temp.. The soak is needed in order to allow the extra carbon time to go into solution. The low manganese content makes it a shallow hardening steel which requires a fast quench such as water, brine, Parks #50, etc.. Some people report good results with other quenchants and others disagree. You are free to try any quench medium you see fit and form your own opinion. The subject of 1095 quenchants has been the subject of volumes of debate. We will NOT re-hash it here. Like I said quench it in whatever you like but don't post what you feel is best here because it WILL be deleted. This area is for steels, not quenchants. Back to the steel, here is a good starting point for 1095.

1. Heat to 1475 and soak for 5-8 minutes.
2. Quench.
3. Temper twice for 2 hours each time. Temper between 375 & 500 depending on application.

Like I said this is a good starting point and you may need to adjust times and temps. to suit your needs and equipment. You may also want to add stress reliefs, Normalizations, or thermal cycling. Again that is up to you and what works best for you and your equipment.
 
Last edited:
#2
Darrin:

If this is becoming too thick headed and repetitive it is because of my literal thinking and thick skull - but you didn't say anything about normalizing. I know that 1095 is considered a simple steel but it is the highest carbon content of the simple steels and it is hypereutectic. My take from your post above is that the carbon goes into solution during the soak time and that normalization is not necessary. Is that accurate? Do simple steels (1075, 1085, 1095) not require normalization? Do simple steels even form carbides? I really am trying to understand the normalization process. It is new to me since I don't forge; I only make blades from plate steel that I have purchased from known and reputable supplies. I did notice in one of Aldo's comments that one steel that he sells is 98% spheroidized which would mean (I believe) that it would CERTAINLY need to be normalized. But 1095? I actually have several sticks of 1095 from Aldo. I have used it many times in the past. I have read a great deal about the heat treating process of 1095 and it's need to be cooled rapidly and have accurate temperature control. I do all of that and I am satisfied with the blades that I make. But the bottom line is: should I add a normalization step to my non-forged 1095 heat treating process? Thank you, Darrin. You have been a great help to me. Your efforts are much appreciated. Nicholas Jasper
 
#3
No worries Nick, I'm thick headed too. LOL The more I learn about this stuff the more I realize I don't know or completely understand. Why don't you give me a call when you get a chance. I can talk a lot faster than I can type. Try to call between 9am & 9pm central time. If I miss you, leave a message and I'll get back to you. My number is listed below.
 

me2

Well-Known Member
#4
Darrin:

My take from your post above is that the carbon goes into solution during the soak time and that normalization is not necessary. Is that accurate? Do simple steels (1075, 1085, 1095) not require normalization? Do simple steels even form carbides? I did notice in one of Aldo's comments that one steel that he sells is 98% spheroidized which would mean (I believe) that it would CERTAINLY need to be normalized.
Simple steels can be normalized, such as 1095, etc, and even steels with less than 0.80 (ish) carbon can be normalized, such as 1055 and 5160. They also form carbides; the carbides are just correspondingly simple to go with the simple steels. In the case of 1095, the carbides are iron carbides.

Normalizing simple steels that haven't been forged is up to you. The purpose of normalizing is to make things even and uniform. In the strictest definition of normalizing, all the carbides are dissolved, and reform as the steel cools in air. As an air cool is sorta fast (relative to oven cooling, or in wood ash), the carbides that reform are smaller and more evenly distributed. The air cool doesn't give them time to grow very large or clump together. If your steel is spheroidized, that means the carbides are quite large, with considerable distance between them. A good soak will shrink them, and a normalization step will erase and reform them. Either will work, but a normalization may be of benefit. See which works for you.

To avoid some potential confusion of terms, there is a bladesmith's normalization that doesn't go to as high a temperature and doesn't dissolve all the carbides. Also, regular normalization is not possible with all steels, but simple steels are fine.
 
#5
I may be simplifying this beyond reason but here is a summary of what I understand so far:

1. Normalization dissolves carbides.
2. Carbides can be formed either from iron or other alloying metals.
3. Carbide dissolution occurs at somewhere near 1600 degrees F.
4. Carbides re - form in accordance with the speed at which they are cooled.
5. A good way for a knifemaker to reduce and redistribute carbides and to refine the grain structure of a carbon steel blade is to heat it to its normalization temperature and let it cool to black in air.
6. Normalization can be used as a method to reduce grain size in a carbon steel blade. The most agreed on sequence is to normalize three times with about a 50 degree F drop in temperature between normalization cycles.

