Quench Plates

Ben Sellers

Well-Known Member
I'm planning to buy a set of quench plates. Right now I'm thinking 1 × 6 × 12. That way I could quench 2 10 inch overall knives at the time. I think anything longer would be awkward an anything but long blades. I may buy a set 18" long if and when I start to make larger knives. Thoughts or suggestions?
 

Don Robinson

Well-Known Member
That size will work well.

However, any flat steel will work the same. Look for 2 pieces of scrap at least 1/2" thick, any size or shape, as long as it's flat..
 

Ben Sellers

Well-Known Member
What I ended up doing was ordering an aluminum bar 3/4 x 8 x 12 for $37 shipped from EBay. I’ll cut it in two to have my set of 3/4 x 4 x 12 quench plates. It was too good of a deal to pass up.
 

Don Robinson

Well-Known Member
For others who may be interested, there are a few things to be considered. The purpose of the plates is to cool as quickly as possible.

Size in relation to the blade size and shape.

Flatness.

Size. The top plate must be of a size and weight that can be easily handled by hand..

Weight. The plates should be heavy enough to force the blade flat while it cools.

I always had a heavy weight I added as soon as the plates were in place with the blade in between.

Remember, what you are trying to do is to cool the steel as QUICKLY as possible, and force the blade flat as it cools.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Rather than use such heavy plates to hold blades flat, I use a big C clamp to put good pressure on the plates to hold blades flat. After clamping tight, I'll spray some water over the plates to assist in cooling. My plates are 3"X1"X12" - I wish they were 4"X1"X14". OR even 15" or 16" long. Some of my longest knife is 13.5" long so I have a bit of the tang hanging outside the plates. Sometimes I'll have to quickly straighten a warp from tang as soon as removed from plates. AEB-L is easy to bend at that point.

Ken H>
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I agree with Don! Personally, I like my quench plates to be significantly larger then any blade I intend to use them on.... the reason is that things need a lot more "wiggle room" when you're handling a blade at austinizing temp! :)

Something I've done was to acquire one of those "woodworking" vises....the one with the large square shaped jaws, that opens really wide. I mounted my quench plates to the jaws, and mounted the vise so the jaws are horizontal...... that way I can leave the jaws opened just wide enough to fit in the blade(s) in, and quickly close the vise with a quick twist of the handle...... making the chore much less accident prone, and allowing me to apply some pressure to prevent warping...... for me this has worked very well on those thin blades that would otherwise usually be a warping nightmare.
 
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