Heat Treat Ovens, Looking for Input

Heikki

Well-Known Member
I'm thinking this is the year that I'll be purchasing a heat treat oven. Hoping to get some input on details and options that others have found important or useful.

I have a small space to work with and it's not wired for 240v, though I would consider putting a line in if necessary.
I would mostly be doing carbon steels, but would like to move into stainless in the future.
I'm not interested in building one at this time.

For those of you who have an oven, what do you like, not like, or would have done differently if you picked one up today?
Would a 120v be enough, or should I look at 240v?
Which controllers do folks like?

There are so many choices and options, I was hoping for help in narrowing down my search a bit.
 

Ember Knives

Well-Known Member
I recently got an LB-18 from Evenheat. Excellent customer service and oven. I don't have any experience with ovens other than that, but I would push toward 220v, because 120v takes about double the time to get to temp I believe. I'm sure some more experienced guys will pop in soon, good luck!
 

Gene Kimmi

KNIFE MAKER
I don't have any experience with other brands, but I love my Jen-Ken 21" airbath. I can put 12+ knives in when I'm normalizing or thermal cycling. I still austenize one at a time so I can keep an exact time on the soak.

I went with the simpler controller on mine, and get along fine with it. They come with a frame and wheels so it can be rolled out of the way when not in use.
 

Heikki

Well-Known Member
I don't have any experience with other brands, but I love my Jen-Ken 21" airbath. I can put 12+ knives in when I'm normalizing or thermal cycling. I still austenize one at a time so I can keep an exact time on the soak.

I went with the simpler controller on mine, and get along fine with it. They come with a frame and wheels so it can be rolled out of the way when not in use.
I hadn't looked at those. I really like the vertical design, and being able to roll it out of the way is definitely a plus.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Personally, I've used 120v ovens...... all I can say is DON'T! They take FOREVER to heat up. I made the mistake.....please don't make it too.

Paragon is still the overall best brand of oven period. They are built to tighter temp tolerance than any other brand. When it come to controllers, I think the TAP controller that I see on the evenheat ovens is the best overall controller out there. I've seriously considered buying the TAP controller and installing on my two Paragon ovens.
 

Heikki

Well-Known Member
Does anyone have an opinion on the solid state relays? Are they worth the extra money?
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
I have the Evenheat 21.5 with the TAP touchscreen. Sometimes it feels ridiculous putting a pocketknife blade in an oven that big, but I'm really glad I have it when it comes to the big kitchen knives I do.

I can't say enough about the TAP controller. It is a joy to use.

As to the solid state relays- in my career (automation and controls) I have had a lot of experience with solid state controls versus standard relays. Are solid state relays more reliable? Yes they are. Are they worth the addition cost? That really depends on how much you use the oven. On an oven that is going to run all day, every day- there is no question about it. Standard relays will cycle themselves to death... eventually. If you're a typical one man shop you'll probably never use the oven enough to care. If you're running a heat treat business then you will care. Standard relays will last for years and years under normal use. Sure, anything mechanical will eventually fail. Guess what? So will solid state relays.

If this is a give and take situation on money I would save the money on the solid state relays and put it towards a TAP controller. If money is tighter than that, I'd save the money on the TAP controller and get the biggest oven you can afford.

My priorities: (in descending order of importance)

1. Oven size
2. Controller
3. SS Relays
4. any other upgrades like door switches, extra insulation, etc.
 
Last edited:

latticino

Member
Shame they don't offer a mercury relay option. Extremely robust from an electrical standpoint. I picked up some used 3 phase ones from a liquidator that I used on on an annealer and hot pickup oven I built for over 10 years, 5 days a week, and they are still going strong with an old West 1/4 din PID controller. I now use the hot pickup oven for heat treatment, but will have to build something a little larger.
 

J. Hoffman

Dealer - Purveyor
I have an Evenheat with Rampmaster. I love it. When ordering a kiln, figure out the absolute largest kiln you would ever need and then buy two sizes larger. The price difference between the sizes is negligible. 220 is a must in my opinion.
 

jaxxas

Well-Known Member
I just bought the KnifeDogs oven from USA Knife Maker. Looks to be a solid piece of kit. I haven't yet had a chance to use it but I hope to when I finish my forge!
 

Owl

Gold Membership
I bought the Evenheat LB-22 with a TAP controller couple of years ago. It has been excellent and the TAP controller is easy to use.
I don't do that many really long blades but the extra size wasn't that expensive and I have used it more than I expected.
 

jmforge

Well-Known Member
My advice is to buy the best oven that you can afford and then some. I would recommend getting at least a 220/20 model and also one that is wider than the biggest piece do you think you might eventually make. I have a 24 inch long paragon with the firing chamber is only 5 inches wide. Given the opportunity enough money today I would go with a similar length oven or maybe longer but one of the 10 inch wide ones so that I could do things like integral tactical tomahawks. If I was really flush, I would have two of the same type.
 

One Armed

Well-Known Member
Definitely have a 220v line run to the space you need. I did this when I built my belt grinder. For an oven I agree it’s an absolute MUST!
Shame you’re not interested in building one. It’s one of those places you can save SO MUCH much money to invest in other things. But I get it. Building just ain’t for everyone. Good luck in your choice.
 

jaxxas

Well-Known Member
Definitely have a 220v line run to the space you need. I did this when I built my belt grinder. For an oven I agree it’s an absolute MUST!
Shame you’re not interested in building one. It’s one of those places you can save SO MUCH much money to invest in other things. But I get it. Building just ain’t for everyone. Good luck in your choice.
I have to agree on the 220 line. Really a must IMHO. My shop is my garage in tract housing, 400 sq ft. By spec they only put in 100 amp services, but because I went with dual cooling when we bought I got a 120 amp service. Pretty much think I use every bit of it too! (At least at times!) The oven, clothes dryer, water heater and central heat run off natural gas so a little bonus there. I've added 2 separate 220 v lines since then, robbing my 220 v dryer (30 amps) and my oven (50 amps) lines. Between the welder, air compressor, grinders and heat treat ovens I often have to switch plugs and make sure I don't overload any 220 volt line. Not usually a problem as I'm strictly a one man shop. But if I want to keep working on something else while heat treating I have to be careful.


YMMV
 

BobbyD

Well-Known Member
I don't have any experience with other brands, but I love my Jen-Ken 21" airbath. I can put 12+ knives in when I'm normalizing or thermal cycling. I still austenize one at a time so I can keep an exact time on the soak.

I went with the simpler controller on mine, and get along fine with it. They come with a frame and wheels so it can be rolled out of the way when not in use.
I just ordered the same unit. They are having a sale right now. Will be 4-6 weeks wait. i have been a bit worried about the basic controller. Maybe you can give me some feed back. BTW nice buck. Thanks
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
I think the new Paragons come with electronic relays already installed? That was a plus for me when doing research. I never got oven because I was layed off.
 
Top