Some more questions:

1. I see the number 1600 degrees F. used as a normalization temperature for many common types of blade steel and even for steels that are a mixture of two or more steel types (Damascus steel). Does the normalization temperature really matter as long as it is above 1600 degrees F.? Could it be safely said that, say, 1650 degrees F. will cover all carbon steel blade steel? You hit 1650 degrees F., let it air cool and you are good, no matter the carbon steel?
2. Soak time. I assume that the normalization process takes place over some length of time. I further assume that for a knife blade that process time would not be more than 10 minutes. Is that correct?
3. Is it true that soak time at hardening temperature in some ways acts as a kinda sorta normalization? PLEASE be careful how you answer this. Make it stupid simple. My grasp of this concept is tenuous at its very best.

Thank you. Nicholas Jasper
 

me2

Well-Known Member
#6
Very close. Just a couple of minor points. Normalization produces all austenite. For steels with less than 0.8% carbon, such as 1055, the higher temperature removes the final bits of ferrite. Greater than 0.8% C and the final bits of carbide are removed. The temperature that results in all austenite is variable with carbon %. 1080 can have no carbides left before it reaches 1400 F. Normalization does take time. However, the higher temperatures mean soak times can be less. 10 minutes is a good starting point and you can adjust from there. Alloying makes a lot of difference with this. 1600 is also a good place to start, but can be lower or higher.

Soaking at hardening temperature in steels with >0.8% C will not dissolve all the carbides, so I wouldnt consider it normalizing. Hardening temperature for <0.8% C steels are higher and can be in the same range as normalizing temperatures.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
#7
First of all, let's remember that we are talking about 1095 and some of the information presented here for it will not apply to other steels, especially the more complex ones. As far as normalizations go, some of those who have a regulated source of heat do like to do the process in three cycles with descending heat, like 1600°, then 1500°, the a non-critical cycle at something like 1400°. This is to refine the grain in the steel and increase toughness. Those of use with just forges to work with may want to consider a steel with a lower carbon content to work with.

A long soak at hight, around 1600°, temperature will dissolve mostly all the carbides, in this case mostly cementite, and release the carbon into the austinite. When the steel is quenched there will be too much carbon in some of the austine to escape and it will prevent those high temperature austinite crystals from converting to a body centered tetrahedron, martinsite, and those crystals will remain as austinite at room temperature or retained austinite. Any carbon that is released by austinite will form carbides again, though I think that most of that happens in the tempering cycles. I wouldn't heat the 1095 to above 1500 for quench hardening.

As for what quenchant goes, use whatever works for you. I had some 1095 that would not harden in oil but I ran into some at a hammer in, some of Aldo's, that would harden in the oil that was being used.

Doug
 

Robert66

Well-Known Member
#9
Carbon = 0.90-1.04
Manganese = 0.30-0.50
Phosphorus = 0.40
Silicon = 0.50

This chemistry is just a base, refer to the source/vendor for the actual chemistry.

1095 is a hypereutectic steel that makes an excellent blade when properly heat treated. However, it does require a well regulated heat source in order to soak the steel at temp.. The soak is needed in order to allow the extra carbon time to go into solution. The low manganese content makes it a shallow hardening steel which requires a fast quench such as water, brine, Parks #50, etc.. Some people report good results with other quenchants and others disagree. You are free to try any quench medium you see fit and form your own opinion. The subject of 1095 quenchants has been the subject of volumes of debate. We will NOT re-hash it here. Like I said quench it in whatever you like but don't post what you feel is best here because it WILL be deleted. This area is for steels, not quenchants. Back to the steel, here is a good starting point for 1095.

1. Heat to 1475 and soak for 5-8 minutes.
2. Quench.
3. Temper twice for 2 hours each time. Temper between 375 & 500 depending on application.

Like I said this is a good starting point and you may need to adjust times and temps. to suit your needs and equipment. You may also want to add stress reliefs, Normalizations, or thermal cycling. Again that is up to you and what works best for you and your equipment.
At the moment I am only interested in 1095 steel, I respect all the knowledge some of you have learned, I have read some of it but cannot take it all in..

It is easy for me to ask a question and receive precise instructions, obey them to the letter and I end up with a result Iam happy with.
Filling,my head with all your knowledge would put too much of a tax on my brain, this recently discovered hobby is just that to me, I really enjoy it and those who participate on here, over complicating it would spoil it for me

I am so grateful to be part of this forum.
When you say "give it a good soak" what does that mean??

