Portable Rockwell Hardness Tester

Discussion in 'Knife Maker Shop Talk' started by BrandantR, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. BrandantR

    BrandantR Well-Known Member

    In contemplating what my next tool purchase will be for my little shop might be, I've been considering a hardness tester. Until now, I've had to rely on the information from other makers' heat treat recipes to get somewhere within the goal hardness for my blades. I'm a little controlling by nature, and the not knowing for sure where my blades are coming in on the hardness scale is killing me. In my research, I've come across several portable versions of rockwell hardness testers that have got me intrigued. My shop is very small, it's tiny actually, and I really don't have room for a bench-top model. Having something small and portable would be ideal for my situation. I'm wondering if anyone has had experience using something like this? I certainly want a tool that will be reasonably accurate, so if these aren't very good, I'll look for something else. Otherwise, I might have to take the plunge. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

  2. franklin

    franklin Well-Known Member

    Wish I could help but thinking I need to watch this thread seeing I am in the same boat as
    you. Really wish they would come out with one made for knifemaking at a little better price, used will be how I get one. I hope you better luck then me.
  3. busted knuckles

    busted knuckles Well-Known Member

    I believe The tester that you posted is Chinese knock off of an ames model #1. I own an ames#1 and can attest to the accuracy and precision of this tester. Not sure of the knock off, I'd be interested to find out as they're selling for about %25 of the cost of an ames.
    I'd recommend finding out about the penetrator points that come with this, as a replacement ames diamond point is quite pricy!

    If it is an ames, go for it! They make a good product.
    And it is nice to know where you blades fall on the rockwell scale. You may be surprised by what you find out, I sure was!
    Good luck.

    PS: make sure you get the base, if you don't you'll soon curse yourself for only having two hands! (Ask me how I know)
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  4. Doug Lester

    Doug Lester Well-Known Member

    Just be aware that knowing the hardness of a blade is not the end all and be all of knife performance. It has to correlate to some level of performance in the blade such as edge holding ability, which usually increases with hardness, and toughness, which usually decreases with hardness. A Rockwell tester will also give you no idea of the grain or carbide sizes in the blade or the distribution of the carbides in the blade. It will also give might give you some indication that there is too much retained austenite when you can't reach the as quenched hardness you're looking for but it can't really detect it. For all those things you need something that can't fit into a small shop, a scanning electron microscope and all the equipment need to prepare a specimen for examination. A Rockwell tester does not say all that much about a blade and it has to be used correctly, like having parallel surfaces. which means that you can't accurately test the edge. That might not be a big problem if you are dealing with a steel with deep hardenability but with a shall hardening steel the hardness of the recasso will probably be lower that the hardness of the edge.

  5. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    That looks like this one from ebay for $644 shipped from China? http://www.ebay.com/itm/232110540107?

    Looks like it might use the same diamond tip as the HR150A which are available for $12 or so shipped. The HR150A is $850 shipped from Grizzly, so the one shown is $200 saved.
  6. BrandantR

    BrandantR Well-Known Member

    I appreciate everyone taking the time to comment. All good information. I don't have the funds right now, but I think I'll make one of these my next tool purchase.
  7. Wayne Coe

    Wayne Coe Forum Owner - Moderator

    For compact and reasonably priced check into the hardness files. Tracy is out of stock right now but check back with him.

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