As time progresses it is inevitable I will learn more, watch out, I will be after your limelight, lol

Regards to all

Robert.
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
#10
At the moment I am only interested in 1095 steel, I respect all the knowledge some of you have learned, I have read some of it but cannot take it all in..

It is easy for me to ask a question and receive precise instructions, obey them to the letter and I end up with a result Iam happy with.
Filling,my head with all your knowledge would put too much of a tax on my brain, this recently discovered hobby is just that to me, I really enjoy it and those who participate on here, over complicating it would spoil it for me

I am so grateful to be part of this forum.
When you say "give it a good soak" what does that mean??

As time progresses it is inevitable I will learn more, watch out, I will be after your limelight, lol

Regards to all

Robert.
Robert, to 'soak' means to hold steady at a set, controlled temperature for a given amount of time.

1095 is not the best steel to heat treat if you are limited to simple 'backyard' setups with no real degree of heat control. You will really be leaving some things on the table performance wise.

If all you have is a torch or rough forge, 1080/1084 or 1075 will be much better choices.

1095 steel is better treated with ovens or salt baths and possible REALLY well controlled forges.
 

Robert66

Well-Known Member
#11
Robert, to 'soak' means to hold steady at a set, controlled temperature for a given amount of time.

1095 is not the best steel to heat treat if you are limited to simple 'backyard' setups with no real degree of heat control. You will really be leaving some things on the table performance wise.

If all you have is a torch or rough forge, 1080/1084 or 1075 will be much better choices.

1095 steel is better treated with ovens or salt baths and possible REALLY well controlled forges.
Thank you for that.

The main reason I use 1095 is 'the files' I buy for pennies to practice on, I think my practice days are soon to end.

Your information is invaluable to someone with my limited experience.

I have found a Yorkshire company who may be able to supply these steels.
 

Robert66

Well-Known Member
#12
After sifting through forum advice about steels which would suit me at the moment I have ordered some 1080+, oh yes I have, honest, I am not really tight but careful, lol, it will arrive tomorrow they say when I hope to start on my next knife making stage.

I am going to have a look through the forum to try to find one I like the look of.

Wish me luck

PS, do you often nick your fingers?????? I do. lol
 

Robert66

Well-Known Member
#13
Would you kind people like to show me a diagram of a 3 inch and a 6 inch bladed knife which I could easily make out of my new 1080+ 4mm x 40mm x 70mm steel.
I have some dark hardwood scales, no antlers yet.
I hope to start tomorrow with new steel for the first time so I will be cautious, lol.
 

Robert66

Well-Known Member
#14
I am in the mire again.

I found a Nicholson file knife softened and shaped which I left some time ago as it was a bit too much for me, now I feel confident, MY MISTAKE.
I have hardened it and a new file just glides off it.

I put it in my toaster oven with my new thermometer which registered 425 degrees, THE TOASTER THERM IS CRAP, after 30 mins I looked at it and it was going light yellow towards straw. I then put it back on the same temperature setting for another 30 minutes, now it has gone a lot of dark blue with some straw, a new file still glides over it.

I am thoroughly confused now.

This is the biggest thickest file knife I have done and I hope the last as my 1080 arrived a couple of days ago.

I would like to salvage tis one as I have spent quite a few hours on it..

ta everyone.
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
#15
Colors are the worst way to judge the temperature of steel. Unless it was absolutely clean bright steel, any manner of oil, grease, fingerprints and/or other contaminants will create false colors.
 
#16
R66...I found for tempering that a regular oven is much more even heat.(use an inside thermometer) I believe this is due to the steel being farther from the heat source...AND...the volume of air in the larger oven makes it more consistent...a thermometer in a toaster oven is better than just setting a dial...but I'm not convinced that the thermometer is getting an accurate average read on the oven. It could vary a lot from one spot to another.

How you convince your wife that you need her oven is up to you...
 

Robert66

Well-Known Member
#17
Thanks for that,

"farther from the heat", I can understand that but what do I do now?

I do not trust a dial on a heat source, from previous advice I bought a new portable thermometer a few weeks back.
 

scott.livesey

Dealer - Purveyor
#19
i use a toaster oven and put a metal tray above and below the rack that holds the knife, protects blade from elements. i also run in convection mode so temperature is even.
 

Robert66

Well-Known Member
#20
i use a toaster oven and put a metal tray above and below the rack that holds the knife, protects blade from elements. i also run in convection mode so temperature is even.

[/QUOTE
]This makes sense, Scott.

I am trying not to use the house oven but it looks like I will have to, I am sh-- scared of the wife. lol

Thank you
 
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